By the end of this year, custom rod builders and customers throughout the world will lose one of the most highly regarded blanks in the industry. In a news release dated April 23, 2009, G.Loomis, long considered the industry benchmark for rods in North America, announced their decision to exit the custom rod blank business so they can focus on expanding their finished rods business globally. It was just a few short years ago, where I was quite excited over the fact G.Loomis made the decision to re-release a small selection of their GLX blanks and was hoping theyd expand the selection someday to include the BCR blanks as well as the MBR842 (one of my absolute favorite rods in their lineup). But instead, today we find out quite the opposite is true In the press release, Bruce Holt, executive director at G.Loomis made the following statement: This is a very difficult decision for all of us here at G.Loomis, especially since making custom rod blanks for steelhead anglers was how we got our start as a fishing tackle company back in the 80s. While we realize theres an avid following among custom rod makers for our blanks, the growth weve experienced on a worldwide basis for our finished rods and especially our fly rods with both fly tackle dealers in the U.S. and abroad - makes this the right decision and direction for our business success in the future. The company has invested in upgrades to their Woodland, WA facility and in training for current staff in an effort to make improvements in all areas of the company. Holt continued in his statement by adding, Our production plans include manufacturing custom rod blanks through the end of 2009, and then our complete focus will be on finished rods. Our efforts at the plant over the past few months and this decision to exit the custom blank business prepares us well for when the global economy rebounds. So where does that leave the custom rod builder and customer? St. Croix, Phenix Rods, Lamiglas, among a select few others will hopefully continue to offer their blanks to those who prefer to roll their own, but the loss of G.Loomis in this market segment will be significant. Personally, Im more than just a little disappointed. Considering how conservative G.Loomis has remained with their finished rod designs, the custom wrapping route was the next best alternative to having a very stylish rod built on one of their blanks. Now that they are abandoning this segment, and removing this option, it may be time I abandon their product all together until they update some of their designs - at the very least, remove the foregrips on their bass rods. Well, if in the past G.Loomis can re-release their GLX blanks, maybe at some point in the future, theyll find the resources to back up on this decision as well and reopen the doors to the custom market. For now, its on to other resources.