Dec 31, 2011

Winston BIIMX Spey Review

A guide buddy recently told me that this was his favorite all around stick to use while chasing steelhead. His words: “It is my favorite rod.” Hmm… although he is a year round, fin-sniffing machine, I figured that this type of statement demanded further explanation.

“It just feels so very nice.”

Okay… It was time to get to the bottom of it.

Short speys are gaining more popularity with every passing year. Why not, you put the right line on em and lookout all you 8134’s! The line goes. Thanks to the recent short spey head innovations over the last few years, the little guys are getting promoted rather quickly.

Short, fast tapered rods are not for everybody however. A shorter rod means that you lose lever length. A faster rod demands more line speed. Folks that are new to the world of spey casting will certainly have more difficulty learning their craft with one of these. It’s kind of like picking out a surf board. In the beginning, a longer, broader board will help you maintain your balance and help you to ride on the tongue of a wave. More surface area allows you to stay afloat more easily. But, after getting the actual ride down, you may find that these big boards are not quite as agile as you would like. You want to start cutting more quickly and lightening your feet on the crest. The best surfers you see out there any more are on short skinny boards.

The same is true for spey casters. Upon becoming comfortable and consistent with the cast, many anglers find that it’s time to try something new. Wouldn’t it be nice to hold a lighter stick in your hands? I tell you, they are much easier to tote while weaving through the streamside thatch to your secret seam line. They fit better in a raft or a drift boat. You break fewer of them on overhanging tree branches. They allow you to cast in tighter quarters. Essentially, you lighten your load and your motions are left more agile and closer to your own body. It’s far less work to sweep a short stick around all day. I feel much lighter and closer to my own personal intent with a shorter rod. My motions become more crisp. The chain reaction from my torso to the rod tip is much tighter…

At 12 feet 3 inches, this rod is on the tall end of the short spectrum – but not too tall to be cumbersome. Lately, I have been thinking about short sticks to use in the winter. An exceptional rod in my quiver is the 11 foot 9 inch 8wt TCX. It is light, easy to tote around, crisp and it is powerful. You got to be on time with it however, or you’ll pay the piper. Performance can come at a price after all. How would the BIIMX be different?
 As far as back bone goes, they are essentially the same. The BIIMX 7/8 is really a stout 7 wt, but at 12 feet 3 inches, I found that I like to line it with the same amount of grains as I would the TCX 8wt - which is 11ft 9 inches long. Although it is fairly fast, it is more forgiving than the TCX. Over all it’s got a little more flex from tip to butt. Under a good load, one can feel the tension down in the cork. Anglers that prefer a real light line could go with a 480 Skagit (This is real light.) Most folks will find the sweet spot from 510-540 grains. I like a 510 Airflo Skagit Compact or the Airflo Skagit Switch. SA has a Skagit head that seemed to feel pretty groovy in the 520gr line size. I didn’t get a chance to try out any dry lines but I have moved away from the Scandi Heads in favor of the new Airflo Rage Head. This line cuts the breeze way mo betta (Nothing is worse than having your leader land way upstream from your head!)

This stick feels like a good friend should. For those looking to elevate their performance and lighten their load, this is the rod. The cork feels exceptionally comfortable in hand. And, It is so incredibly smooth! Although it is fast, it does flex - and it does so very smoothly. After pinching yourself, you remind yourself that, “Oh yea, it’s a Winston! Why should I be so astonished? Yea Winston is there at the top, no doubt. I found the BIIMX 7/8 to be an intimate feeling stick that likes to operate at a highest level of performance. In the right hands, it can be no other way. Oh yea, it is also a gorgeous, classy looking stick, as all Winstons are.

My buddy said that it’s his year round rod of choice. I can see why… It’s not too bulky to dwarf an average summer run and it’s got the backbone to perform on larger, brighter winter fish. I gave it a shot with a 12 foot chunk of T-14 and yep, it handled it without protest.

The only real problem that I have with this rod is that I don’t actually own one! You bet that I’ll be saving my pennies.


Winston Boron IImx 12'3" 7/8 Weight Spey Rod, FREE LINE!


  1. How do you like this rod compared to the SAGE Z-axis 7136?

  2. I like the MX better for casts no longer than 70 ft. It is way more agile in hand. Ofcourse, I like a slighlty faster stick. the 7136 seems to have an uneven taper to me. Too soft at the tip

  3. I have two buddies that fish the BIIMX7/8..
    They both rave about that stic.
    The 7136Z is a very uneven taper in my books, soft up top and not enough power or feedback to the caster down low.

    I think you will see more rods in the future trying to compare themself to the MX.
    They will have a long way to go to do that thou.


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