Winston PURE 9-foot 4-Weight Fly Rod Review
Updated: Mar 31
Like ultra-fast, stiff, powerful fly rods? You won't find those here. Crafted for anglers fishing lighter line weights, the Winston PURE series puts a big emphasis on both feel and presentation quality. While these look like typical Winstons (they're green and pretty!), seeing that this lineup took home the "Best New Freshwater Rod" award at IFTD 2018 makes me think they must be extra special. The good folks at Winston are always super accommodating when it comes to sending out review gear, and they had a 9-foot 4-weight PURE rod sent out to me when the time was right. Let's hit the water and see just how pure the performance is!
Line Weight: 4
Material: Graphite/Boron III
Measured Weight: Approx 3.32 ounces
Stripping Guide: 1 Chrome NanoLite
Snake Guides: Light Wire Chrome
Reel Seat: Nickel Silver w/ Maple Wood Insert
Rod Tube/Sock: Yes/Yes
PURE rods are finished in the trademark Winston green color which is undoubtedly beautiful—especially in direct sunlight as the color pops really well. Our test rod was adorned with a single chrome NanoLite stripper guide and thin chrome light-wire snakes. All the guides are affixed with complimenting green wraps, and the rod's serial number is written at each ferrule and at the logo area. There's not much thread accenting to be found, except for some red trim down around the hook keeper/winding check. I also can't forget to mention the familiar Winston cigar band between the logo and first ferrule.
Winston cork is typically outstanding, and our PURE tester exhibited some really, well, pure cork. The cigar-shaped grip was tight, smooth, and felt great in-hand. Although this rod had some signs of previous testing, the grip was still looking nearly new in appearance.
Rounding out this portion of the rod, the reel seat is comprised of nickel silver with a maple wood insert, and the Winston logo is displayed on the butt-end of the seat. The single locking ring spun just fine and was relatively easy to tighten-down with a reel attached.
If you like poorly-built rods, don't buy a Winston. The craftsmanship was top-notch and no quality issues were present. About the only gripe I have with many of Winston's rods is that they all look so similar!
I took the Winston to a small local lake that I've only been fishing for a few months now. It's just brimming with largemouth and peacocks, but most of the fish are on the smaller side.....perfect for a 4-weight rod like this. I attached an Abel Super 4N reel filled with Orvis' new PRO 4-weight textured fly line (120 grains @ 30 feet) and got to work.
These rods are rated as medium action, and that's spot on. I found my 9'0" 4-weight tester to be a wonderful casting rod. You can feel the blank flex deeply with total smoothness, yet absent is any sloppy, imprecise sensation. As expected, an easy, relaxed casting stroke works really well with the PURE. It's definitely on the delicate side, but it had no trouble casting my small streamers in a breeze. I could see this thing being a dry fly angler's dream, but don't think of it as just a one trick pony!
The rod was nice and lightweight while casting, and feel was excellent. Some good distance can be achieved with it, but it's much more at home at short to medium ranges. There's tons of goodness to be had at those closer distances, and the blank loads easily for quick shots. No need to up-line or choose a heavier fly line here. My tested fly line weighed 120 grains which is right on target for a 4-weight line per AFFTA standards, and it worked GREAT on the PURE. Finally, it's also a great roll casting stick!
The Winston PURE 9-foot 4-weight fly rod is a winner. Lightweight, smooth, beautiful....it's a fun rod to spend time with and really increases the fun factor of even smaller quarry. Folks wanting a rod geared more towards delicate presentations should really love this thing, but as I showed in my review, it's much more than just a small-water trout stick. There's no doubt the $850 price is at a premium level, but there's no disappointment to be found here if you can swing the cost.
Interested in a Winston PURE?