Back in the early 90s when I was still considering a career tangentially related to materials science, I applied to work at a "dream job". At the time, I was hooked on fly fishing and passionate about the inter-mountain West. So it was natural to apply for a job at the RL Winston Rod company, which produced the best "plastic" rods (aka graphite) made as well as some of the finest split cane rods available under the tutelage of master craftsman Glenn Brackett. (I always wanted a Glenn Brackett rod but was never up to the full price. I did live in the Rockies for several years though.)
I wondered as the focus on fly fishing shifted to fast rods and saltwater if the classic rods of Winston would endure. The old IM6 rod (of which I've owned several) with its characteristic soft-tip was hard to beat as a trout fishing instrument. I was pleased to see the saltwater oriented BL5 step up to throwing big flies without feeling like a steel pole.
Many people saw Glenn openly complain about the possibility of outsourcing Winston's low end rods from Twin Bridges to China. Now I'm shocked to hear that the cane rod builders have quit Winston. I presume they will set up an independent shop (Tom Morgan also is building his own line of rods, though the prices are too high for the average fly fisher). If anyone has details on where Glenn and company wind up, drop me a note. I still want mine someday.
Truely the end of an era. With the old guard gone, I doubt we'll see rods of the same touch and feel and quality of the classic Winston into the future; certainly those looking for a rod built under the direction of Mr. Brackett will have to look elsewhere now. Nothing stays the same, but the passing of the Winston rod company I knew still saddens me.