Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Ben Wright's Spinning Reel Report for April 2016

APRIL 2016


Featured Reels:
Abu Garcia (444) pearl blue e+wb @ 158.05

Cargem 44/M majestic gold color slight wear @ 518.85

Centaure Pacific 5-500 nib @ 226.50

Dam-Quick 330 E+WB @ 115.00

Heddon spin pal 240 mpu nib @ 199.50

J C Higgins 306-39990 by Bretton nib @ 77.49

Mitchell rare first version paint wear @1495.00 NOTE "RNM"

 more mitchell:
300DL slight wear w/box @ 1594.00
508 combo both exc+ box top missing @ 555.37
510 special ewb @ 577.76

Penn 716 slight wear w/box @ 235.00

Aimsa slight wear @ 256.00
Sagarra blue color some wear @ 466.00
Viper paint wear @ 490.00

Esquire ewb @ 274.06
Record recordette 21 aqua nib @ 288.00

A few reel deals:
Crack 300 mpu exc @ 18.00
Quick Hobby exc @ 12.00
shakespeare 2065 nib @ 17.50
606 w/black side plate exc @ 9.95
707 slight wear @ 6.76

More Reels:
222 first version some wear @ 188.88
505 scf nib @ 38.60
suveran s4000m exc+ @ 271.18

Apache exc @ 31.75
vic green some wear on cup @66.00

Arjon sweden all cf
500 nib @ 48.66
555 e+wb @ 81.83
600 nib @ 31.33
666 exc @ 33.18

Dam Quick:
2011 minor wear w/box @ 89.00

English Hardy altex no 1 mk V slight wear @200.00

Crack 100 fb nib @ 70.50
300 mpu some wear w/box @ 104.00
Dopper exc @ 305.06
Fraser saumon mer slight wear @ 120.00

German Atlantis nib @ 82.31

Heddon 190 cf spin cast nib @ 54.88

Alcedo micron curved leg nib @ 126.49
    "           "       Deluxe ewb @ 220.50
    "      2001 nib @ 226.50
Cargem 66 sea megnum gray needs cleaning @ 500.00
 Holliday 40 slight wear @ 202.50
      "         60 exct but small chip in foot @ 227.50

Aqua-spin x15 nib @ 25.00
Satelite x17 nib @ 25.00

Mitchell, garcia
300 6th version exc w/leather case @ 178.28
304 s/n 1163470 minor wear @ 99.99
304 cut-a-way exc @ 157.50
306 cut-a-way exc @ 104.72
508 combo both exc @350.00
510 combo both exc @ 241.50

Pflueger 1000 nib @ 40.00

705 second version slight wear w/box @ 150.00
710 green ewb @ 85.00
712 ewb @ 88.00
720 second version nib @ 75.00

Shakespeare sigma 2400-034 exc+ w/rough box @ 81.00

record 600 cf nib @ 80.00
700 scf e+wb @ 52.07

55 cf ewb @53.80
1970 ewb @ 225.00
cardinal 3 second version ewb @ 143.50

LAST--- A SEAMASTER with some scratches sold @ 2850.00
Note there was also one listed at Crossroads Angling Auction 4/24
with some wear on the foot.
email them to find out if it sold and for how much

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Review of Victor R. Johnson's Fiberglass Fly Rods, 20th Anniversary Edition

Last week I received a copy of a highly anticipated book in the mail from my friend Vic Johnson, the fiberglass fly rod guru. It was his 20th Anniversary edition of Fiberglass Fly Rods: The Evolution of the Modern Fly Rod from Bamboo to Graphite (EP Press, 2016: 8.5” x 11” Black-and-White illustrations, 105 Pages, $29.95).

The original edition was coauthored with his father, Vic Johnson Sr., and was an absolute revelation. As someone who grew up with fiberglass, it spurred me to start seeking out some of the great makers and to start collecting glass fly rods. His book coincided with (and helped spur) a resurgence in glass fly rods, a movement that is still going strong today.

This isn’t a rewrite as much as it is a supplement, or a companion volume, to the original (which is also available from the author). Much new information is contained in its pages; this includes profiles of many modern makers of glass fly rods from Tycoon Tackle to Larry Kenney, as well as profiles of some great names in the field including Gadabout Gaddis and Dr. Arthur Howald.

As someone who has his own glass fly rod book in the works, I appreciate all of Vic’s attention to detail. Vic has done the collecting world a great service in updating his book, and this volume will take its place alongside the original as “must haves” for anyone interested in fly fishing, fly rods, of fishing history. It’s really a fantastic book and well worth adding to your library.

The book can be ordered directly from the author by emailing him at

You can visit his web site by Clicking Here.

— Dr. Todd

Friday, April 22, 2016

Review: West Coast Vintage Salmon Lures, Volume 3 by Russell Christianson

NFLCC member and fishing and tackle historian Russell R. Christianson is back at it again, this time with the third and final volume in his excellent three-volume set on West Coast Salmon lures. West Coast Vintage Salmon Lures, Volume 3: Post-WWII Plugs, Bait Holders, and Coho Flies (8.5” x 11”, 240 pages, softcover: $24.95 list price) is a fitting culmination to a decades-long research project.

