Re: Winston has ruined me!!
(I apologize in advance, as this is probably going to sound like an infomercial or a testimony.)
It's funny you should say that. I had almost the exact same emotion this weekend. I have the 9 ft. 5 wt. GVX and a St. Croix Imperial 9 ft. 5 wt. The Imperial never made it out of the tube. The GVX is just so smooth compared to the Imperial, which is still one heck of a rod. And if I had wanted to do any sink tipping, I would have uncased it (the GVX doesn't like sinking line).
But for floating line, unless you have a need to bomb 80 ft. casts, the GVX is just a nicer rod to cast.
But the rod that really destroyed my common sense is the Winston Biiix (8 ft. 6 in. 4 wt.) Under 40 ft. it's accuracy is, well like a smart bomb. Pick a baseball size target and hit it nearly every time. Even with a 10-15 mph crosswind. Most of the time I don't even have to use any 'Kentucky windage.'
Another interesting characteristic I've learned just in the last two or three trips is that I don't even have to double haul, unless I'm casting farther than 40 ft. Even with that breeze. Just flick my wrist at the stop, and extra line speed achieved.
But all that aside, it just feels so right when casting, I'd probably fish it anyway, even if it didn't do all those neat tricks. And that's what it seems to always come back to when I let my buddies cast it. It just feels good, while the Imperial is a just a good stick.
So, now I'm planning on eventually upgrading all my sticks to Winstons. I should be done sometime in the next century.
Okay, enough praise-a-thon . . .
As for advice, I think Winston's MX series rod can be had at a discount (around $400?) if you look around. from all accounts it would probably make a good steelheader.
As for the 5 wt. GVX, I'd save up and wait for a good deal. That's what I did. It's hard on your patience, but it'll be worth it. And no, you can't have mine.
---------- Post added at 08:59 PM ---------- Previous post was at 08:50 PM ----------
I guess I should also admit that I now have two Biiix 4 wts.
And I've gotten several offers on the 9 footer (I'm in a monogamous relationship with the 8 ft. 6 incher) and I JUST CAN'T GIVE THE DARN THING UP.
So, yes, I am ruined. Gone off the proverbial deep end, the Reservation, etc.
I might be turning into Gollum . . .
'One Rod to rule them all . . .'
"Three-fourths of the Earth's surface is water, and one-fourth is land. It is quite clear that the good Lord intended us to spend triple the amount of time fishing as taking care of the lawn." ~Chuck Clark