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Winn Grips are made from an advanced polymer. POLYMER IS NOT RUBBER. Therefore, Winn grips should be treated and cared for in a different manner.

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Winn reaps award attention, debuts new colors, new concepts at ICAST 2016

ICAST 2016: At the show

Winn rod grips have captured angler attention at international tackle trade events over the past three exhibition seasons. But the bold appearance of Winn grips on three award-winning new products at ICAST 2016 in Orlando, Florida, made it clear that the Huntington Beach, Calif.-based manufacturer of grips for sports equipment has become a force to be reckoned with in the angling arena.

Lew’s, the rod and reel maker from Springfield, Mo., took home three “Best of Show” awards for products featuring eye-catching Winn components at the ICAST 2016 New Product Showcase.

Lew’s Mach II SLP Baitcast Combo, featuring bold chartreuse split grips made from Winn’s patented WinnDry polymer and a new Super Low Profile (SLP) reel design with matching chartreuse reel knobs also from Winn, took home the Best Rod & Reel Combo award.

The Team Lew’s Custom Pro Speed Spool featuring the same SLP profile and elegant black Winn reel knobs won the Best Freshwater Reel award.

Lew’s Mach Speed Stick Inshore with its electric chartreuse Winn split grips and matching anodized aluminum trim earned Best Saltwater Rod honors.

The high-profile awards created a buzz at the Winn booth, which was already alive with new products and concepts.

Winn Grips has delivered a steady stream of innovation with its colorful, all-weather rod grips made from its patented WinnDry polymer at the last two ICAST events, and the promise of further proliferation of grip styles within Winn's interchangeable rod grip system was assured.

This year, however, Winn brought a new business concept to ICAST along with its anticipated array of new products.

Recruitment commenced for the Winn Authorized Service Center network, a web of tackle retailers trained and equipped to retrofit existing rods in angler arsenals with stylish, angler-friendly Winn rod grips. "Golfers, bicyclists and tennis players change the grips on their equipment routinely," said Elmer Alfafara, business development manager for Winn. "And a rod grip upgrade from old cork or EVA foam to Winn polymers is even more offers great advantage...We hope that fishermen will become as comfortable changing out rod grips as they are changing fishing line."

As part of the Winn Authorized Service Center rollout, the company demonstrated the performance of the Winn Rod Grip & Reel Seat Removal Machine. More than two years in development, the machine arrived at ICAST newly designed and complete with advanced safety features. It will remove rod grips and graphite reel seats while safely protecting rod blank integrity.

Winn plans to train and prepare dealers for safe and effective service center operation in select tackle retail stores across the country.

Winn also unveiled a number of new products including:

Winn Superior Rod Wrap-- Last year, Winn introduced previewed its rod wrap in three basic colors with the promise of an explosion of new colors and designs of this tape-like grip overwrap. Winn brought 11 new colors to ICAST along with three new designs for its Saltwater series to fill out a lineup that now includes seven bold solids and eight hot and trending “Camo” colors. The Saltwater series features three solid embossed “Tuna” wraps and an elegant camo-style “Dorado.”

Made from the same patented Winn polymers as Winn rod grips, it allows anglers to add a "Winn skin" to the rods with cork or foam grips in their existing arsenal and get the same secure tacky feel and all-weather comfort and performance as rods made with Winn grips.

"Anglers are finding other uses for the overwrap as well," explained Mike Coelho, national sales manager while showing Winn's new Superior Rod Wrap point-of-purchase display with demo rod handle. "They are using it on landing nets, boat handles, gaffs, and other surfaces where the non-slip properties of Winn polymers shine."

Swell Grip -- The new Swell style grip Winn introduced at ICAST 2016 may be the most significant addition to the line since the development of Winn’s innovative interchangeable grip system. Configured to the shape of popular mid grips on split grip bass rods, Swell grips include the 2.75-inch spinning (0.99-inch O.D.) grip, a 4-inch baitcasting (1.08” O.D.) grip along with companion fore grips. The Swell series debuted in Charcoal with Black Camo and Black with Chartreuse Camo color patterns.

Saltwater Straight Cylinder -- Winn also extended its Saltwater Straight Cylinder series of grips, earlier introduced in 9- and 12-inch lengths, with a 15-inch model (1.25-inch O.D., Natural cork color). Coupled with a fighting butt or butt grips, the grips can anchor rear handles of 16 to 18.5 inches or longer in custom rod designs. All lengths can perform rear- or fore-grip duty.

