R.L. Winston NIMBUS 8’6” #4 $650.00
Although we thought that the Winston 8 foot Pure was a fantastic 4-weight, the Nimbus didn’t get us too excited. The big reason it didn’t do better than middle of the pack was the action. This is a soft rod, with a slower action than the Pure. The 8 foot Pure had a much stiffer butt and mid-section and a soft tip that is much softer than what we found on the Nimbus. Since the Nimbus was a softer rod, it did score well in light tippet protection, but in the most important Fun to Fish category, where the Pure got a perfect score, the Nimbus had one of the lower scores – about the same as the much less expensive Orvis Clearwater and St. Croix Imperial. The casting scores were only fair to good, and in my notes I say that I am getting very little feel or accuracy in close compared to the best rods.
At $650 I expected it to do better. The craftsmanship was very good, but not good enough to give it a perfect score like the Pure. The thing that killed this for me was the cheap looking reel seat. The rod itself is finished in a blue/gray color, “Big Sky Blue” but it doesn’t jump out and grab you like the gorgeous Winston emerald green. The wraps are dark blue to match the blank and the epoxy coatings are excellent. The cork handle is Winston’s cigar grip, like the Pure, with the center swell a little forward of the center of the grip and a flare on the bottom end. This is a comfortable grip and the quality of the cork is superb.
Rather than give us their beautiful nickel silver uplocking seat with a fancy wood spacer of birdseye maple as on the Pure, the Nimbus uses a silver anodized uplocking aluminum skeleton seat with one wide ring and sliding band. The spacer is not fancy burl or birdseye maple, but laminated wood as often seen on inexpensive rods.
For guides, there is a hook keeper, then a single SiC stripping guide, followed with hard chrome snake guides that are nice and thin on the tip sections. The serial number of the rod is inscribed on the ferrule of each section – a nice touch.
The perfect line: SA Amplitude Smooth Infinity in WF-4-F
George’s casting notes:
Performance at 25 feet: 18.5 points out of 20
A lot heavier in hand than the Pure, and the stiffer tip is not giving me much feel. The accuracy is only fair. A real let down after the terrific performance I was getting with the Pure.
Performance at 40 feet: 18.5 points out of 20
Nothing to write home about. Both the mid-price DXF and Imperial were better.
Performance at 60 feet: 8.0 points out of 10
Not very good at long range either. The softness didn’t allow me to make good hard backcasts in an effort to form tight loops.
Cast the Nimbus by itself, and it feels like a very nice 4-weight. But put it head to head against the best rods and it becomes apparent that the Nimbus lacks a little feel in close, has a slightly heavier swing weight, and doesn’t have as much reserve power as the best rods.
The Nimbus doesn’t have a boron butt section like Winston’s high end “green sticks.” It also doesn’t have the same high modulus graphite, with Winston’s new nano-resin. No doubt the boron would likely have given the Nimbus a stiffer butt section, and the nano would have allowed for a faster/softer tip without the risk of breakage.
If the Nimbus were $350, I’d say go for it. But at $650, my advice is to spend the extra $200 and buy the 8’#4 Winston Pure. Then you’ll have one of the best 4-weights in the world.
“Big Sky Blue” looks much different, and not as nice as other Winston rods in their traditional emerald green. Reel seat looks cheaper than it should be at this price. Nice hand written model number and serial numbers on each section. Large chrome snake guides. Soft butt section gives the Nimbus a lot of feel but at the cost of power and accuracy.
Performance at 25 feet: 18 points out of 20
Not bad! Smooth feel with a very wide sweet spot. I struggled to get tight loops at close range, and wasn’t nearly as accurate as I was with other rods.
Performance at 40 feet: 18.2 points out of 20
Smooth moderate action has a pleasing feel but lacks accuracy and power.
Performance at 60 feet: 7.8 points out of 10
The medium action is making it very difficult for me to dial in accuracy at 60 feet. I would prefer a stiffer butt section here, which would give this rod a lot more power.
Logan’s Comments: 44 out of 50
The Nimbus is one of Winston’s less expensive options. They have given us a smooth casting rod with a softer action profile. This action excels at closer distances, where delicate and accurate casts are needed. The Nimbus is made right here in Montana.
Performance at 25 feet: 18.5 out of 20
25 feet was the best distance for the Nimbus. It was one of the smoother casting rods at this distance.
Performance at 40 feet: 18.5 out of 20
At 40 feet the Nimbus was still incredibly smooth, and it was able to maintain good accuracy.
Performance at 60 feet: 7 out of 10
Now the Nimbus was showing signs of weakness at 60 feet. It softer profile doesn’t lend itself to casting at longer distances.
The Nimbus is another good rod that can get overlooked in the middle of a multi-rod Shootout. Its fancier Winston counterpart, the Pure, out performed the Nimbus in every category. So if it’s a Winston you’re looking for I’d save or pony up the extra $200 for the Pure.
Still a nice looking rod with good craftsmanship, but you can see they don’t go all out on the materials and components as they do on the Pure.
Performance at 25 feet: 18.5/20
Felt good in close but was a little heavier and less accurate than the Pure.
Performance at 40 feet: 18.5/20
Felt good at mid-distances too. Again nothing wrong with the Nimbus at 40’, but other rods just tracked and cast a smidge better.
Performance at 60 feet: 8.5/10
Again a good rod at 60’, just not great.
The Winston Nimbus was pleasant to cast, not too heavy and managed to maintain good power, control and accuracy at all distances. The blue blank is handsome and a change up from the traditional Winston Green. I felt it was a little bit like a “beefier” version of the B3X, making this a nice all-around rod.
Performance at 25 feet: 17 out of 20
Performance at 25 feet felt pleasant and smooth. It was easy to maintain accuracy, but did not feel nearly as light or responsive as the Pure.
Performance at 40 feet: 17.5 out of 20
A good range for this rod, the Nimbus settled in nicely and provided nice, accurate casts.
Performance at 60 feet: 7.5 out of 10
A slight loss of power, but still not a bad rod at 60 feet. Since the rod is a bit softer than others, some loss can be expected.