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  1. #1

    Default Winston Pre IM6, IM6, & WT Reference

    This Post was inspired by Lewis and others that requested I start a thread to share some of my experience with, and show, some "vintage" Winston rods.

    I am by no means a Winston historian or expert, and my knowledge and experience come's strictly from my personal interaction with earlier Winston Staff and research along the way as I've enjoyed fishing and collecting some of their products.

    In 1979, as still a teenager, I saved for and purchased my first Winston rod, which replaced the Heddon Bamboo and Shakespeare Wonder rod that I learned to fly fish with.

    In 1985, around a long story involving a woman (girlfriend) and not being pulled up from AAA Baseball, my dog and I loaded up the truck with everything I owned and ventured to MT to become a fly fishing and bird hunting guide. It was at this time, that I sought out Tom Morgan and began to understand the history and people around the rod I fished. For the next couple years I interacted regularly on a social and friendship level with the Winston Staff as I worked in a guiding capacity around the greater MT geography.

    During this period I began to acquire additional Winston rods and have continued to collect models of interest over the years.

    I have recorded information that I have garnered through conversation and research to aid myself in time-lining periods of history and assist in my own personal collecting. The information I will share below has proven itself to be accurate to the best of my knowledge, but certainly not guaranteed, as my notes have come from many sources over the years.

    The information pertains to Pre-IM6, IM6, and WT models of Winston...and the corresponding timelines and serial numbers of those specific rods. Myself having been most interested in Pre-IM6 and IM6 models, I am not providing information here to other models and it's important to note that serial #'s were not always sequential or intertwined within other models of rods. IE: a WT and BIIT made back to back didn't share sequential serial numbers. Also of note, much of my information has come from verbal and noted records that; I inquired about, heard from, or received in some form from Tom Morgan, Gerri his significant other, Glenn or Annette at Winston, and in most cases, these insights were from many, many, years ago.

    Additionally, Winston had a forum for enthusiasts for many years, with some members being extremely knowledgeable- more so than I by far, and a forum Historian that kept records, if anyone here was a member of that forum, has data that conflicts with my records, or has additional knowledge, please do not hesitate to offer corrections or additional records.

    I will also, time allowing, add to this post with requested pictures of some of my more obscure rods falling into these categories.

    I know this is terribly long....but I hope this will be of benefit to the forum.

    __________________________________________________ __________________

    Timelines:

    Tom Morgan purchased the company from Merrick in 1973, and a year later took on a partner to assist him with bamboo operations as he concentrated on the company’s fiberglass and initial graphite efforts.

    In 1975, Winston offered a new line of 2 -piece graphite rods that met with great success.

    In 1976, the decision was made to move the company from San Francisco to Twin Bridges, Montana and their original facility in order to be near the world-class trout fishing of the Beaverhead, Big Hole and Jefferson rivers .

    A year later in 1977 2 & 3 piece rods were offered.

    In 1991, Winston was bought by David Ondaatje who, over the next several years, worked closely with Tom Morgan to learn about Winston rod building and design.

    In 1994, the company began rolling its own blanks, and a year later, moved to a new rod facility in Twin Bridges specifically designed for rod building and outfitted with state of the art equipment. Following the move, Winston introduced a number of industry-leading rod designs, including LT 5-piece trout rods and the first two series based on boron/graphite composite: BL5 and XTR.
    __________________________________________________ ________________

    Rod Era's:

    Pre - late 1973 Winston San Fran offered Bamboo and Glass rods only

    Late 1973-1974-Winston San Fran “ERA” rods (Leonard Blanks) Pre-Fisher (San Francisco era) graphite blanks were gray colored with green rod wrappings and yellow stripping on the butt section, which were furnished to Winston by H. L. Leonard (Central Valley, NY). These were **** and brittle and broke easily-not many left around…they fixed this need by moving to Fisher blanks.

    Late 1974-1975 Winston San Fran pre-IM6- standard graphite rods (Fisher blanks)- # 0- roughly #1600 -GOLD trophy cup logo on rod- this is when they introduced the first “green” pre-IM6 graphite rods, which were produced by J. Kennedy Fisher and furnished to Winston until late 1987-1988

    1976-1987 Winston Montana pre-IM6-standard graphite rods (Fisher blanks)- #1600- roughly #12,000 (#11,9XX)- GOLD Trophy cup-roughly #1600-#1900…..SILVER trophy cup logo on rod (#1900 started 1981 production) this is when the standard pre-IM6 trophy cup rods were made in Montana

    1987-1988/89 Winston early IM6 w/Trophy cup logo (Loomis blanks) #12,000- roughly #15,000 (#14,7XX) – both IM6 and Trophy cup logo on rod- Next, Winston introduced rods made from the IM6 graphite composite, which were produced by G. Loomis until Winston began “rolling” their own blanks in late 1994. During the first Loomis IM6 production, they still labeled the rods with both IM6 and the Trophy cup- trying to win customers with new technology and please the old customers not wanting to lose their trophy cup status.