Winn Rod Handle System --The Orange County Convention Center floor was testing ground for another new Winn concept -- upgrading an entire rod handle at once, reel seat and all! Prototypes of the new Winn Rod Handle System included spinning and baitcasting split grip handles featuring the new Swell series grips and a full-grip spinning handle.

Winn grips share ICAST spotlight as Lew’s garners three ‘Best of Show’ awards in New Products Showcase competition

ICAST 2016 ‘Best of Show’ awards

The eyes of the fishing tackle industry converged on breakthrough new products from Lew’s at the ICAST 2016 show in Orlando. The Springfield, Mo.-based maker of premium rods and reels took home three ‘Best of Show’ awards at the New Product Showcase to lead all tackle manufacturers.

All three award-winning products – two rods and one reel – featured critical components from Winn Grips.

Lew’s Mach II SLP Baitcast Combo -- The Best Rod & Reel Combo award continued a string of victories in this category for Lew’s, which took home combo trophies in the 2014 and 2015 New Product Showcase competition as well. At the seat of control are colorful split grips made from WinnDry polymer, a patented material that maintains its tacky feel even under adverse weather conditions and promotes angler comfort and control. The new Super Low Profile (SLP) reel design with lightweight graphite frame features a 10-bearing system, double-shielded stainless steel bearings, bold chartreuse reel knobs that match the Winn split grips and anodized aluminum star drag and rod trim. Retail price: $179.99

Team Lew’s Custom Pro Speed Spool – Key features of this Best Freshwater Reel award winner are the elegant black Winn reel knobs and the 32 mm double anodized aluminum spool that brought the Super Low Profile (SLP) concept to fruition. The lower center of mass delivers better balance and enables easy palming for better angler control. “We spent a lot of time on the style of this reel,” explained Dave Hinke, product specialist. “Our test anglers absolutely fell in love with the Winn reel knobs with Lew’s Logo and the control over the reel they give the angler…We think it is one of the mostly stylish reels we have ever done.” Retail price: $259.99

Lew’s Mach Speed Stick Inshore – Inshore saltwater is a tackle segment as loaded with action as the Inshore sport fishing game itself, and Lew’s Mach Speed Stick Inshore was the cream of that rod crop at ICAST, earning Best Saltwater Rod honors in the New Product Showcase. The strong, lightweight rod with IM8 graphite blank boasted the same bold Winn split grip colors and matching anodized aluminum trim as the Mach II Baitcast Combo. “We found that this is a look that people really like,” noted Bob Brown, product specialist, long recognized for his innovative rod designs and use of advanced material technology. Retail price: $79.99

“Lew’s has always been an originator of innovation, and that is evident in the products that we brought to the New Product Showcase this year,” noted Hinke, who designed the Team Lew’s Custom Pro Speed Spool.

Both the Lew’s Mach II SLP Baitcast Combo and the Lew’s Mach Speed Stick Inshore stand out in eye-popping color. The electric chartreuse rod grips and reel knobs from Winn are emblematic of the bold, refreshing aesthetic that Winn has brought to fishing tackle.

“We put Winn grips and reel knobs on our upper end products now, and the fishermen like them,” said Brown, designer of the Mach series. “They find out Winn polymer handles are more comfortable for them, and we are tickled to death that we can put them on our product. We have been working with Dr. Huang (Winn founder) for years, and we will continue to do so. You will see more new products from Lew’s with Winn components in the future.”

Lew’s three-peat win in the Rod and Reel Combo category brought particular satisfaction to the Lew’s team and its Winn partners.

“When people walked up to the Lew’s booth, the first thing they looked at was this combination. It is that outstanding,” said Brown. “The Winn grips just make it the perfect combination. It’s like if a young guy went out and bought a new truck and wanted to put new wheels on it, but instead he found that this purchase came with the wheels already done! This really is an outstanding product.”

Sponsored by Fishing Tackle Retailer magazine, the New Product Showcase is the perennial highlight of the American Sportfishing Association’s ICAST exhibition, the world’s largest fishing tackle trade show. More than 1,000 products entered the 2016 New Product Showcase competition, which honors products voted as best in defined categories of gear, apparel and accessories.

For more information on Winn grips, check out the Winn Grips website ( ) or contact Elmer Alfafara, business development manager, 714-373-6271; email: or Mike Coelho, national sales manager, phone: phone: 714-373-6271; email: