I get asked quite often what I think is the best trout rod in the world. Want to hear about it? Soft. Here’s what you need to know.
Fisherman 1: “Man, I like blue.”
Fisherman 2: “Blue is good, but red is better.”
Fisherman 3: “You smoke opium. Black is, like, the best.
Fisherman 4: “No, it’s orange, with a hint of purple, like a beautiful summer sunset on the California coast.”
What I mean is that our favorite fly rods look a lot like our favorite colors, our favorite foods, or our favorite sports teams. They are entirely subjective. We all have our own preferences, and there’s no guarantee we’ll agree, at all, ever. So with that in mind, all I can really do is tell you about my favorite. And even that is difficult, because there are so many great rods out there right now. Orvis, Sage, G Loomis, Thomas & Thomas and Scott all make fantastic, state-of-the-art fly rods.
And yet, as beautiful as all of these particular rods are, I’m looking for something very specific in my ultimate trout rod. I want a rod that will fish everything – dry flies, nymphs, small streamers, wet – with ease, that will make every cast in the book, and most importantly, that will disappear in my hand.
You see, in my opinion, this is the mark of a truly excellent rod. When deciding where to place my next cast, I want the fly to arrive at its destination exactly as I envisioned it, and I want it to happen without conscious thought or wasted effort. Essentially, the rod just disappears, leaving me free to enjoy my casting and fishing.
That’s why when people ask me what my favorite trout rod is, I choose the 9′ 5-wt. Winston BIII LS.
The BIII LS has all the “measurables”. It’s beautiful, with amazing cosmetics and top-flight components. It’s precise. It folds – which, at least in my mind, separates it from a hundred high-end fly rods that double as pool cues and paddling pools. He will throw long or short, with an aggressive stroke or a more moderate throwing approach. It will protect light tippets, while corralling a 20 inch rainbow in a minute or two. It will toss a streamer or set your size 18 cripple on the water with the deliberate delicacy of an approaching heron.
More importantly, though, it’s a joy to cast. The BIII LS throws a line so gorgeous that within a minute or two the upper fades completely into the background and I’m free to enjoy the moment. And that’s what I like. I want this rod to disappear into my hand, rather than draw attention to itself. I should focus on fishing here in Colorado, rather than what my fly rod does (or doesn’t do).
So, after a good deal of soul-searching and a brief moment of indecision, when people pressed me to choose a trout rod above all others, I voted for the Winston.
The 9ft 5 BIII LS is the best trout rod I have fished in years. Of course, you can disagree. And who knows? I may change my mind tomorrow. But before you call me crazy, take this particular Winston and run it. That’s one hell of a rod.