A fine bamboo rod [Archive] - Fly Fishing Forum

: A fine bamboo rod

Robert Meiser
06-07-2003, 12:25 PM
I have been given the honor of being the next in line to inherite a Winston bamboo rod.

The rod is a 9' ~ 2 piece, for an 8wt. #7234.

It was built by the R.L. Winston shop in San Francisco in 1949 by Lew Stoner and Doug Merrick.

It was built for Lou Grebenec of Elko, Nevada as a gift for Glenn Curtis of Oregon...Whose name is inscribed.

When Curtis died in 1971, the rod was given to Frank Moore, then the owner of the Steamboat Inn on the North Umpqua.

In 1971 and 72, Mike Baughman worked with his friend Frank at the Steamboat, and the rod was passed onto Mike.

Mike has had the rod ever since, and has now passed the rod onto me.

Needless to say I am quite honored to be part of the history of this rod... And the rod will surely pass onto another after my last drift.

I have fished it, in fact did so yesterday... And it is an amazing casting tool !

The rod does need new wrappings and cork. (Winston has said that they can build an additional tip for the rod.)

My concerns are the limits that one may take to restore a vintage rod such as this... And I am asking for advice.

I do wish to cast the rod, and fish it on occasions, so want it in good working order... But in the same token I do not want to hurt it's authenticity.

Any thoughts and advice on this would be appreciated.

Thanks....Bob Meiser

06-07-2003, 10:43 PM
Hi Bob, Glad to hear that Winston has found a good home, as to if you should keep it original or refinish, both are good ideas. I have a small collection of older cane rods and the majority are refinished some by me and some by professionals. I hardly ever fish with anything but cane so I must keep the rods in good order.
I have fished rods that were in like new condition but after a few full sized steelheads the ones that were not refinished usually had a guide or two pop off during fighting the fish. This is common as the thread is old and even though it looks good it probably is close to rotten. The nylon used after WWII is sometimes a little better than real silk for lasting a long time. Any thread that is over 50 years old is going to fail when put to the test of a fish capaable of an 8wt.
The corks are another matter I have had some changed and could not tell the difference and others were a dissapointment in that they did not end up looking at all like the original. If you are getting the work done make sure and get a promise from the person doing the work to put it as close to original as is possible.
Given a vote I would vote for refinishing and fishing it as often as you want to. Doug Merrick built those Blondes for fishing and to do so honors the man and too the previous owners.
Good Luck

06-08-2003, 05:19 AM
Great reply from Moonlight; Bob first of all the history is fascinating and it couldn't have fallen into better hands than yours!

That's a tough one... I think whatever you do it will be revitalized for many hands to come. If you're askin' for opinions perhaps the right path would be to restore the rod very close to it's original condition, much like a classic car, but in a way that it can be "highway ready".

In any case, I'm sure your dedication to rod building has played a major part in your place in the history of this rod and congratulations!


Robert Meiser
06-08-2003, 02:33 PM
Yep....Thanks alot you guys !

I really do want to restore this rod to a fishable condition...For all the very reasons that you guys mentioned.

Moonlight...Great, thoughtful advice !

Juro, Thanks for the kind words...

And the "Road Ready Classic Car" analogy was frosting on the cake.

I guess sometimes a guy just needs to hear others voice ones own comparable thoughts, before making a decision. For me, the rod will be the perfect Turbo Spey skater.

But in all honesty, If I am to totally fess-up to the big picture here..

I'm hoping some of the Karma held within this rod will hopefully help sway the River Gods to smile on my Steelheading adventures...

And also allow me to tag along "just a little bit closer" behind Mike and Hilde as they work through their runs of the North Umpqua this summer !!!

Good on Ya....Bob Meiser

06-08-2003, 03:05 PM
Well I'm late getting this posted as I had a customer, but here's what I think:
Howdy Bob, I also agree the rod should be refinished to whatever degree it requires and fished. It would be a disservice to the rod and the makers not to do so. Since you are a very qualified rod builder in your own right I don't think Mr. Stoner or Mr. Merrick would be displeased if you did the work. In my view the only other choice is to send it to Winston for restoration which technically might keep the rod more authentic, but not necessarily make it any better from a practical point of view. As the old masters pass the new masters must take up the work. If I were to come into possession of a rod like the one in question and was told it was refininished by R.B. Meiser I would not think the rod diminished but enhanced as 3 great rod makers had a hand in it's longevity. Take care, MJC

06-08-2003, 11:13 PM

You do such nice rod work that I agree with those who said you should do the cork, guide, and thread work yourself, just use urethane spar varnish on the blank and new wraps simultaneously to finish it. And I would also get Winston to make another tip for it, and then I would fish it with the new tip since tips are usually what get broken or wear out first.

Afterall, it was made to fish, just like classic cars were made to drive, not sit in a garage.

Yes, those old Winston 7, 8, and 9 weight bamboos are casting machines. Not at all noodly, just a typical slower bamboo action that has power and authority. The heavy line Payne's and Leonard's have this characteristic too.