Winston Pre IM6, IM6, & WT Reference

Lewis Chessman

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That's rather special, cooutlaw. I do appreciate that it is academic who got there first and that the honour may no more have been on Tom Morgan's mind than it was on Don Green or Jim Green's, but it has become a momentous event in the history of our sport and, fewer than 50 years on, its true origins are already fogged by the mists of time. :)

I'm satisfied that Fenwick were selling graphite spinning and baitcasting rods in 1973 and exhibiting their HMG prototypes at trade shows that year*. It should also be considered that, in order to appear in their 1974 catalogue, Fenwick HMG fly rods must have been in production by late 1973 if not yet in the shops. So, if those Winston Leonards were leaving the shop as early as Dec. '73 (feasible given your widest dates) they may well have preceded Fenwick by a matter of weeks ..... or not if Fenwick supplied retailers with HMG rods before printing catalogues! :)

I suspect the question is unanswerable but personally I'm happier with that ambiguity that wrongly believing a contentious 'fact'.
Many thanks,
James.


*Do ask if you want sources.
 

cooutlaw

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Couldn't agree more James.

I suspect it was no different back then for early adopters - everyone was in the mess line..... and years later nobody remembers who got the first or last salisbury steak, who took cuts, or how long the line was.

I do know this for sure, Fenwick got it far more right than Leonard....and I suspect by their (Fenwick's) scale back in that day, them being first to market was indeed an accurate account- ....which begs the question of how long Fenwick was really ready to launch before they actually did.....based on my dating of their contemporaries of the day, I suspect that Fenwick had been perfecting the release for a year or two before they launched and I also suspect they were into capable production and equipped dealers with inventory products prior to and in preparation of the advertisement and launch.

We may never know for sure, but I am confident that our timelines tell us all of these players were dabbling + with this new tech well before it hit public availability. Pretty interesting looking back into history and trying to speculate and piece the puzzle together, no doubt there were some cutting edge, held close to the vest, industry top secret, hush hush, manufacturing and product development happening at that time in history.....quite exciting in that day I'm sure.
 
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moucheur2003

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Not all IM6 models were great rods, changing resin, didn't fix that, and the WT version wasn't great either. But the GREAT IM6 models, still remained great in the WT.
I have WTs with 100,000+ serial numbers in the 8' 6" 5 weight and TMF tapers. From comments I have seen over the years those seem to be generally regarded as two of the classics.
 

cooutlaw

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Moucheur, Your 8'6" 5wt and TMF WT's are excellent rods and two of the highest regarded Winston model configurations ever produced in either IM6 or WT. You should be proud to own them.

Best,
Outlaw
 

timd

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If I am hearing you right, I think you are agreeing with Winston's claim (and disagreeing with some WT scoffers) that there should be no real difference between the IM6 and the WT versions of the same taper. Although the earlier ones were rolled under contract by Loomis and the later ones in-house by Winston, both versions were rolled on the same equipment, to the same specs, using virtually the same material. Is that correct? Or were the differences in the older and newer batches of carbon fiber and resin significant enough to distinguish the Loomis blanks from the Winston ones in any meaningful way?
I guess you could call me one of the scoffers as I own two 8.5 5 wt IM6 Winstons. One serial 42,000 something and the other 44,000.
These rods are distinctly different although the factory told me at time of purchase the were built on the same mandrel. The later rod has a faster action that is quite noticeable. Both great rods but different. The same was true of other line weights in the series. I also have two 9’ 4 weights and they are also quite different in the same way. The later rods being what I would call Medium action while the earlier rods are slower.


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sweetandsalt

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Lewis, The Borkast line was made for Ted by SA and the most similar, also SA built lines were the old Orvis SSS (but in blue) and then the SA Expert Distance Taper, improved with an elongated rear taper. It too is now gone and current lines with similar properties are SA's own Trout (smooth) and Cortland's Omni-Verse.

outlaw, When I return to my home office I will look for the serial # on my SF Winston (JK Fisher) and post it...dates have deteriorated to approximations in my memory. Have you read Lewis's Graphite Rod History thread under rods? He's done a ton of homework with insight. Ard, it may warrant 'sticky' status as well.
 

Lewis Chessman

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That's very good of you, sweet&salt. I hope I'll have two excellent reasons to buy something 'Borkasty' later this year .... ;)
I did actually see an original, boxed #7 Borkast go through eBayUS this year - un-purchased at $30. I keep an ongoing worldwide search open just in case another turns up but getting a clue to the taper profile and similar lines helps a lot.
I need to know more about lines, anyway ..... :)

The 'early carbon rod threads' (link to the NAFFF one) were a great adventure for me and a wonderful Anglo-American cross-forum endeavour. I learnt so much and actually met the last surviving member of the four-man team who invented what became the standard carbon fibre making process, Dr. Roger Moreton. I managed to get the good Doctor's address but no phone or email details so just cold-called the poor man one day when, by pure luck, I happened to be passing nearby. Thankfully, he invited me in and we talked for over an hour. Later he read a draft and offered corrections and additional details for the article. He and so many others were remarkably generous with their time and advice, it was a really heartwarming experience for me as well as being informative.
 

jamesrick

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Thank you guys for this amazing thread!
Here is a link to a very interesting interview with Tom Morgan concerning Winston and his early rod designs:
Tom Morgan
 
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Lewis Chessman

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I purchased a Leonard Graftek fly rod in 1975. It was a 8 1/2', 5-6wt. I got a lot of good use out of it before it suffered "catastrophic failure" and literally exploded at the ferrule on a large Brown in Robinson Creek in the Eastern Sierra in the early 80's...
I've just seen one on eBayUK so thought I'd post a link as the photos are quite good and may be useful to others while they last.

