A visit to G. Loomis

I took one of the best trips I’ve ever been on last week when I travelled out to Woodland, Wash. to visit the G. Loomis fishing rod factory.
Woodland is located just north of Portland, Ore. and to get out there I flew into Portland. About 60 miles inland from the west coast, this is one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been.
In addition to getting an inside look at the G. Loomis manufacturing process, I also was able to spend a couple of days on the water fishing with their communications manager, Bruce Holt, and his buddy, pro angler Renaud Pelletier, a three-time qualifier of the Bassmaster Classic.
While most fishing rod manufactures have taken their production overseas in order reduce costs, G. Loomis is one of the few that continues to build their rods in North America.
For those of you who are not aware, G. Loomis fishing rods arguably are the finest in the world. They make high-quality rods for nearly every fishing situation, from fly-fishing to saltwater fishing, including all freshwater applications.
The making of high-end fishing rods is a manual process and that’s the reason they continue to be built in Woodland. Each rod starts out as a sheet of graphite material that goes through 15 steps to reach the final product.
We were able to get an up close look at the making of the NRX line of rods the company released in 2010 and actually won a best-of-show award in the fishing rod category. These are super high-end fishing rods anglers can purchase with a price tag in the neighbourhood of $500.
Before you tell yourself that’s crazy, you have to understand this is the toughest, lightest fishing rod I’ve ever held in my hand. A few local fishing stores actually stock them and they definitely are worth a look.
If you want the best of the best, this is it (of course, G. Loomis also makes fishing rods that are available in lower price ranges while still representing their premium label).
The fishing part of this trip was unique because of the beautiful setting. We fished on the Columbia River, east of Portland. It is a major drainage out of the Rocky Mountains and the snow-capped mountains in the background were stunning.
We fished for smallmouth bass for the most part, and caught plenty of fish up to five pounds. I tried to catch fish on some to tactics that really work well in Sunset Country and caught a few fish, but the guys I was fishing with beat me up pretty good with crankbaits and lipless rattle baits.
The water in the river is slightly stained so the fish seemed to prefer these loud, vibrating lures over subtle jigs tipped with plastic.
It’s always good to learn some new techniques, and this really opened my eyes to some things I may be able to do in some of our tournaments to catch more fish.
The highlight of the fishing was watching Bruce catch an 18-pound spring-run king salmon on one of these bass crankbaits. These fish fight extremely hard so it was quite the battle to land it on bass tackle.
It was a beautiful fish.
Meanwhile, the tournament season gets underway for me and several other Sunset Country anglers this week down in Wisconsin at the Sturgeon Bay Open bass tournament on Lake Michigan. Dave Bennett and I are headed down for the sixth time and looking forward to catching some giant smallmouths.
Last year, area anglers Troy Norman and Andrew Carlson won the tournament.
Look for the report next week.

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