Winston Bamboo Shop is Open!

silver creek

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It should be noted that the Winston bamboo rods are not the same rods or built by the same rod builders that made Winston bamboo famous. That would no be Sweetgrass Rods which is the company that Glenn Brackett founded when Tom Morgan and Glenn Brackett sold Winston and they left over a change in the direction of Winston in 2005.

Tom Morgan then started Tom Morgan Rodsmiths but his MS progressed to the point he could no longer make rods. Tom Morgan Rodsmiths was then sold. This leaves Glenn Brackett to carry on the tradition of the original Winston bamboo lineage at Sweetgrass Rods.

The Tradition Continues

Sweetgrass bamboo-rod manufacturer moves to Butte | Business | missoulian.com

Local Knowledge: Cane is Cool - Big Sky Journal


"Brackett, Winston's master rod builder, along with fellow craftsmen Jeff Walker, Jerry Kustich and Wayne Maca, announced earlier this month that they intend to resign at the end of January following a dispute with (Winston) management over the direction of the bamboo shop."

Fly rod fued | Lifestyles | tdn.com

End of an era - Longtime craftsmen of fly rods leaving Winston Rod Co. over changes, clashes with management | Local | missoulian.com

A piece of history is gone - Fly Life Magazine

https://www.wsj.com/articles/SB117409073615340150
 

cooutlaw

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It should be noted that the Winston bamboo rods are not the same rods or built by the same rod builders that made Winston bamboo famous. That would no be Sweetgrass Rods which is the company that Glenn Brackett founded when Tom Morgan and Glenn Brackett sold Winston and they left over a change in the direction of Winston in 2005.


Mostly correct, actually Tom Sold the company(Winston) to David in 1991, with an 18 month contract to stay on and mentor the new owner group. After those 18 months, Tom left the Winston Building and Twin Bridges for good in 1993, his health began to decline and his MS got pretty aggressive, he met Gerri and they moved to Bozeman and opened TMR (Tom Morgan Rodsmiths) on a very limited scale at first, the end of 1995. By mid 1996 it was pretty functional and setup enough to take orders. Glenn meanwhile, stayed on at Winston long after the sale, running the bamboo operations for them, until the highly publicized dispute erupted, he finished the 2005 year and left Winston in January of 2006 with Jerry Kustich to partner up and move down the road to open Sweetgrass in March 2006. Ironically, Glenn and Jerry sold their Sweetgrass building to Winston when they moved their operations to Butte, Winston used that building until it burned down in 2017. Jerry is now more removed "semi retired" and doesn't spend much time in MT anymore. Glenn is working toward retirement and has been mentoring a few guys for the last couple years, it wouldn't surprise me at all if he retires soon (like in a year or two), I think he hoped for his son Bruce to be interested in taking over, but I'm not sure the interest is there. Perhaps Jamie will be the next owner of Sweetgrass, but who knows for sure.

In any event, the newly reopened Winston Bamboo shop will obviously not be run by Glenn as it was for so many years, it is likely they did however, probably re-hire (or kept on payroll for the last few years while rebuilding) some previous shop employees that did learn from Glenn back in the day. And, if one of those previous guys wasn't put in charge and isn't running the new shop, Winston also probably brought in someone of bamboo substance from elsewhere to head the shop operations. I'm sure either way, they will likely be quality rods in the expected Winston Boo fashion, but to Silver's point, they have not been since 2006, nor will they be now, the highly desired rods that were produced by the legendary boo guru Glenn Brackett. I'm very saddened, but I'm afraid those days are nearing an end, regardless of what brand name will be on the rods.
 
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sweetandsalt

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I am not a Boo Boy though my roots are in cane. I don't fish any of Glenn's rods though I have enormous respect and admiration for him as a person and artesian. Jerry and I were just hanging out and catching up recently at the Edison Show...there were plenty of today's top cane makers in attendance including the maestro, Per Brandon.

The old Winston back ally shop that cooutlaw and I both recall with fondness became the Bamboo Shop once the new factory (minus any architectural relevance or sensitivity to local history) was opened by new ownership. The dispute that precipitated Glenn and the entire cane building staff to depart and form Sweetgrass, followed by graphite designer Sam Druckman stating, "I did not join Winston NOT to work with the great Glenn Brackett", also led to the termination of my tolerance for a company, storied though it may be, decaying into mediocre tapers and shoddy blank and finish workmanship.

