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Garbolino was established in 1945, just as the Second World War came to a close, by Henri Garbolino. From its state-of-the-art manufacturing plant, just outside of Paris, Garbolino produced alloy fishing poles that were unlike anything the anglers of the time had seen before. In the decades that followed, Garbolino would grow to be known as an innovator in pole production, and today is a market leader for top end poles. Many of the products we now take for granted were the brain-children of Garbolino’s expert team, and extendible potting kits, margin poles, pole packages, pellet presses, and method feeder moulds are just a few of the products we would be without were it not for Garbolino. However, the journey to this point has not always been plain sailing.
Although the company grew steadily over the first fifteen years, it wasn’t until 1960 that the company really became known as a great innovator. Garbolino was the first pole production company to introduce fibreglass, then a brand new material, to its manufacturing process. Fibreglass had many benefits, but the main benefit was the weight of the material. Fibreglass was so much lighter than the alloy that most pole production companies used, and the move to include it in Garbolino’s pole production launched the company as the front-runner in pole fishing technology. By 1965, Garbolino had completely reconfigured its manufacturing process and were producing poles without any metal in them whatsoever. For over a decade the company continued to expand, all the time focussing production on the top quality fibreglass poles for coarse and match anglers.
In 1977, three years after the retirement of founder Henri, the first carbon fibre rods and poles began to appear on the tackle market. This was set to once again revolutionise the tackle industry, and allowed fishing poles to be slimmer, longer, and lighter. However, despite Grabolino’s adjustments, the company could not compete with the pace of the new technology that was springing out of tackle factories in the Far East, and a decade the company was in crisis. Garbolino were being squeezed out of a market it had created, unable to compete with the low prices of their Far Eastern competitors.
In 1988 the company, with new CEO Paul-Henri Viellard, birthed the Viper Process. This represented a huge breakthrough in carbon fibre production – allowing the carbon fibre to be weaved together via an automated, computerised system. The old carbon fibre sheets had to be produced manually, and this new computer controlled system optimised the manufacturing process, creating incredibly strong and durable poles. Garbolino were once again considered innovators in the pole industry.
A decade later, and Garbolino was not only working at the top end of pole production and producing poles of outstanding lengths (up to 16 metres), but also opening new factories. The new Slovakian factory enabled Grabolino to produce poles made in Europe that could compete with the low costs of the Far Eastern rival factories.
Today, Garbolino continues to be an innovator in the pole industry, thanks largely to the cornucopia of fishing knowledge it has access to. The UK branch of Garbolino is lead by Darren Cox, an England International who has spent over thirteen years representing the country in feeder and float disciplines at the European and World Championships. Cox represents only a small amount of the angling wisdom Garbolino has access to, and new ideas are constantly turning anglers’ dreams into realities.