Winston Boron III-TH Micro Spey Review and Trout Spey Fishing With Streamers

November 7, 2014

I recently got the pleasure of being one of the first anglers in the area to test drive the new Winston Boron III-TH Micro Spey rods.  Not only did I cast the 3,4, and 5 weight, but I got to fish them hard all day with long time Red's guide turned regional sales rep Troy Lichttenegger.  Troy says hi everyone!

The new Winston Boron III Micro Spey rods are built to be trout rods for spey casting and tight line fishing.  I'll be honest, if you want a bobber rod spend $350 and you'll be happy.  If you want a rod that is a joy to cast and will throw long, straight, accurate, and controlled two-handed casts then consider the Winston.  It is a great rod, as it should be with a price tag of $830.  I'll also add, that at Red's we do see a lot of lame product hit the market and we don't waste your time reviewing things we wouldn't use ourselves. 

Why do Winston Boron Rods Have a Certain Feel? - The Boron Story

Winston rods have a certain feel, not necessarily a better feel than other high caliber rods but they seem to have a very smooth and gentle action that still generates a very high line speed.  This is made possible by the use of Boron.  I recently learned quite a bit about this material.

Boron is only used in the bottom section of 4 piece rods.  Boron is a very unique material.  It essentially is the "launcher" for the upper 3/4 of the rod which is built with graphite.  The Winston Boron III-TH Spey Rods in line weights 6-8 have also been very popular lately, if you haven't taken a look at these and you are in the market consider them as an option.  

Boron Provides a Strong and Responsive Base for the All Graphite Sections

Please excuse the far too scientific diagram here.  All you need to know is that there is a Boron sleeve in the base of these rods that provide a very responsive backbone that gives very flexible rods a "boost" during the cast.

Why Use a Spey Rod for Trout?

Spey Rod Fishing for Trout Rocks!
I'll get more nitty gritty about these specific rods in a minute, but first... the big question! 

The $830 Question... "why would you want to spey fish for trout?"  

  1. You will become reinvigorated about trout fishing again.  Maybe you have had a hard time firing up the car, getting motivated to tie on another Thingamabobber, and watch it float downstream.  I am personally in that category.  While I love rowing a boat and guiding over nymphs, I personally prefer to fish with tight lines whenever it is potentially productive.  Feeling that grab keeps me excited and putting my waders on every morning.
  2. For the pure joy of fishing and casting.  A large part of the reason we all decided to fly fish is because we love fly casting.  You will love trout spey casting.
  3. Training for your steelhead and salmon game.  Way too many anglers show up at our steelhead lodge and haven't put their reps in to get good at spey fishing.  Anglers that have their game polished will have success, anglers that haven't spey fished much will usually struggle and spend most of their time getting lessons from the guide.
  4. Catch some fish!  Trout love streamers, minnows, swimming nymphs, and soft hackles!  Tight line presentations are ol' school.  This is nothing new, swinging wet flies on tight lines is a lost art.  
  5. Improve your single handed fishing game.  Trout spey will make you much more well rounded angler.  Your line management and understanding of the fly cast will reach new heights.  And distances. :)
  6. You may already have a reel and a running line that can be used with - just buy the rod and a lightweight head and you are good to go.  

The Winston Micro Spey Is Pure Joy on the River!

Review on the Winston Boron III-TH Micro Spey Rods

I really like these rods.  They are a high end fly rod and anything that Winston puts out is typically near the top of the food chain.  There are a lot of anglers that love the way Winston rods cast and prefer them to Sage rods, their most direct competitor.  

Casting:  These rods are different than many of their rivals.  I have spent a lot of time on the 5 weight Sage ONE 11'6' rod so I have pretty good bearing on the most directly competing product.  I really like my Sage ONE so I admit to have a slight bias here but after a few casts I realized they aren't the same rod, and probably not competing for the same customer.  The Winston is a trout rod.  It is not built on a full blown spey chassis and they obviously had a goal of preserving the flex, fight, and joy of catching small to moderate sized trout on these rods.  In comparing my 5116-4 Sage ONE, it is more of a trophy trout and light summer steelhead rod with lots of octane.  It will outperform the Winston in raw distance and its ability to pick up heavier flies and tips.  I know all you Winston fans are groaning, but those are the facts. Line 'em up side by side and let the pieces fall where they do.
I'm not sure this fact matters much when you are fishing 14" trout on small buggers where a 40-60' cast is more than adequate.  The Winston family is more than capable of this and will do so without any need for Ibuproferen.  The Winston has a tendancy to leave a large smile on the caster's face too.

