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Post 17 Jan 2018, 20:45 • #1 
Master Guide
Joined: 07/05/05
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Location: US-VA
Looks to me like a lot of "classic" reels are the clunkers we still have because we used them once and put them away a number of years ago. I know I've seen several I kind of deep sixed years ago which are at the bottom of my reel box with their finishes kind of bubbling up mentioned here as plain wonderful.


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Post 17 Jan 2018, 22:49 • #2 
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Location: downtown Bulverde, Texas
seems a bit royal on the we.
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(you should see this rod with the green Condex)
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(I can keep doing this...ok, two of these reels I sold, but not because they weren't great reels)


Last edited by bulldog1935 on 17 Jan 2018, 23:18, edited 1 time in total.

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Post 17 Jan 2018, 23:10 • #3 
Sport
Joined: 02/20/08
Posts: 94
Location: US-LA
Now Colston, do you really believe that to be true?

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Post 18 Jan 2018, 08:42 • #4 
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there's a thread on the TX kayak board, What Do You Wish You Knew When You Started?

Most of the posters in front of me had long lists, which often included unhappy tackle buying choices, perceived wasted time on the water with learning curves, etc.
OK, and some legitimate complaints about wind and bad paddle planning. Basically, post your regrets here so we can all learn from them.
My answer
Ron Mc wrote:
there's just not a day fishing in my entire life I would have traded or changed - probably can't say that about too many other activities or choices.
Being out on the water with your eyes, ears and senses open is just never wasted time. Bring a camera.


My tackle rule has been simple - be patient and don't buy junk. For the collectibles I'm going to fish, don't buy anything you can't sell; don't pay more than you can re-sell it; (not counting new contemporary/conventional tackle, which, I don't buy much - I bought two salt reels over the past three years to upgrade 35-y-o reels) and even better, as often as possible snipe it for half what you think it's worth.

I have some curios in my tackle collection, too, though only a couple of fly reels that fit that description, and it's because they're too cool not to display.
c. 1895 Rochester Carlton
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ok, there are 3 shelves in that cabinet, and one more fly reel shelf in another cabinet, but any time I needed to make a choice to buy something else, I could sell one of these.
Most of the time offering reels on the forums, they've sold in minutes - been pretty good about working on the demand side of the curve.
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this shelf has thinned a bit, too since this photo
Where did all the other reels I've owned go? They're spread all over North America, Japan, Australia - but none of them were junk.


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Post 18 Jan 2018, 09:45 • #5 
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Haha Colston! A couple of decades ago, by younger daughter grabbed her basket and we went out to the neighbor's chicken coop to gather eggs before a marauding skunk got them. I was waiting for my neighbor to develop sufficient contempt for the skunk to permit me to initiate skunk control, but for the time being we had to be careful of a recent or possible skunk visit.

As we approached, it was evident that a skunk had beaten us to the eggs.

"Dad," she said, "a skunk doesn't notice his own smell." I didn't tell her, but I knew she had a bright future ahead of her, a child capable of insight far beyond what you get out of most Harvard PhDs these days. It is similar to the concept of top dog breeders that they can become "kennel blind."

"Classic" has become kind of a generic for "older" as far as the forum title, as opposed to each reel so-called passing a function/aesthetics test. A lot of us may not smell a skunk or two that we stashed away, rediscover, and post about, but not to achieve formal "classic" recognition. Some of us probably have a classic-worthy reel that has been trashed by poor storage or care.

As far as the forum goes, reels are fun to see and discuss, one man's trash is another man's treasure, and so on. I don't get a bad smell off either. On the other hand, for my personal preferences, if I find out where those skunks are digging grubs out in the back field, they won't be in the chicken coop again.


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Post 18 Jan 2018, 09:56 • #6 
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going to make me address Classic vs. Curiosity.
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In 1917, Horton sold their steel rods side-by-side with their Meek reels (after moving the reel makers from Kentucky to Conn).
The rods and reels each cost $15-25 in 1917 money. A lot of money in 1917 (marketed to doctors and lawyers - Hemingway's dad).

