The new Winston Pure light line series is marketed as a rod for anglers who prefer to fish with a light touch. The Pure enters the fly rod market at a time when many anglers prefer fast action rods with tons of power. This graphite rod series from Winston is designed to slow things down on the water and refocus an angler’s attention on presentation and slow action performance. While the Pure does its job well, it has some surprising unmarketed abilities, too. Read on to find out why we were pleasantly impressed with the new series from Winston.





Fit and Finish



The Pure features classic Winston fit and finish. The Pure has an old-fashioned nickel silver reel seat with a figured maple insert. The grip of the Pure is a typical Winston cigar grip made with premium cork. The rod sports a moderate action blank with a slim profile including fine grip and guide configurations to encourage improved sensitivity. Winston’s proprietary design allows for maximum presentation and tippet protection. The Pure is finished with a chrome nanolite stripper guide and chrome plated, light wire snake guides.




The Pure is relatively light in hand at 3.39 ounces, although not the lightest 5wt on the market. Where the Pure really sets itself apart, however, is in its swing weight. The rod’s swing weight is one of the very lightest we’ve ever seen in a 5wt at 55.9 gm2. The only 5wt rod that we’ve tested with a lighter swing weight is the Hardy Zephrus Ultralite.  




One of the things that surprised us most about the Pure was its ability to perform at longer casting distances. Generally, moderate action rods that are dry fly specific rods like the Pure don’t have enough backbone to perform accurately at longer distances. That’s simply not the case with the Pure. A slower casting stroke is important at longer distances when casting the Pure. That said, we really enjoyed casting the Pure at 60 feet and its ability to deliver accurate presentations at this distance was a pleasant surprise.




We found the Pure to be highly accurate at most distances. Surprisingly, the Pure’s performance was fine at 30 feet, although not as accurate as we expected from a moderate action, dry fly oriented rod. This may be a result of the rod’s versatility, and often times accuracy at medium/long distances means sacrificing performance at close range.

At important trout distances of 45 feet and beyond, the Pure’s accuracy was stellar. Think dry flies on a bigger river from a drift boat. The rod’s ability to generate faster line speed at distance was a welcomed surprise. The moderate action feel of the Pure is impressive, especially at medium and long distances. While the rod’s moderate action requires a slow casting stroke, the Pure has the ability of a fast action rod at long distance with a slightly different flex and feel. Like many other moderate action rods, the Pure flexes with a true progressive action from the mid-section and offers a sturdy butt section and a softer tip. This rod design creates a forgiving, caster friendly rod that is great for dry fly fishing.

We see the Pure as a fly rod that encourages open loops for fine dry fly presentations. The rod also enhances an angler’s ability to protect tippet. Connection to the rod is important when making delicate presentations, and the Pure’s slim profile and classic cigar grip provide ample rod feedback at short and long distances. This is certainly a high-performance rod that fits nicely into the niche it was designed for.


Line Choice


We cast SA Amplitude MPX and Rio Perception on the Pure. SA Amplitude MPX was the preferred line choice as is common in most of our reviews of 5wt trout rods.




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The Pure does everything a good trout rod should. We found the performance of the Pure to be exactly what we’ve come to expect from Winston: moderate action, loads of feedback and feel, and stellar trout capabilities. Winston’s new slimmed down design makes this rod extremely lightweight and sporty. The Pure is a prime candidate for medium-sized dry fly rivers and definitely has the reach to be fished out of a drift boat. The rod’s true progressive action means the Pure concedes to everything we enjoy in a moderate action trout rod but also has added versatility at longer distances.

What we didn’t expect was the Pure’s performance beyond 45 feet. Pleasant surprises are always a good thing, and the versatility of the Pure is no different. Cast one today and let us know what you think in the comments below. 




  • Great accuracy at distance
  • Insanely light swing weight




  • Not the best rod inside 30 feet