Sep 26, 2013

G. Loomis Factory Film Tour

Gorge Fly Shop's - G. Loomis Tour (Photo Slide Show: 3 Min 07 Sec.)
Full Featured Tour Video Below

Woodland  Washington - U.S.A
I admit it! I’m a gear junkie! That’s a good thing considering the job I do is to bring all that fly gear live to you on our site for you to purchase. Think about fly line specs alone and it’s enough to make one dizzy but I don’t stop studying them until they are understood. But the one piece of gear I respect the most is my fly rods. On the river they are the precision tool that enables us to cast, mend and hopefully do battle with the underwater species. They are handmade by skilled craftsman, who just like you and I, love the outdoors. I believe each rod has a personality and many take considerable amount of time to become one with. I used to bounce from rod to rod trying to find the one that I could cast farther only to figure out that the one I cast the best was the one I fished with the most. Great distances is fun and rewarding to ones’ skills but the biggest reward is to be able to make the cast that requires precise action and dead on accuracy in order to present your fly to the greatest of quarry. You know when you got it right! The rest of the time it’s just casting practice.

"Master rod builders have perfected so many actions and tapers that enable us to expand our reaches..."
Today’s fly rods are nothing short of amazing! The master rod builders have perfected so many actions and tapers that enable us to expand our reaches of angling with a fly. The loading of a fly rod is also something one needs to witness...Hard to see with the naked eye but a video camera can catch it…See our blog post: Find the Power of the Stick… These are a few reasons I have such respect for the rod. 

So, when the guys over at G. Loomis invited us in for a factory tour I said name the date and time and I’ll be there and soon the plans were made. Arriving on a morning with a Pacific Northwest rain in progress started the day of the tour. Walking into the front door I quickly notice the inspiration all around on display. It was evident that the employees here love their rods as much as we love our own and proudly display them in plain sight for all to see. Pictures relating to our sport adorned the walls for more inspiration. Passion for the product is a key for success and that is evident at first glance.

"G.loomis rod design goes through this test many times to ensure a strong quality product is being built."
After introductions and greetings we geared the cameras for action. A quick briefing and the safety equipment in place and off to the factory we go. Perfect timing was in order as the employees were all on break. Steve Rajeff (Chief Rod Designer) headed up our tour and gave the step by step of how a rod all comes together. Later we were able to go back and repeat the tour while production was in progress. Toward the end of the tour we got to see and play with a piece of equipment that really imparted a new perspective to the strength and flex of a rod. It’s a machine built to mechanically apply load to the rod to the point of destruction. Every G.loomis rod design goes through this test many times to ensure a strong quality product is being built. We got to see several rods tested to the point of destruction and even captured it on video. It’s quite a sight to see a rod tip pulled below the butt before destruction occurs.

3I’m not kidding when I say that seeing rods built before your eyes will change the way you feel about all fly rods no matter who the manufacturer is. Ninety something employees make up the work force of G.loomis but to be fair I think the appropriate title of these hard workers would be Artist and Skilled Craftsman. From cutting patterns of graphite to applying the epoxy, each one of the steps of rod building is an act of precision talent. My first career was one of a skilled trade and it’s good for me to witness an American work force dedicated to producing the finest products possible. It reminds me of the pride and dedication I took in my own first career.

G. Loomis Prototype Rod
After the tour Steve took us outside and introduced us to a prototype rod he was working on (see photo to left). We got to take turns making some casts. I have never claimed to be a great fly caster. It’s a work in process skill for me. I have never liked casting in front of a crowd but I do it anyway to cast the rods we sell so that I am better able to describe them to you. But this is way different. Think of it like being at the golf driving range with Tiger Woods standing behind you. I did my best to just relax and experience another great future rod coming soon. I can’t say much about this prototype but I will say the pursuit of perfection is alive and a passion driven quest for better fly rods lives on in the hands of Master Rod Designer Steve Rajeff and the G. Loomis team.

After our day at the factory we got to spend some time with Steve Rajeff and although I have met Steve on many occasions this was the first time we got to just be ourselves and catch up on our latest fishing adventures. You see all those other times we met we were at shows and events when the topic of conversation is what new rods are in the works or new technology is being used and what it does for us anglers. This time I got to ask the question “How did you get started, Steve?” In short I witnessed a lifetime of true passion summarized in front of me and no words I could write could do any justice.

5 Minutes with Steve Rajeff

I toured a different rod plant many years ago and from that day forward I had a greater respect for fly rods. I even bought a blank and gave it my best effort to finish it. I've caught many fish on that rod and still have it today. Every once in a while I get it out and give it a cast. It reminds me why rod building is better left up to the professional and I am quite happy to enjoy their fine work. I place a great value on my fly rods for without them I would not be able to fish! What would I do if I couldn't fish? I would have to take up Noodling...oh no!

Factory Film Tour: Full Featured Version
26:06 Minutes Long

Be warned the following video is quite long. It's full of detailed information and a step by step process 
of how G. Loomis rods are built. Enjoy!

Greg Darling  - The Tormented Angler
Gorge Fly Shop Product Specialist

Some friendly faces:
Travis and Chad behind the action.

Josh and Chad from G. Loomis
Steve Rajeff during his 5 minute Interview. Stay tuned next month.

"Fly Fish the World with Us"
G. Loomis EastForks on Closeout

G. Loomis is a proud sponsor of Gorge Fly Shop's 1st Annual: Casting for Recovery Photo Contest. Learn how to Win a G. Loomis Pro4x and other great prizes by submitting your fishing photos today. Deadline October 30th.

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