    1989-1994/95 Winston IM6 (Loomis blanks) roughly #15,000 –roughly #43,500- IM6 on the rod- were all Loomis made blanks. All rods inscribed as IM6 beginning with serial # of approx 43500 were actually made at Winston and not at Loomis….however, the first 1200-1500 rods after #43,500 were from Loomis’s remaining Winston material and resins, then after that from the new WT graphite composite (just another almost identical blend of IM6 w/ same exact tapers (Winston Purchased Loomis’s equipment and all remaining material to start making their own), but then added their own “new” resin after that stock was depleated ) and came off Winston’s production line in early 1995 and beyond. Winston’s lifetime warranty also began with serial #43500. Winston did not change the “IM6″ moniker on the rods until 2001 when they officially introduced the new WT product line name.

    1995-2001 Winston IM6 (own blanks) roughly #43,500- +/- #80,000 - IM6 on the rod- while producing rods from their new “house rolled” WT graphite composite, Winston also produced rods from the remaining inventory of random weight Loomis IM6 blanks left over that they had in stock. Because of this, some Loomis made blanks of various model configurations can be found with serial numbers as late as # 75,000 or even higher in more obscure sizes- many of these, to avoid confusion and know which blank was used for any warranty issues later, weren’t labeled at all (they had no IM6 and no WT on the rod-just the length and weight) I actually have one of these in a 7’ 2wt-3pc.

    2001+ Winston WT (own blanks) roughly Serial #80,000 + WT on the rod

  2. #2

    Default Re: Winston Pre IM6, IM6, & WT Reference

    Thank you for this information. Winston happens to be my rod of choice. In 1989 Tom Morgan created the TMF and only made 300 at the time. I am lucky enough to own one of the original 300 that has never been fished. A dear friend of mine had bought it and then sold it to me.
    Last edited by trout stalker; 12-29-2018 at 06:22 AM.
    RJ

  3. Likes cooutlaw, Lewis Chessman, hairwing530 liked this post
  4. #3

    Default Re: Winston Pre IM6, IM6, & WT Reference

    Those Leonard "Graphtec" rods snapped like twigs. A friend had his, unassembled, roll out of the trunk of his car at a fishing access site...and it broke. Leonard replaced it with Golden Shadow, a handsome rod with a blank by Diamondback in Vermont.

  5. Likes cooutlaw liked this post
  6. #4

    Default Re: Winston Pre IM6, IM6, & WT Reference

    Trout Stalker - My pleasure. I am familiar with the original TMF run.....What serial number series is your 1989 run rod? Would you mind posting a picture of it for this Post?

  7. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    Los Angeles, CA / Pullman, WA
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    2,403

    Default Re: Winston Pre IM6, IM6, & WT Reference

    Quote Originally Posted by sweetandsalt View Post
    Those Leonard "Graphtec" rods snapped like twigs. A friend had his, unassembled, roll out of the trunk of his car at a fishing access site...and it broke. Leonard replaced it with Golden Shadow, a handsome rod with a blank by Diamondback in Vermont.
    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...



    This photo, with the SA System Reel and Arctic Creel was taken on the Lower Owens River in 1975...

    That being said, the old Winston Forum was a resource of great information before Winston decided to remove it and go to a social platform on Facebook.


    PT/TB
    Daughter to Father, " How many arms do you have, how many fly rods do you need?"

    http://planettrout.wordpress.com/

  8. #6

    Default Re: Winston Pre IM6, IM6, & WT Reference

    I totally agree that the old Winston Forum was a source of great information and had many knowledgeable people who participated. To this day I am still puzzled by their decision to eliminate it. The Facebook page is a poor substitute at best which I never even bother to look at.

