Winston Air 2 9′ 5-weight


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SKU: win-air2-905

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Product Description

Winston Air 2 fly rod, 9′ 5-weight, 4-piece

~ Light gauge snake guides with ECO slick coating
~ New modified half Wells grip from flor grade cork
~ Nickel silver over burled box elder uplocking reel seat
~ Comes with partitioned cloth liner and high quality aluminum rod tube

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  1. This is easily the best fast action Winston trout rod I have ever had the pleasure of casting. Aptly named, the AIR II possesses an almost “air like” feeling and seems much lighter than the original AIR. As is the case with all Winston rods, the AIR II is very stylish and has a nice comfortable grip made of high quality cork. Traditionally I prefer a full wells grip on my fast action 5wt rods, but the grip on this rod fits the style of the rod very well. I would describe it as a true medium fast action rod by today’s standards but it is very much a fast action rod by Winston standards. The rod itself casts very smooth at all distances but really comes to life with 40 feet or more of fly line out. It throws a lot of different weight forward fly lines well which is really nice to see from the Winston team. I cast this rod with the Rio Elite Gold, Rio Elite Technical Trout, and SA Amplitude Trout. All three lines feel great on the rod. The SA Trout taper is a little sluggish and bouncy in close but holds the tightest loop at distance. The Technical Trout is slightly better in close and still holds a nice tight loop on longer casts. The Rio Gold surprised me the most. A line like the Gold doesn’t always cast well on this style of rod, but feels amazing on the AIR II. It loads very well in close (creates some bounce in the tip, but it’s not awful) and is a great line for distance. Being a little heavier, the Gold also slows the rod down a bit and you can really feel it load when casting. The Gold will be a great line for folks looking to fish dry dropper set ups and nymph rigs whereas the Rio Elite Technical Trout or SA Amplitude Trout will be better for fishing a single dry. This is a great all around 5wt rod that is sure to raise some eyebrows.

    Parker Thompson (Telluride Angler)
  2. The Air 2 9’ 5-weight is the Winston rod that I have been waiting for. I bet there is not a trout fisherman out there who has not heard of Winston fly rods. They have been in the game since the beginning and there is just something about the green blank that talks to a sportsman. Something akin to shouldering a fine side-by-side shotgun or savoring a sip of pedigreed single malt. While I have long appreciated the “Winston feel” for classically styled dry fly rods in the correct conditions, I felt that these rods sacrificed some performance for touch.

    The new Air 2 9’ 5-weight represents a paradigm shift for the Winston brand. This rod is a fast action performance driven rod with a supernatural feeling of touch and exactness I have seen in few fly rods. Simply put, this is the smoothest casting fast action rod in close with a stability at distance that seems unfathomable. At short range you know you’re holding a Winston. The Air 2 rocks back so smoothly with a calm suppleness that soothes the casting hand. The blank is lively, bending and loading with tremendous feedback and exactness. It truly feels like a softer rod at short range. Once you put 15 feet of line out of the tip you notice the line speed accelerate. The line speed off the tip is perfect and the control as it leaves the rod is precise. You feel the acceleration in your line hand with the rod providing instant feedback with the incremental increase of line through the cast. At distance, the Air 2 has a feeling of stability equal to any of the best fast action 9’ #5s out there. Shoot line, carry a long line, ramp up the line speed and tighten the loop or drive a more open wedge, this rod welcomes it all while feeling light, nimble and pleasantly playful.

    I cast the Rio Elite Gold, Rio Elite Technical Trout and the SA Infinity Smooth WF5F lines. The Air 2 9’ 5-wt handled each line wonderfully. This has to be one of the most line tolerant Winston rods I’ve cast. It threw the Rio Gold as well as any rod out there. The Infinity taper’s heavier front taper was noticeable at shorter distances and caused the rod to cast a touch heavy with only the casting yarn. The Technical Trout from Rio was magnificent with the feeling of line speed and control being second to none. The rod cast so seriously and so playfully simultaneously with this line. For larger hoppers and salmonflies I would choose the Gold or Infinity taper. For pure casting and dry fly precision the Rio Technical Trout is hard to beat. While there are still better rods out there for the angler that fishes through wind-in-your-face whitecap conditions, you will be hard pressed to find a better performance-driven 5-weight with this much touch and feeling through the cast. If you have been looking for an excuse to add a Winston rod to your lineup, here it is. You owe it to yourself to cast this rod.

    Richard Post (Telluride Angler)
  3. As polished as any rod I’ve cast in years, the Air 2 9′ 5-weight will beg its way into your quiver, whether you need a new 5-weight or not. The lightness is striking. It’s light in hand and at all casting distances, the mark of a rod that swings in perfect harmony with its fly line, efficient, crisp and resilient. This is an outstanding example of “fast but progressive.” The flex and recoil are intuitive and ideal for a power-oriented rod designed to fish the world’s most versatile trout lines. Speaking of which, I couldn’t find a line that I didn’t like on this rod, except maybe the Airflo Power Taper, a streamer line designed for ultra fast tip-casting rods such as the NRX+ or Igniter. My very favorite is the Rio Elite Technical Trout, which loads this rod with no effort from fly-in-hand to beyond the backing knot. What a magic combination. Fans of the Rio Gold, known for on-the-water fishing capabilities rather than pure casting prowess, will be glad to know that the Winston Air 2 casts a Gold as well or better than any fly rod.

    Small but big: I love the modified half Wells that Winston crafted for these rods. The Air 2 is now one of the few modern fast action trout rods without a Wells grip. This grip is wonderful. It feels “touchy” but fits the hand in a way that offers plenty of support from the fingertips through the palm. I love the way it feels and I love the way it casts.

    The Air 2 9′ 5-weight is a dark horse entering the arena with the Scott Centric, Sage X and Loomis Asquith. In overall quality, it matches every one of these rods. It would be fair to say that the Centric can handle more power than the Air 2, especially when driving a wedge into the wind with a sharp haul, and that overall line speed may be higher with the X and Asquith, but for a combination of casting ease, natural line speed, stability and the intangible “fun factor,” the Air 2 ranks near or possibly at the top of this list.

    John Duncan (Telluride Angler)
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