On Glenn's advice I ceased criticism of them years ago and just ignored their pathetic efforts with salt intended rods and also-ran trout rods. However, with highly intelligent, experienced and creative thinking Jim Murphy joining and ascending the ranks at Winston, the company and my attention developed an up-swing. Finally they are producing some interesting new rods with AIR, AIR Salt and Pure. If they continue on a path including upgrading their technology, bringing in a material science expert and, eventually, after Annette's retirement, a Rod Designer, they could regain their former elite relevance.

But not in bamboo. Rods are a result of their designer-builder, not brand. This is true of graphite and even more so of cane. It is not a matter of owning taper measurements, this is hand crafting and Glenn is the repository of Winston Bamboo...hence the reputation of Sweetgrass. So, if one wants a Winston cane rod, its name is Sweetgrass, if one wants a graphite they way they were, their name is TMRodsmiths and if one favors a post Morgan- Brackett B-type graphite they can be found still being made (I think) by Freestone (despite Sam Druckman's passing).

I do have renewed optimism though that with luck, money and bringing in outside skilled personnel, "Winston" is on the cusp of revival and has again begun to produce rods deserving of their green paint. They do have to loose their globular epoxy wrap finish though and revert to the way old Winston developed its reputation for quality finish work.
 

cooutlaw

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I've stated a few times, my loyalty exists in a two fold format;

1) I'm loyal to people that I respect, for their humility, kindness, character, integrity, and expertise, in Winston's case my loyalty was to Tom Morgan and the staff that I felt were industry leaders, innovators, and focused on producing the very best products available at that time. Arguably, they did produce some of, if not the best, specialized products for fly fishing in that era. The IM6 series rod designs were classics, purpose specific rods, that earned their place in history, and cemented the fact that great design skills and top tier manufacturing execution are the earmarks of a legacy. Rods built 28-45 years ago, that are still as much joy to fish today as they were then.

2) I'm loyal to performance. Products that are of heirloom like, higher quality, than others, perform better, and are designed and produced by obvious innovators and experts in that product arena. Vehicles, Tools, Guns, Clothing, Boats, Sporting Goods, are some of the hundreds of product categories we can see this in. Glenn Brackett and Tom Morgan are/were this to fly rods, in Bamboo and Graphite.

Because of my above personal biases, I too, (even being a Winston Loyalist) felt Winston went through a period of "meh" fly rod offerings. Shy of the WT (continuing on the former IM6 designs), there wasn't really a Winston model offered from 1993 to about 2012 that garnered my interest. I owned none of those models. In more recent years, and now current day however, I am once again intrigued, and have been able to find some later models that I find worthy, I think configurations that have always fallen into Winston's wheelhouse are once again beginning to hold merit and are compelling and competitive offerings. I sense an upswing and rebirth of sorts at Winston, I hope my sense is true. It appears the industry is certainly willing to embrace it.
 
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sweetandsalt

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As has become the usual, cooutlaw and I are essentially in agreement...though I am less a Loyalist than he is. OK, to people and creativity, yes, to a Brand, no. And I'm not suggesting that ALL post Morgan graphite's from Winston are bad rods, several in their core smaller water, shorter, lighter line weight configurations are quit nice. They feel like formulamaticly "designed by committee" though rather than the conceptual vison of a master rod designer. And what is with the Boron? Winston enjoys an enviable cadre of loyal aficionados and have capitalized on their traditon. Me, they are going to have to win back as other rod makers have bypassed them by leaps and bounds going back to at least the early 1990's, I think earlier.
 

cooutlaw

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As has become the usual, cooutlaw and I are essentially in agreement...though I am less a Loyalist than he is. OK, to people and creativity, yes, to a Brand, no. And I'm not suggesting that ALL post Morgan graphite's from Winston are bad rods, several in their core smaller water, shorter, lighter line weight configurations are quit nice. They feel like formulamaticly "designed by committee" though rather than the conceptual vison of a master rod designer. And what is with the Boron? Winston enjoys an enviable cadre of loyal aficionados and have capitalized on their traditon. Me, they are going to have to win back as other rod makers have bypassed them by leaps and bounds going back to at least the early 1990's, I think earlier.[/QUOTE

Without debate, even among any brands loyal following, all makers have had successes and flops in models, and individual configurations within those models over the years. No one brand has ever produced exceptional rods throughout every series and every configuration they ever produced. It likely would be an impossible achievement for any company to ever accomplish. Especially with varying angler tastes and industry politics, one can always find an eager nay-sayer for anything on the planet.

