BAD NEWS FOR TROUT

Distance versus accuracy. That's the big tradeoff for fly fishermen. "Fast action" rods generate tremendous line speed, allowing anglers to cast 100 feet into a stiff wind. But they typically lack the accuracy of more supple "medium action" poles. No more. The 9-foot 5-weight by R.L. Winston Rod Co. ($995; winstonrods.com) lets you delicately present a fly to finicky trout 25 feet downriver--or let rip with a gargantuan cast. The rod gets its combination of speed, strength and lightness (3 ounces) from innovative materials. The butt, or grip, is made of sturdy boron, and the two mid-sections and tip are composed of graphite fibers, as opposed to fiberglass on cheaper rods. And the BIIx features top components like titanium-coated recoil guides (through which the line threads) that bounce back to their original shape even if you smash them on a rock. Silver trim on the guides and a nickel reel bed even give the rod a little bling. The downside: the company will make only 250, so don't wait.