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March 15, 2011 / flogginwater

WW Grigg – Loosing Another Good One?

It seems that news is floating around the fishing community of the impending loss, or at least drastic change and reduction of capacity – of the WW Grigg rod company. WW Grigg is a Canby, Oregon based rod maker that started up decades ago, and has sold rods under the “Custom Made” brand, then later they dropped that name in favor of using the company name. Aside from their own branded rods, Grigg was THE largest supplier of house-branded rods for GI Joes, and a few smaller tackle vendors here in the Pacific Northwest. Grigg made casting rods, spinnig rods, and at least most importantly to me – fly rods.

Grigg’s rods are stamped “Made in Korea” or “Made in China” on the bottom – but that’s not exactly true. The rod blanks – the graphite shafts that comprise the main part of the rod – are rolled overseas. The bare blanks are imported, and the rods are finished here in the US. Grigg rods have always been targeted as a more value-line rod – packing in as many features as they could and still make a profit. Their rods have always been good performers for their class.

Over the years I’ve had a number of rods made by Grigg – mostly under the North X Northwest brand – which was the GI Joes house brand.

Today my rod stable has two rods made by them – my beloved 8′ 4 weight fly rod that sports the North X Northwest brand, and my also loved 8’6″ 5/6 weight fiberglass Heritage series rod – which is a WW Grigg branded rod. Both rods have beautiful hardwood reel seat inserts, attractive, and heavy duty uplocking metal reel seat hardware, nicely contoured cork grips, and good quality guides. The 4 weight features single foot snake guides while the 5/6 has traditional double foot snakes.

Both rods feature a good moderate action – the perfect casting action for me and how I fish. Neither rod was terribly expensive – but both rods are priceless to me.

It saddens me greatly to see this rod maker going away – or down sizing into a ghost of it’s former self. They were hit really hard when GI Joes went out of business, then when Sportsman’s Warehouse declared bankruptcy not long after – and sold off a number of stores to the Canadian based Wholesale Sports – it sunk Grigg further into trouble. They lost a LOT of money from those companies failures.

And now they are closing their Canby warehouse/production facility. There have been reports that the current owner, one of the founder’s sons – plans to keep the business alive, in a much smaller fashion – and selling rods directly through an internet website. Sadly, when I went to their site and tried accessing their online store before – all the pages were dead linked. I hope this is because of it being redesigned, and not because of it’s failure.

It’s sad not only because Grigg makes good rods at a price most people can afford – but because it’s one more Oregon business that’s being cut to the core and killed by the crappy economy we’re in.

I haven’t seen another rod out there in the price class these rods fall into that have the same looks, features, or castability that my Griggs have. TFO rods come close – but they just don’t have that same classic look to them. They cast alright – they should, since Lefty Kreh supposedly helped to design them – but they use different guides, and cold metal reel seat inserts. It might sound silly, but for me, a proper flyrod should have a wooden reel seat. It’s one of those nice little touches that separates my fly rods from my gear rods.

I hope the guys at Grigg can come out of this and revitalize their company. If they can’t, they will be missed, at least by me.

One Comment

  1. ninenails / Mar 26 2011 23:10

    A couple years ago I drove out to the Grigg location in Canby and got a killer deal on a 9' spinning rod. It had a “North River” label. I really like this rod and would run out there next week and get a casting rod if I knew they still had the same deal. I was told by one of the Grigg sons that when a rod was returned to the point of purchase with a broken tip the store would give the customer a new rod and the returned rod was sent to Grigg. Grigg had new tips made up and they would sell the semi-new rods in Canby at a bargain. Mine looked brand new.
    Nice Blog Mark.
    Couch angler (Mike)

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