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another mitchell story
Post 18 Feb 2022, 05:25 • #1 
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Joined: 03/12/15
Posts: 251
Location: US-CT
I think all if us from a certain era that began fishing with a Garcia Mitchell has a story. here is mine.
My mother was from the greatest generation. She quit high school to get a job to help with the family and pay the bill. Her father was blind. She really knew how to budget and stretch a dollar.
She married and I came along. I come from a long line of sportsmen and got the fish bug at a really early age. We could not afford much so I got a Sears spincast outfit that was painfully inadequate.
My fish buddies were showing up at the local ponds with a Garcia Mitchell 300 spin reel.
How I wanted one!!! These guys could cast!
Knowing how tight money was, I still took a chance and asked my mother to get me one.
Believe it or not- 13 bucks was a lot of money to my mother (She was now divorced).
We were living hand to mouth. Paycheck to paycheck. My mother always tried to teach something in life and money was no exception. She agreed to the reel but I would have to have skin in the game. She felt and I agree, that if you paid for an item, you would take care of it.
I scratched together 6 bucks and she kicked in 6 and I had my Mitchell. My new spin rod came from S&S green stamps. She agreed to use them for a 6 1/2 foot glass spin rod.
I have fished that outfit almost every year since that wonderful day. My mother is gone now but I thank her every day for her love and generosity. My collection of Garcia Mitchells have grown over the years. 300's. 308s 386 are now lovingly fished and displayed. The original from my Mother is now semi retired and holds a special place on the rack and in my heart.


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Post 18 Feb 2022, 07:02 • #2 
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Joined: 11/09/10
Posts: 1283
Location: US-CA
Great story!


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Post 18 Feb 2022, 08:44 • #3 
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Joined: 08/10/05
Posts: 18066
Location: downtown Bulverde, Texas
Thirteen or 14 bucks was a lot of money for anybody in 1970. Houses cost $10,000 then - cars now cost four times that.
Plastic 1/24 car models that were $2 then are $75 now.
I keep trying to explain that about Pflueger Medalist - it was never a "blue collar" reel until 1980s inflation, marketing, and boutique fly shops.

Image


Last edited by bulldog1935 on 18 Feb 2022, 16:56, edited 1 time in total.

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Post 18 Feb 2022, 09:42 • #4 
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Joined: 12/05/06
Posts: 1835
Location: US-PA
Great story Skunkedalot!

The first reel I ever bought (the first two, a casting reel & spincasting reel were given to me) was a Garcia-Mitchell 408 bought with lawn cutting money, but I believe I paid around $29.

I still have it and use it on special occasions along with a 300 I bought a few years later. Here's my 408:



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Post 18 Feb 2022, 13:59 • #5 
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Joined: 03/12/15
Posts: 251
Location: US-CT
I had a 408 - stolen from my car when I foolishly left my gear in the car overnight at my college apartment.
It was a great reel. I replaced it with a 308.
The 308/408 were considered the poor man's Alcedo Micron. Remember that one?
Just great memorys.
I wish I had kept my copys of the original Garcia Fishing annuals. They were great reads. Sort of like the old Orvis catalogs we poured over except it had stories etc.


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Post 18 Feb 2022, 15:18 • #6 
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Joined: 12/05/06
Posts: 1835
Location: US-PA
I actually sold my 408 & 300 to a friend for peanuts when I became full of myself as fly fisherman and figured I'd never pick up a spinning reel again.

Many years later when that same friend's kid was considering playing the clarinet, in a sentimental mood (pardon the pun) I offered to trade him a clarinet I had for the two reels I sold him years prior.

