In 2001, Ed Loughran found himself navigating a career crossroads with purpose and performance akin to a very special spinnerbait that we’ll discuss in moment.
When the Wall Street firm where he’d worked for several years sold to another entity, Loughran passed on the option of relocating from Miami to Jersey City. Instead, he returned to his birth state of Virginia and earned a law degree from the University of Richmond.
Today, as a well-established attorney with Cawthorn, Deskevich and Gavin, P.C., the second-year Elite angler frequently employs the homemade baits he designed and created during his formative years. No denying the nostalgia, but Loughran prefers his own design because — it’s his design.
Filling a need
Enamored with lure making since his childhood, Loughran turned his interest into a cottage industry when need fostered creation. Guiding and tournament fishing during high school and his undergraduate years at George Mason University, Loughran became frustrated with how the Potomac River’s grassy habitat constantly impeded the thick-headed spinnerbaits common to that era.
“When I started making lures in the late 1980s and early 90s, we didn’t have the sheer number of baits, manufacturers and different styles we have today; so literally, necessity was the mother of invention,” Loughran said. “In order to get baits the way I wanted, I decided to make it happen myself.”
His creation: A compact, low-profile spinnerbait that not only matched the smaller forage that tidal river bass tend to prefer but also better traversed the grassy habitat. Essential to the latter point was a thinner head, which Loughran dressed with gill plates, scale pattern, fins and recessed eyes.
The setup, he said, was significant for its time, but Loughran said the value of creating precisely what he wanted more than justified the effort and expense.
“With today’s technology, you can have a mold made much easier, but back in the day, that was a Herculean task,” Loughran said. “I found a guy in Maryland who had experience in precision machining and designed a bait with all of those details machined into the mold.”