I’ve been spey casting for awhile now, I’m not Tim Rajeff or Simon Gawesworth, but I can cast, and fish, and I do it a lot! I’ve cast quite a few rods by now, demo days and making friends on the river make it easy to try a bunch of rods in a short period of time.
After casting that many rods it becomes easy to spot the specifics and intricacies of each rod, it’s weight, action, aesthetics and feel. At the same time the angler makes note of each attribute in his/her head and places value on that attribute, how much it is worth to them, and how desirable that attribute is to them. I’ve cast a bunch of high end rods, but the sticker cost of the rod and the attributes which made that rod cool never really matched up to me, until now.
Flashback to the Grand River Spey Clave 2014. I met Rob Heal of Grand River Outfitters and Nick Groves of R.L. Winston. After talking to me for a few minutes about my angling style (swinging flies for Steelhead) Nick handed me a Boron III TH 7wt and told me to give it a shot. I took it out to the river and the “attributes” I mentioned earlier made themselves immediately known. It was a sweet stick, lightweight, but powerful, while maintaining a sensitive “feel” about it which made it feel right at home in my hands. I chucked out some casts with a 540gr Airflo Skagit Compact, too easy. Grabbed a Scandi line and a Rage Compact from Rob to try, again, the rod shot the lines out without any hesitation. I found it hard to believe, but this rod was actually making me a better caster…
After talking to Nick Groves some more, I convinced him to loan me the 7wt and 8wt rods for a weekend so I can put them through the paces on the water. I was heading up for a weekend to the Maitland for some Fall Steelhead, which is the perfect opportunity to have these rods put a fly in front of a fish. After the weekend I had some pretty firm opinions on the rods, in short, the 13’3″ 7wt was “The Beauty” and the 14′ 8wt is “The Beast”.
Boron III TH 7wt 13’3″
Let’s start with “The Beauty”. Winston states that this rod is “Fast” action, making it capable of handling a wide array of line choices, from traditional long bellies to aggressive taper skagit heads with heavy sink tips. I agree with the statement about the rod’s versatility, I tested the rod using a 540gr Airflo Skagit Compact Head (w/sinktip), an Airflo Scandi Compact as well as an Airflo Delta Spey 7/8. I found that the rod was able to handle all lines well without any sloppy response or botched casts due to rod reaction.
Although Winston states that the rod is “Fast” action, the past few years has seen a difference in what exactly a fast action rod entails. This isn’t a Sage TCX or Echo 3 Spey, where most noticeable flex happens in the top 1/3rd of the rod. The Boron III TH loads a bit deeper, offering the forgiveness and ease of use which traditionally comes from a slower, deeper loading action while offering power and tip recovery coming from a faster taper.
Overall this rod was a incredibly smooth and easy to cast. The low weight made it easy to balance and I fished it for two days without any arm fatigue. Styling is pretty low key but still gave the feeling of rich quality that you would expect from a premium brand.
Boron III TH 8wt 14′
Next is “The Beast”. Interestingly there is a very noticeable difference between the 7wt and 8wt models. The 8wt is noticeably heavier in hand, and after a few casts it’s easy to tell there is much more reserve power in the blank then the 7wt. I mostly fished this rod with a 600gr Airflo Skagit Compact with some heavy sink tips for some deep runs, this rod was able to handle the heavy head, sink tips and lead eyed intruder with ease.
This rod was a bit less forgiving then the 7wt, due to the extra stiffness in the blank and reserve power but after you get used to it’s personality, it jacked my casts better then any rod I’ve ever cast with the least amount of effort.
Overall, the 8wt has a more aggressive personality then the 7wt version and shows more of the typical traits of a fast taper rod. The Boron III TH 8wt just takes some more getting used to and practice before becoming totally effective and based on the types of rivers we typically fish in Southern Ontario, where big heads, heavy sinktips and lead eyed flies are not commonly required. The 7wt TH would offer more versatility in most conditions however the 8wt does have the advantage of being able to handle rivers like the Niagara and Saugeen easily and utilize the extra length for better mending.
All in all, I was incredibly impressed with the Boron III TH, the refinement, smooth casting and ease of use makes these rods a pleasure to fish and really makes you appreciate the research and technology which goes into making these rods. These are definitely a set or rods you should check out at your next local Spey Clave or drop Rob Heal a line at Grand River Outfittters ontarioflyfishing.ca
More information on the Boron III TH can be found here: winstonrods.com