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Post 20 Jul 2023, 13:33 • #1 
Guide
Joined: 06/20/23
Posts: 119
Location: Wasilla Alaska
I picked up a couple of these odd ducks a while back, this one and a Humphrey’s #3. When they arrived and i realized how cool they are i bought this early Heddon Pal 5 1/2 ft’er to complete the rig. This morning i spooled it with fresh 4lb. And will give it a spin on a nearby lake soon! Vintage never goes out of style!





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Post 20 Jul 2023, 14:14 • #2 
Administrator
Joined: 01/10/06
Posts: 7799
Location: Holly Springs, NC
These can also be mounted on fly rods. With the popularity of Euro-nymphing, I'm surprised there isn't a Fre-Line reel revival. From a distance a Fre-Line looks like a fly reel. The Fre-Line (or the heavier Humphreys reel - image below) can be filled with nylon monofilament instead of a $75 'nymphing line'.


Tom



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Post 20 Jul 2023, 15:01 • #3 
Piscator
Joined: 08/10/05
Posts: 19024
Location: downtown Bulverde, Texas
We call those Colorado reels, and they were made (1) to use with a fly rod.
and (2) to use with a 7' rear-seat ML spinning rod with small guides made just for Colorado reels.

A product of the 50s, when most people still only had one rod to do everything they needed, and just for that newfangled nylon monofilament.

Cast spinners, drift-fish quill float.


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Post 20 Jul 2023, 15:10 • #4 
Master Guide
Joined: 09/23/18
Posts: 600
Location: Eastern Wa
Interesting reel! Really cool rod too. Well done and very unique. Go get some fish with it and share some fish pics with it.

Thanks for sharing!


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Post 20 Jul 2023, 19:03 • #5 
Glass Fanatic
Joined: 09/18/09
Posts: 5547
Location: Relocated to the Drought Stricken West.
Bulldog,

I have one of these reels too, just for the novelty, but it sounds like it would be fun to spool it up and drift worms through with a fly rod. Is there anything I should be careful of (if you know)?

And do you have any ideas about how are these related to the UCO steelhead spinfly reels? I have one of those too.


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Post 20 Jul 2023, 22:18 • #6 
Piscator
Joined: 08/10/05
Posts: 19024
Location: downtown Bulverde, Texas
Hi Carl, difference is the UCO is an under-rod traditional multiplier.
The Colorado reels are a spincast turned sideways, with direct drive pick-up.
Tom has a good photo essay looking inside one.
I've never tried one, but some folks on the fishing page have reported fun results drifting quills (Fre-Line, GoodAll, Humphreys, etc.)
They just seem like a great idea, especially if you're in Colorado in the 50s, have a fly rod, and want to try a spool of mono.


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Post 21 Jul 2023, 01:10 • #7 
Guide
Joined: 06/20/23
Posts: 119
Location: Wasilla Alaska
Thanks guys, i’ve only been around a couple weeks and am really enjoying you’re site! Now the pressure’s on for me to catch some fish with this thing and i’ll be happy to oblige but it’s gonna have to be later next week.

On Saturday our dip net season opens and myself and several thousand other Alaskans will converge on the local fishing hole’s with 5ft dia dip nets as we attempt to catch a limit of Red salmon headed up the stream. A limit is 35 fish and this is a truly unique Alaskan experience! Grand ma’s and grand kids will line the shore from the mouth inland 1/4 mile standing in the silty mud with long handled nets outstretched. The bags on these nets are gill net and on a “hot day” folks have caught as many as 8 at a time! I’ll be sitting comfortable in my old town 133 which i rigged as a solo canoe specifically for this purpose. Last year it took me 2 1/2 hours to catch our years supply of fish. Once the “meat run” is complete we’ll relax and get back to a more sane approach.
I guess i could post some pictures in the fishing with fiberglass section as i made my own dip net which did require some fiberglass!!


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Post 21 Jul 2023, 06:45 • #8 
Piscator
Joined: 08/10/05
Posts: 19024
Location: downtown Bulverde, Texas
You need to put a round baitcaster on that nice Heddon rod.
Choice would be an old Ambassadeur 4500C. Next choice would be a direct drive "knuckle buster" Langley, Heddon, Pflueger, Marhoff (they're green).
Also green Johnson Citation or Century spincast.