I reserve classic for any item that holds its original purchase price in today's dollars. Since Hardy reels over time sold for an equivalent of $250 in today's money, they get to play, as do the Meeks, bringing $300 (some much more) in today's money.
For the Bristol steel rod, you'd be lucky to get $15 in today's money - not classic, a curiosity. Not a feely definition, but empirical.
(somebody with a big Bronson or Ocean City collection might not like this, but they'd also be lucky to have functioning reels in that collection.)


Last edited by bulldog1935 on 18 Jan 2018, 10:20, edited 2 times in total.

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Post 18 Jan 2018, 09:58 • #7 
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Yup! Faulty syllogism would be: Some classic reels are curios. Such and such a reel is a curio. Therefore, such and such a reel is a classic.


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Post 18 Jan 2018, 10:01 • #8 
Glass Fanatic
Joined: 10/12/06
Posts: 1184
Location: US-CA
Colston,
Looks like a bad case of "shack nasties" your sun will shine and the temp will rise. However, I still use my Medalists, Youngs, Shakespeares, and a few others from the 60's - 70's. The only newer reels in my collection are some of my Saltwater reels and a Spey reel or two.
Bulldog, your reel pics are always something I really enjoy looking at.
Respectfully rvreclus


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Post 18 Jan 2018, 10:12 • #9 
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I think Colston did good - maybe this will turn into a fun and wide-ranging discussion


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Post 18 Jan 2018, 18:52 • #10 
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Joined: 02/27/16
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I remember as a kid,my grandapa going thru his change.this was the mid 60s.HE was looking for silver coins.HE told me a silver dime bought a loaf of bread during the depression.A silver dime at spot silver price still will today.I remember my dad winning a digital watch.Was the coolest thing ever with the glowing red numbers.A few later my dad gave me a similar one,he got it free with an oil change.My long winded point is a classic will hold its value,at least up or down in a range.I have never paid more than 50 for a fly reel ,some of my best finds much less.Most of this stuff stands on its own merit or is nostalgic.Martin is a great example of a good product that i am sure the proto type WAS a tin can .Or look what the Zero Hour Bomb Co did after the war.The british always excelled at fine metal working.What is truly cool is that most of this stuff was someones vague idea at some point in time.Just some guy fishing thinking about a better mouse trap.


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Post 18 Jan 2018, 19:17 • #11 
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Joined: 07/11/14
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Location: urban Colorado
wow flyslinger them's some pretty reels..

beauty/beholder etc, I love the industrial look of the older Martin reels, solid functional US engineering.

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like Ron I can't remember a bad day on the water.. some rough ones yes ;-) what my wife considered near-death experiences and I thought of as adventures, but always a vivid experience..


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Post 18 Jan 2018, 23:18 • #12 
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I like the way this thread is going. Hope Colston does.
Martin actually got their start making really nice autowinds in 1898, putting Yale and Meisselbach out of the auto business.
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1903 Thos. Chubb catalog, and if you can find a No. 3 in the red box, they're hugely collectible.
Collectors like big reels, and not many of these were sold.

But everything about Martin gets to be classic - look at today's market for their US-made reels. While the Brits took benchmaking reels to the extreme, Americans took manufacturing to the extreme, and in most cases, the quality went down over time (compare a benchmade Meek or even Meisselbach baitcaster to a Bronson - not counting JA Coxe - earlier Shakespeare to later, etc).

Martin is the best manufacturing example of making the largest possible range of quality reels from the fewest number of parts variations. Their multiplier has endured as the best ever made. Their unique helical spring click-pawl performs with the best. Their clutch and disc drag is perfect, and replacing the clutch is a simple task.
Though I'm not a fan of the caliper clicker (any caliper clicker) their M68 is stunning, especially with a One Pfoot. Luckily, the MM11 is almost as good-looking and with a great dual click-pawl.
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even the original M72 is damn good-looking and a real workhorse.
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Zebco is the next further step in manufacturing. Simplest possible design - they literally made a disposable fishing reel.
If you ever sent one in for repairs, they send you a new reel, no charge, no questions.
As far as the test, if you have an early model Zero Hour Bomb Co in box, you might be surprised how much you can get for it.

