R.L. Winston Rod Company Acquires Bauer Fly Reels

Twin Bridges, Mont.— Winston Rod Company is pleased to announce today that it has acquired Bauer Premium Reel Company in Ashland, Oregon. Winston, the world’s leading fly rod company using Boron/Graphite composites, broadens it’s high end product offering with Bauer, one of the world’s top fly reel manufacturers.

“There are a lot of very good fly reels,” says Winston Chairman and Owner, David Ondaatje, “but there is something extraordinary about Bauer that made us want to be more involved over the long term….a beautiful product, good people and leading edge technology.”

Bauer Premium Fly Reels was founded in 1995 by Jon Bauer after designing one of the first large arbor fly reels made in the USA. Previously, Jon had driven race cars for Porsche and Ford, winning several major events including the 1980 Trans-Am Championship. Founder and reel designer, Jon Bauer says, “I did a lot of design and development work when I was racing. You develop widgets all the time, because that’s how you win – you look for new ways to make your car better and faster. Starting in 1994, as an avid fly fisherman, I took the same approach in designing innovative fly reels. Since I came from a different sport, (racing not fly fishing), I approached fly reel design differently. By applying principles of basic physics to the design and incorporating precision manufacturing, I was able to produce a totally new concept for fly reel design. The company continues with this precision quality approach in all of its product development and design.”  

Both Jon and Barbara expressed their excitement on sharing the news, “We are proud to join the Winston family with our history of quality built USA products.”  Jon in particular is excited for the opportunity to expand development of new innovative products with Winston. Jon states, ”The two companies will be able to achieve more exciting products together for the benefit of the angler”.

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Celebrating Bauer Premium Fly Reels joining Winston (from left to right): Bauer founders, Jon Bauer and Barbara Mackenzie Bauer; Annette McLean, Winston VP of Operations and Rod Design; Bauer reel craftsman Kai Victor; and Winston Chairman and Owner, David Ondaatje.

According to Annette Mclean, Winston VP of Operations and Rod Design, “We are excited that Bauer Reels will now be part of the Winston family. While Bauer will continue to be run as a separate company, we plan to do a lot together. For now, the reels will continue to be made in Ashland, Oregon, but we are going to look at how best to help the business grow over the coming months and years.”

In the context of Winston’s long history of making fishing rods for over 85 years and the potential fit with Bauer, Ondaatje, said “There are a lot of similarities between Bauer Reels now and Winston when I first became involved over 20 years ago: a fantastic company led by industry visionaries and passionate anglers who make products they love to use. That continues to be Winston’s philosophy, and Bauer shares the same culture of passion, excellence and innovation. Jon Bauer is one of the most accomplished, creative innovators in the flyfishing industry. We are very happy that he, Barbara and Kai will be working with us.

McLean, giving her view on the unique features of Bauer reels, says, “I have long admired Bauer. The heart of these high-performance reels is in the innovative design of the systems themselves. The thin, light-weight drag system gives a smooth, uninterrupted transition, is virtually zero maintenance and has industry-leading internal non-wear carbon fiber parts for better performance.”

The newest addition to the Bauer family is famed angler, artist and adventurer, Jeff Currier. Currier, who travels extensively exploring new flyfishing frontiers, is also a celebrated artist and writer. His travels are followed on the popular blog Jeff Currier Global Fly Fishing.Currier

Currier remembers when he was first introduced to Bauer’s reels, “I’ll never forget the arrival of Bauer Reels more than two decades ago with their eye catching revolutionary large arbor design. I fished them at the get go and admired the craftsmanship, smooth drag and durability. I recently began fishing them again and today I’m proud to join the Bauer Advisory Team and be a part of the innovative fly reel company for many years to come.”

“We are very excited about Jeff’s enthusiasm for Bauer reels, says Ondaatje. “ He’s one of the most accomplished anglers in the world, having fished for more species in more places than anyone.”

Jon Bauer adds, “We know Jeff always stresses the importance of having the best equipment, so he will be an important member of the team. He will help with research and provide valuable input on future designs.“

“There are a lot of exciting things Winston and Bauer plan to do together in the coming years.” says, Ondaatje. “ Initially, Winston will simply help get the Bauer story out there. I can’t wait to see what happens as more people try the reels; they are going to turn a lot of heads.”

For information please see www.winstonrods.com or contact info@winstonrods.com or call Winston at 406-684-5674.