I had the opportunity to try out a Derick Brown favorite 9/10 about 3 weeks ago. I was in the market for a 15' #9 two hander, and I was hot to try the Winston. I picked up three demo rods from the Avid Angler in Seattle and drove up to Ben Howard on the Skykomish river. I had 2 lines, a Cortland 8-9 WF Spey, and an old Cortland DT 9 Lazerline. The other 2 rods were a Sage 9140-4 & 9150-4. I planned to evaluate all 3 with the DT for a fair comparison.
To give a little background, my main winter rod is a Sage 10150-3, I fish this rod winter and spring with a 120' Cortland 10/11 Spey taper line, with the front taper chopped off and looped for sink tips, up to 16' #11 type 4. I have been fishing this rod for about 9 years, and about 90% of my Spey casting experience is with this rod. I have also owned a Sage 9140-4, a Bruce&Walker 15' #7 Hexegraph, a Golden West 13' #8, and a T&T 1208-3.
I strung up the Winston first with the #9 DT. I had thought that Winston was making the Derik Brown favorite in 3 models, a #8 #9 and #10, but the demo I got was marked a 9/10. My impression was that this was a very powerfull rod, the action was completely different from my Sage rods, even so, I could pick up and single spey the entire 90' line without stripping in line(backing knot in my hand) On the down side, I didn't feel like I was really loading the rod with less than the full flyline out, also I thought the grip was too skinny, (I have large hands), and I didn't like the balance point being 8" forward of the end of the cork. I like to hold my rod at the balance point when I am actually fishing, I'm lazy and I like being able to move my hand up to the end of the cork and just let my arm hang by my side. I think this rod could easily handle a 120' 10/11 line, but I already have a rod that will do that, and I was really looking for a big river, floating line rod.
Next up the Sage 9140-4, what can I say, it's a 9140, maybe a little bit faster action than the classic, but anyone who has fished with a 9140 will recognise this rod.
Lastly the Sage 9150-4, I had heard that this rod was the replacement for the 8150-4. and frankley I didn't expect to like it. I had the opportunity to try Brian Lencho's 8150-4 a couple of years ago and I found it to be too soft for my casting stroke. This rod was a revelation for me, it was as if Sage had read my mind when they were designing it. It cast the DT#9 like a dream, On the second cast, with an old throw away fly, I actually hooked a fish, a 16" cutthroat! I put the 8-9 WF Spey line on it and instantly I was shooting line for 100' casts. The 9150 is a completely different rod from the old 8150. It is not as stiff as my Sage 10150-3 but it has much more backbone than the 8150 and the action seems ideal to me for casting a floating line.
So there you have it, I thought I would be coming home with the Winston and ended up buying the Sage. If your Winston is marked 9/10 I would recomend at least a #10 line maybe even a #11, I didn't have my 10/11 DT with me when I tried it, but I am sure it would handle this line nicely.
If anyone would like to buy a used T&T 12' #8 3 piece, or a Golden West 13' for a #8, I have 1 of each for sale contact me via email.