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  1. #1
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    Default A Loomis Composites 96% Graphite 10 1/2 ft #8/9 circa 1980.

    About one month ago I spied a pair of Loomis Composites rods on eBayUK with a 50 starting price .....

    I suspect not many folks will remember or have even heard of Loomis Composites (LC) as they were a rather short-lived rod making company based in Woodlands, WA. However, as the name suggests, a certain Mr. Gary Loomis was at the heart of the venture, partnered with Mr. Don Mook.
    Loomis had initiated graphite rod making in 1974 while with Lamiglas but this was his first partnership in his own company, formed in late 1979/early 1980. They built rods from their own blanks made from the same ''96% Graphite' formula he had devised while with Lamiglas who he had left in'78. It was while he was with LC that he developed his next graphite, the renowned 'IM6'. However, this was never produced by Loomis Composites themselves but by Loomis second company, G. Loomis, again of Woodlands, WA. Gary Loomis left LC in 1982 and formed the company which really made his name, G. Loomis, in the same year.

    Curiously, there were two bids made on the rods prior to the auction ending but both were rescinded by the buyers. I can only think that they initially thought LC and G. Loomis were synonymous and retracted when they realised that they were different companies, perhaps fearing that LC were more akin to Gary's unhappy liaison with Taiwanese manufactures 'Loomis and Franklin' in 1982? Whatever the true reason, I bid unchallenged and obtained the two rods at their starting price.

    The constraints of work have given me very limited time on the water with these rods but I wrote a little about my first outing with them in the Vintage Rod Collections thread in this subforum, post 19. To quote myself:

    A Loomis Composites 10 1/2 ft #8/9, 2 pc., c. 1979-1982. I got this and the next rod only last week and cast them on Sat. night. Teamed with a Bauer Little Mac 4 and a Hardy #8 WF F I could cast in the region of 25 yards. Now, I'm no s-h distance caster at the best of times and don't profess to be one so I can only say that's no different to what I'd expect with my more modern rods on a calm, windless (midgey!) evening. I felt that the rod tip took a long time to recover and the wobble would slightly influence the shooting line on the forward cast but otherwise it did the job fine. The Bauer was too light for it, though. I'll try a Tioga 10 next time. Tip-heaviness aside, it's not a light rod and I wouldn't want to fish it for more than a few hours at a time, which I will. An evening rod.

    A Loomis Composites 10 ft #8/9, 2 pc., c. 1979-1982. Same set up as before, but this time the balance in the hand was much more comfortable. I rolled a line out into the stream then lengthened into an overhead cast. "Wow!" I exclaimed, quite involuntarily. The line simply sang out and landed straight and delicately (for an eight weight!). Accuracy was good and, although I cast a foot or two short of the longer rod, it was a real pleasure to use and one I want to christen with a fish asap. Kinda Medium-Medium/Fast-ish with no discernible recovery issues. I like the period LC logo. There's a second decal, 'Rod and Line' which may be the retailer?
    The 10 footer is currently in the Rod Room at work awaiting its next outing but I have the 10 1/2 ft version here at home so took some snaps for you today. You'll notice that one of the single leg eyes is broken and that was my doing. It was bent inwards on arrival so I tried to gently apply finger pressure to restore the correct angle - not clever! The 40 year old ring broke off and I now have a wee restoration job for the close season!
    Points of interest for me are 1) the Fuji reel seat (FUJI FPS-16 pat). I haven't seen one with holes in the metalwork before. 2) The decorative spiral wraps on some whippings and 3) the 'Rod and Line' decal on the butt section. I don't know if all LC rods had this or whether 'Rod and Line' were an outlet store back in the '80s? Any help there welcomed.

    So, time for those photos .....

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    1-P1050222.jpg

    1-P1050223.jpg

    1-P1050225.jpg

    Some more photos to follow in the next post ....

  2. #2
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    Default Re: A Loomis Composites 96% Graphite 10 1/2 ft #8/9 circa 1980.

    Those other pics, warts an' all .....

    1-P1050228.JPG

    1-P1050230.jpg

    1-P1050234.jpg

    1-P1050235.jpg

    I only have a few more weeks left of our Atlantic salmon season so will give the 10 ft #8/9 priority in the hope I can Christen it before the close of play this year.
    Sadly the seller knew nothing of their history but such rods are extremely rare in the UK. Over a few years of scouring eBay these are the first I've ever seen and I'm delighted to give them a new home and a new lease of life.
    Now ..... where can I find a G. Loomis IM6 for fifty quid or less.....?

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  4. #3

    Default Re: A Loomis Composites 96% Graphite 10 1/2 ft #8/9 circa 1980.

    ^ Interesting. I first met Gary at his shop & home in Woodland in the early 1980's shortly after he founded GLoomis, Inc. What is interesting to note today is where Gary has been and what he has done in the past 15-20 years since he sold GLoomis to Shimano, but I'll leave that for another thread.

