I just purchased a new Winston BII-t, 9 foot, 5wt, 4 piece. I usually do not purchase a rod I know very little about and have not handled, but the deal was too good to pass up. I understand it has a medium-fast action which is what I was looking for to use on smaller streams where I may only be using 25-30 feet on line. I know opinions are hard to come by on this forum.......but I was hoping someone would have some insight on this model.
I don't have a TON of experience with Winstons but I have fished the 8' 3wt BIIt as well as cast an 8'6" BIIx 4wt, 9' 5wt BIIIx, and the 8'6" 4wt BIIt.
Now I am no expert by any means. I have always favored medium action rods. Here are my thoughts on the BIIt:
It is a FANASTIC rod, by far the best rod I have ever had the pleasure to pick up. I have tried out a Sage ONE at Bass Pro, but I just like a little slower rod for small streams.
I am currently saving up for a BIIt: it is everything I look for in a rod.
The thing that I immediately noticed and was amazed by was how light they are. The 8' 3wt is 2 1/8 oz. I've never tried the 5wt, but its just over 2.5 oz.
One thing about it is just how smooth it is. Those used to Winstons may not be surprised, but I just can't believe how good it feels to cast the thing. It lets you know what the line is doing at every moment. Even during a roll cast you can feel the line moving behind the rod, you can feel what the lines is doing as it comes back off the water. Roll casting with this rod is the best I have ever seen in terms of presentation and ease.
I'm not a great caster at all, but 40' with the 8' 3wt and a little further with the 8'6" 4wt were not problems at all. They are not made to wow you with a distance cast, but they are exceptional stream rods. They set down a fly lines as light as a feather. In the hands of an experienced caster (not me) they are truly sublime.
One thing about Winston's definition of action: they tend to describe them as faster than what most people would call them. The BIIIx is a fast rod, but not that fast. My TFO BVK is a lot faster. (I like the Winston better, though).
The BIIt, at least the ones I have cast, are not medium-fast action like Winston call them. The 8' 3wt bordered on Medium-slow, but is much more like a true medium action.
In one word the BIIt is sweet. I can't find one flaw with it. If you want a small stream rod then this is for you. You just have to slow down your casting stroke and pay attention to how it wants to be handled. If you treat it like a fast action then the cast collapses and you feel like there is no power.
This rod can even handle the odd nymph set up decently well, but it really excels as a dry fly rod. I am saving up to purchase one. I can not stop thinking about it. It is like it was built for me. And yes, it really is that good.
So if you like a more medium action rod with great finesse, superb roll casting, and unbeatable feel then you will be happy.
I don't own a BIIT but do have some experience with Winston. Currently in my lineup are a 380-3 WT, 486 BIIX and 7100 BIIX. I don't know what rods you have in your lineup but mine is heavy on Sage. So for comparison sake, Winston's Medium-Fast doesn't compare direct to Medium-Fast in the Sage rods I own. I find Sage to be faster. By comparison sake, I test cast a 490 Sage ZXL and a 490 BIIT and although I thought both were pretty progressive, the Sage was noticeably faster.
BIIT and it is a very smooth rod, as is the case with most Winstons I have cast. Rated Medium Fast by Winston, compared to my Sage rods, I'd have to say more along the lines of Medium. My local shop's owner is a Winston guy. I chatted him up about WT or BIIT and he owns both, but prefers the BIIT. They are similar tapers, but different and the Boron adds power to the rod as well as lightens it up. You might say based on what I was told the BIIT is a more modern build of the WT---which I consider SLOW, but very fun. Given the Boron vs Graphite, there will obviously be differences in the taper and action but it is of the lineage of WT as I understand it.
The Boron really lightens the rods, but gives you a stronger butt section. They are impeccably crafted and you'll get some of the best cork I've seen on production rods from major companies along with the finest components. The Greensticks are BEAUTIFUL.
My choice for small streams that I fish is usually a 386 or 486. Some REALLY small streams I'd go with a 380 or 470. Depending on your definition of small, a 590 might be too much rod(length), but if you are looking for a smooth rod that can handle dries, nymphs and small streamers you might have what you're looking for. Keep in mind, I am a gear junkie and love using different rods. There's no reason you can't make this work if you got a great deal on it and it had characteristics you're looking for.
The biggest thing I've found with my Winston rods--except maybe for the 7100--is that they take a slower, more deliberate stroke than the Sages I own.
Let us know once you get it what your thoughts are.