Nov 6, 2019

NEW Product Review: The NEW Winston Air TH 6133-4 Spey Rod

The NEW Winston Air TH 6133-4 Spey rod won't disappoint you - I am confident of that!
by - John Garrett

This may seem a tad late for a review on the AIR TH rod family, but we have a very good reason why?  Eric Neufeld, our Winston Rep, showed up on location (Gorge Fly Shop) for us to test and give them a go, but just prior to coming somehow his spey rod tips were accidentally closed in the tailgate of the truck, so we never got our hands on them until just now.  E, as we call him, was generous enough to ship his 6133-4 over to me to try out when I fish the Deschutes this coming Monday, cause I have the day off and well, that's what we do when we have a day off...we fish!

And although I received no love on the river Monday other than a quick short jab to let me know there was a fish out there, I had an absolute blast casting and fishing the NEW Winston Air TH 13'3" 6wt spey rod!  I fished a RIO InTouch GameChanger 425gr F/H/I/S3 line and a 10' InTouch MOW Light T-8 sink tip with a variety of flies and it cast and loaded spectacularly.  I also fished the Airflo Rage Compact 390 grain head with an Airflo 10' Intermediate Polyleader or a RIO 10' Intermediate Versileader with a variety of wet flies and the rod flex and feel was so comfortable and natural that I didn't really want to swap to a Skagit head, even though the water temps called for a Skagit.

What I Noticed right off the batOne: that it felt really, really light in the hand (I know that often this may sound redundant because most high end rods today are lighter than ever before) but how else can you describe it.  It's REALLY LIGHT, kind of like, well AIR.  Hmmmm, I wonder if that had any influence on the naming of the rod? The lightness is mainly due to the new SuperSilica resin system and Boron technology that they are incorporating into the rod.  This is a light glue, but stronger so they are able to use less of it with wonderful results and perfect balance. The Winston AIR TH has a classic medium-fast action with a deep flex and silky smooth performance.

Two: The flex/feel & load on the rod was genuine.  With the lines I was using, I didn't have to push the rod to do what it was designed to do, but that being said I also was pleasantly surprised when the winds kicked up a bit that when I did push it, it was able to handle it with out skipping a beat. The rod felt forgiving and this means a great deal to a number of folks out there who maybe prefer a rod with more flex and where their timing doesn't have to be so spot on like other fast to ultra-fast action rods.

I love the length of this rod, it's better for a couple of reasons in that mending was super easy and I could hold the rod tip up over the center of the river and slow my swing way down when needed.  I think this is very helpful under cold water conditions when the fish don't want to move too far or too fast for a swung fly.  It also cast long Scandi lines with ease.  Touch and go cast were fun and powerful and I prefer using intermediate RIO Versileaders or Airflo Polyleaders over just mono leaders because they tend to "stick" to the surface of the water much better and load the rod easier.  This is especially true if you have an aggressive/fast casting stroke.  Regular mono tapered leaders slide on the surface too much and you can blow your anchor much easier than when you use the versileaders/polyleaders.  And, even though I love the intermediate version of these tips, I can still skate a fly on the surface if I swing the fly with tension on it!

Cosmetically, fit-n-finish, I think Winston has one of the most beautiful rods that are not custom built.  The Winston green is undeniably beautiful and I don't know who does the handwriting on the rods but I guarantee that they could get a job at any middle school USA and teach proper handwriting skills to kids who don't know how to hand write their own names.  Sorry but I teach my son how to hand write his name because they don't teach it in our school.  Sorry for that little rabbit trail but the person working at Winston does a beautiful job? As you can see in the photo just below, in the sun, the rod has an almost tiger stripe hue to it, it looks pretty sweet and I am sure the fish will notice it and be drawn to it, at least we can hope so!

In the sun, the rod is Gorgeous!

Line recommendations per Winston:
  • Skagit - 420-450 grains
  • Scandi - 390-420 grains
My preferences for line match: Skagit 420 grain. / Scandi 390 grain, this however is somewhat personal and depending on your casting style you may want to go on the heavier side of my choices.

Tip recommendations: 10' of T8 or T10 and  10’ Polyleaders OR Versileaders, if you go on the heavier side of the Skagit line recommendations it does make it a tad easier to throw the heavier sink tips.

Final thought:  If you are a Winston fan and you loved the Boron III TH spey rods, then you will LOVE the newer updated version, the AIR TH.  It's silky smooth performance and balance with feel from the tip to the butt will make this rod a favorite!  It's just as powerful and fun to cast yet lighter in your hand with virtually no swing weight.  The 6133-4 AIR TH is a solid choice for someone looking for a great summer steelhead Scandi rod or even light Winter duty.

Thanks for taking the time to read...and remember if you can't find it at the Gorge Fly Shop, you don't need it!

John G.

"The Gorge"

Gorge Fly Shop Team - 541.386.6977

"Fly Fish the World with Us"

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