R.L. Winston BIIIx  9’ 5-weight       $845.00

R.L. Winston BIIIx

R.L. Winston BIIIx

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George's Notes:

I’m really surprised that the BIIIx didn’t finish higher. This has been one of our favorite rods for dry fly anglers since it was introduced.  I think the main reason is that more great 5-weight rods are showing up every year, and the BIIIx has fallen behind in performance as an all around rod compared to the best rods today, many of which are more versatile.    

The performance at short range is still very good and if you are a dry fly fisherman you’ll like it since it has so much feel and good accuracy in close.  But at longer distances it was not nearly as good as the other top rods.  The action is medium fast and the tip is very soft compared to other rods.  It just doesn’t have the same kind of power in the butt and midsection that we are seeing from the best new rods.  This hurt its scores at longer distances and its ability to cast into a stiff breeze.  It is also not as good for nymph fishing if you have to throw a lot of weight and an indicator.

I think this is unquestionably one of the best looking rods in our Shootout though, in that beautiful deep emerald Winston green that we have come to know so well over the years.  The craftsmanship is right up there with the very best rods and it scored a perfect 10.  

The emerald green blank really lights up in the sunlight and looks fantastic.  The wraps are a dark green to complement the blank and very nicely finished.   A little red trim is used on the butt section along with the hook keeper.  The cork grip is their “cigar” style, half wells with a nice swell in the middle and a forward taper.  The uplocking seat hardware is gorgeous in nickel silver, which looks so much better to me than an anodized aluminum seat.  A very fancy birdseye maple insert is used.  The guides are one SiC stripping guide with the rest thin, lightweight hard chrome snake guides.  These rods are built in Twin Bridges, Montana. 


The perfect line: S.A. Amplitude MPX in WF-5-F.

Performance at 25 feet:  18.8 points out of 20.

I liked the soft tip which gave good feel and delicate presentations but the accuracy wasn’t nearly as good as the LP or Zephrus.

Performance at 45 feet:  18.6 points out of 20

Good, but didn’t track like the Asquith or Avantt.  Felt like a little more butt and mid section power would help.

Performance at 70 feet: 8.5 points out of 10

Now the lack of overall power hurt and I didn’t get the tight loops or the same kind of accuracy that I got with the Asquith and Avantt. 


R.L. Winston BIIIx

R.L. Winston BIIIx

 Buy Now


James' Notes:

The R.L. Winston BIIIx may have finished further down the pack than Winston would like, but there is more to this rod than just raw performance scores.

A couple of things set the Winston BIIIx apart from other rods.  First and foremost is the quality build and craftsmanship.  You’ll be hard pressed to find a production rod with as much time put into it.  From the handwritten serial numbers on each section, to the classy winding check and nickel silver uplocking reel seat with its fancy birdseye maple insert, this is one gorgeous rod.  And that beautiful green blank for which Winston, really sets it apart from other rods.

The other thing that I’ve liked about the BIIIx is its “soul” which has to do with its sweet, Zen-like feel.  This isn’t something that can be measured in terms of performance or how many times you are able to hit the plate in a row.  It’s about being connected to the rod and having fun with it.  I wish the scores could somehow reflect how smoothly and delicately this rods casts and feels.   


Performance at 25 feet: 19.4 points out of 20

Other rods were more accurate for me, but the Winston BIIIx did deliver the yarn indicator delicately with excellent feel.  Anglers with a more relaxed casting stroke will likely enjoy this rod a lot.

Performance at 45 feet:  19 points out of 20

Good feel and very pleasing to cast.  Again, I was more accurate with other rods but few other rods had the kind of feel I was getting.  The BIIIx had me smiling at 45 feet.

Performance at 70 feet:  8.9 points out of 10

Doable, but clearly not the BIIIx’s specialty.  It took a lot of concentration to get this rod to perform well at 70 feet, and even then tailing loops were the common denominator.  



R.L. Winston BIIIx

R.L. Winston BIIIx

Buy Now 

Logan's Notes:

The R.L. Winston BIIIx is my favorite rod in the Winston line.  The BIIIx has the classic Winston look and feel, and its craftsmanship is some of the finest on the market.  Other small batch rod companies are able to match this, but no one can match it on the scale that Winston does.  The Winston rods are built with care in Twin Bridges, Montana.

Logan’s Casting Notes:

Performance at 25 feet:  19 out of 20

Closer distances are the bread and butter for the BIIIx.  It has the perfect amount of feel to present a fly delicately and accurately.

Performance at 45 feet:  18 out of 20

The BIIIx is super smooth at 45 feet.  It wasn’t deadly accurate but I enjoyed casting it at 45 feet.

Performance at 70 feet: 6 out of 10

For me the BIIIx was just too soft.  It isn’t made for longer distances.



R.L. Winston BIIIx

R.L. Winston BIIIx

 Buy Now

JG's Notes:

Winston has always stayed true to their roots and I applaud them for that.  They don't necessarily do well in our Shootouts because they give up a lot at long range, but that’s OK. They aren’t built to be your do-it-all kind of stick.  They are made for dry fly fishing and they do that very well.


25 Feet – 19.6 points out of 20
The BIIIx, as in years past, has proven that it is a great performer in close.  These rods load and unload well at short distances.  They have wonderful feel and excellent accuracy at short to medium distances that help the dry fly angler get perfect presentations.


45 Feet – 19.5 points out of 20
I still liked the BIIIx very well at our mid-range targets.  Accuracy is good and feel is way up.  I can feel exactly what this rod is doing and it gave me confidence in placing my fly.


70 Feet – 16.5 points out of 20
Not the best choice for long bombs, the BIIIx is really only good out to about 55 feet.  Past that you have to work very hard to get close to the mark. I didn't get very consistent accuracy and it was tough to get the full 70 foot distance.