Speaking of those Martin clutches, now that Zebco owns Martin, they would send you that part gratis (had to tell them your reel is a current model). Too bad you can't get the pawls from the 70s/80s reels. One reason I've only kept the double click-pawl Martins, MM11, LM45, and Strada MZ34 - I'm covered on pawls forever. Also, every Martin I ever bought with the exception of one LL Bean were NIB reels - there were so many left in fly shop inventories from the 80s, and they discovered they could sell them on ebay.
Also worth note, there were many fly shops in the 80s that didn't stock Medalist, but did stock Martin. My second fly reel ever, bought at Austin Angler in '79, was an Orvis-badged 67N in a Green Mountain combo with a Fullflex A glass rod. I bought a spare Martin-boxed spool for it at Orvis of Houston. (not this one, which is a beauty 77W, and which Cameron now owns)
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Last edited by bulldog1935 on 19 Jan 2018, 10:32, edited 5 times in total.

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Post 18 Jan 2018, 23:44 • #13 
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I'm going to edit here about the $50 reel question. I can trace a $50 reel purchase to a new high-end kayak - the only thing added was time/effort. Buy cheap, repair and sell, upgrade, do that few more times. The last step was a $500 unopposed reel purchase on ebay - that 1917 St. George in my first post. After fishing it a few years, I sold it for the exact price of a new Tarpon 160 ($1050), which my young daughter and I used to tandem for a couple of years, before buying her a kayak, too.


of course Medalist passes the Classic test -
- right up to the time they left the continent and replaced stamped-from-aircraft-grade sheet manufacturing with die-cast (avoid Medalist CJ and AK)

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The first reel I posted on this thread is an early '30s 1494, and the photo just above is likely a '31 1492
$6 new, and both are $350+ reels any way you look at it,
Mint, boxed reels bring well over $1500.
If you've ever handled a first-decade Medalist, they absolutely reek of quality and really were quite a manufacturing achievement.

When Medalist left the continent (1981), Martin (and Valentine) took over their spot.


Last edited by bulldog1935 on 19 Jan 2018, 09:07, edited 1 time in total.

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Post 19 Jan 2018, 00:03 • #14 
Sport
Joined: 05/09/14
Posts: 52
Location: US-OR
bulldog1935 wrote:
(somebody with a big Bronson or Ocean City collection might not like this, but they'd also be lucky to have functioning reels in that collection.)

My Ocean City reels all work, still catching lingcod and salmon today. Of course, only 1 is a fly reel.

Edit: Meant to only quote the one line about the functioning reels.


Last edited by rannoch on 19 Jan 2018, 02:37, edited 1 time in total.

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Post 19 Jan 2018, 01:40 • #15 
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See, I was right. (and I promise never to quote you out of context)
but wouldn't you rather have a Fin-Nor?
http://reeltalk.orcaonline.org/viewtopi ... =1&t=20828

Ocean City Nile is the 2nd worst baitcaster I've ever handled, exceeded only by Bronson.
These were $10 baitcasters when new in the 50s, and that's what they're worth today, only the money now is worth a whole lot less (this is my premise).
At the same time, Abu was engineering the baitcasters that became today's benchmark.
If you want to look at manufactured baitcasters from either side of the war, Shakespeare had the edge before the war, and Pflueger had it after. But Abu was a clean sheet of paper.

My only Bronson ever, a multiplier - as new as it looks, it didn't work until I spent some time working on it, and sold it (cheep).
Everything on this reel wobbled, and I have no doubt a big fish would stop it from working.
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A totally collectible curiosity, Ocean City - enjoyed petting this eggbeater for awhile, and found somebody who really wanted it for their collection. Well no, I'd never take it fishing.
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but it very much fits the postwar manufacturing junk model. I've never done a copystand of the spinning reels page in my '51 Wards catalog, but it's loaded with junk, such as the Airex Vic - totally collectible, totally curious, not worth its original price (in today's equivalent money). In that same '51 catalog, Ocean City fields the junk fly reel end - a steel skeleton reel - steel.

A 1937 Luxor is still nice enough to take fishing,
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and so is a post-1954 Luxor
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Not everything either Ocean City or Bronson manufactured was junk (I said JA Coxe). Ocean City salt reels is what Ocean City did well, but I'll take a Penn anyday.
Ebay, being the world's garage sale, is loaded with stuff to buy. Think about what you buy - know what it is, whether you want to take it fishing (our OP's premise), and whether somebody else wants to take it fishing enough to buy it from you.


