Winston Pre IM6, IM6, & WT Reference

LePetomane

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This one is similar to mine too and I am still wondering, reputation aside, if anyone had both this rod and one of the Loomis blanked IM6's to compare it too....my suspicion remains that this older one is the better caster.
I had an 8 1/2' four weight on an IM6 blank. Nice casting rod but this one has a little more zip. I did an outing with disabled vets through our FFF chapter in the Twin Cities a while back. The guy I was assigned to fell in love with the rod. He cast ti well and asked where he could get one. I gave it to him.

The 5 weight has seen a lot of action over the years as it was my primary rod before I got into cane. If my memory serves me correctly I've used it in New York, PA, MN, WI, WY, MN, OR, WY, MT NM and CO. Tom Morgan was right when he said a good rod then is a good rod now. I still use it on occasion.
 

johan851

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About a year and a half ago I read a post by cooutlaw that piqued my interest. I had always been a bit curious about the TMF, but cooutlaw had noted his opinion that the IM6 8' 3wt was even better. It also had the virtue of being a 3pc, and I have a soft spot for 3pc rods.

I spent some time looking for one but came up empty handed. They're pretty elusive. I hadn't thought about it too much since, but a couple days ago I saw one posted for $550. I double checked the details cooutlaw shared with me and grabbed it as quick as I could. It arrived in the mail today.

Winston IM6 8' 3wt 3pc, serial 32xxx - which I believe makes it a Loomis blank. It's in beautiful condition, including the green tube. Hopefully this serves as my admission to the club?
PXL_20220114_175829051.jpg
 
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LePetomane

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Johan, beautiful rod and great find. I'm not a fan of three weights but I would make an exception for this one. I think that when Winston began rolling their own blanks (#42,000?) they became the WT.
 

DeWitt.55

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A few shots of my 8'6 #6 'Silver Cup', sans any serial number. The only script reads: '8' 6" #6', then '2 5/8 oz', then '259 cm 79g'.

I've just noticed the difference between my rod's reinforced female ferule and LePetomaine's 8' #5 pre-IM6 from 1986, where the top section is so slender it almost looks like a male!
Any thoughts about the difference appreciated. If anything it suggests to me that this is an earlier model.

View attachment 46223
Hi Lewis! I was looking at my 1985/86 Winston catalog and it had perhaps helpful info about the transition from the original sleeve ferrules to spigot ferrules on their graphite models:

Designing the Rods
We know from our long experience in bamboo and fiberglass that before we could design the best in graphite rods we had to match the physical characteristics with the right actions. It soon became apparent that graphite had three benefits: First, it is best suited to the manufacture of medium to fast action rods; second it is a material that produces rods that are light and powerful in the heavier line sizes; and third, it would be an excellent material for the making of longer rods with good actions for lighter lines. We began the slow process of designing mandrells and taper patterns to develop a line of rods that had the smooth action for which we are famous. We could see that the answer to good action was to design small diameter tips that would flex at the proper rate to give a smooth, progressive action similar to our glass and bamboo rods. We were very
pleased with our first results and still use some of those designs. As we became more familiar with graphite and the manufacturing techniques became more sophisticated we continued to evolve our designs. Several years ago the rods for line sizes four, five and six were redesigned to incorporate an internal ferrule and to use even smaller diameter tip mandrells for smoother casting rods. We have now incorporated that design into our seven weight rods. Our latest series of rods have even surprised us. We now have ultra small mandells and a new cloth available to make a great three weight graphite. These rods are going to add a new dimension to light tackle fishing. They are very light and delicate for close in fishing yet with the versatility of graphite work well at ranges up to fifty feet. They are unlike any three weight graphite rods we have ever seen. These rods will make fishing a three weight line for spooky fish practical and rewarding.
 

DeWitt.55

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About a year and a half ago I read a post by cooutlaw that piqued my interest. I had always been a bit curious about the TMF, but cooutlaw had noted his opinion that the IM6 8' 3wt was even better. It also had the virtue of being a 3pc, and I have a soft spot for 3pc rods.

I spent some time looking for one but came up empty handed. They're pretty elusive. I hadn't thought about it too much since, but a couple days ago I saw one posted for $550. I double checked the details cooutlaw shared with me and grabbed it as quick as I could. It arrived in the mail today.

Winston IM6 8' 3wt 3pc, serial 32xxx - which I believe makes it a Loomis blank. It's in beautiful condition, including the green tube. Hopefully this serves as my admission to the club?
View attachment 46245
Johan - here's an old story I found a time ago online about a fishing friend of Tom Morgan going fishing with him and Tom giving him a "new 3wt" graphite rod that he was very excited about. My opinion is that it was likely the rod you have in one iteration or another. Some on this forum have opined that a TMF may a 803-3 IM6 in 2 piece instead of 3. This makes sense to me as the 803-3 is quicker than one might expect from a Winston and Tom always called the TMF a 3.5wt. Here's the link to a story about Tom and a friend fishing an early iteration of one of his 3wt rods (maybe the one you have) ... https://montana-riverboats.com/?robopage=Flies/Tom-Morgan/monster.htm
 

mka

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Per Tom, "The early graphite fly rods, at least for the most part, continued the parabolic type action until the late '70s or early '80s when lighter weight graphite cloth became available, mandrel technology improved allowing for smaller diameter tips, and manufacturing techniques became more sophisticated. In the early '80s I began redesigning the Winston rods to take advantage of these new improvements allowing for traditional progressive action rods, switched to a spigot ferrule from a sleeve, and created rods for lighter line sizes particularly #2- weight and #3-weight."

