Oct 22, 2014

Winston MicroSpey takes on the Mighty Missouri

As we drive up I-15 through Idaho on our way to Montana it's clear that fall has arrived in these parts of the country. Leaves are turning, the days are growing short and fall smell is in the air. We are on our way to conjoin the Missouri River equipped with the new Winston Boron BIII TH-MS (MicroSpey).

Montana: Missouri River - Fly Fishing
Big Water, Big Sky

I booked this trip way back in January. Little did I know I would have a brand new Trout two hander in my possession. You see on this very river just a year ago I landed my first two hand caught trout swinging a pair of soft hackle flies. From that point forward only one thing was certain about my future of trout fishing. It would be with a Two Hand Rod!

The package arrived about a week before the trip. I didn't even get a chance to go hit water for some line tuning. I just went with my gut and gave myself a plan B if needed. The Winston MicroSpey comes in 3 sizes, 3106-4, 4110-4 and 5116-4. My new rod is the 4110-4

There is a way different vibe at Winston and I like it!

From my first cast I knew something was very different about this rod. A little slower than what I was use to so I had to take some casting time to make some adjustments in my stroke. Once I tuned in to the action a feeling of harmony came over me. 
On the Swing

The MicroSpey has a compact lightweight feel much more like a good single hand rod. I think the compact feel comes from the grip. The grip on this rod keeps your casting box in a tight formation. It's so lightweight in hand and balances beautifully. 

Montana: Missouri River - Fly Fishing - Wild Life
I believe that is a Golden Eagle Not sure...I know fish better than birds!

The Boron Responds

For the past year I have been fishing the Sage ONE 4116-4. The Rio Scandi Short has been a perfect marriage with this rod. The faster tip of the ONE really favors this line. I like this line because it gives me the versatility to make a variety of spey casts and also performs overhead and roll casts to perfection. I feel that these casts are an important element to the trout two hand angler for versatility.

For the purpose of comparison and fish-ability I lined the MicroSpey with this Rio line. While I knew the MicroSpey has a slower action what I didn't expect was how the Boron in the butt section would load and respond with such authority. Casts were effortless and as I fine tuned into a relaxed stroke I found myself overcasting my targets. I should also mention that when I say "tuning into the relaxed stoke", doing so took about half dozen casts. The MicroSpey (like its single hand and full size spey siblings) are remarkably intuitive!

Montana: Missouri River - Greg Darling - MicroSpey
So Sweeet!

Battle for lines

For lines I fished a Rio Scandi Short VersiTip in the 320 Grain. That grain weight is nearing the top end of the suggested grain weight window for this rod. I usually like to feel a rod load deep so being at the top end of the scale comes as no surprise to me. I fished this set up with a Lamson Litespeed #3, a Rio ConnectCore 0.026 Shooting line. For soft hackle fishing I used the intermediate and type 3 tips and for streamer fishing I used the type 3 or type 6 tips. If there was one thing I could change with the Rio Scandi Short is I would like to see it fully integrated into a shooting line. Often times I find myself stripping a streamer inside the head loop and this gets really annoying dragging the loop back and forth through the guides. This is not a problem when I'm flat out swinging flies but I want to refer back to versatility. Today's two hand rods are so versatile and the only holding them back is lines.

The race for great switch lines is on and great progress is being made. I want to be quite clear that there will never be one perfect line to do everything. Example; My Rio Scandi Short VersiTip does a lot of things really good but it has a limit to fly size and sink tip size. Bigger and deeper is better suited for a skagit type of line. Nymph/Indicator fisherman could be looking at the best new rod ever for these techniques but you will need to line it out with a indicator line that has a heavy head to casts the cargo and a long rear taper to make the mends

Winston Boron III MicroSpey Specifications -
Line(Grain Window)LengthTop GripBottom GripWeight (oz)
3wt.(190-270 grains)10'6"11"3'6"4
4wt.(240-330 grains)11'11"3'6"4 5/8
5wt.(300-390 grains)11'6"11"3'6"5

New lines are expected soon from Airflo. Winston Ambassador Tom Larimer worked closely with Airflo to produce lines specifically for the MicroSpey and should breath some new life into your existing switch rods. Airflo Switch Streamer and Airflo Switch Float. Both Airflo lines will feature fully integrated running lines and are designed to be used with polyleaders and T-Series sink tip material.

Montana: Missouri River - Fly Fishing with MicroSpey - Greg Darling

I get the most satisfaction from new discovery. Discovery comes in many different forms. This stretch of the Missouri river is heavily fished every day for about 9 months of the year. Most are dry fly, indicator or streamer fishing and much of that is done from drift boat. If feels very different to me when I’m swinging flies and wading in a stretch of water others have ignored. I feel like I am presenting something new. The fish respond and I am rewarded with good catches. There are many fishermen on the river but none are doing what I’m doing. While I certainly did not discover the latest greatest new fishery I have in fact still made a discovery.

My conclusion is simple. I'm taking the MicroSpey on tour this year. Rainbows, Browns, Bass, Walleye and anything that swims in front of my fly beware! I have a new tool and I can't remember when I have been this excited!

BassProGreg - Greg Darling - Gorge Fly Shop
Catch the story of my first Trout on the Swing in - 
Rio Fishing Trip - Missouri River, Montana

Gorge Fly Shop Internet Sales Manager | Product Specialist

"Fly Fish the World with Us"

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