The NEW Winston AIR 2 MAX Fly Rods Announced for Saltwater, Streamers & Jungle Fly Fishing - Review and Comparisons Soon!
I am very excited about these new rods as I have been waiting patiently to be able to tell everyone about them for months now. Full review model by model will be coming as soon as I get them all in. I will likely start with the 8wt as I own all the other top 8wt rods to compare them. I want to call them "saltwater" rods because they are replacing the Air Salt (or Salt Air depending on who you ask). BUT they are also replacing the Alpha series (which I love) and merging two excellent rod series into a single lineup that I think is a really logical and smart move by Winston. Alpha was always misunderstood and the Salt series were actually brilliant but under-appreciated due to many not using the right fly lines with them.
So, introducing the "Winston Air 2 Max" rod series. Winston knows how well the Air 2 freshwater rods were received (rod of the year when they came out). The naming of this new series is meant to capitalize on that success, and rightfully so.
This new range of rods is very familiar for anyone who knows typical saltwater rod weights; it will be offered initially in 6-12wt 9'0" but what is very interesting is there will soon be another length option, 8'6" for most of them (6/7/8/9wt). They are designed for what we know collectively as "jungle" applications, generally that's going to be anything from regular bass to peacock bass, golden dorado, pacu, and lots of other cool South American species, as well as being pretty ideal for Tigerfish over in Africa. Especially in the Amazon and south to Bolivia, these rods are going to see some serious action. I believe Winston intends these 8'6" rods to fill the gap left by the Alpha series and be more tuned to that kind of heavy duty role. The saltwater rods also have been beefed up over the Air Salt series, the main complaint some people had about the old ones has been addressed and Winston aims for these new rods to be at the top of the pile in saltwater options. They know third or fourth place isn't an option and this rod was designed with dethroning the king (which is normally either the Sage Salt R8 or Scott Sector, depending who you ask, with Asquith getting honorable mention in spite of being very old now).
So, what can you see is different? The big news here was the switch over to Cerecoil stripper guides (what is that? look at a Scott Sector for reference) and full titanium snake guides as well. So it's all titanium and ceramic inserts, absolutely the best components for these and a clear shot at the Sector. I think this new componentry helps justify the price increase, which I hate to say is $1,245 vs $1,025 for the Air Salt. Keep in mind the regular Air 2 for freshwater is $1,195 and sells very well. The G. Loomis Asquith is even more expensive and plenty of people bought those at $1,335 (8wt) and even higher pricing for larger sizes. So this is only the second most expensive saltwater rod (actually third if you count Maven rods, but I would argue they are basically custom rods since they are made-to-order).
And this rod is gorgeous, if I haven't mentioned that, but that's exactly what you can always expect from Winston rods. Incredibly good-looking and they are brilliant to cast. Winston knows how well the Air 2 freshwater rods were received (rod of the year when they came out) and the naming of this new series is meant to capitalize on that success (rightfully so).
I am excited to test all the sizes and review everything in another post later on, when I have had time to thoroughly try many different fly lines and compare these new rods to all my other top saltwater and big game freshwater rod series. Stay tuned! And if you are already excited about these new rods, feel free to contact us and pick one up today!