I got them back in an even trade looking as good as when I foolishly sold them. ;)


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Post 18 Feb 2022, 15:19 • #7 
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Joined: 08/10/05
Posts: 18066
Location: downtown Bulverde, Texas
I'm going to add a note here for people thinking about picking up a Mitchell -
- the 400-series reels are worth the upgrade over the 300 series reels.
(this one has an aftermarket barstock spool)
Image


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Post 18 Feb 2022, 17:37 • #8 
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Joined: 04/20/17
Posts: 348
Location: Portland, OR
A great story...and so many have similar experiences growing up using Mitchells. It's no wonder, at over 13M and spanning four decades, its the most produced spinning reel model ever. Below is my early second version...Probably later forties...note the factory Rosewood handle grip. Of course this was before Charles Garcia (exclusive importer to the US) named it the '300'.

Sandman



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Post 18 Feb 2022, 19:03 • #9 
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Joined: 12/05/06
Posts: 1835
Location: US-PA
WOW!!

I have a really nice half bail Mitchell circa 1946-47 with a blued handle that I got for peanuts on the Bay. I also have a two NOS handles if I want pristine.

I pair it with a 1947 Orvis 7'0" spinning rod with a folding first guide that was restored by Orvis about 10 years ago, I also have a sweet Altex to use with it if I choose.


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Post 19 Feb 2022, 01:41 • #10 
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Joined: 04/20/17
Posts: 348
Location: Portland, OR
Those aluminum grips had a tendency to patina blue…not sure of the metallurgic reason…I imagine yours has a boomerang A/R vs the round knob…

Sounds like a cool Orvis rod to pair it with…that’s a head turning combo.

Sandman


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Post 19 Feb 2022, 06:22 • #11 
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Joined: 12/05/06
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Location: US-PA
The knobs are a deep blue, sort of the color of the later 408's and glossy when unused.

I guess they are not "blued" in the true sense, maybe they are anodized but I am pretty sure it's not a patina because I have seen them in various levels of condition. Regardless of how much "bluing" is left on the handle it still appears in the groves making me believe it was an applied finish that wore off.

Yes mine does have a boomerang A/R but no serial number. It is a really nice example in close to mint condition.


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Post 23 Feb 2022, 15:44 • #12 
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Joined: 04/20/17
Posts: 348
Location: Portland, OR
Bamboozle, the bluing I thought you were referring to was when the black aluminum knobs turned bluish from wear. See photo below. Not sure why they do this. Aluminum knobs first showed up in the last first version Mitchell's. I've seen a red anodized knob as produced in very small quantities in early third versions which indicated the "new" cross-wind gearing (vs level wind), but I've never seen a blue factory knob. Would be great to see photos, if you can. The last photo is a near mint late first version, just for fun.

Sandman





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Post 25 Feb 2022, 11:21 • #13 
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Joined: 12/05/06
Posts: 1835
Location: US-PA
Yes, That's what I am referring to. They looked like a deep blue to me but maybe I'm a little colorblind. ;)

The reel I own came with a handle that is in similar condition to the handle in the upper photo (with notch). I score a pair of NOS handles on eBay to have as spares or replacements if ever decide to chase down another reel with a less than desirable handle.

I have to look at them again under magnification to see what the color really is.


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Post 25 Feb 2022, 12:10 • #14 
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Joined: 08/10/05
Posts: 18066
Location: downtown Bulverde, Texas
old type 1 anodizing turns blue because it is very thin - literally a few atomic layers.
It wears, but it even slowly evaporates.
Nothing at all like modern hard-anodizing.

this handle grasp began just as black

Image


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Post 25 Feb 2022, 15:35 • #15 
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Joined: 04/20/17
Posts: 348
Location: Portland, OR
BD, thanks for the info on the early anodizing...makes sense...

Bamboozle...you don't see many NOS aluminum grasps.

Some close ups of the early and rare Rosewood grasp and the black anodized grasp. The same Rosewood grasps were also factory on early CAP (predecessor to 304) reels.

Sandman





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Post 28 Feb 2022, 11:41 • #16 
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Joined: 08/10/05
Posts: 18066
Location: downtown Bulverde, Texas
most of the early applications with wood handle grasps were Fail, because of bad choice of wood, with swelling and splitting reaction to water exposure.
They eventually found hard-enough woods that held up well to water exposure.
Here's one dense piece of wood on 1937 Luxor
Image


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