A Winston Retro Rod: Part Two

A Winston Retro Rod: Part Two

Retro on the Left, Vintage on the Right

Ready to fling some fly line? Let’s cast the 8’, 3-piece, 4wt Retro rod. The line aboard will be a Cortland 444, DTF 4 with a 10-foot leader. Unfortunately, I do not have a vintage Winston 4wt for comparison. But I do have my vintage Winston 8’, 3-piece, 6wt, which has a Cortland DTF 5wt and a 10-foot leader. Perhaps it will still supply some insight.

Okay let’s start short. The Retro rod formed a nice loop with just 3-feet of fly line. Ummm. An evening “spinner” fall can have trout sipping at your feet. Clearly the Retro is ready. Gradually I worked out more line. There was no visible shock wave unless I pushed the rod. From 20-30 feet, the rod is very smooth. With some extra effort, I reached 35’, but in my opinion this is the practical limit of this rod. Add the leader and that is a 45’ reach. Plenty. Although Tom Morgan no longer worked for Winston when this rod was made, it is just what Tom Morgan would have asked for.

As you would expect the vintage 8′, 6wt is not exactly the same as the Retro 4wt. It is good at short range but not the equal of the 4wt. No surprise there. Each cast bears a tiny shock wave: totally acceptable. From 20-30 feet, like the 4wt, this rod is in its full glory, but it easily launched 48’ of line. Nice. The old war horse still has some juice!

Obviously, the Retro rod was not built on blanks identical to the Winston blanks of the past. Those rods came to a screeching halt when Fisher could no longer get the correct phenolic resin. Still Winston has done a fine joy of replicating the feel and casting performance of yesteryear. You gotta love it. Tip of the hat to Winston.

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