Thursday, March 12, 2015

Made in Canada. Made in the U.S.

Eppinger spoons
In these last few decades of globalization and outsourcing of manufacturing, it is a real pleasure to find things still made in North America. And it is especially rewarding to find that many of these Canadian-and-American-made items have to do with fishing. Take Eppinger Lures, for example, the maker of the famous Dardevle which is the ultimate red-and-white and black-and-white spoons that have caught so many northern pike throughout the North. The company also has lures with specialty finishes like the ones at right with Canadian and American flags. Eppinger lures are made in Dearborn, Michigan.
 Another time-tested favourite is the Len Thompson spoon, especially this company's Five-of-Diamonds pattern. Len Thompson spoons are made in Lacombe, Alberta. 

Mepps Spinners, although the components may be made in France, are  assembled in Antigo, Wisconsin.
Plano tackle boxes, at least the hard-sided models, are made in Plano, Illinois.
It was actually the purchase of a new Plano hard box that got me thinking about the made-in-North America aspect of fishing tackle. I needed to replace a soft-sided Plano nylon case that was made in China. The bottom fell out of it in just six or seven years. By comparison I've had an Umco hard plastic tackle box for 38 years.
(I guess Umco is no longer in business.)
I don't know about you but so far I've not had any item that was made better in China than it was in Canada or the U.S. and I've had plenty that are inferior.
Fifteen or 20 years ago I bought a Sierra Designs Gore-Tex rain jacket that was made in Ontario. It was fantastic and I wore it summer and winter for four or five years. When I went to purchase a new one, I found that they were now made in China. "North America labour rates just can't compete with those overseas," I was told. I ended up buying a made-in-China model and it lasted less than two years. Oh yeah, it cost me the same as the Ontario one. The savings by going to China were strictly for the manufacturer.
Plano hard-sided tackle box
A similar situation arose last fall when one of our guests bought two inexpensive made-in-China spinning reels on his way to camp. They fell apart the very first time he used them. He didn't really have much choice, all spinning reels are now made overseas. The last to be made in the U.S. was Penn and that company moved all but its salt-water trolling reel manufacturing overseas a few years ago.
At first the Chinese-manufactured reels of all the big names were quite inexpensive and pretty good. No more. If you want a good reel you need to shell out some serious bucks.
Len Thompson
This is really just a matter of economics. If the only reason a manufacturer moves offshore is to save money, then we shouldn't be surprised that as time goes on the company takes more and more shortcuts that are less expensive, even if it means making an inferior product.
Getting back to things still made here, all of the famous Canadian lure makes are still made in Canada. These include Gibbs, Brecks, Williams, and Lindquist, the maker of the famous Canadian Wiggler.
There have been more lake trout caught on the Gibbs One-Eye Wiggler than any other spoon at Bow Narrows Camp.
All of these lures are well-made, time-tested, proven producers.
When I think of quality products, I'm reminded of the slogan of Vermont's Darn Tough Socks:
"Nobody ever outsourced anything for quality."
Their socks may be more expensive but they come with a lifetime guarantee.
Gibbs One-Eye

Canadian Wiggler
Blackbird Floats
Mepps, made in France but assembled in U.S.
Click here for a link to more American-made fishing equipment. Or here for a list of Canadian companies.

1 comment:

Bruce Pierce said...

I agree Dan.....I have one entire tacklebox of nothing BUT Mepps! Also, for several years.....we used almost Exclusively Doctor or K-B spoons on Red Lake! These were from Arbogast and were made in the USA I believe. Semi rare to see them around much anymore!