Last edited by bulldog1935 on 19 Jan 2018, 09:40, edited 2 times in total.

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Post 19 Jan 2018, 02:45 • #16 
Sport
Joined: 05/09/14
Posts: 52
Location: US-OR
bulldog1935 wrote:
See, I was right. (and I promise never to quote you out of context)
but wouldn't you rather have a Fin-Nor?
http://reeltalk.orcaonline.org/viewtopi ... =1&t=20828

Ocean City Nile is the 2nd worst baitcaster I've ever handled, exceeded only by Bronson.
These were $10 baitcasters when new in the 50s, and that's what they're worth today, only the money now is worth a whole lot less (this is my premise).
At the same time, Abu was engineering the baitcasters that became today's benchmark.
If you want to look at manufactured baitcasters from either side of the war, Shakespeare had the edge before the war, and Pflueger had it after. But Abu was a clean sheet of paper.

My only Bronson ever, a multiplier - as new as it looks, it didn't work until I spent some time working on it, and sold it (cheep).
Everything on this reel wobbled.
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A totally collectible curiosity, Ocean City - enjoyed petting this eggbeater for awhile, and found somebody who really wanted it for their collection. Well no, I'd never take it fishing.
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but it very much fits the postwar manufacturing junk model. I've never done a copystand of the spinning reels page in my '51 Wards catalog, but it's loaded with junk, such as the Airex Vic - totally collectible, totally curious, not worth its original price (in today's equivalent money).

A 1937 Luxor is still nice enough to take fishing,
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and so is a post-1954 Luxor
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Not everything either Ocean City or Bronson manufactured was junk (I said JA Coxe). Ocean City salt reels is what Ocean City did well, but I'll take a Penn anyday.
Ebay, being the world's garage sale, is loaded with stuff to buy. Think about what you buy - know what it is, whether you want to take it fishing (our OP's premise), and whether somebody else wants to take it fishing enough to buy it from you.

I would prefer the Fin-Nor but the best part about using Penn or Ocean City reels for fishing in the salt is that it doesn't matter if it gets ruined because I can replace it cheap and easily (not that I don't clean my reels but sometimes things get damaged).

Never used the small bait casters but I'll take your word on the junk rating for the OC Nile.

You and the OP make it a good point. Any reel I buy I also plan to take fishing.


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Post 19 Jan 2018, 11:08 • #17 
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Location: downtown Bulverde, Texas
Here's proof that Ocean City made some jewels - OC 209
http://reeltalk.orcaonline.org/viewtopi ... =1&t=10146

Even Hardy made some total mistakes, bad decisions, dogs (plastic latch cover that looks like a castle, and plastic C-spring check inside).
In 1932, they brought us the space shuttle of fishing reels, the Altex, with the flip bail patent, which remained their exclusive right until 1954, and why you see so many half-bail spinning reels out there.
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Until you get to modern computer balanced reels, this is the smoothest fishing reel ever made, and an absolute joy to fish.
(one catch, the bail spring is brazed-on, so look closely before you spend the big bucks being asked - or get brave and buy one to repair - and it's a nice enough reel, it's worth hiring Arch to repair)

Hardy's curiosity reel, the Hardex. When they introduced this reel in 1937 they were being democratic and throwing a bone into the bad prewar spinning reel market (Helical - and yes, to the Brits, these are fixed-spool reels - what we call a baitcaster, they call a spinning reel, because the spool spins)
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It has one redeeming feature that makes it a display keeper - the coolest Royal Patent ever embossed or engraved on a reel - By Appointment to HRH The Late King George V
As war loomed, was newly crowned King Edward going to abdicate and stuttering Bertie take the throne? Yep.
(and probably a good thing, or we'd all be speaking German - throughout the war, the ex-King was trying to negotiate a surrender to H)
FWIW, Hardy didn't always drop the ball when they put an offering in the economy market - the Hydra in my first post is a jewel, though the loudest fly reel ever made.

I've already mentioned Luxor as the best prewar spinning reel next to the Altex. Also in the running are Young-made Allcock SuperB, who must have taken a look at the Helical and Hardex both and said you're kidding; and of course C.A.P.


