Nicholas’ Review of the 12 wt Winston B3 Plus Saltwater fly rod

I’m going to keep this review short.

Winston’s reputation for superior performance, rod components, durability, and appearance is well established. I have fished the 12 wt Winston B3 Plus Saltwater offshore Oregon for Albacore and lingcod. I’ve now fished in offshore Baja with Gary Bulla for dorado and skipjack. I have fished intermediate and fast sinking lines on this 12 wt rod.

My  Nautilus fly reel and SA Sonar Sink fly line at work on the Winston B3 Plus Saltwater fly rod in Baja.

My Nautilus fly reel and SA Sonar Sink fly line at work on the Winston B3 Plus Saltwater fly rod in Baja.

Here is what I’ve found about this rod.

* the Winston B3 Plus Saltwater rod series is everything is is marketed to be – a superior level performer
* this rod is lighter than you can imagine for its respective line class
* the components, guides, reel seat, guides, rod wraps, and rod case are in every measure what I consider “top of the line”
* whereas I find most 12 wt rods less than pleasurable to cast, this 12 felt like a 10 wt when casting but had all the power I expect from a 12 wt when fighting fish and applying lifting power to fish buried under the boat

Winston B3 Plus 12 wt fly rod in action - Baja 2017.

Winston B3 Plus 12 wt fly rod in action – Baja 2017.

I fished two Winston fly rods alongside two ECHO EPR rods in Baja. My Winstons served me in most excellent fashion whenever I reached for a fast sinking 450 gr SA Sonic Sink warm-water fly line or a Bruce Chard Tropical Punch floating line. There were times when the largest dorado and the skipjack seemed more willing to take a deeply sunk fly over a fly retrieved near the surface. I found the Winston Saltwater B3 Plus rod cast the heavy sink tip SA line like a cannon (a phrase used to indicate that the cast is good) and was shockingly easy to cast repeatedly. I say this because some 12 wt fly rods feel very heavy in hand and are frankly a chore to cast more than a few times. Not so with this 12 wt Winston. This is a dream rod to cast, and in fact at several points during the week I mistakenly thought I was fishing my 10 wt when I was actually fishing the 12.

For a bottom line, I’d say that this Winston fly rod is ranked as among the best of the best in every respect from components to cosmetics to performance. If you want to fish the very best, this is a great choice in a fly rod.

Jay Nicholas May/June 2017

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