Borrowing a photo of Mike's Heddon P41 (there's a narrow-spool P41N listed on ebay)


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Post 21 Jul 2023, 11:44 • #9 
Guide
Joined: 06/20/23
Posts: 119
Location: Wasilla Alaska
Doe’s it ever end? I have been perusing ebay and do have a couple Pfluger’s on my watch list! I bought those two odd balls and the rod to use as “bait” on a gun show table. Each year i do one local show and am known for my “different” display’s. Last year featured a nice cannon i built. The proprietor's have given me a space out of the usual line-up, close to the food court because i can draw a crowd. This years theme will include a canoe and a bunch of Vintage stuff that people will stand around and talk about, while eating a taco or whatever.
I don’t see a lot of old fishing tackle going out the door at these shows and im not there to sell anything; however i do enjoy the conversations that happen when another Senior like myself show up and just wants to swap stories! A lot of those folks are world travelers, not in a hurry and have a lot to offer.
Im sure this current pile of plunder i’ve amassed will be a hit with that crowd.




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Post 21 Jul 2023, 12:30 • #10 
Piscator
Joined: 08/10/05
Posts: 19024
Location: downtown Bulverde, Texas
Display the Fre-Line on one of your short fly rods.

Offset handles and round baitcasters are bread and butter.



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Post 21 Jul 2023, 19:57 • #11 
Guide
Joined: 06/20/23
Posts: 119
Location: Wasilla Alaska
I’ve changed my mind; you guys are awful!

Bulldog’s right, a nice bait caster would look better on that rod so i went back to the store (ebay) with a more serious bent and stumbled onto a nice group of Pfluger Summits. Well, you know how this story ends, the nicest one i could find will be headed this way in a couple days. I just gotta remember “they’re just bait”; darn nice bait too!

I do have a decent Donaldson bamboo from the same period as either the Humphrey #3 or the Fre-line. Heck i’d bet you guys (my new friends) probably have an opinion about that too!


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Post 21 Jul 2023, 21:50 • #12 
Master Guide
Joined: 09/23/18
Posts: 600
Location: Eastern Wa
Alasgun,

Great forum name and welcome! I rediscovered vintage fishing gear not too long ago and share the same enthusiasm as you.

Good luck with the sockeyes tomorrow! I miss Alaska. Been there many times (fishing, hunting, camping, climbing, photography) but the last time was about 13 years ago (drove all the way up from WA). Cool cannon!

Take care.


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Post 22 Jul 2023, 15:59 • #13 
Glass Fanatic
Joined: 09/18/09
Posts: 5547
Location: Relocated to the Drought Stricken West.
Alasgun,

I have collected a large collection of "interesting" fly equipment. Maybe not as interesting as a home made cannon, but fun.

I would say a 50's era shakespeare ausable's reel would be a great conversation piece. Or a US made Hardy Perfect clone. And if you have old fishing stuff, a Mitchell 300 spinning reel is always a conversation starter. Everyone has had one or had a relative that did.


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Post 28 Jul 2023, 18:21 • #14 
Guide
Joined: 07/12/22
Posts: 206
Been using this all summer for small bass on a custom wrapped glass rod. Super small stripper guides and oversized grip for what feels like a 6wt. 9.5’. Casts 1/16 and 1/32 oz Crappie jigs with just a flick. Reel is multiplier version. Knuckle buster with no drag. There is also a great paperback book about the history of Colorado reels. Not really much different than a center pin reel. I have an early free line one to one ratio with the drag, but it gets tedious after a while.





Edit: Meant it was used similar to a center pin for drifting baits with mono. Not actual configuration. This is a fixed spool similar to a closed face Zebco push Busto with no button. Half turn backwards retracts the line winding pin.

I also agree that offset handles go much better with baitcasters. Especially vintage narrow spools.



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Post 29 Jul 2023, 16:46 • #15 
Guide
Joined: 06/20/23
Posts: 119
Location: Wasilla Alaska
So, here they are, 3 additions to my meager vintage tackle selection. All three of these Summits appear fishable and with a bit of servicing will be very smooth! One goes back to 1931 and the other two im un-sure of. There’s rods for them as well which i’ll detail later.
I have an eye for beauty and this group did not disappoint but I’m starting to think there should be a “consent form” required to join this group because my conscious hasn’t kicked in once yet! Along the way i also found some really nice Bronson’s and had to quickly move off that page.



