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Post 23 Apr 2015, 18:47 • #1 
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Joined: 04/17/15
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Location: US-IA
Hello! I'm an avid trout fisherman with an appreciation for vintage tackle. I'm trying to put together a collection of the "classics" of the UL spinning world. The more I've dug, the more I've found that there are just too many reels out there to get one of each kind of UL. Which reels would you consider the icons of vintage tackle?

I think I have a really good start so far. Here's a list of what I have (not sure if some would count as ultralights).
Mitchell: 408/409, 308/309, 204, 304 (ultralight?)
Penn: 716, 716z, 420ss, 720 (ultralight?)
DAM Quick: Microlite, 110, 110N, 1001
Shakespeare: 2052
Hardy Altex No 1 Mk V
Zebco Cardinal 3
Orvis 50a
Alcedo Micron

Any major makers I'm missing? I have been considering Heddon. Any insights which of their reels would fit best in my lineup?


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Post 23 Apr 2015, 19:26 • #2 
Guide
Joined: 01/03/14
Posts: 221
Location: boston area
Those Mitchell 408 and 409 lefty ultralights were really nice. Faster gears then the 308 and 309 and better finish. 110 Quick was nice. simple gears inside. Not to many parts. My kids lost my 2 Mitchell 409s I still have a 309. I still have 3 Mitchell 411s ( 300 with sealed bearing, lefty model) that I still use today


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Post 24 Apr 2015, 03:08 • #3 
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Joined: 04/20/07
Posts: 8588
Location: US-ME
The Alcedo Micron goes back to the premono days when "threadline" was still the term/type used on fixed spool reels. Here's one that, when I sold it a few years ago--with original box and papers--I realized I had purchased from a then-new company called Cabela's in the mid 1960s.

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Post 24 Apr 2015, 07:59 • #4 
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Joined: 08/10/05
Posts: 18216
Location: downtown Bulverde, Texas
all flip-bail reels originated after 1950 when the Hardy Altex patent (1932) expired (certainly their bail designs were in the mill, anxiously awaiting the patent expiration - in fact, the Hardy Exalta bail copied the Mitchell bail, though I don't know why).

The spinning reel ("fixed spool") technology came into production shortly after WWI, with the Illingworth, though the idea goes back to the 1860s, including an American invention.
Most prewar examples are not terribly fishable, and many are absolutely bad, including the Hardy Hydra and Allcocks Helical.
A few prewar and early postwar half-bail examples shine, including the Luxor (my favorite, 1937)
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CAP, which became the Mitchell (this is 1949)
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and Allcocks SuperB (1947 example)
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short of the Altex, the Penn 716 is the sweetest UL of all time (more of a bantamweight), though only because it's more durable than the Alcedo.
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An interesting collectible, but a bad idea in practice, the Allcocks Stanley
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the spool spins and the sheeps crook bail precesses.
The problem is the line twists, and the spool had to be occasionally flipped to reverse it.


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Post 24 Apr 2015, 14:39 • #5 
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Joined: 04/17/15
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Location: US-IA
Bulldog, how does that Luxor compare in size to the Penn 716? I may need to find one of those.

Nice reels by the way! I agree about the 716. Fantastic reel. It is my primary user reel (716z). The jury is still out for me on the Altex. I'm sure it's well built, but mine probably has some old dried oil inside. I put fresh oil in the ports, but I'm too chicken to try to take it apart. It was a deal I couldn't pass up though. If I told you what I paid for it, I might be shunned. Any source of replacement bail springs for the Altex? Also, are there any "reel smiths" that can service them?


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Post 24 Apr 2015, 17:59 • #6 
Master Guide
Joined: 09/21/09
Posts: 369
Location: US-TX
Daiwa made several reels that are classics. The Silver and Gold Series in sizes 500 and 700. The Daiwa MiniSpin and I'm sure others I've forgotten.


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Post 24 Apr 2015, 18:48 • #7 
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Great treatise, Bulldog. Moving ahead in time, I hope somebody covers the DAM Quick reels (if I am remembering the name right, but someone will know what I'm thinking of), which I also think were more dependable/ durable than the Alcedo reels, cool as they were. They ate bailsprings, they were finicky as to the least off twist in the bail, and the drags were balky. I usually just let fish run against the reel rather than set the antireverse. Love Bulldog's picture, which I will guess is a less heavily used reel than mine was, and possibly one with the emblem in the "correct" original position. They fell off easily. When mine did, I was lucky to find it, but darned if I could remember how the lettering was oriented relative to the spool body.

Can't tell for sure from the photos--are some of those reels filled with the "threadline" of the time? I have a book someplace, (Stackpole, Barnes? can't recall for sure) that described and compared most of the top UL spinning reels of about 1960, frequently referring to "threadline," but written just as UL spinning broke out big time in the US, paralleling successful development of mono lines.