Obviously many manufacturers have seen both sides of the coin, and vision has played a huge component in that...To S&S's point, Sage players like Green, had a different vision, perhaps inspired by different geography, water being fished, angling styles, etc. As did Scott, Loomis, Hardy, (insert 6 more brands here), The RPL from Sage was a vision in the mid 1980's that S&S is likely referring to, a faster action, power reserve, alternative to most more traditional action options available at that time, technology being played with and advanced, we see the evolution of that start in yet designs still today. Winston (Tom Morgan) meanwhile, at the time, held conviction to remain steadfast to his preferences and to those that appreciated his specific purpose designs, (and obviously continued with same vision at TMR). Different paths, neither one right nor wrong, just alternative visions, producing different rods. Both excellent, I owned both.

The rod Technology race became quite prolific from the 1990's forward, some manufacturers had great talent, lengthy experience, as well as, both vision and deep pockets at their disposal, while others were handicapped in one category or another. In racing, the formula is often simple- speed costs, how fast do you want to go? Without resources for talent, infrastructure, engineering, process development, many makers grasp at unknowns, materials, taper designs, etc. in hopes of garnering advancement and keeping enough market share to survive until the sun came out and they could again flourish with inspired, cutting edge, products. Again, regardless of technology employed, all makers still saw some wins, and, some flops, as they do today and likely will until the end of time.

With this, the only significant resource influence I would question capable of abating a design by committee theory, is intellectual property, perhaps the most very valuable asset a company can have, in fly rods that might be a maker owning years of schematics, mandrels, and taper designs, that were proven to be winners, and then if that manufacturer was to take those tapers and apply new materials, resins, etc. and adjust the materials and slight taper modification to embrace the mathematical recovery and flex profile differences needed to replicate modern day versions of those historically proven designs by a previous visionary, that maker might have finally followed a historically proven successful design and rebirthed it with a modern facelift. Using these designs would not require new engineering, nor extensive R&D and materials scientist to insure performance, as these designs would be already proven to perform for many decades. Perhaps the same recipe for success that we see in Scotts new GS as well. Proven legacy taper, slightly modified with new materials science. What would we call this rod? Perhaps Pure? Perhaps a 2019 IM6? Perhaps this rod was designed 50 years ago rather than by committee. Perhaps, some long term employee knew where to look in the files for a proven successful winning design.

Point being, S&S is correct, measureable improvement counts, especially in advancement of performance, change is good, transition sucks. How that improvement happens to come to light, maybe of less consequence of importance, many great things in this world came about by accident. Bartschi, perhaps a genius designer in his own right, took a great rod and made it better in G2 and now GS, both homeruns, from a proven legacy design. A better cake without changing the batter. Maybe others will see success in the same strategy.

It would be interesting to see the schematics of the taper designs between an RPL/LL Graphite II,III,IV, Z, and an X too (my X's feel like very familiar designs). Or the Loomis evolution of models vs taper similarities.

I think any company has the ability to win back consumers, it takes change of attitude, change of vision, and maybe leadership that says we will stay true to what we were best known for, and be the very best version of ourselves we can be, and that sometimes starts with going back to what worked all along.

As a blind man once said, I've seen many changes over the years and it looks like many more are coming into view.

I am an advocate of great rods that perform in a superior manner, whether they be designed by the highest acclaimed longest running visionary of rod design in the world, or, by the worlds smartest 8th grader, either one equally deserves the accolades for creating a great product. Let's hope it also is accompanied with world class build quality and then further, let's hope the 8th grader has admirable character and integrity.
 
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Redrock

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I don’t get as deep in the woods as S&S or Cooutlaw. Of the first three nice rods I owned, two were Winston rods, one graphite and one bamboo. There is something magical about my Winston original graphite 8’6” five weight. The other rod was a Sage RP.

