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Event Article

How G.Loomis Rods are Made – A Behind the Scenes Look at the Factory’s Secret Sauce


Date: 5/6/11
Event: Factory Behind the Scenes (5/2/11)
Manufacturer: G.Loomis
Reviewer: Zander

The rod business has changed a great deal over the years with increasing emphasis put on material types and component options, but the actual manufacturing process for many rod builders continues to be a very manual process, one that still involves some good old fashioned craftsmanship. There are not many rod manufacturers that still build all of their rods here domestically and premium rod brand G.Loomis is one of those companies on the short list that is still designing and manufacturing rods stateside. G.Loomis agreed to open their doors for a behind the scenes look at their entire manufacturing process and we headed to their headquarters in Woodland, Washington to see firsthand just how the company builds their rods.


G.Loomis is located in Woodland, Washington


A little background: When Shimano acquired G.Loomis many anglers thought it was just a matter of time before the company’s rod production was going to be moved overseas. Outsourcing to other countries has been a popular trend among many competing manufacturers in an attempt to leverage more affordable labor. Through all these years Shimano has viewed the G.Loomis operation in Woodland as an strength and continued to empower the company, allowing the team at G.Loomis to not just invest in upgraded machinery but the total rod offering, which has grown significantly since the acquisition. The launch of NRX at the last ICAST once again thrust the brand into the spotlight, highlighting the organization’s desire to push the high end envelope in custom rod manufacturing.


The front office at G.Loomis


Since that launch we have had many questions about the rods and while we have been writing about various G.Loomis rods for the past 11 years I have always been curious about the company’s manufacturing operation. This week I finally got that opportunity when I received an invite to check out the factory from Bruce Holt, who previously ran the company after Gary Loomis, and is currently the Director of Communications. He didn’t have to ask me twice, and I was on the next plane to the nearest airport which is located in Portland, Oregon.


Bruce Holt is the Director of Communications at G.Loomis and not only previously ran the company but has been with the organization for over 25 years


Welcome to Woodland: Once I walked of the plane I was greeted by Bruce who was joined with Jeff Gustafson, a writer for In-fisherman. The plan was to get to Woodland in the morning and take a tour of the facility, then spend the next two days fishing on rivers in the surrounding region for Smallmouth. I was certainly eager to fish, but I was even more excited about taking a look at the heart of the G.Loomis operation.


This is how the rods start out. The foundation for each rod is graphite prepreg


Woodland, Washington is located about an hour north of Portland and is a small town in comparison, with a population of just under 5000 people. The town is in close vicinity by a number of prominent rivers including the Willamette, Hood, and Columbia and there is world class Trout, Salmon, Steelhead, Sturgeon, and Smallmouth bass fishing all within driving distance. Thus it is no surprise that a small town like Woodland would spawn some of the biggest fishing rod brands in the United States including Lamiglas and G.Loomis.


Bruce begins the tour where graphite is measured


Time to go inside: When we pulled up to the front of G.Loomis at 6:30am on Monday the factory was already bustling. G.Loomis has occupied other facilities prior to moving to their current building in the early 90’s which has just over 40,000 square feet and houses the entire manufacturing operation.


Each rod begins with the graphite prepreg hand cut using a variety of templates. The combination of the graphite base material, the number of sheets, and length of the cut gives each rod a unique power and action

Next Section: Cutting the graphite is the beginning...









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