Winston Alpha+ 9' 5 Weight 590
The 6 weight Alpha+ - I have fished a 6 weight BIIx for well over a decade. I’ve caught fish with it in Alaska, New Zealand, all over the Pacific Northwest and the Rockies. My clients abuse it still today and it performs admirably in a variety of situations. When I first picked up the 6 weight Alpha+ I immediately knew it was the rod I had been waiting for since the BIIx was discontinued.
While the literature I read describes the Alpha+ as ultra-fast action jungle style rods for throwing giant junk, I found the entire series to be much more sensitive and versatile than expected, and the 6 weight will do almost anything asked of it, in the trout realm.
I (and my clients) fish it frequently for sea-run cutthroat on Puget Sound and it excels at throwing a long line in a breeze. I regularly throw light shooting heads all day long and this rod loads slower and deeper, with more feel than comparable rods, yet still throws laser accurate loops. The line speed generated with just a couple false casts is shocking but with a crisp sensitivity and more feedback to the hand than other fast action streamer/saltwater type rods. This all adds up to a rod that is comfortable and easy to cast all day.
Sensitivity blended with a strong backbone is key to the entire Alpha+ series. The 6 weight willfully bends to accommodate a 9” rainbow but won’t taco when a 6 pound ocean bright coho hops aboard.
While you may be tempted to over-line this stick, resist. It casts beautifully with 6 weight lines and you will find your loops collapse with heavily weighted tapers. This model is a perfect match for hopper/dropper style trout fishing with a standard rated floating line and roll casts beautifully with a nymph taper, though with heavy lines you will lose some distance as excepted. If you need to tie on a long leader and a #18 emerger, do it with confidence, the Alpha+ will drop your fly softly on a dime.
The 6 weight will easily handle dry flies, nymphing, light streamer assignments, light bass, shad and tackle most lake fishing scenarios on a variety of lines. The application of this rod across North American trout fisheries firmly places it in a position as the all around favorite. Pair it with a 4 weight for small stream delicate presentations and a 7 or 8 weight for heavy sink tips and hunking junk and you have all the streamer weapons you need.
-My favorite line on this rod is a WF6I Rio Coastal Quickshooter. This line rips off the rod with ease for long easy casts. Perfect for sea-run cutthroat and lake streamer fishing.
-Rio Elite Perception is a perfect match for all around pursuits varying from trout to warmwater. It has the ability to make the broad types of presentations in the trout world and can handle modest streamer fishing very well.
-Rio DC lines in 200 grains max. load deeply and cast with ease.
-Rio Elite Predator lines are solid choices for streamer fishing though may be a bit heavy for some casters. These are our favorites for short range streamer fishing that many wading anglers are facing while out on the water.
Brett Wedeking guides fisheries in Washington state opertating Tailout Anglers. He has a wealth of knowledge in fisheries and fly tying techniques for nearly anything that swims. He is one of our main sources of intel on gear and all things fly fishing. If looking to join a group traveling to top fisheries around the world, be sure to sign up for his email list by visiting the website by clicking here.