Sometime in the early 90’s, I do not remember the year, but there was a large Russell Chatham painting hanging in the shop, I spent a day touring the shop and casting rods. I was looking to buy a 4 and a 6. I walked away with neither rod as I found the rods uninspiring. I was quite disappointed. Winston’s failure led to my long love affair with Sage rods.

Last summer I cast a few of the modern Winston 5 weights. Again, I found the rods to be functional, but not memorable.

I’m in the market for a shorter 4 weight. Based on what I’ve read here and other outlets, I’m going to cast the Air and Pure rods in 8’ by 4 configurations along with the Scott GS 8’4” by 4. May the best rod win.
 

sweetandsalt

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As has become the usual, cooutlaw and I are essentially in agreement...though I am less a Loyalist than he is. OK, to people and creativity, yes, to a Brand, no. And I'm not suggesting that ALL post Morgan graphite's from Winston are bad rods, several in their core smaller water, shorter, lighter line weight configurations are quit nice. They feel like formulamaticly "designed by committee" though rather than the conceptual vison of a master rod designer. And what is with the Boron? Winston enjoys an enviable cadre of loyal aficionados and have capitalized on their traditon. Me, they are going to have to win back as other rod makers have bypassed them by leaps and bounds going back to at least the early 1990's, I think earlier.[/QUOTE

Without debate, even among any brands loyal following, all makers have had successes and flops in models, and individual configurations within those models over the years. No one brand has ever produced exceptional rods throughout every series and every configuration they ever produced. It likely would be an impossible achievement for any company to ever accomplish. Especially with varying angler tastes and industry politics, one can always find an eager nay-sayer for anything on the planet.

Obviously many manufacturers have seen both sides of the coin, and vision has played a huge component in that...To S&S's point, Sage players like Green, had a different vision, perhaps inspired by different geography, water being fished, angling styles, etc. As did Scott, Loomis, Hardy, (insert 6 more brands here), The RPL from Sage was a vision in the mid 1980's that S&S is likely referring to, a faster action, power reserve, alternative to most more traditional action options available at that time, technology being played with and advanced, we see the evolution of that start in yet designs still today. Winston (Tom Morgan) meanwhile, at the time, held conviction to remain steadfast to his preferences and to those that appreciated his specific purpose designs, (and obviously continued with same vision at TMR). Different paths, neither one right nor wrong, just alternative visions, producing different rods. Both excellent, I owned both.

The rod Technology race became quite prolific from the 1990's forward, some manufacturers had great talent, lengthy experience, as well as, both vision and deep pockets at their disposal, while others were handicapped in one category or another. In racing, the formula is often simple- speed costs, how fast do you want to go? Without resources for talent, infrastructure, engineering, process development, many makers grasp at unknowns, materials, taper designs, etc. in hopes of garnering advancement and keeping enough market share to survive until the sun came out and they could again flourish with inspired, cutting edge, products. Again, regardless of technology employed, all makers still saw some wins, and, some flops, as they do today and likely will until the end of time.

With this, the only significant resource influence I would question capable of abating a design by committee theory, is intellectual property, perhaps the most very valuable asset a company can have, in fly rods that might be a maker owning years of schematics, mandrels, and taper designs, that were proven to be winners, and then if that manufacturer was to take those tapers and apply new materials, resins, etc. and adjust the materials and slight taper modification to embrace the mathematical recovery and flex profile differences needed to replicate modern day versions of those historically proven designs by a previous visionary, that maker might have finally followed a historically proven successful design and rebirthed it with a modern facelift. Using these designs would not require new engineering, nor extensive R&D and materials scientist to insure performance, as these designs would be already proven to perform for many decades. Perhaps the same recipe for success that we see in Scotts new GS as well. Proven legacy taper, slightly modified with new materials science. What would we call this rod? Perhaps Pure? Perhaps a 2019 IM6? Perhaps this rod was designed 50 years ago rather than by committee. Perhaps, some long term employee knew where to look in the files for a proven successful winning design.

Point being, S&S is correct, measureable improvement counts, especially in advancement of performance, change is good, transition sucks. How that improvement happens to come to light, maybe of less consequence of importance, many great things in this world came about by accident. Bartschi, perhaps a genius designer in his own right, took a great rod and made it better in G2 and now GS, both homeruns, from a proven legacy design. A better cake without changing the batter. Maybe others will see success in the same strategy.

