Scott Fly Rods suffered layoffs early in 2008, and now it’s Winston’s turn to stand in the unemployment line; the fly rod company is laying off production employees due to slumping sales – a sign of a weak economy according to CEO Woody Woodward:

Woodard said projections for sales next year show they should drop, based on economic data. Winston dealers are not ordering as many rods as the recession in the United States and the ripple effect throughout the global economy have slowed consumer spending. The company does not expect to need to produce as many fly rods in the coming year.

“The uncertainty is so great that people just aren’t going into fly shops,” Woodard said.

See WINSTON, Page A5 “That’s all the indications we’re getting and we have to reduce personnel accordingly.” The layoffs took effect last week.

Winston Rod moved to Twin Bridges in 1976, and sells bamboo rods, which retail for around $3,000 each, and less expensive graphite fly rods.

(The Underground is deeply amused at the last sentence, which suggests Winston is a bamboo fly rod manufacturer who also happens to sell graphite fly rods.)

Even before the economy cratered, the fly fishing industry witnessed several years of marginal (or zero) growth, and it’s likely we’ll see more companies take unpleasant measures in order to survive.

Winston is also one of the oldest continuously operating fly rod companies, and “Prestige” fly rod manufacturers might be feeling the pinch of lower-priced, foreign-built fly rods (like TFO) – a trend that could accelerated by a tough economy.

What’s the Undergrounder opinion? Is this simply a blip on the recession radar, or are tougher times in store for an already-stagnant fly gear market?