    What is germane to this thread is that Gary's non-compete clauses have expired and he is now back in the rod building business in Woodland - name of his company is North Fork Composites.

  5. Likes Lewis Chessman, Southerncaster liked this post
  6. #4

    Default Re: A Loomis Composites 96% Graphite 10 1/2 ft #8/9 circa 1980.

    Interesting post. I haven't seen that fuji seat with the holes, either. I used the old Fuji FPS-16 seat on various rods --about the same, except for those holes.

    I built some rods in the early '80s on Loomis Composites blanks I bought from a tackle shop in Largo, FL. A couple fly rods, several baitcasting & spinning rods; mostly light rods. One of the baitcasters (my favorite) fought a lot of snook until it lost several inches of tip to a loose boat battery in the back of a friend's pickup truck --then it became a short bass rod. I still occasionally use my old LC 8', 7wt for smallies & LM, and my LC 7.5' 3wt as my faster 3wt rod!

    I can't remember the details on the blank model numbers, but as I recall there were two grades that I utilized, the lower being a solid black color with more flex---and the more expensive higher grade being a faster action, attractive glossy translucent dark grey in which you could see the wrapping pattern of the blank shimmer in the sunlight; the latter had tremendous backbone and never ceased to amaze me at the weight and pressure they could hold up to for such light rods. I may still have one or two of the manufacturer tags that were stapled over the end of the plastic bags the blanks came in.
    Last edited by Southerncaster; 12-09-2019 at 11:25 PM.

  7. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
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    Oak Park, MI
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    Default Re: A Loomis Composites 96% Graphite 10 1/2 ft #8/9 circa 1980.

    I got a deal on a Loomis Composits 10 1/2 4-10 lb spinning rod when they were around and I was distributor rep for a large conventional tackle wholesaler. I built a bunch of rods back then on Lammiglass blanks but the LCI rod was by far my best Steelhead rod until I started fishing fly.

  8. #6
    Join Date
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    Default Re: A Loomis Composites 96% Graphite 10 1/2 ft #8/9 circa 1980.

    Thanks for your thoughts, folks.
    Southerncaster, it's interesting that you refer to your ''fast'' 7.5' #3. I was so impressed with the action of the 10 ft 8/9 this summer. For a 40 year old rod it got a lot of things right, quick recovery being one, and I'll have no qualms fishing it next season. The difference in 'post-cast-bounce' between this and the 10 1/2 ft LC was significant, making the latter much less pleasurable to fish for me and less accurate.

    I'm intrigued to read that you recall two rod series by Loomis Composites. May I ask, are you certain you are thinking solely of 'Loomis Composites' rods, not the confusingly titled, post-Loomis 'Loomis Compostite Inc. Excelon', created by Don Mook after G. Loomis left to form .... ummm ....G. Loomis?
    LCI Excelon brought out several '96% graphite' rods of their own, eg 'Striker' & 'Striker II', and later the 'Flyfisher GF' series of IM6 rods, so I can imagine it's very easy to confuse the two. LC and LCI.
    I appreciate it's a bit of a bother but if you ever happen upon those tags and could photo them I'd appreciate it and, with your permission, add them to this Loomis Early Years thread.

    burk48237: I have an early Lamiglas 9 ft, #6 which I'm rather fond of. Slow down and it'll throw a lovely line. Same graphite as the LC '96% graphite' but they have that 'Champagne flute' reinforced butt ferule (patent G. Loomis, I believe!) which the LCs don't. Loomis may have invented the LC ferule too, as I read he held two ferule patents, but I'm not certain of this.

    burk, First Light, since you gentlemen were in the business at that time, does the cream 'Rod and Line' decal mean anything to you? I suspect it's been added by or for a store/retail chain/mail order/etc., rather than 'decorating' all LC rods?

  9. #7

    Default Re: A Loomis Composites 96% Graphite 10 1/2 ft #8/9 circa 1980.

    Quote Originally Posted by Lewis Chessman View Post
    . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . etc.

    burk, First Light, since you gentlemen were in the business at that time, does the cream 'Rod and Line' decal mean anything to you? I suspect it's been added by or for a store/retail chain/mail order/etc., rather than 'decorating' all LC rods?
    I've been to the GLoomis factory several times over the years and feel confident in saying that the"cream Rod and Line" decal did not come from the factory.

  10. #8
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    Nov 2009
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    Default Re: A Loomis Composites 96% Graphite 10 1/2 ft #8/9 circa 1980.

    Thanks, First Light, that's what I suspected but, as you might imagine, Googling 'Rod and Line' pulls up ''about 480,000,000 results and I've not yet checked them all.