It would be interesting to see the schematics of the taper designs between an RPL/LL Graphite II,III,IV, Z, and an X too (my X's feel like very familiar designs). Or the Loomis evolution of models vs taper similarities.

I think any company has the ability to win back consumers, it takes change of attitude, change of vision, and maybe leadership that says we will stay true to what we were best known for, and be the very best version of ourselves we can be, and that sometimes starts with going back to what worked all along.

As a blind man once said, I've seen many changes over the years and it looks like many more are coming into view.

I am an advocate of great rods that perform in a superior manner, whether they be designed by the highest acclaimed longest running visionary of rod design in the world, or, by the worlds smartest 8th grader, either one equally deserves the accolades for creating a great product. Let's hope it also is accompanied with world class build quality and then further, let's hope the 8th grader has admirable character and integrity.
Let me be clear, or as clear as I can be post cocktail hour visited by the Glennfiddich 12 yr., a Speymouth from the Grant family. When I say superseded I am not referring to differing characteristics like fast RPL vs. deeper flexing 8 1/2'/#5 (Fisher or Loomis). I mean LL or better yet SP in comparison to then more static WT. Which takes nothing away from WT but it is of note that Sage (Don Green) built rods of both moderate flexing and core DNA fast flagships. Were they all great...even every puppy in a litter is different and not "equal". But Winston did not respond and offer the faster, technical rods outside their wheelhouse. Fine, that's OK.

The rod technology arms race commenced with G.Loomis/Steve Rajeff's introduction in the early 90's of GLX. The first, quickly followed by Sage SP, all carbon, scrim and power fiber, actually begun a little earlier in late issue IMX's. This changed everything. Thinner walls, smaller diameters, faster recovery and all the promise for future performance headroom were initiated by GLX. Then came Nti Nano, XP, STS and yes, eventually BIIx and Zero Gravity. T&T set this out, Diamondback went out of business...

The classics are relevant and Scott's Bartschi took founder Wilson's great innovative tapers and evolved them to the current GS. Conceptual; not replications. And added, following an S lineage, Radian and Meridian. Harry would have liked them and, of course, suggest a few improvements. Post Morgan Winston still built and perhaps still would, WT and WT3's, my wife has a #6 with a green Vossler. But the Bx's have little to do in taper design with Morgan's work having matured as boiler plate progressive mediums, their flex rate and tempo are all they have in common with the WT's. They share a formula with Orvis's Helios mid-fled and current "F's". It is a good foundational design and there are many others. My favorite in class is Hardy's (Howard Crostin's) Zenith; faster in action yes but an exemplary Progressive that may have well influenced both the H2 and BIIIx. Douglas SKY carries its mantel today, improved, yes, and out of the same Korean shop.

It is not clear the degree to which actual taper designs, indeed mandrels, are transferable from the wonderful past to current material and fabrication processes. I asked Orvis to build me a rod using current techniques/materials on a 1984 mandrel I favor. They said no and we can't. Of course, ideas are recreatable but I've grown to wonder why? Why buy an Orvis Superfine when there are plenty of original early 80's era Orvis rods to be had, or a new CFO even more so. A new WT? How will it compare to Morgan era 8 1/2' rod available on the internet; buy an original if you didn't back then (I have 3 of them). I don't get the point of replicas, Scott evolved the G whichhttps://www.theflyfishingforum.com/forums/fly-reels/697533-more-vault-fly-reels-time.html is why it remains relevant. The Sage's too have changed significantly. Yes, Jerry Siem was the hand picked protégé of Don Green and has continued the tradition but very much in his own way. The tapers of RPL or SP+ have nothing to do with ONE or X except that they are steep and quick. Totally different as is LL and Circa except that they continue to offer rods at both ends of the spectrum.