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Post 20 Jan 2018, 09:45 • #18 
Master Guide
Joined: 02/04/12
Posts: 635
Location: SE Pa
There's an interesting variety of enthusiasts on this forum. Some people who like high-end gear, others have a passion for what strikes their fancy which may be middle of the road. Some like custom gear finely made by craftsmen, others like a particular manufacturer. Some like to make their own, or the brand their Dad once used.

Each to their own, and I enjoy reading about all of them. I appreciate the fact that we can have different passions all in the same niche of hobby - and how important that is.


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Post 20 Jan 2018, 10:53 • #19 
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Joined: 02/12/16
Posts: 3956
Location: USA-CO
springer1 wrote:
There's an interesting variety of enthusiasts on this forum. Some people who like high-end gear, others have a passion for what strikes their fancy which may be middle of the road. Some like custom gear finely made by craftsmen, others like a particular manufacturer. Some like to make their own, or the brand their Dad once used.

Each to their own, and I enjoy reading about all of them. I appreciate the fact that we can have different passions all in the same niche of hobby - and how important that is.


Well observed, and well said!


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Post 20 Jan 2018, 11:36 • #20 
Glass Fanatic
Joined: 09/18/09
Posts: 5056
Location: Washington DC Region
bulldog1935 wrote:
My tackle rule has been simple - be patient and don't buy junk.


Great advise, but I learned about the distinction between Junk and Treasure through buying a lot of reel's.

Colston, I agree with the original sentiment a lot, other than I'm young enough and started fishing a bit later than some. I don't have those original reels in the bottom of my tackle box. I started with a Medalist 1494CJ and I still fish it. There are a lot of reels mentioned that are not the best reel for the money. It's interesting, there are a lot of inexpensive vintage reels that are really nice and I could use daily. There are others that are clunkers. All of them are not as capable as a Okuma SLV or Integrity reel that can be had for well under $100, or a used Benchmade reel from the 1990s.

However, it's fun to fish old stuff. And some of that old stuff is neat. Why do people drive old cars? A modern sports sedan is a far better car than any of the classics, but people refurbish, collect and drive some interesting old cars. I saw a Studebaker on the interstate near York PA last month (december). It was just neat to see someone driving it. It's not going to out accelerate a Honda Accord and is less reliable but it really is neat.

For most of us, fly reels are usually line holders, so you might as well have one you enjoy. And they are fun to collect. I have a bunch of reels for sale now that I've purchased because they were mentioned on the forum and for between $15 and $45 they got shipped to my door. I spin them, clean them and occasionally fish them. I'm cleaning the collection now so I can make room for more.

If I am seriously fishing and don't want to risk loosing a fish, I put on a good reel. Disk drag or exposed rim click and pawl that has a smooth click (I haven't learned how to use my pinky to add drag to the inside of the spool of full frame reel). But most of my fishing involves being outdoors, having fun, catching small fish.

I would like to pass on what I've learned about working with some of these clunkers.
  • Read the "cleaning old reels" thread that Ron posted. (then reread it with a reel in hand).
  • Don't practice on a reel that is more expensive than you are willing to loose.
  • Start simple, clean and lube an old garage sale/ebay find.
  • Play with tweaking and adjusting the drag. Yes you will mess it up, but retweak, a little goes a long way.

Sometimes some of these old "clunkers" just need maintenance and some adjustment. Other times then need to be relegated to the display case or junk drawer.

Carl


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Post 20 Jan 2018, 12:31 • #21 
Master Guide
Joined: 07/05/05
Posts: 740
Location: US-VA
I likely was having a mild case of shack nasties when I posted the original post, but the thread has turned out really well. I didn't name any of the reels I was thinking about mainly because I was too lazy to go dig thru my reel box to see their actual names. I don't have that many that are true dogs anyway. Since a lot of Medalist pics were posted, I hasten to assure all that I really like Medalists and have and use a crowd of them from 1492 thru 1496 1/2. (Had a 1498 but sold it. The spools were of a different era than the arbor and I have modern reels that are more pleasant for heavy duty work.)


