#11-tie R.L. Winston BIII Plus 9 foot #8 $895.00
If this rod was lighter in both overall weight and swing weight, it would have scored a lot higher. Maybe it’s time for Winston to give up on the Boron butt concept as this rod needs to go on a diet. The action is quite good and the stiffness over the BIIIx makes for better overall performance. I was surprised at how accurate this rod was at 35 feet despite the heavy swing weight.
Like the BIIIx, this is a very attractive rod, finished in the classic Winston emerald green that we just love. In bright sunlight it just sparkles like no other. Craftsmanship is very good but the same concerns I have about the BIIIx apply to the Plus. The finish on the wraps is not as good as the best rods, and although the guides are larger, they are also heavy and this hurts performance. Thankfully they are not as heavy as the old BIII-SX. Still, I feel that if they used the much lighter nickel/titanium snake guides like G. Loomis is using on the NRX, this rod would perform much better. Guides start out with very large titanium Sic Strippers followed up with large diameter, hard chrome snake guides. At least they also have a big tip top, that will help clear any tangles. Winston uses a nice full wells cork grip with excellent quality cork. The reel seat is an attractive green anodized seat that matches the color of the rod. The double locking rings are easy to grip and they use a nice, large diameter extension butt that will be comfortable fighting fish.
George’s casting notes:
Performance at 35 feet: 19 points out of 20
Amazing tracking ability produced very good accuracy but the stiffness and weight provided little feel.
Performance at 60 feet: 19 points out of 20
The Meridian and NRX were FAR better. The BIII-Plus' extra weight is creating a real workout.
Performance at 80 feet: 18.5 points out of 20
The weight is now becoming a huge factor. It felt like the Meridian required half the effort to hit 80 feet.
Performance at 100 feet: 18 points out of 20
Yes, 100 feet is possible, but you had better work up a good program for going to the gym and lifting weights!
#6 R. L. Winston BIII Plus 9’#8 $895 74.5/80
I think the BIII Plus is the best saltwater rod Winston has ever made. It’s lighter than the BIIISX yet it still packs serious punch. The line tracking is extremely accurate and as always I’m impressed with its top notch craftsmanship. The only thing holding it back its heavier swing weight.
I know Winston has to pay a premium price to have Boron in their butt sections, and it does seem to bring extra strength to their rods. But of all the Winston rods we’ve ever sent back, only one had a broken butt section. If Winston paid for both Boron and Nano-resin, they would likely have to charge around $1000.00 for the rod, maybe more. I wonder if it might make sense to try a rod without Boron and add the nano-resin to the tip, in hopes of creating a rod that has a lighter swing weight, yet is still exceptionally strong and durable? I’m not a rod designer and this could be completely off base, but I think it could be worth exploring.
Performance at 35 feet: 18.5 points out of 20 Wow, one thing you have to say about the Winston BIII Plus is that it’s accurate!! Unfortunately the down side to this impeccable accuracy is lack of feel. This rod doesn’t really feel all that heavy, until you compare it directly with the Meridian and H2.
Performance at 60 feet: 19 points out of 20 Excellent at this distance! Although the rod does feel heavier than others once you get it going it really goes. The tracking feels much better than the BIIIx and the rod itself feels significantly smoother than the BIIISX. I think this is the best all-around saltwater 8-weight Winston has made to date. If they can somehow figure out a way to get the tip lighter it will be just as good as the top rods.
Performance at 80 feet: 19 points out of 20 I was tempted to give this rod a perfect 20 as the rod just rips. When compared to the CrossCurrent and Meridian however the BIII Plus feels heavier and not quite as accurate.
Hit the Hun? 18 points out of 20 Getting it 100 with this rod wasn’t a problem, it’s just that it requires a lot of extra energy to get it going. Although it is a drastic improvement from the BIIISX the BIII Plus is still a little heavy in hand compared to the very best 8-weights.
Capt. Jamie Allen:
#9 (tie) R.L. Winston Boron III plus
Both rods (Sage Salt and R.L. Winston BIII Plus) have a nice finish. The Salt felt the lightest in hand but both were well balanced. Both have good saltwater hardware. They were all good out to 60 feet, then started to go the other way.
Capt. Skip Zink:
#5 (tie) R.L. Winston BIII Plus 57/60
Beautiful rod, Sic guides, slightly heavy in butt section, stiffer tip than Motive or Recon.