Every once in a while, a new rod comes along that exceeds your personal expectations. Winston’s new Nimbus 12’9” 7 weight not only exceeded my expectations, it raised the bar to a new level. This rod is beautifully crafted, affordably priced, and has the heart and soul of the rod of my dreams.
The “Big Sky Blue” blank color is frankly, beautiful, the rod wraps flawless, and epoxy work perfect. The cork is high quality and has been reshaped from the older, short and thick handles of Winston’s past to a new, thinner and slightly longer top handle. The down locking reel seat is titanium anodized aluminum with Winston’s signature logo. Lightweight, multi-modulus graphite with chrome nanolite stripper guide and chrome plated snake guides keeps the swing weight of the rod low and light in hand.
High quality spey rods typically range in price from $500 to $1,200. The Nimbus two-handed line up is priced at a very affordable price of $750. Winston’s craftsmanship makes this rod look like a $1,200 stick.
Winston describes the Nimbus line up as “progressive, fast-action”. That may be true for the rest of the line-up, but this 12’9” 7 weight is anything but fast action in my opinion. Winston Pro Advisor, Brian Silvey designed this rod to meet Winston’s expectations. In an interview with Brian I asked him about the flex pattern. “The Nimbus flex pattern to me is how I think a Winston rod should cast…, smooth, easy, no effort. It’s probably more of a traditional action then a lot of the newer faster rods on the market.”
I was able to cast a wide range of spey lines to get a feel for this rod’s grain window. The lines I liked best on this rod were the Airflo Skandi Compact 450 grain, Airflo’s 480 grain FIST Skagit head, and the Rio Max Skagit in 500 grains. Anything over 500 grains felt too heavy for my stroke and I preferred a head that was on the “longer” side (21 feet and longer). Brian Silvey prefers a 510 grain Airflo Skagit Switch, the 480 grain Airflo Rage, and the 510 grain Airflo Skagit FIST.
I also cast a wide range of flies and sinking tips. There wasn’t one that I felt like the rod couldn’t handle. I started off with an Airflo Skagit Switch in 510 grains and 12 feet of T-11 (my personal favorite to cast). Then went to an Airflo F.I.S.T. line with 12 feet of T-11, then 10 feet of T-14. Once satisfied with that line up I switched to the RIO Max 500gn Skagit head with 12 feet of T-14 followed by 12 feet of T-17. The T-17 with a heavily weighted intruder was a bit cumbersome but I would have been surprised if it wasn’t. I also really enjoyed casting and fishing an Airflo 10 foot T-11 FLOW tip in shallow tail-outs and riffles.
“The 7129 Nimbus is a perfect size to do everything. Cast Skagit heads with T-14 to throwing a Scandi lines for summer Steelhead. It’s just a great length and weight to get the job done with whatever way you want or need to fish.” Brian Silvey
I was lucky enough to fight some large steelhead on this rod also. The Nimbus’ full flexing nature took those nasty, hair-raising, head shakes from a big fish like a champion while still providing enough backbone to turn a fish of a lifetime.
I particularly enjoyed the ability of this rod to excel in both short, leader casts to the long bomb. The mid-flexing tip allows easy, elegant short game and the bottom end of the rod throws darts at distance. This rod is designed for fisherman. Yes, it is a caster’s rod too but its ability to load easily with a short line makes my short game on point.
The best argument for adding this rod to your quiver or making it your only rod is the feel that this rod produces while casting. Call it soul, call it love, call it whatever you want – this rod has it. A lot of it. My heart is happy when I am casting this rod. It gets it done with minimal effort from the caster while producing an oh-so smooth sensation.
This rod will be my go to rod for both summer and winter steelhead fishing. It is just such a joy to fish. And the Winston name is such an easy company to support. Producing rods in Montana for fisherman that fish as well as they cast. After all, at the end of the day, I am a fisherman. Not a caster.
Stuart Warren, Winston Pro Staff