1974 Winston Bamboo rod

Johnny Staats

Rock Creek Semi-Guru
A few days ago, a client of mine came into the shop with an old bamboo rod made by Winston back when it was based in San Francisco. It was supposedly one of the last rods made there before the company moved to Montana. She is looking to see what current estimates on the market would be for it. Bamboo rods are not my forte, so I thought I'd put up a couple pictures and the note from Winston that she was sent about the rod. I figure some of you who are more knowledgeable about these types of rods would be able to appraise it better than I could.

Here's the info she was given about it awhile back by Winston:

Your dad’s rod was finished in May 1974. This makes it
one of the last rods of the San Francisco era for Winston. Very shortly after this
date, the Company was moved to Montana where it is still today. And we continue to
build fine bamboo rods.
The E4 that you see on the rod shaft is really “By”.
I know it looks more like ‘E4” but Doug Merrick wrote this way. Doug was the
owner at this time as the Company ownership transferred to Tom Morgan.
Estimated value on this rod is difficult to gestimate.
It’s length and line weight make it an unusual rod to some extent. You are
correct in assuming it is built for an 8 wt. line but at 8 ½’ it is a little
short for a conventional steelhead rod. It would have been built for smaller
waters with steelhead. Give this, if you are wanting to sell it, I would suggest
marketing it in the northern California and/or Oregan area.



Well-Known Member
Hmmm, Winston made an 8' 9" rod that was an 8 wt. that was a very popular rod. Is it a single tip rod? If so, I'd guess about $1,000. If it has two tip sections, then probably $1,400, assuming the rod is straight, has no damage, and has original bag and tube.


Kent Lufkin

Remember when you could remember everything?
Your post doesn't specify whether your client is looking for a retail price or for an insurance value. If they're interested in a retail price for giggles, then Salmo's estimate above is good for starters.

If they need money and are looking at selling it, like a lot of other things the bamboo rod market has been a victim of the soft economy the past few years. Clark's Bamboo Rod Forum above can provide a ballpark valuation and the site's classified section might be a pretty good place to sell it. With a firm idea of its value, eBay might also be a good choice for selling it with enough reserve on the price to avoid the chance of a freak low price as the winning bid. I'd steer clear of selling it to a shop or a dealer since they'll offer less than full retail in order to make a profit.

The demand for bamboo rods varies, even for an older Winston by Doug Merrick. Condition is the major consideration, as is the presence or lack of a second tip. Size too is a factor, and in the case of this rod, that's a negative not a positive. The 'trouty' 7-1/2' long rods are the ones that fetch the highest prices. An 8-1/2' for 8wt cane rod is overkill for trout fishing and will be tiring to cast all day. I'd estimate this rod would fetch about 30-40% less than the exact same rod in 7-1/2' for 5wt or 6wt.


Tim Cottage

Formerly tbc1415
You definitely need to post this on clarksclassicflyrod forum.
Post it in the Appraisals and Identification of Bamboo Rods section. The first (sticky) post in that section titled "Before you Ask for an Appraisal" should be read and applied as much as possible to get the most informed answers.

There are people there who are intimate with Winston rods throughout their long history. Your rod may very well be worth considerably more than the values stated here. I think you will be pleasantly surprised.


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