As I look through the old Winston catalogs during the IM6 era, it's amazing the number of 2wt and 3wt rod models available to the customer...there are consistently 10 models in these weight classes available during these years. No company, including Winston, offers today this number of lightweight rod models in 2 and 3 weights. Tom certainly had an impact on lightweight fly fishing in this IM6 era.
 

DeWitt.55

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One of the concerns about fishing older Winstons is repair. An often sited concern is "I am afraid to break my IM6 b/c even after the repair it will not be original b/c of the WT graphite that has to be used." These are often referred to as "Frankenrods" for this reason.

Well, I accidentally bought one a little while ago online ... an 803-3 IM6, early serial number. Beautiful craftsmanship. The cigar handle shape I like, etc ... but to my dismay I did not see that the tip had been replaced. So for those interested, here is how I've learned to look online ... check the handwriting. Do you see how the bottoms of the 8's on the butt and the mid sections are flat? Not so on the tip. I should have looked more carefully. That's how I've found is the best way to tell online. Now, once "in hand" simply take the rod out in daylight and the difference in graphite is clear ... Loomis IM6 blanks have a slight blue tint to the dark green when viewed in daylight. There are also differences in sizes of guides (Tom dictated very small guides on the tips of his rods whereas newer builds seem to generally have slightly bigger guides).

All of that's background. The reason for my post is this ... how does a Winston IM6 "Frankenrod" cast?

The short answer is ... really good I think. Basically the flex profile still feels right and smooth. If anything the tip recovers a bit quicker than the rest of the rod. I'm not sure that's a bad thing though as some of the IM6 rods were known to be a bit too soft perhaps leading to instability in the tip. This 803-3 is great on the lawn ... with a replacement tip section.

Does anyone else have experience with an IM6 "Frankenrod?" Can you notice a difference?
Screen Shot 2022-01-15 at 11.31.19 PM.png
 

johan851

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Johan - here's an old story I found a time ago online about a fishing friend of Tom Morgan going fishing with him and Tom giving him a "new 3wt" graphite rod that he was very excited about. My opinion is that it was likely the rod you have in one iteration or another. Some on this forum have opined that a TMF may a 803-3 IM6 in 2 piece instead of 3. This makes sense to me as the 803-3 is quicker than one might expect from a Winston and Tom always called the TMF a 3.5wt. Here's the link to a story about Tom and a friend fishing an early iteration of one of his 3wt rods (maybe the one you have) ... https://montana-riverboats.com/?robopage=Flies/Tom-Morgan/monster.htm
This was a really fun read, thanks for passing it along. Makes me like the rod even more!
As I look through the old Winston catalogs during the IM6 era, it's amazing the number of 2wt and 3wt rod models available to the customer...there are consistently 10 models in these weight classes available during these years. No company, including Winston, offers today this number of lightweight rod models in 2 and 3 weights. Tom certainly had an impact on lightweight fly fishing in this IM6 era.
Do you know if there are PDFs of the catalogs posted anywhere? I'd be curious to see what they offered. I wouldn't have guessed there would be so many 2wt and 3wt configurations.
 

mka

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This was a really fun read, thanks for passing it along. Makes me like the rod even more!

Do you know if there are PDFs of the catalogs posted anywhere? I'd be curious to see what they offered. I wouldn't have guessed there would be so many 2wt and 3wt configurations.
Johan851, I don't know about where to see PDFs...but I have been featuring a Winston Catalog each month on my blog last year and will continue to do so randomly this year. The models vary through the years, i.e., my 8' 2wt WT isn't listed every year and my two piece 7' 4wt WT is listed as an IM6 model in those years, but never listed during the WT years (a one off?). I'll attach the last year of the IM6 years below (2000). Once you pull up the below link, you can view that catalog...and under Labels, you can click Winston Catalog to see all my catalog posts.

Of note, I just select random pages to include in the posts...if you don't see something you're interested in, let me know and I'll be happy to search for it and if I have it share with you.

 

johan851

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Johan851, I don't know about where to see PDFs...but I have been featuring a Winston Catalog each month on my blog last year and will continue to do so randomly this year. The models vary through the years, i.e., my 8' 2wt WT isn't listed every year and my two piece 7' 4wt WT is listed as an IM6 model in those years, but never listed during the WT years (a one off?). I'll attach the last year of the IM6 years below (2000). Once you pull up the below link, you can view that catalog...and under Labels, you can click Winston Catalog to see all my catalog posts.

Of note, I just select random pages to include in the posts...if you don't see something you're interested in, let me know and I'll be happy to search for it and if I have it share with you.
This is perfect, thanks!
 
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