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Post 25 Apr 2015, 17:24 • #8 
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Joined: 08/10/05
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Location: downtown Bulverde, Texas
Dan, the Luxor (A size) is a small reel, long before anything like the Alcedo Micron appeared. You could use it in the same place you would use a Penn 716 - more of a bantamweight than Ultra small.
The problem with the Altex is the brazed-on spring bail spring. Probably best bet is to fabricate one.
I have a nice Mk IV No. 2 and only today with computer-designed fliers are they achieving comparable smoothness in wind.
Of course mine has a good spring, but the close of the bail is like shutting the door of a Mercedes. (I also have the later ball-bearing Exalta, and it's not even close in smoothness.)

The only reel I've ever had with threadline was the Stanley - I recovered it as backing from a 2-1/2" Young, and it was a perfect choice to spool on the Stanley.


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Post 25 Apr 2015, 20:07 • #9 
Guide
Joined: 01/27/12
Posts: 201
Location: US-PA
Let's not forget the Cargem Mignon 33, Alcedo Micron like but a bit smaller.Image


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Post 26 Apr 2015, 13:00 • #10 
Sport
Joined: 04/18/08
Posts: 54
Location: central, pa
Lest we forget- The Daiwa 500c. My go to small stream reel.


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Post 30 Apr 2015, 21:54 • #11 
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Joined: 04/17/15
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Location: US-IA
OK, so I need to look for a luxor model A, a Daiwa 500c, and maybe an Orvis 51a just for completeness.

Anyone know what model Heddon would fit the bill? Anyone every hear of the Daiwa 8100? I found a cool old ad for it. It seems to have a similar drive system to the penn 716, and DAM 110.


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Post 01 May 2015, 08:09 • #12 
Piscator
Joined: 08/10/05
Posts: 18216
Location: downtown Bulverde, Texas
here's the only photo I have of the Daiwa, my romantic lit prof buddy with a honking red ear
(he's trying out my rod, but I think he likes his better)
Image

different day, fishing his rod. Alex is a student of Joe Robinson, XUL modern threadline fishing, as outlined in Joe's book Piscatorial Absurdities. http://piscatorialabsurdities.com/
The rod is made from a fly rod blank, and the reel is spooled with 2-lb tippet
Lures are typically very small grubs. I don't know that it's significantly different from what we've always done with UL tackle, but they do like to stress the differences in their conventions, including turning flip bails into finger bails.
And it works.
Image
Image
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note Alex is short of schtupping up the bail on his nice reel
I've known Joe forever - my 1st ex-wife was buddies with his ex-wife.
Pete may show up and enlighten us on XUL - he was hanging with Joe about the time Joe wrote the book.


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Post 04 May 2015, 09:30 • #13 
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Joined: 02/02/09
Posts: 1585
Location: People's Republic of Austin
Yes, Joe lives about a block away and we see each other often. Typically we use cricket hooks bent as jigs or worm hooks. We do this because the conventional light wire hooks are thicker and don't penetrate as well. For line, I favor 5x or 6x tippet. Its a pretty killer system for the gin clear creeks and rivers in Central Texas that are often too over grown to successfully fly fish on (although we do fly fish the wider rivers). A slapping bail can easily make a rats nest out of 6x tippet, which is why Joe recommends removing them.
Although l own an Acedo Micron, Daiwa 500c, Penn 716 and Mitchell 408, but my go-to these days is my Orvis 50a - its is just so smooooth.


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Post 13 May 2015, 20:24 • #14 
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Joined: 04/17/15
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Location: US-IA
I just picked up a mignon 33 for a decent price. The only problem is the anti-reverse doesn't work. I took it apart and the previous owner had apparently lost what I believe is a small ball bearing that engages a detent on the anti-reverse dog. Any chance you have a schematic sheet? I've tried a couple of small ball bearings, but I think I need one just tiny bit larger than what I've got.


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Post 19 May 2015, 17:21 • #15 
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Joined: 04/17/15
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Location: US-IA
Here are some of my recent acquisitions. I'm really impressed by the smoothness of the Italian reels, but they are harder to work on. I guess they build them like they build their cars!
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Of course the German reels are no slouches either!

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and an obligatory catch picture!
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Post 20 May 2015, 17:20 • #16 
Sport
Joined: 12/03/12
Posts: 31
Location: US-MN
whrlpool-Was that book possibly F. Phillip Rice-America's Favorite Fishing? It has a nice and fairly detailed section on UL rods and reels of that era, says it was published in 1964. If not I want to find the book you speak of.


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Post 20 May 2015, 20:00 • #17 
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Doesn't ring a bell. I think the author or publisher's name was Bradbury or something like that. Darn, I think I leant that book years ago and never got it back. Rather than rummage in the attic, I did a little internet searching might ring a bell. Best guess right now is Vlad Evanov, Spin Fishing, A.S. Barnes and Company, 1963. If I saw a photo of the paperback cover, or maybe the table of contents, I'd probably know for sure. Read a lot of fly fishing and spinfishing books about that time, though. Maybe somebody here has the book and can add some detail or see if it mentions the "jewel-like" Alcedo Micron. The author was big on the Alcedo, and as I said earlier, used the term "threadline" often.