I too am open minded about rod design and I like the new generation. T&T's Joe Goodspeed is exhibiting quite a bit of talent with Avantt and Exocett to his credit and T&T has rapidly advanced its technology and personnel too. Sage's young design team member, Peter Knox has also impressed me with his DART. These are very bright and talented anglers who know math. Orvis too has a smart designer in H2 and H3's Shawn Combs. Fred Cantoi who currently does the Douglas rods knows tapers well. And then there are the elite, Rajeff, Siem, Bartschi and Crostin...not enough to go around, we need more up and coming rod designers.
 

cooutlaw

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Agreed, Agreed, and Agreed. All basically aligning with my points of analogy, summarizing; the race happened, some makers went all in new, some used previous design with an eye on "remodeling" and "updating", some played, some sat out and watched. Some successes, some not so much. Resources available to each dictated their positioning somewhat, resources including talent pool available, but more so predicated on funding to seek all aspects of design.

I think we all understand there has been a limited number of top tier talented designers, mere handfuls of masters, including past and present. To this, I also think, reincarnating and/or reinvigorating some of the earlier masters creations and designs with sights set on updating them to the modern era in materials and recovery technology, and applying the associated adjusted mathematical calculations and slight taper tweaks accordingly, is ONE of the new strategies being embraced. IE: G to G2 to GS, and now PURE as examples, current designs respecting and emulating, and based, loosely or otherwise, upon previous designs, not unlike the Corvette, Camaro, Mustang, it's certainly not an industry specific strategy. Not to mention the huge taper design reincarnating within the boo world. Some makers with deeper pockets and broader resources have had the luxury of design from scratch, R&D, and materials engineering testing for months or years before applied to specific design builds, boutique size makers have struggled to compete from that perspective, and many, sold from limited baskets to stay alive, awaiting better days. All things change, (my blind man analogy), I sense that change is underway, partially with the above strategy being deployed and, magically, performing to plan and being embraced by the industry. Part Vision, Part Science, Part Art, Part Luck. You will never get an argument from me that anyone can make chicken salad out of chicken poop, any handcuffed business will never produce it's finest products. I think we are perhaps entering another one of the great growth phases of fly fishing, technologically, innovation wise, talent wise, material science wise, along with using history as a guideline for what building legacy products looks like. Some fine things are happening. I am even adjusting to some of the new designers looking like they are 14 years old. Hence my 8th grade previous comment of equal accolades for equal successful creations of design. There were some pretty subtle nuances inserted into my previous post, perhaps too subtle. Again, for the record, People and Performance form the basis of my loyalty, I'm a fan of several current brands -a "full blown" loyalist to any brand past or present would probably be a bigger stretch of adjectives as all makers change with time, additionally, I am a fan of several current and past designers, but far more specifically, I'm a fan of the performance they have achieved in very certain models and configurations of very certain purpose in specific individual models of each manufacturer, they all have their sweet spots, as they also all have their not so special attempts. I am jealous, it's snowing and I have not had a drink......yet.
 
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mka

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Winston has a bright future. And, they have a significant customer base that love their rods. Their new building certainly will help create an environment of pride with employees and it instills an underlying message of Winston's commitment to build quality bamboo rods now and into the future. The fact they are continuing to provide a bamboo rod for customers after that fire is good news for the industry.

I spent over 20 years in manufacturing and learned a few things about talent, quality, and innovation. Leap step innovation rarely came from the old engineers (they actually resisted new ideas)...it came from new talent entering the company with fresh new ideas and open minds. That's why we continually recruited new talent from the best engineering schools to ensure there are new and innovative products through the generations. The lesson I found to be true regardless of what company or industry I worked in is this: no person is irreplaceable, regardless of their company position or success.
 

cooutlaw

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Winston has a bright future. And, they have a significant customer base that love their rods. Their new building certainly will help create an environment of pride with employees and it instills an underlying message of Winston's commitment to build quality bamboo rods now and into the future. The fact they are continuing to provide a bamboo rod for customers after that fire is good news for the industry.

I spent over 20 years in manufacturing and learned a few things about talent, quality, and innovation. Leap step innovation rarely came from the old engineers (they actually resisted new ideas)...it came from new talent entering the company with fresh new ideas and open minds. That's why we continually recruited new talent from the best engineering schools to ensure there are new and innovative products through the generations. The lesson I found to be true regardless of what company or industry I worked in is this: no person is irreplaceable, regardless of their company position or success.
THIS! and Ditto. Well said, Mike. My earlier attempted point was I'm sensing a new resurgence of a legacy brand. Innovation comes from visionaries, regardless of industry. Often times a new vision starts by looking at the past and what made things successful in the first place. Fresh talent, minds, and ideas often provide new innovation, but also, respecting the past successes and the designs of those that accomplished things before them can be a great learning tool and measuring stick by which to begin living up to a standard by which to hold new efforts accountable.

