Several days ago, a group of us from the Core Angling Team (a group of folks who are charged with leading the charge on fishing-related activities at SIMMS) decided to hit up our good friends down the road in Twin Bridges at R.L. Winston Rod Co. for a tour of their place and just to say hello.
First off, if you haven’t been to Twin Bridges, go. On the banks of legendary waters like the Beaverhead, Big Hole, Ruby and Jefferson Rivers, “Twin” (as the locals refer to it) is a seriously fishy place. Second, if you are going to be through Twin and haven’t been to Winston for a tour, go.
R.L. Winston Rod Co. has the type of history that most companies wish they had – from pioneering fly rod technology 85 years ago at the famous San Francisco Casting Club to today’s state-of-the-art materials. The company has been there all the while obsessed about making the type of rods discriminating casters drool over.
After a good bit of time hanging out with Annette McLean, the company’s VP of Operations and Design, and Adam Hutchison, Sales Associate, and casting a quiver of Winston’s great line of rods, we were prepared to hit the river for an afternoon float when I had one last question for Annette: “You wouldn’t happen to be launching a new line of rod this summer at IFTD [our industry trade show launching July 16], would you?” After a coy look from Annette, I was able to drag it out of her that they were indeed ready to launch a new rod line this summer…and she was very excited about it.
Annette finally agreed to let us cast the 5-weight and 8-weight variety of Winston’s new rod line, the Nexus. Now we aren’t all world-beater casters, but we have thrown enough rods (and Winstons) to know this one was revolutionary for the company. Born out of the need to speak to contemporary anglers who are “pushing the limits of fly fishing,” the Nexus is a faster-action Winston rod. The 8-weight we casted would be an awesome bonefish or single-handed steelhead rod as it was a cannon. Or, line it with your favorite trout streamer line and a foot-long streamer, and it wouldn’t blush. The 5-weight is the perfect all-around trout rod for Montana – hoppers, streamers, nymphs – but with still enough feel to cast caddis or smaller dries. It is a Winston, after all, and still handles delicate presentations with ease.
Maybe the lesson is to hang out with your neighbors more often. You get the chance to spend a work day talking about an industry we all love and being one of the first to check out a rod that I expect to hit my personal quiver soon.