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  10. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Location
    Florida, Montana
    Posts
    313

    Default Re: Winston Pre IM6, IM6, & WT Reference

    I was a member for many years along with some others here and also own way too many Winston rods. My collection starts around 1990 to present day and have my favorites and others that just were not quite as good. Some of the lesser known and less expensive models have ended up being favorites. My early IM6 models in 4 and 5 weights will always be classics and used when they fit the water and type of fishing I’m doing. Each series has its winners and losers and the trick has always been to find that rod that fits your casting style and fishing conditions. Winston as a company has always done a first class job building rod and taking care of their customers.


    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk Pro

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  12. #8

    Default Re: Winston Pre IM6, IM6, & WT Reference

    Interesting compilation. My TMF has a serial number of 17112. I bought it new in the late 80s though I can no longer remember the exact year. It is still the rod I treasure most, maybe because it was my first real trout rod, maybe because it has a touch of Winston magic in it.

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  14. #9
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Isle of Lewis, UK.
    Posts
    634

    Default Re: Winston Pre IM6, IM6, & WT Reference

    Thank you very much, cooutlaw, I'm sure that will be a great point of reference for many in the future.

    May I ask, how sure are you of the ''late 1973'' attribution for the Leonard graphite blanks?
    To the best of my knowledge, Fenwick introduced the first built, graphite rods (HMG) to the market in 1973, but only in spin and baitcasting models. The HMG fly models were introduced the following year, '74, and these are often mentioned as the first carbon fibre fly rods sold to the public.
    This doesn't preclude Leonard's producing blanks in '73 of course, several companies were prototyping at this time, but if Winston were selling built-graphite in late 1973 it would suggest that they pipped Fenwick to the post!

    Also, I'm unclear about a couple of things:

    Late 1973-1974-Winston San Fran “ERA” rods (Leonard Blanks) Pre-Fisher (San Francisco era) graphite blanks
    I'm reading this as possibly saying that a) the Winston/Leonards, built in San Fran, had the model name ''ERA'' or, more likely, ''Winston/Leonard Rods [of the] (San Francisco era), Pre-Fisher (San Francisco era) ....."
    While I doubt 'a)' I'd like to be sure of 'b)'.

    And;

    1976-1987 Winston Montana pre-IM6-standard graphite rods (Fisher blanks)- #1600- roughly #12,000 (#11,9XX)- GOLD Trophy cup-roughly #1600-#1900…..SILVER trophy cup logo on rod (#1900 started 1981 production) this is when the standard pre-IM6 trophy cup rods were made in Montana
    Other than indicating batches, was there a qualitative difference between 'Gold Trophy Cup' and 'Silver Trophy Cup' logo'd rods (different composite, superior fittings, etc.)?
    Thanks again.

    Edit: In the hope that cooutlaw and others might be able to add something, I thought I'd offer a link to a thread on early Phenix fly rods. Like Winston's IM6, Phenix's IM6/Boron blanks were made by G.Loomis to their own specs. Any info about this maker welcome.
    Last edited by Lewis Chessman; 12-28-2018 at 02:13 PM. Reason: Add edit.

  15. #10
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    Feb 2011
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    Default Re: Winston Pre IM6, IM6, & WT Reference

    Quote Originally Posted by cooutlaw View Post
    In 1994, the company began rolling its own blanks, and a year later, moved to a new rod facility in Twin Bridges specifically designed for rod building and outfitted with state of the art equipment. ...

    All rods inscribed as IM6 beginning with serial # of approx 43500 were actually made at Winston and not at Loomis….however, the first 1200-1500 rods after #43,500 were from Loomis’s remaining Winston material and resins, then after that from the new WT graphite composite (just another almost identical blend of IM6 w/ same exact tapers (Winston Purchased Loomis’s equipment and all remaining material to start making their own), but then added their own “new” resin after that stock was depleated ) and came off Winston’s production line in early 1995 and beyond. Winston’s lifetime warranty also began with serial #43500. Winston did not change the “IM6″ moniker on the rods until 2001 when they officially introduced the new WT product line name.

    1995-2001 Winston IM6 (own blanks) roughly #43,500- +/- #80,000 - IM6 on the rod- while producing rods from their new “house rolled” WT graphite composite, Winston also produced rods from the remaining inventory of random weight Loomis IM6 blanks left over that they had in stock. Because of this, some Loomis made blanks of various model configurations can be found with serial numbers as late as # 75,000 or even higher in more obscure sizes- many of these, to avoid confusion and know which blank was used for any warranty issues later, weren’t labeled at all (they had no IM6 and no WT on the rod-just the length and weight) I actually have one of these in a 7’ 2wt-3pc.

    2001+ Winston WT (own blanks) roughly Serial #80,000 + WT on the rod
    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?

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