Winston Rods History

Hollow-fluted bamboo. Record-shattering distance casting rods. The early use of materials such as fiberglass and graphite. Pioneering, harnessing and refining the unmatched power and performance of boron/graphite composite. These are just a few examples of how, for over 85 years now, Winston has been responsible for some of the most groundbreaking advances in fly fishing. Our company’s history isn’t just marked by dates, but by innovations.

Winston Rods History
Winston Rods History 1930s

In 1933, Robert Winther sold his interest in Winston to employee Red Loskot, an accomplished fly fisherman and member of the Golden Gate Angling Club. The following year, Lew Stoner developed his patented hollow-fluted rod design for use in tournament casting competition.

The Winstons built with this design were lightweight, very powerful, and would soon shatter a number of world distance casting records. Primo Livenais used a Winston surf rod in 1936 to break the world record with a 623 foot cast. In 1938, Marvin Hedge used a Winston to break the world fly casting record by 36 feet.

Winston Rods History 1940s & 50s
Winston Rods History 1960s

In the 1960s, Merrick’s penchant for quality and his exceptional rod building skills continued to raise Winston's standard of excellence, already the highest in the industry. While continuing to adhere to many of Stoner’s developments, he also made slight changes to the tapers to create more responsive rods than those that designed for distance casting.


In 1967, renowned angler and hotelier Charles Ritz, president of the International Fario Club in Paris, presented Merrick with a medal for "Outstanding work and knowledge pertaining to split bamboo rods."

Winston Rods History 1970s & 80s
Winston Rods History 1990s

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.


Faced with sourcing challenges due to a growing demand for graphite blanks, David realized the only way for the company to grow and maximize quality would be to gain complete control over all steps of the manufacturing process. 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.

Winston Rods History 2000s
Winston Rods History 2010-2014

In 2011, Winston introduced the Boron III X series, and anglers all over the world began to experience the benefits offered by third generation boron/graphite composite.


To complement Boron III X, Winston developed the Boron III SX series, which won the “Best Saltwater Rod” category at the IFTD show. In 2014, Boron III LS light line rods and BORON III TH two-handed rods were introduced.

Winston Rods History 2015