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Cast Industries

Over a year ago I reached out to Cast Industries about a field trip to their location in order to show middle and high school age kids the Science, Technology, Engineering and Math that goes into making professional grade fishing lures. Throughout the process of lining up dates and asking for their time the owner was consistently easy going and very hospitable. In June, I was fortunate enough to achieve the long awaited goal in Springfield Illinois with three school aged kids 18, 14 and 9. It was an eye opening experience with unexpected technical applications.

(left to right) Jim Stevens, (Owner), Jeremy Dineen (Prototyping Lead), Wyatt Stradling, Gage Miller and Christian Knight.

Jim opened up with the history of Cast Industries, informing us that it was his fathers passion for fishing that got the business up and running from their home basement, paint shop and all. Even after the business grew out of the house they would load the products up, take them over to Jim’s house, unload, paint, then load and transport back. As demand grew, they made the shift to their current location which allowed them to streamline their process. Jim shared some words of wisdom about knowing when to expand or hire for production purposes but not to jump the gun.

Jeremy took over, pulling back the curtain, so the boys could see exactly what goes into making professional grade fishing lures.

Here he explains how the molds push the lead into the cavities using centrifugal force. Jeremy designs master molds for future use, a true wealth of knowledge in the casting industry. The design modification, mold shaping and mold production team consists of 6-8 team members. Prototyping a lure requires the use of sophisticated computer programs merged with 3D printing machines until the team and the customer come to agreement on the product. The cast room (pictured ) houses 14 employees, thousands of hooks, molten lead, buzzing noises and steady hands. All diligently performing their art for the next stage along the way.

The detail booth; Specific colors are applied in order to achieve customer satisfaction.

This room hosts the bigger paint booths where base layer colors are applied.

In this space you will find another six employees that apply paint, two of which also do it by hand for the really peculiar requests.

While taking the tour and listening to Jeremy talk about all the moving parts and step tracking processes they have in place for product design and quality control, I began to realize just how much it takes to produce these little aquatic treasures. It's much more complicated than my three person show I run out of the small back yard shop. From start to finish all the steps are the same but the logistics between stages is light years more complicated.

As we concluded Jeremy suggested a couple of local delicacies, such as the "Horseshoe". (pictured below)

He also mentioned a restaurant called "West woods", they specialize in wild game!

This experience was truly humbling. There are no means to automate any portion of the process. The jigs you buy that are products of Cast Industries are touched by no less than 13 people. After working with them for the last two years and now getting to see the method to the madness, I have a greater appreciation for the products we offer anglers. Knowing that they treat the small guys, the same as bigger names and provide jobs for Americans on American soil is heart warming to see. Great company, great people, outstanding experience across the board!

Below is a short review from Christian and Gage;

My experience from taking a visit to the cast industries tour was full of excitement and knowledge. I was very excited to go and get to see how the lures that I use were made. I was surprised about how much hands on work that is put in to make sure each lure is flawless. The knowledge that I acquired from the experience was how the computer created the lure, then how the molds were made, then how they made each lure so fast and efficiently. My favorite part of this trip was how friendly the staff is and how nice they were as to show us how they tried their best to make each one the best that they could. It was a well spent family trip seeing how they work hard so we can set the hook in a gnarly hog! -Christian

My cast industries tour was awesome, it taught me new things I never new about fishing lures and how the process of the lures began and what all kinds of lures there are. I thought all of it was fascinating from the forming of the jig head, to watching it get painted, and I had no clue that these weren't just shot out of a machine by the millions. They were hand crafted and cared for, ensuring your product was the best it could be, and that it would be a great lure for catching your desired fish. Our tour leader Jeremy was fantastic, I would ask him a question about the jig and he'd tell you everything you wanted to know about it. I knew that my brother, my uncle and I were very excited when we came in and when we left we were amazed. Hands down the trip was just an over all 10/10. - Gage

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