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Post 29 Jul 2023, 17:38 • #16 
Guide
Joined: 07/12/22
Posts: 206
Those old Pfluegers are fun to collect, fiddle with and lawn cast. Not the best in my opinion for fishing. I try to match them with period rods and line and use the old rubber casting plugs. Then set up targets and play fish/golf.
After taking apart, cleaning and repairing a couple of hundred, you really start to appreciate the technology in modern bait casters.
There were tons of aftermarket market gadgets intended to tame the old baitcasters and they are fun to collect also. Examples were centrifugal brakes that attached to the handles and fiber washers drags that were supposedly going to prevent knuckle busting. They don’t. But are cool additions to your favorite reels to set them apart.
Very few Pfluegers are really valuable. So be careful of spending two much.
And once you educate that thumb, you will spend less time trying to dial in magnetic and centrifugal brakes on your modern reels and more time fishing.

Another practical skill is to learn how to undo birds nests without reaching for the knife and scissors. Because modern or vintage, it will happen. And always when it is not convenient.

The later version narrow spool Supremes are the most fishable in my opinion. I regularly use them on modern rods. Good drags and gears.


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Post 29 Jul 2023, 19:48 • #17 
Sport
Joined: 12/04/11
Posts: 72
Location: US-MI
Those old Pflueger Summits still handle the big ones!


Image


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Post 31 Jul 2023, 00:25 • #18 
Guide
Joined: 06/20/23
Posts: 119
Location: Wasilla Alaska
Thanks for the reply’s and interesting additional tid-bits. Im sure i’ll enjoy fishing with some of these vintage goodies!


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Post 07 Oct 2023, 01:28 • #19 
Guide
Joined: 06/20/23
Posts: 119
Location: Wasilla Alaska



Today i added a UCO Steelhead spin/fly reel to my group of “interesting odd-balls”. From the same time period as the Humphrey and the Fre-Line and showing a high level of craftsmanship for reels made of predominately die stamped stainless.
these are e-bay pictures.

As a Machinist i’m drawn to this sort of thing and wondering; are there other odd ducks of similar design from this time period? The limited printed information i’ve found lumps these 3 into the “Steelhead with mono on a fly rod” category.

“On edit” reading back thru the replies i kinda answered my question and am now looking for a mint Good-All! And while on the hunt im seeing “Magic” reels coming out of Denver as well which are also stamped, stainless.

As a kid i’d pair a small spinning reel with a fly rod and although awkward i could sure toss Rooster tails a long ways.


Last edited by Alasgun on 07 Oct 2023, 09:50, edited 1 time in total.

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Post 07 Oct 2023, 01:38 • #20 
Administrator
Joined: 01/10/06
Posts: 7799
Location: Holly Springs, NC
Interesting oddballs indeed! Can the UCO Steelhead Spin/Fly be disassembled to show how the drag and spool bearings work?

From the looks, I am guessing the angler brings line in like a multiplier reel, but slides the line into the side loop for casting like a Colorado reel? I would think that could lead to a build up of line twist. Still, it is a fun design.


Tom


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Post 07 Oct 2023, 10:10 • #21 
Guide
Joined: 06/20/23
Posts: 119
Location: Wasilla Alaska
Tom, at this point i believe disassembly should be easy enough but i also believe you are correct regarding the line pickup and i also wonder how much line tangle would occur?

It appears UCO (utility, comfort & originality) is still in business out of Redmond Washington. The site says they were founded in 1971 but another tid-bit mentioned the reel business was discontinued long before that?

Here’s a little something from an on-line site offering another of these reels for sale.

‘This is an older steelhead reel by UCO engraved "STEELHEAD SPIN FLY PAT.APP", that I bought at an Estate Sale and do not know the history. I have never seen one like it. It appears to be brushed stainless? steel, with a star drag& crank handle on one side plate and "casting finger" on the other side plate. It appears that the reel functions like a direct drive fly reel on retrieve and you slip the line onto the "casting finger" to cast like a spinning reel(i.e. the spool does not turn but the line coils off the side like a spinning reel). The reel is functional and an interesting design for a collector. A little research as I was making this listing reflects the reel is stainless steel, made in the 1950s in California and was designed to be used on a favorite fly rod to drift and spin fish in the Pacific Northwest for steelhead and salmon. The reel will hold 250 yards of 10 lb. test monofilament and was sometimes called the "sidewinder" reel.”

The ORCA pages have some info as well. For me, having this small group of unusual reels will generate some wonderful conversations with the geezers who frequent the local gun shows. Something i do once a year solely for those conversations!


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