Well I may never know unless somebody posts a series of vintage spinfishing books. It could have been an even earlier book by Joe Bates, Spinning for Freshwater Gamefish. I have some of his other books in hardcover.


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Post 20 May 2015, 22:13 • #18 
Sport
Joined: 12/03/12
Posts: 31
Location: US-MN
Cool Thanks, I think I have all of those. The one that describes the "jewel like" Alcedo Micron is "Fresh and Salt Water Spinning" by Eugene Burns and Clyde Childress published by The Barnes Sports Library Copyright 1952. "Spinning For American Game Fish" By Joseph Bates Copyright 1947 talks about Luxor, Ambidex, Fix, and Hardy Altex reels.
Here's a short list of interesting early books on spinning:
1. Spinning For American Game Fish-Joseph D. Bates Jr.-Little Brown and Co.-1947
2. Fresh and Salt Water Spinning-Eugene Burns/Clyde Childress-Barnes Sports Library-1952
3. Modern Fishing Tackle-Vlad Evanoff-Barnes and Co.-1961
4. The Modern Science of Spin-Fishing-Erne St. Claire-1961
5. America's Favorite Fishing A Complete Guide to Angling for Panfish-F. Phillip Rice-Outdoor Life/Harper & Row-1964 (Has nice list and descriptions of Rods and Reels available in early 1960's with emphasis on the UL's)
That's what I know...


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Post 21 May 2015, 04:37 • #19 
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Thanks! Bingo: Now I am 99.9% sure it was Fresh and Salt Water Spinning-Eugene Burns/Clyde Childress-Barnes Sports Library-1952. That's why I had the Barnes/B--something names in memory. That book had some nifty write-ups on reels of the time. Mine was the Dell 35 cent paperback version. Currently a for-sale listing on Amazon shows the front cover.

Did you check the actual phrasing on the Alcedo to see how close I got? I guess you never know. I could be remembering the contents of one book and the cover of another one.

Having looked at the table of contents of the Bates book, I see that one covered an even earlier generation of reels.


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Post 21 May 2015, 07:03 • #20 
Sport
Joined: 12/03/12
Posts: 31
Location: US-MN
You nailed the phrasing! The Bates book is early enough that fiberglass rods are not even mentioned, he has a nice long chapter on bamboo spinning rods and briefly mentions steel rods but no glass.


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Post 30 May 2015, 19:10 • #21 
Sport
Joined: 03/03/10
Posts: 93
Location: US-IL
add a Langley spin-lite to the list. used it for tournaments.
started with a alcedo my mentor gave me
moved to the Langley cause the :cool: guys had them
moved to the 308 for the last 40 or so years.

we put a special gear in them we got form Mitchell to make them wind line smoother and flatter. cross wound. never "gobbed", tangled as we were on the clock over seas.
still have 3 to fish with. best of the lot,
cheers

jjw


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Post 21 Sep 2015, 22:04 • #22 
Master Guide
Joined: 02/04/12
Posts: 681
Location: SE Pa
The Shakespeare 2052 was nice. The Mitchell 314 was same size as the 304 & CAP mentioned in previous replies, but had a nicer folding handle.


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Post 29 Jan 2021, 12:47 • #23 
Sport
Joined: 11/13/20
Posts: 29
Location: Southern VT
Thank you to all with your extensive knowledge and experience. While waiting for an affordable altex to present itself, I found a little Mitchell long shot in my basement that cleaned up nicely. Not classic or collectible but balances well with my staggered ferrule heddon ultralight. Since then, based on some research, I have a Daiwa ul7 and DAM 110 en route for my phillipson ms562. Does anyone have any info on either of these rods? Thanks again for all the direction!


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Post 29 Jan 2021, 18:25 • #24 
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Joined: 08/10/05
Posts: 18216
Location: downtown Bulverde, Texas
I have one of the Heddon's around, and it's noodle-y to say the least. It takes second fiddle to my 5' Cortland.

Image
actually, I've never fished the Heddon, and most often use the male-sleeve-ferrule tip for a line spool axle

Though this is a bargain-basement Heddon, and a higher-grade Heddon could be a very nice rod.

You'll probably find the Phillipson to be crisp and fun to fish. I've never had that rod, but the VG+ MS65 I had was quite fast and ML.
Lunker75 has it now.


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Post 01 Feb 2021, 20:34 • #25 
Sport
Joined: 11/13/20
Posts: 29
Location: Southern VT
I was considering turning the phillipson into a tiny fly rod but after reading yours and others’ love of the ultralights, I have reconsidered. Seems almost sacrilege to me now.

The heddon needs some work and is definitely second fiddle. I hope some day to redo it and see what it has to offer, if anything other than a spool axle.

Either way I think the two reels will work nicely with the phillipson. There’s a penn 711 on its way for a couple of 7ft (silaflex and herters) spin/fly and a staggered ferrule uslan in my basement. Not ultralights, but the research bled into other areas... and I thought I’d given up spinning.


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