Winston Kairos Fly Rod Review: the 9' 5-weight
Winston launched two new rods this year – the Kairos and the Nimbus – and both entered the market, well… softly. After a huge announcement, I really didn’t hear much about them for a while. They didn’t go to iCast, so I didn’t have the chance to cast them there and honestly it’s taken me months to get my hands on one. I was almost frothing at the mouth.
Now, on to the review. The Kairos replaces the Nexus as Winston’s entry level trout rod. I enjoyed the Nexus and thought it was a totally underrated rod. For some reason it never really took off (at least for us). Suffice to say that the changes they made to the rod are *not* just cosmetic. It’s an entirely different rod with a very different action.
Fit and Finish
The Kairos, like all Winston rods, is impeccably finished. No, it isn’t green, but it’s still a rod done right. It has a “Clear Graphite impact resistant finish” which leads me to believe that it’s being marketed at the guide market. It’s also got an anodized aluminum reel seat which is actually, also, really nice. There are many high end saltwater reel seats that don’t look as good as this one.
Weights and Measures
- Overall weight: 3.4 oz
- Swing weight: 86.3 gm2
- Weight needed to balance (reel + line): 9.3 oz
- Balanced Total Weight: 12.7 oz
The big, gaping, hole in the performance of the Kairos is its swing weight. At 86.3 gm2 it’s heavier than the Helios 3F 8-WEIGHT. No, I’m not joking. Yes, it’s totally noticeable when you cast the rod. I have no idea what the folks over at Hatch Magazine were smoking when they reviewed it and said that the swing weight was good. I could literally spend this entire review talking about how heavy this rod feels, but I think you get the point.
The Kairos is definitely a faster rod, but if you’re looking to impress your friends, you should probably spring for the B3 Plus.
If there’s an area where the Kairos excels, it’s accuracy – particularly in close. It’s one of the better rods out there at short to middle distance casts. It’s probably the best of all the mid-priced rods if trout accuracy is your primary concern. Further out, like most Winstons, it doesn’t perform quite as well as top distance casting rods, but it’s no slouch either.
Flex & Feel
There’s lots of chatter about how fast this rod is. I really didn’t think it was fast. It might be fast-ish for a Winston, but that’s about as far as I would go. It’s a solid casting rod that gives you a lot of feedback. It definitely has a faster tip, but more than enough overall flex to lend some really good feel to the rod.
I really struggled about whether to review this rod. I picked it up and instantly knew that it wasn’t a rod that I was going to love, or even like. After spending time casting it, well, it’s actually an OK casting rod. Maybe even a bit better than OK. It’s just way, way too heavy.
That said, would I recommend this rod to you? No. Do yourself a favor and, if you want a Winston for less than $800, buy the Nimbus. It’s a really great rod that I can firmly say is “a real Winston.”
- Great Winston finish
- So, so heavy.
- Did I mention it was heavy?