1929 is an infamous year in financial circles, yet is cherished by anglers worldwide. That year, following the stock market crash, Robert Winther and Lew Stoner started what is known today as the R.L. Winston Rod Company. Originally calling their company the Winston-Stoner Manufacturing Co., they later combined elements from both their names, and renamed it the R.L. Winston Rod Company. Technicians at heart, they began the Winston tradition of archiving each rod with a journal entry and a serial number. Almost immediately, the bamboo rods these two men built earned a reputation for performance and exceptional quality.


In 1933, Robert Winther sold his interest to employee Red Loskot, an accomplished fisherman and member of the Golden Gate Angling Club. The next year, Stoner developed a 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.

1940s - 1950s

In 1945, Doug Merrick stopped by the shop to buy a new rod and also found himself a job at Winston. In 1953, he purchased Red Loskot's interest. When Lew Stoner died unexpectedly in 1957, Merrick became sole owner. Winston continued to set world casting records at the Golden Gate Anglers Club led by John "Buddy" Tarantino. In the early 1950s, Winston incorporated the casting characteristics of its famous hollow-fluted rods into a new material: fiberglass.


In the 1960's, Doug's penchant for quality and his exceptional rod building skills continued to raise Winston's standard of excellence, already the highest in the industry. 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."

1970s - 1980s

The 1970s were years of change at Winston. Tom Morgan purchased the company from Merrick in 1973, and a year later took on a partner to learn to build bamboo rods. In 1975, Winston offered a new line of 2 and 3-piece rods incorporating a new material: graphite. In '76, the decision was made to move the company from San Francisco to Twin Bridges, Montana in order to be near the world-class trout fishing of the Beaverhead, Big Hole, and Jefferson rivers.


In 1991, David Ondaatje bought Winston and for several years worked together with Tom Morgan to learn about rod building, graphite rod design and to build the company. Faced with sourcing challenges due to growing demand for the graphite blanks, and with limited production space, David realized that the only way for the company to grow and maximize quality would be to gain complete control over all steps of the manufacturing process. Under his leadership, the company began rolling its own blanks in 1994 and a year later, moved to a new larger rod building facility in Twin Bridges with state of the art equipment and a building designed specifically for building fly rods. Soon thereafter, under David’s direction, Winston introduced a number of industry-leading rod designs including the LT 5-piece trout rods. Winston also formed a partnership with legendary multiple world-champion caster Joan Wulff, developed the popular Joan Wulff Favorite rods, and, later, Winston’s first two Boron/graphite composite fly rod series: the BL5 and XTR rods.


Rod design innovation centered around new Boron and Boron/Graphite composites issued in a new era of Winston success with the award winning Boron IIx, Boron IIt and Boron II-MX rods, all featuring a second generation stronger, more responsive and dynamic boron/graphite composite. Boron is five times as strong and twice as stiff as steel, yet lighter than aluminum. The use of this amazing material launched Winston in a design direction which afforded anglers the advantage of ultimate performance with added strength and a minimum of weight. Boron II rods were able to full advantage of this material’s amazing properties and redefine the fast-action category with their power, accuracy and responsiveness.

2011 - 2013

In late 2011, Winston launched its new Boron III technology with the introduction of the incredibly successful Boron III X rod series. "Awesome" is the word most commonly used to describe the Boron III X, a series of rods that are quite possibly the finest fly rods ever made. With the broadest casting range of any Winston series, these all-purpose rods will easily match any fishing conditions. These fast-action fly rods are powerful, lively and capable of generating incredible line speed. Built with advanced Boron III technology, this series is also extremely lightweight and allows an angler to delicately present a fly with incredible accuracy. Because of their broad range of application, the Boron III X has become the “go to” rod for professional guides and avid anglers. This series of rod is quite simply the best!

Building on the design marvels of Boron III and taking rod design in a new direction for those anglers seeking a faster action experience, Winston introduced the very fast and powerful Boron III SX; the rod of choice for saltwater, big flies, big fish and big wind. No matter if you’re making long casts directly into the wind, throwing big bulky flies or launching a heavy sink-tip, these rods perform flawlessly. These super-fast action fly rods are powerful, lively and capable of generating incredible line speed. Built with advanced Boron III technology, this series is also lightweight and allows an angler to present a fly with incredible accuracy. The Boron III SX is the ideal selection for any saltwater, freshwater or warmwater fishing adventure. With unprecedented lifting power and fish-fighting capabilities, this super-fast action series is simply unmatched.

NEW FOR 2014!

Winston fills out the Boron III series of rods by adding in a light line series and a two-handed series:

The Boron III LS perfectly blends the incredible "Winston Feel" with Boron III technology to produce a modern version of a light line series. This medium-fast action series delicately presents a fly with incredible accuracy, yet it is powerful, lively and capable of generating incredible line speed. Winston’s Boron III technology supports a design that is incredibly lightweight without compromising strength and durability. These rods are the ideal selection for small steam enthusiasts, anglers using light tippets for big fish or those who enjoy stalking big fish with small flies. The Boron III LS sets a new standard in what one should expect from a light line series. However, with eighty-plus years of company history behind the development of this series, it really should be no surprise.

The Boron III TH series was designed with some of the finest spey casters in the world, and successfully builds on Winston’s two-handed tradition of handcrafting perfectly balanced, responsive, highest-performance rods. Built with advanced Boron III technology, this series is also lightweight and allows an angler to present a fly with incredible accuracy. The Boron III TH is the ideal selection for any style of two-handed angling and can easily transition between Touch-and-Go, Underhand and Sustained Anchor techniques. No matter if you’re fishing Traditional Spey, Skagit, Scandi or Switch lines, this series will meet the challenge. Offering extraordinary power, responsiveness and accuracy, the Boron III TH is perfectly balanced to enhance line delivery and minimize fatigue. This series has unquestionably set a new standard in the world of two-handed rods.

There is now a Boron III rod to meet every angling challenge:

  • Boron III LS - Light Line
  • Boron III X - All-Purpose, Every Fishing Application
  • Boron III SX - Saltwater, Big Flies, Big Fish and Big Wind
  • Boron III TH - Two-Handed

A long storied history of Winston's excellence and innovation... and it’s just the beginning!