Line Recommendations for the Winston Boron III-TH Micro Spey Rods

Winston 3 Weight 10'6" - This rod is great for small to mid sized rivers and is the swinging nymph and soft hackle tool.  We threw buggers up to size #8 and it handled them ok, we are pretty skilled casters, for a newbie it would be tough to throw buggers and a sink tip.  Craig, our token old spey guru we keep in the basement, just got one and we both like the 270 Grain Airflo Scandi Compact.

Winston 4 Weight 11' - This is the "tweener" and was my favorite rod in the bunch.  It will do a bit of everything.  I liked it with small sparse streamers and felt like it was good for trout to 20" which is bigger than most of what I catch.  It had a good feel and I liked it.  330 Grain Airflo Compact Scandi

Winston 5 Weight 11'6" - This is the performer in the bunch.  The line and fly jumps out here much better than the lighter rods.  If you like distance and still want a 15" trout to put a fight, this is your rod. If you fish larger trout and plan to fish streamers most of the time then go for the 5 weight versus the 3 or 4.  The line recommendations are  360 Grain Airflo Compact Scandi OR a 360 Airflo Grain Skagit Switch (for big flies and beginning casters).

Here are the Manufacturer's Recommendations on Lines for the Winston Micro Spey

Running Line Recommendations for the Winston Boron III-TH Micro Spey

RIO Powerflex .024 Running Line - This is conventional fly line for anglers that don't like mono.  It is a great line and if you are new to spey you'll like gripping a traditional line.  It is also more durable than mono.

RIO 25 Pound GripShooter - This is our most popular line.  25 pound is perfect for these light rods.  

OPST 35 Pound Lazar Line - This is the most popular with the crusty ol' spey gurus.  They love this stuff.  I like it too, it is good stuff.  It doesn't come with loops but is a pretty forgiving material. 

Summary and Closing Argument
If you feel like spey fishing for trout is something you will do a fair amount of, this might be the best teacher you can invest in.  A good rod will be with you for many years and if it brings you satisfaction during the "pursuit" of trout then 

Warranty:  You don't need to worry here.  Winston offers a lifetime warranty on all of these rods.  I would first encourage you NOT to break this rod.  It is a fine casting instrument and you should treat it as delicate as you would an expensive violin.  It will haul heavy fish, make long casts, etc. but it isn't designed to bounce around in the bed of a truck. 

Winston custom builds new pieces for every warranty that comes back, so it will take a while if you break it for them to replace.  Give them a month.  Their rods are historically very well built and do not have  reputation for breakage.  Certain anglers on the other hand do... so be careful who you listen to!  The Winston company is also very strong, you don't have to worry about whether they will be in business when your kin breaks it after it is handed down. This is an heirloom, treat it like one.

  1. It would be nice to see some casting strokes rather than someone reeling a fish in. Thanks for the comments on what these rods will and will not do.
  2. I have a Micro Spey/Switch I made by removing the fighting butt then inserting a short length of old rod section to build a 3" butt from cork rings ( I did shorten the reel seat so the finished section would still fit in the original rod tube). I added cork rings to make the forward grip 11". The rod was a Loop 11' single hand "G Andersson Signature".( When I die I hope my wife can sell my fishing gear for more than I told her I paid for it.) Skagit type Line is made from an old "Rio AFS outbound",300 grain. Cut from the tip to leave a head length of 12' which gives a head weight of 180 grains then fitted a 12' tip of T8. I welded the Tip to the head ( single hand rod guides are small compared to Spey or switch rods, loops catch in small guides. I use with unweighted tube flies up to 2" long and small Glo bugs, size 10 to 8 buggers. this setup will comfortably cast 65' ( further when the wind is from behind) Biggest fish landed is 24" still great fun with fish as small as 10". For dry fly and traditional long line Spey casting I use a #4 Rio WF light touch , cut back 3' from the tip, this line works great for indicator nymphing with small size 12 and 14 weighted nymphs. The longer butt section has improved the comfort for czech nymphing. Most of the Salmon fishing here is done with spin fishing gear so fly fish is mainly trout and smaller lake run steelhead up to 12 lbs with most running about 3lbs to 6lbs.
  3. Comparing the sage one 6wt with the boron micro-spey is comparing apples and oranges. Your sage would be more of an 8wt in the trout rod world where winston's micro-spey's are true to there line designation. For a equal match you would compare your sage with the Boron III TH 11'6 6wt.