The Winston Big Game Fiberglass Fly Rod

A large number of people have stopped by to look at the glass rods. So, let’s do one more. After that I’ll show you a beautiful old, six strip, split bamboo fly rod. It was one of a handful designed 60-years ago specifically for salt water.  

Several posts ago, we discussed the smallest Winston glass rod available in the 70’s and 80’s. This time around, we’ll look at the largest, the Winston Big Game fiberglass fly rod – a 9-foot, 2-piece rod  for 12 or 13-weight. 

Winston Big Game Fiberglass Fly Rod

Winston Big Game Fiberglass Fly Rod

The catalogue described it as a heavy-duty rod for truly large saltwater fish. To that task, the rod has a reinforced butt section with the necessary power to subdue fish in excess of 50 pounds. The Big Game rod wears multiple stripping guides. They are not carboloy, but of a modern insert design. It has a double uplocking, Cal Air aluminum reel seat. Since this seat positions the reel forward away from the body, no butt extension was offered. The rod tips the scales at a hefty 7.5 ounce. At this extreme end of the fly rod spectrum, fiberglass is clearly showing its limitations. Today a graphite 12-weight rod weighs two ounces less.

Ritz Grip

Ritz Grip

You could order the Big Game with either a half-wells or a Ritz grip. Mine has the Ritz. Credited to Charles Ritz – writer, inventor, and hotel kingpin – this grip has a simple continuous taper. It is smallest in diameter down at the reel seat, and then gradually expands as it climbs to meet the winding check. It is a comfortable grip and transfers power from the hand to the rod very well. I like it. And, unlike a wells type grip which has dips, the uniform taper allows you to easily reposition your hand.

I purchased this rod not out of need, but out of a desire to complete my collection. It was clear at the time that graphite was taking over and that Winston fiberglass rods were going the way of the Great Auk. I used the rod on occasion, however. From a boat, I launched very heavy sinking lines to striped bass. And, off Newport, Rhode Island I used it to cast to Blue fin tuna.

I hope you enjoyed a look at another example of fiberglass fly rod history.

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