Every day we all can improve and advance by taking lessons from History, and both the milestones of success and the bitter tastes of failure are equally educational. My work life experience thus far revolves around business development in one fashion or another, including start-ups, brand development, and turn-a-rounds from emerging brands to legacy icon brands . My instincts tell me that after a somewhat hiatal period of lethargic coasting, that the inspiration, housekeeping, and nurturing are back in full swing and we are seeing just the first developments of, what I project as, a long string in the pattern of legacy brand resurgence. I'm sensing a new mission with an agenda to return to an industry leading organization.

Loyalties aside, this is a sport of tradition, rich in history and romance at it's core. Celebrated for times enjoyed and memories made, and historically viewed as art more than science. It's original appeal comes from a deeper location within each of it's participants. An addiction, not only to the drug of reinvigorating one's soul, but to the tools that allow the connection to that journey, not in the fashion of a hammer to a carpenter, but rather clay to sculptor, paints and brushes to an artist, or a camera to a photographer...a personally chosen and preference matched extension of one's self. Manufacturers make fishing tools, they only become more when they arrive in the hands of an angler that connects with them on a far more personal level. All the greatest rods in history had the commonality of all of them making exactly that transition to a great number of enthusiastic recipients. When a manufacturer understands this anomaly is what makes a legacy product, and begins to design its products to satisfy and make exactly that transition, it then creates a reputation of producing a world class offering.

My hope is that all new and fresh talent that will influence the future trajectories of the manufacturers and their products, will take the time to study the past art, realize the greater level of connection that can occur, and implement some of that rich history into future science.
 
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sweetandsalt

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That's right; history, literature, culture, art...no great painting was ever made by an artist ignorant of what art came before it. It was opined to me by a angling book collector in the booth of a book seller at Edison that he is disturbed by his sense of an absence of historical context among some young anglers more interested in simply catching. With no intent of reinvigorating a running debate here on our Forum, where is the art of angling in high sticking a mono rig with a brace of jigs in the environment of casting a smooth loop with a great fishing rod...old or new.

Legacy. None of our major name fly rod makers are owned by their originators...all by deep pockets virtually out of necessity. Nor do any of them have the wonderful fly rod taper designers that were at the core of their original ascension into our embracement. A reason I strive to cast as many rods as I can paying particular attention to the new vigorous small companies is I seek the enthusiasm for rods I experienced when young and influenced by brilliant rod makers of yesteryear so many of whom are gone or retired.

For a couple of decades now it has not been great design by terrific casters alone...every rod designer I've met is a wonderful caster...but aerospace devised material advancements too. Top performing rods today require substantial resources in capital, science and an human expertise. Yes, I've long ago gone over to the dark side of plastic. I like to say; Ed Payne made good looking buggy whips with tiny rings out of old, soft Calcutta cane. His son, Jim, evolved to produce wonderful fishing tapers employing newly available agriculturally produced and denser fibered Tonkin cane. He did not have a son but if he had, I imagine he would be designing tapers in advanced carbon composites for one of our great rod companies.

Time inexorably marches on. Some changes we like and many we don't, largely as a function of our informed but personal historical experience. Thoughtful research yields awareness that today's newest rods in the design contexts we have learned to cherish are significantly superior to their equivalents we may still posses and fish from decades earlier. Happily, sometimes they share a name or color from the glorious past; sometimes we knew nothing about them until we bumped into them at a FF Show.
 

proheli

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...It was opined to me by a angling book collector in the booth of a book seller at Edison that he is disturbed by his sense of an absence of historical context among some young anglers more interested in simply catching...
I think it is like this with most young people, in any area of american life, not because there is anything wrong with them, but the individual seems to be born with a Survive/More/Faster/Stronger mentality and it drives them forward, almost in a state of blindenss.

The young guy can't wait to get out of the country and to the big city where all of the life is happening. He works hard and becomes and engineer and finally Makes It, but by the time he has had his first child, he is already planning his vacations back out in the country. And for the most part, can't wait to get out of Atlanta or New York and move back to some mountainous location the minute retirement is possible. It just takes 40 years to realize that All-that-glitters-is-not-gold.