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Post 22 Jan 2018, 06:26 • #22 
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As I mentioned above, my 2nd fly reel ever was a Martin, so the brand was always in my back pocket.
The reason I started doing this was feeling insulated from the fishing by graphite and disc drags, and wondering why I was harassing the fish while feeling totally jaded.
Some people reach this point, cut the hooks from their dry flies and begin counting coup.
For me, it all changed with my first 20" rainbow in fast water on cane and vintage click-pawl - oh, crap, what am I going to do now? - this is why we do this.

I began buying vintage reels to balance cane rods, and my first purchase was a Very Fine Dingley uniqua, with an even cooler merchant mark, Graham and Sons of Cockermouth - $100 from Tim Zietak. Second was an Allcocks Ousel (even less), which at that time nobody knew or was brave enough to state was a Young-made reel. Third was a near perfect (pattern 8 ) marked MC Thornburn Maker Edinborough. The fourth from Australia lit the fire - a pattern 8 marked JW Young & Sons Redditch Fishing Reel Specialists.

The fire was lit for me to learn everything I could about JW Young and Sons between the wars, all the reels they marked for merchants, and I began correspondence with Rupe Atwood.

It was later that I began exploring vintage glass - really intexpensive then, guys - and the reels were, too, because most people wanted vintage Hardy and no one had yet written a book about the others (reel prices tripled when books were published). I bought the first Heddon Pal Pro Weight we discussed on the forum for $15.
I paid $57 for my first Pattern 15a
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With glass, added postwar Youngs, more Martins, Meeks, Heddon Imperial, Holmes, Stuart. Working on reels for me and OPs, and also buying up every postwar Young I could get my hands on to convert to LHW and sell on the forums. I got really good at sniping them for a price that would let me recoup my labor for the LHW conversion, and this funded tackle buying for me. Can't tell you how many reels have passed through my hands, but excepting just a few reels I really wanted, bought them all at wholesale prices.

Hardy? Well, I've worked on them, but the only Hardy's I've ever really lusted after were the 1917 St. George (so what do you think I'm going to do when one shows up with an unopposed bid on ebay for half price - rhetorical question). And the beautiful 1936 C-spring Lightweight will almost certainly remain forever elusive.

What defines junk? Whether or not you can repair it to fish through the next generation - all the way through. Most of the time it means did the maker think about that, as well.
If you fish your reel hard, you're going to find out - the hard way. Most things you can tell by feel, and sometimes photos are enough to make the choice.
My first reel was a Berkley Japan OC clone that I never liked then, could afford, never quite did what I expect of a fly reel, and doesn't work now (but yes, I have it stashed away, it was my first fly reel - and I do my best never to badmouth these when somebody on the forum praises them).

If there's one theme I've been trying to get through on this thread, is that it's possible to do this without regrets - even selling a reel you absolutely adore because it's burning a hole in your pocket and you need the funds for a different project - a kayak to tandem your young daughter - or later buy bike parts so she can build her trick bike (last year I bought back one of the rods I sold for this project).
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and I have to disagree with so-and-so likes such-and-such. Better to ask one what they think.
no, so and so is smart enough to know what is a good move to buy at this price and what may not be wise to buy at any price.
The proof of denial is saying he's a collector, but I'm a fisherman (see my first post on this thread).

for me, I spent years setting up 10 snipes/week on ebay and winning one each month - at half the value of the item, or less.
I was so caught up on my ebay search algorithms, I could check everything newly listed that might interest me in a half-hour over coffee.
When I was caught up, I also had friends who regularly consulted me about where to set their snipes and invested a lot more money than I did (appgap has an incredible collection of reels that he bought for dirt, and he hasn't sold anything) - and no, we didn't snipe against each other.


Last edited by bulldog1935 on 01 Feb 2018, 10:16, edited 1 time in total.

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Post 01 Feb 2018, 08:57 • #23 
New Member
Joined: 12/15/17
Posts: 24
Location: SW Idaho
rvreclus wrote:
Colston,

Bulldog, your reel pics are always something I really enjoy looking at.
Respectfully rvreclus


Amen to that.


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Post 01 Feb 2018, 09:12 • #24 
Glass Fanatic
Joined: 02/12/16
Posts: 3956
Location: USA-CO
Same here. Keep 'em coming!


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Post 02 Feb 2018, 06:20 • #25 
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Posts: 17338
Location: downtown Bulverde, Texas
aw shucks fellas

how about these?
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