The world's jungles can be unforgiving places. The heat, the bugs, the remoteness—you have to be tough and prepared when venturing into these zones. While some things can't be avoided or controlled, R.L. Winston Rods offers a new series of sticks designed to give you control over some of the biggest and meanest creatures that inhabit jungle waters. These new Boron III Plus "Jungle" Rods are beefed up specifically to give you the upper hand when pursuing large, strong fish from the jungle and beyond. If you're into duking it out with species like peacock bass, snook, small tarpon, and the like, this review is for you!
Line Weight: 8
Rod Weight: 4.42 ounces (approx)
Guides: Chrome Nano-Lite Stripping Guides / Hard Chrome Snake "Shooting Guides"
Reel Seat: Anodized Aluminum
Rod Tube/Sock: Yes/Yes (tube not pictured)
Made In: Twin Bridges, MT
Winston has long been known for incorporating boron in their fly rods to improve both action and strength. This rod blank is no different as it's comprised of a boron/graphite mix, but also touts a stout tip, strengthened midsection, and reinforced third and butt sections to tackle demanding "jungle" species and conditions. The glossy, deep-green color is both classy and beautiful, while the complimenting wraps are extremely tidy. Aside from one tiny errant drop of epoxy near one of the guide wraps, the finish was otherwise impeccable and the guides themselves are both very high-quality and generously-sized to easily pass bulky knots.
If you appreciate high-quality cork, this Winston has it. The full-wells grip is not just nicely-shaped, but it's distinctly clean and bright. Another thing of beauty is the adjacent reel seat. Made from anodized aluminum in the classic Winston green tone, it sports double locking rings that operate smoothly and an engraved Winston logo that adds a really nice custom touch. Below the reel seat is a small fighting butt with rounded composite-cork end that's very comfortable to use.
In addition to lawn casting, I took the Winston out for a day of fly fishing in the "urban jungles" on Florida's southeast coast. The targets? Namely peacock bass, but there's always a chance of encountering anything from a snakehead to a tarpon in some of these waters. My reel and line of choice was an Abel Super 7/8N along with a WF8F RIO General Purpose Tropical fly line. Although I only encountered (numerous) miniature peacocks and largemouth that were absolutely no match for the Winston, the 8-weight helped cut through some wind gusts to around 20mph and easily steered fish through and around weeds.
While casting, the rod felt on the heavier side to me. I was not totally surprised by this since it's a powerful rod that's beefed-up for chucking big flies and battling big fish, but a lighter feel is always more welcomed. At closer ranges it felt quite stiff and somewhat numb, but of course feel improved as more and more line was worked outside of the guides. Despite its slightly-shorter-than-average length, the Winston will shoot out to 80+ feet with authority, delivering a chunky fly with high line speed and excellent turnover. I didn't toss any gargantuan bugs on this stick, but I can tell it would easily overcome the challenge.
If your fly fishing demands extra stoutness from your tackle, this is a rod that delivers. It's strong, has a powerful casting action, and is elegantly appointed. It may not be quite as versatile as some other more "average" 8-weights, but it excels as a specialized big fly, big fish tool. Whether your next journey takes you to the equator or simply to a cross-town pond filled with big largemouth, the 8'9" Boron III Plus Jungle 8-weight might be a match.
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