My visit to RL Winston rod factory

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ibookje
Posts: 71
Joined: Thu Nov 23, 2017 11:10 am

My visit to RL Winston rod factory

Post by ibookje » Sat Sep 08, 2018 7:31 am

During one of my trips to Montana in the mid 1990's I planned to visit the RL Winston rod factory in Twin Bridges on our way to Yellowstone National Park. But unfortunately the building was closed because the company was attending a big fly fishing show elsewhere in the country. It's now almost 20 years later and due to a slight change of travel plans during this trip, I had a few hours to drive to Twin Bridges on my way to Bozeman.

I remember having a map on my lap while driving during my last trip in 2005. Nowadays we have this amazing technology called the iPhone and a temporary unlimited ultra fast LTE data plan for just $60!

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The scenery of the trip from Helena to Twin Bridges was amazing.

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The last part of the trip to Twin Bridges slowed down a bit due to road construction on highway 55. Both directions had to take turns to drive on the same lane that was available.

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Finally Twin Bridges

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The familiar view on the Twin Bridges water tower with the Beaverhead river

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After a short drive outside the town, the RL Winston rod factory looked just as I remember from many pictures. As famous as this factory is to fly fishermen, it also looked like every other warehouse I've seen along the roads. I parked my red rental car and walked around the front yard. There was this neat little lawn with a sign.

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While entering the building I expected the general manager of the plant welcoming vistors with coffee and cup cakes. Too bad I was too late for the daily factory tour at 11 AM. A small front office and a door next to it with the sign 'Winston museum' was all there is.

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A room of about 6 x 6 meters (around 20 x 20 ft) with some memorabilia of the history of Winston was displayed. The most eye catching item being a frame with a dozen or so rods from the past, only bamboo and fiber glass rods. There I recognised my Leetle Feller (misspelled as 'Light feller') and the Stalker (misspelled as 'Stalber') glass rod. I wonder how they could make these mistakes on their heritage?…

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Besides rods, there were many pictures om the wall. Many of them I remember seeing them in the old Winston catalogs I got at home.

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Many tools of era gone by

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Gary Howells, one of the best bamboo rod makers ever

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A view of the workshop

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Did you know that the Sage head rod designer Jerry Siem started at Winston?

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It's nice to know the guestbooks of vistors are kept.

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