  11. #9

    Default Re: A Loomis Composites 96% Graphite 10 1/2 ft #8/9 circa 1980.

    Quote Originally Posted by Lewis Chessman View Post
    Thanks for your thoughts, folks.
    Southerncaster, it's interesting that you refer to your ''fast'' 7.5' #3. I was so impressed with the action of the 10 ft 8/9 this summer. For a 40 year old rod it got a lot of things right, quick recovery being one, and I'll have no qualms fishing it next season. The difference in 'post-cast-bounce' between this and the 10 1/2 ft LC was significant, making the latter much less pleasurable to fish for me and less accurate.

    I'm intrigued to read that you recall two rod series by Loomis Composites. May I ask, are you certain you are thinking solely of 'Loomis Composites' rods, not the confusingly titled, post-Loomis 'Loomis Compostite Inc. Excelon', created by Don Mook after G. Loomis left to form .... ummm ....G. Loomis?
    LCI Excelon brought out several '96% graphite' rods of their own, eg 'Striker' & 'Striker II', and later the 'Flyfisher GF' series of IM6 rods, so I can imagine it's very easy to confuse the two. LC and LCI.
    I appreciate it's a bit of a bother but if you ever happen upon those tags and could photo them I'd appreciate it and, with your permission, add them to this Loomis Early Years thread.
    Lewis,
    When I say "fast," it's an exaggeration, but relative to my only "other 3wt" rods --my 7'9" 3wt Diamondback Classic Trout and an old un-sanded 7'6" Orvis "Graphite" Brook Trout (a 4wt that I sometimes use with a 3wt line) ---it does feel fast on the water, and pretty accurate. But I didn't originally build it to be a cold water "Trout" rod. I was living in west central Florida at the time and built it to be an ultralight saltwater rod for small streamers, complete with a little fighting butt!!! After I moved away from FL, it was my only 3wt at the time so I started using it for trout with pretty good success, though not particularly for dry flies. Some of my trout purist acquaintances would look down at the rod then look at me like 'what's that thing supposed to be?' But it's a permanent member of the family and I cant just completely retire it.

    Your mention of Loomis Composites jogged my memory a bit and I recalled seeing that on the old tags. I went through some storage boxes of old fishing stuff and found the only Loomis tag I still have---and as luck would have it, it's for the 3wt fly rod blank!!

    Here's a photo of the tag, so let me know which Loomis category it falls into. By the way, you're welcome to copy that photo and use it in any other thread you wish. I don't know if this website has it's own photo base. I uploaded it to my Google photo page.

    Loomis Compos. Inc. gf763_1b.jpg
    Last edited by Southerncaster; 12-10-2019 at 04:37 PM.

  12. #10
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    Default Re: A Loomis Composites 96% Graphite 10 1/2 ft #8/9 circa 1980.

    Lovely story, Southerncaster, and thanks for taking the time to dig that label out for us.

    From what I've read and heard, your blank would have been made by LCI (Loomis Composites Inc.) in Woodlands, WA. But you knew that already.
    LCI (sometimes also called LCI Excelon*) was the company owned by Don Mook after Loomis left their partnership, 'Loomis Composites', in 1982.

    The 'GF' denotes 'Graphite Fly' and I wonder if somewhere on the butt there's a decal stating '96% Graphite'? 763 = 7' 6'' #3, of course.
    '96% Graphite' was Gary Loomis's answer to Fenwick's HMG from when he worked for Lamiglas ('73-'78) and it continued in use at Loomis Composites and then at LCI and, I think, also on the first G. Loomis rods, prior to IM6 coming to market.

    According to Kerry Burkheimer who worked at LCI on their 'Cairnton' range, Gary was in the process of leaving the company (LC) when he first arrived as a marketing salesman "circa '79/'80" [but I suspect that's a little early in the timeline]. Anyway, as far as I'm aware, LCI continued producing LC '96% Graphite' rods under their new brand name, then brought out a 'Striker' and the 'Striker II' and the LCI ''Excelon'' 'Flyfisher GF' which was built on IM6 blanks. The release dates here evade me but my guess is that your 'GF763' would come from the earliest design, that inherited from Loomis Composites, circa 1982 to 1986, before they began ascribing names to their blanks & rods.

    I have an LCI Striker II, '96% Graphite' 8' 6", #6. 2 pc which I'm fond of. It has enough backbone to lift a sunk line and, relative to what Fenwick and Orvis were offering at the time, is pretty 'fast', so yeah, I get you. They're nice sticks and still perfectly fishable.

    Would you mind if I copied your photo over to a Loomis thread on the UKFFF, our sister site?

    * I have recently read Skip Morris's 'The Custom Graphite Fly Rod' which includes several interior photos of LCI's rod factory titled 'Courtesy LCI Excelon' but when or why the 'Excelon' was added to 'LCI' escapes me.

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