According to Tommasini on the CRF these very early carbon blanks were produced by Exxon Corp.
 

cooutlaw

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As a quick update - I spoke at length in a meeting with Jim Murphy from Winston during his visit to the Denver Fly Fishing Show, and he requested that I forward my notes and data to him, which I have done. He has confirmed via email the he will be sharing this with the Winston team, and it is my hopes that it will not only be valuable in preservation of Winston's history, but in assisting the masses of collectors with accurate time-lining. Further, I garnered Jim's commitment that Winston will do their utmost to verify accuracy, and bring to light any noted variances or inaccuracies that may exist, so that we may all enjoy a confirmed and detailed true account of record. I will update again, once this has taken place, and if any anomalies are noted will make corrections accordingly. I think this is great movement toward perpetude of record being held at Winston.
 

edreilly

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That’s great! I appreciate everyone putting in the effort to document the history before it is lost.


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moucheur2003

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As a quick update - I spoke at length in a meeting with Jim Murphy from Winston during his visit to the Denver Fly Fishing Show, and he requested that I forward my notes and data to him, which I have done. He has confirmed via email the he will be sharing this with the Winston team, and it is my hopes that it will not only be valuable in preservation of Winston's history, but in assisting the masses of collectors with accurate time-lining. Further, I garnered Jim's commitment that Winston will do their utmost to verify accuracy, and bring to light any noted variances or inaccuracies that may exist, so that we may all enjoy a confirmed and detailed true account of record. I will update again, once this has taken place, and if any anomalies are noted will make corrections accordingly. I think this is great movement toward perpetude of record being held at Winston.
If anyone else runs into him at another show, maybe he can be persuaded to bring the discussion forum back to the Winston website!
 

cooutlaw

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If anyone else runs into him at another show, maybe he can be persuaded to bring the discussion forum back to the Winston website!
Moucheur, Interestingly enough....I happened to broach that very subject with him as well....with a strong push for the possible benefit of re-gathering the largely desegregated group of Winston advocates, I also pointed out the far too substandard facebook page replacement as VERY inadequate. I think Jim truly understood my points, if from nothing else, a business perspective. He said he would take them under advisement and discuss with marketing if an initiative could be put together. Guess we'll see.
 

Lewis Chessman

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Firstly, @ cooutlaw: Thank you. I think it's exceptional that you should offer your notes as an academic resource for future generations. I sincerely hope that they becomes available publicly. So much of our sport's history is currently being lost, largely because of the modesty of those who were there not considering their experiences valuable - but they are, they are, in fact, invaluable. And, with respect, once those such as yourself, Fred A. Evans and sweet&salt have left us younger folk behind, there will be a vacuum in our understanding of our sport's development if the knowledge you have garnered goes unrecorded. I've frequently been stymied by the lack of interweb info on rods built not 20 years ago - which I hope puts the importance of your notes into some perspective. I raise my glass to you, literally.

Secondly, I took a wander around YouTube today and found this:


It is a homage to Winston, made in 1995, very pastoral, gentle and charming - and I think there's a silver label IM6 in there somewhere. ;) I've not seen it posted here before so my apologies if I'm being repetitive. It's a pleasant way to spend 30 minutes if you can't be on the water instead. :)
Edit:
"A good fly rod, whether it is made of bamboo, glass or graphite is always a good fly rod .... doesn't matter how old it is or what the material is ..... as long as it was a good fly rod to begin with, it still is."
Is that Tom Morgan speaking at 18:29 ff?
 
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cooutlaw

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Lewis, Thank you. But it was your encouragement and prompting that caused me to consider offering my notes to be passed on to a place where they might be considered to be memorialized, without your suggestion they would have likely just been passed over without thought and likely lost when I pass on, if there is any credit to be had there, it should be yours.

Yes that is Tom's voice from 18:29 fwd a bit until Annette kicks in around 21:00. David had bought the company when this video was produced, but Tom was still in his 18 months of mentoring him during the transition. I think the most underacknowledged benefit was peoples chance to get a feeling for Glenn's personality. Part artist, part engineer, part conservationist, part hippy, part philosopher, part mad scientist, and all around great guy, he spoke more on this video than he would in an average couple of days. Winston actually still sells this video. I've watched it on several occasions and always takes me back. Cheers!
 

mka

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Thanks for the video, Lewis. Nice to see the craftsmen and craftswomen in the plant. I'm very impressed with the young woman inscribing the Winston rods...from my view, her calligraphy is quite amazing and without peer in the rod manufacturing world.
 

cooutlaw

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Update: According to Winston via email followup, the notes submitted have been reviewed and compared to existing in house data and with the recollection of various remaining period participants without any discrepancies discovered thus far.

Apparently some of the small details within the notes also helped bridge and connect the dots in a few areas of blurrier recall. Which has enabled the utilization of a somewhat more detailed compiled history within their customer service/historical question and answer queries.

I don't think we will ever be able to say that all accounts of specific detail will absolutely be proven and confirmed to be 100% accurate, there has just likely been too many years pass by for absolutes to ever be newly carved in stone. But, it likely is fair to say that the compiled information contained in this sticky is the most accurate available data of Winston rod production periods that exists for public consumption as of today. I suppose that's not too bad considering the amount of years that have passed.
 

Tarpon Time

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I remember the original winstons prior to the im6. Cannot find much info on them I sold a few that I regret. I have one left an 8.5 ft 4 weight. I sold an 8 ft 3 weight to a pawn shop in Bozeman MT. It had my name inscribed on it.
Nicolai Encapera "reward" if anyone ever ran accross it lol. needle in a haystack
 
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