How To Install Winn Split Grip Handles For Rod Building

I’ve been around the fishing industry long enough to know better than to speak in absolutes.

As quickly as fishing technology advances these days, it’s usually a bad bet to claim things like, “best ever”, “game changer” or the dreaded “the only thing to use”. That being said, after a solid year of using Winn Grip handles on my bass rods, I feel strongly enough to say that (unless some magical new technology emerges) I will never build a bass rod with any other grip again.

Before I get into my explanation of why I like these grips, I’m going to pull the curtain back slightly on how reviews like this usually work to reinforce my previous statement. As a writer, I’ll often get requests from companies to review a product. If it’s something I’d actually use, I’ll usually agree to do so and the company will send out said product for me to test drive. Depending on how that goes, I might or might not write a review of the product. This was the case with the Winn Grip split grip handles. They sent me a set, I had them installed on a new rod I was having built and liked them enough that I decided to write this review.

Reviews often get put on the back burner when I’m busy, so I didn’t get around to writing this one for several months. During that time, I happened to get back into rod wrapping and decided to rebuild a bunch of old bass rods I had sitting around in the garage. This decision led to me spending several hundred dollars on a dozen more Winn Grip handle sets because I wanted them on all twelve rods I was building. Why is this important? Over the years I’ve received a lot of products to review and this is the first time ever that one of them has caused me to change the way I’ve been fishing (or building rods).

At around $25 per rod, the three piece handle set is more expensive than a standard EVA split grip, but is well worth the money because they are so much more grippy than other grips. Yeah I know, “grippy” isn’t an actual word but I think it best describes why these are the best handles on the market.

If you check out the Winn Grips website, they explain all about how, “their superior polymer grip technology puts control and comfort in the angler’s hand while providing a tacky sure-grip security even in cold and wet conditions. Winn has developed patented multiple polymer compounds that are tackier, more shock absorbent, and more comfortable than traditional Cork and EVA Foam. Its patented polymers are uniquely formulated to achieve a wide range of firmness, texture, sensitivity, weight and design options sure to meet every fisherman’s needs! Advanced Integration (AI) technology enables Winn to deliver mixes of firmness and texture along with unprecedented comfort, performance and design capabilities.”

Technological definitions aside, these are great grips that don’t slip out even if you’ve got sunscreen or fish slime on your hands. They also look pretty cool and so far have proved durable enough that it’s impossible to tell my year old handle from the ones I just installed last week.

If you’re headed to Fred Hall this year I recommend going by the Winn booth, picking up one of the display rods and just giving the handle a feel. Just don’t blame me when you decide to go through and rebuild all your old rods.

Get more great how to tips for fishing and great fishing reports from Erik Landesfeind on BD.

Erik Landesfeind is BD's Southern California Editor and has over 30 years of experience saltwater fishing for a range of species in both California and Mexican waters. Erik is also an active freelance writer and the author of the weekly column So Cal Scene, which BD publishes every Friday. In So Cal...