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Fly Rod Review: R.L. Winston Boron IIIx 5-Weight

by Robert Morselli

I don’t really care for fast-action rods, even though I understand that they do serve a purpose. Over the years I’ve gone out on a limb on only very few occasions, stating that a particular fly rod leaves little-to-nothing to be desired: the Winston Boron IIIx is one of those rods. Let’s get straight to it.

Winston designates the Boron IIIx as a fast rod, and it is: the new, third-generation boron formula amps up the blank considerably – something many were grumbling about on the release of the IIx. Winston listened, and handily settled that issue. The Boron IIIx now has power to spare.

Paradoxically, it’s also a fast rod that flexes deep – making it ideal for tandem rigs, exact presentation and, predictably, casting to fish that are far away.

The Boron IIIx is well balanced: it feels good in hand, casts buttery smooth, and as a result delivers five-star accuracy. How a rod fishes is other half of the equation.  The IIIx blank is very sensitive, and displays no noticeable transition between the tip and mid sections.

Anyone used to fishing ultra-rigid graphite rods might initially feel the Boron IIIx doesn’t quite stack up in the power department, but a minor tweak to your cast inflection and timing will lay that issue to rest.  In fact, my favourite Boron IIIx feature is its ability to put the brakes on a fish. While I don’t encourage actual attempts to break a fly rod, the 5-weight that I tested left me open-mouthed when taming an unexpectedly large fish. The #5 blank responded exceedingly well to this super-fish, which made me wonder what could be accomplished with a 7- or 8-weight version.

R.L. Winston Boron IIIx 4-Piece Rod

R.L. Winston Boron IIIx 4-Piece Rod

I saved the big news for last – the Boron IIIx partnered well with every fly line I tested: light (LT) lines, regularly calibrated lines, and half-size (GVX, etc) heavier lines. This rod is a chameleon, and I can’t recall any rod that I’ve ever tested that partnered so well with such a wide array of fly lines. It’s something quite astounding, when you pause to consider it.

Craftsmanship on Boron IIIx rods is Winston grade, which is to say top-tier.

This is a rod that stands alone in its class: it has minimal swing weight, is accurate at all distances and features a long list of notable hardware (like ultra-hard, friction-free shooting guides), that will attract those looking for a unique, high-performance rod.  Hands down it’s one of the best trout rods currently available.

MidCurrent Fly Fishing
Robert Morselli is the research director for the internationally syndicated television show "How It's Made."
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