Winston's Boron IIx Fly Rods

Winston's Boron IIx Fly Rods

Driving power, plus delicacy

  • By: Darrel Martin
In 1867, Francis Francis, the celebrated English angling writer, abandoned his 11- and 12-foot trout rods that weighed nearly a pound. Cast weary, he switched to a double-handed trout rod. There is no evidence that he had cast a Winston Boron IIx rod. According to Winston rod designer Sam Drukman, "The Boron IIx rods are the lightest in the industry." Drukman added, "They are close to a full ounce lighter than any other comparable-weight model on the market." According to Winston, the IIx 3-weight is a scant 2 9/16th ounces and the 12-weight, a mere 5 ounces.With some skepticism, I weighed both the 9-foot, 10-weight IIx and another manufacturer's popular 9-foot 10-weight. Indeed, the IIx was 17.5 percent lighter. Due to their light weight, the "heavy" IIx rods, such as the 10 and 12-weight, should be especially effective in the demanding heat and humidity of the tropics. The weight has been judiciously reduced to create a rod that is not only light, but strong. It is also-in keeping with Winston tradition-a very fine-looking fly rod. Computer-designed tapers and ferrules, lightweight nickel-titanium guides, green graphite spacers and a second-generation boron/graphite composite redefine the weight of this series of fly rods. Even the cosmetics are attractively functional. The green graphite spacer has a subtle checkerboard that complements the rod. Drukman believes that the light, flexible titanium guides may actually accommodate the rod flex. There was a time when some anglers considered Winston a "soft-rod" company. This is no longer totally true. Winston has recently produced, along with the IIx series, some remarkably quick and powerful rods. The boron/graphite composite, an unusually strong material with quick recovery, is used only in the butt. Though described as "fast-action rods," the IIx series may be closer to medium-fast. Most rods in this series push a remarkably long line. Some IIx's even seem to bend like a medium but cast like a fast. In any case, the rods deliver the fly various distances with ease and authority. Recently, Dave Hurd, a veteran "afishin-nado," picked up some lovely coho in the Puget Sound. His 6-weight IIx found the distance with sprightly ease. These rods recall what E. M. Tod wrote in Wet-Fly Fishing (1914): "Fly rods, to satisfy me, must have driving power plus delicacy." These four-piece rods range, on selected models, from 8 1/2 to 11 feet long. Cigar handles appear on 3 through 6-weights; wells on 7 through 12-weights and, on one model (the JWF), a half-wells handle. Reel seats include the black aluminum up-lock with green graphite spacer or the down-lock nickel silver with wood spacers on rods 3 through 6-weights. For the lightest rod, choose the graphite spacer. Black anodized aluminum up-lock, green graphite spacer and cork fighting butt appear on rods 7 through 12. The Boron IIx would surely have given Francis Francis an exquisite smile-the same smile found on anglers today. Kudos to the Winston IIx.