I was just talking to a guy a few days ago on the subject of Americans and Culture. Basically, the point was, that we have none. That is okay. It may come with a few more centuries. But we don't have entire cities with fabulous architecture, or as was confided in me earlier today (an opinion of course) that Moscow is now far more desireable to live than New York because, regardless of Moscow's superior architecture, the entire city is enamored with cousine. Yes, we have pockets of culture, of course we do: Broadway, downtown Houston, etc, but most people only grow up with the broken remnants of the American Dream, and what ever opportunities their folks can drum up for them, which hopefully means a little bit of travel.

The American culture is one of Freedom and Protection and Justice for All, but there is little color and flavor and warmth in this. We are the strongest and greatest nation the world has ever known, by far, but I think without the architecture and music and food, etc, directly-to-hand, being experienced by the child and being taught by the parents, then hollywood and facebook are the driving force in a young persons life. No art, no morals, nor ethics. No peace and little goodness.

So "yes", to your author who sees what is in front of him, because we can all see that "More fish/Just catch them now" element in any aspect of a young persons life. You just have to wait until they are 40 years old their sense of appreciation has developed. In my case, maybe 50. :)
 

sweetandsalt

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My friend in the booth is in his 60's. He is an architect living in Manhattan and an author of a book on the history of philosophy. All his books are first editions, English and American and housed in a custom crafted book case with glass doors. Despite my protestations as to how noisy it is, his favorite reel is an old Perfect.

Some years ago I invented a unique fly tying technique to solve a problem I was experiencing. I excitedly told him about it and he said, "Oh, did you read about that in Raynolds 1803 book about how to dress sparse salmon flies?" Hmmm...
 

redietz

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Could we please move the conversation back to bamboo in the "Bamboo Fly Rods" sub-forum?

If you want to talk about plastic rods there's another sub-forum for it.
 

mka

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Here is the model line up of Winston Bamboo...the number and range of models available for the consumer is impressive. Of the big brand manufacturers still making bamboo rods, only Thomas & Thomas offers this range of models in bamboo (that I'm aware of). My wife told me that on our next big anniversary year, I can buy any rod I desire...it's going to be one of those listed below:)

3wt. 6′ CIGAR OR HALF WELLS $3000
3wt. 6’6″ CIGAR OR HALF WELLS $3000
3wt. 7′ CIGAR OR HALF WELLS $3000
3wt. 7’6″ CIGAR OR HALF WELLS $3000
4wt. 6’6″ CIGAR OR HALF WELLS $3000
4wt. 7′ CIGAR OR HALF WELLS $3000
4wt. 7’6″ CIGAR OR HALF WELLS $3000
4wt. 7’9′ CIGAR OR HALF WELLS $3000
4wt. 8′ CIGAR OR HALF WELLS $3000
5wt. 7’9″ CIGAR OR HALF WELLS $3000
5wt. 8′ CIGAR OR HALF WELLS $3000
5wt. 8’6″ CIGAR OR HALF WELLS $3000
6wt. 8′ CIGAR OR HALF WELLS $3000
6wt. 8’6″ CIGAR OR HALF WELLS $3000
6wt. 9′ CIGAR OR HALF WELLS $3000
7wt. 9′ CIGAR OR HALF WELLS $3000
8wt. 8’9″ CIGAR OR HALF WELLS $3000
8wt. 9′ CIGAR OR HALF WELLS $3000
8wt. 9’6″ CIGAR OR HALF WELLS $3000
9wt. 9’6″ CIGAR OR HALF WELLS $3000
10wt.9′ CIGAR OR HALF WELLS $3000
 

sweetandsalt

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Could we please move the conversation back to bamboo in the "Bamboo Fly Rods" sub-forum?

If you want to talk about plastic rods there's another sub-forum for it.
Well, this puts the kabob on a thoughtful philosophical and historical thread but, OK. mka, I look forward to your photographing a glowing new Winston cane on one of your mountain creeks. I too used to fish a factory cane in such habitats very happily, a T&T 7 1/2' Hendrickson back in the 70's. But as redietz points out, I've gone over to the dark side of plastic.
 
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