As with all of Russell’s books, this one does not disappoint. It is filled with details you just can’t find anywhere else. This volume includes sections on such collectible lures as Mac's Squid, Carr's, Schroeder's, Zimmy, Krilich Killer, Spin-in Herry, Spin-in Minny, Salmon King, Witch Doctor, Aron and many others. Over 30 companies including Les Davis, Pop Geer, Zak, Tradewinds, Al Lundemo, Art Ullis, Big Al's, Vandes, Graham, Boyle's and Bentz are covered.

The aforementioned tackle makers are illustrated well by the more than 500 photos (a couple even in color!) and biographical details where possible. One of the things about his books I like so much is running across complete surprises; for me in this volume, that was the section on West Coast polar bear streamer flies popularly known as Coho flies. I’ve always been interested in their history, and it’s detailed very nicely in this chapter. Someone should write a book on West Coast commercial fly tiers (maybe Russell will embark on that project next!).

This volume, as well as the first two volumes in the set, is available from Amazon, the author’s eBay store or by visiting his Salmon Fishing History web site.

If you don't have this three volume set, you are really missing out. You won’t be disappointed.

—Dr. Todd

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

The Alonzo Fowler Mechanical Spring Snap Hook

I get a lot of emails about old tackle, but usually it’s neat stuff handed down by a father to a son or daughter, and isn’t particularly rare (although it is priceless to the owner, as it should be). Occasionally, though, I’ll get something sent to me that stops my heart.

The A.H. Fowler Mechanical Spring Snap Hook (a name I have given it) pictured below is one of them.

I’ve written extensively about Dr. Alonzo H. Fowler of Ithaca, New York — here is a two part article that is excerpted from a chapter I did on him in my book Forgotten Fly Rods. Part One is here and Part Two is here.

So imagine my shock when a collector sent in the following photographs of a lure they discovered at an auction. They thought it was marked “A.H. Foster” but it is certainly marked “A.H. Fowler.” I knew I had seen it somewhere before, so I went back through my files, and sure enough — there it was!

Of course, the photos came from Joe Stagnitti (who else?). Honestly, I don’t know anyone who has helped out more collectors, both beginning and advanced, then Stag has. He’s been just the best and I, like so many of his friends and admirers, are incredibly happy for him for his engagement and the new direction his life is taking him.

Stag sent me the following pictures in October 2008. Yes, nearly a decade ago. He noted he’s seen the Kidney blade before (so have I) but never the mechanical bait (neither have I, until this email came in).

Note that the one sent in has three hooks and wings on the head, as opposed to the two hook variation of Stag’s bait. This would mean that Fowler was either working to perfect the bait, or more likely, was offering the bait in two styles. The 3-Hook Fowler Mechanical Spring Snap Hook in the picture sent to me is approximately 4” long.

The Fowler Mechanical Spring Snap Hook is a really great example of a very inventive time in American tackle history, the 1870s. I think this lure pre-dates Fowler’s partnership with Samuel Tisdel, which dated from 1878. The likely range for its production is 1873-1878 which makes it a very, very early lure indeed.

I have not located a patent for this lure, although there may be one (the late Tim Mierzwa had chronicled hundreds of unfound mechanical hook patents and I’ve not had the chance to look through his files for this model). I do know it is a beautiful example of the lure maker’s art, and the owner(s) of this bait should consider themselves very lucky indeed.

So you never know what the morning email is going to bring; it might even bring a Fowler Mechanical Spring Snap Hook!

— Dr. Todd

P.S. If you haven’t already thanked Joe Stagnitti for everything he’s done for us as a hobby, and as individuals, put that at the top of your To Do list.

Monday, April 18, 2016

Ben Wright's Spinning Reel Report for March 2016

MARCH 2016



  Royal plus 4 some wear w/box @250.00
  Cardinal 55 salesman sample clear plastic side plate with turnable 
display stand exc+ @704.50

Bronson /TT uni-spin 63 rod/reel combo exc+w/case @ 177.50

Daiwa GS-1 nib @ 116.47

Dam Quick 550 nib @ 112.51

Holliday 30 first version zangi nib @ 282.96

Martin 27 ewb @ 91.00

Mitchell 498 nib @ 225.00

Orvis 100SS nib @ 350.00

Penn 716 slight wear w/box @ 162.50

Pflueger Pelican 1020 nib @ 115.63

Sea Martin (AU) mk11 nib @ 248.50

Zebco cardinal 3 second version nib @ 237.50

More Reels-----------
abu matic 170 cf nib @ 96.00
222 first version wear on cup/leg/foot @ 188.88
 33 s/n 760200 exc @ 228.50
33CDL original nib @ 454.00

GS-o mini-mite slight wear @ 98.05

J W Young Ambidex six nib @ 58.00

  no 3 exc+w/vinyl case @226.98
  no 3   " w/box @ 228.48

Lasso exc @ 95.86
Mepps super meca copper color slight wear @ 152.50

Alcedo Micron curved leg e+wb @ 140.00
Cargem Lancer 23 some wear @ 129.50
  Holliday 40 first version exc @ 125.50
  Atom gold wear @ 95.00

South Bend 750A nib @ 34.99
Crown Deluxe mitchell 300 copy fb nib @ 29.99

by Martin Capital 200 ewb @ 78.00

Ocean city 310 blue/chrome cup exc @ 28.85

420 Deluxe blue cf nib @ 129.00
700 early w/green crank some wear @ 69.00
750SS ewb @ 75.00

kinda rare Schulz w/odd bail slight wear @ 99.99

Swedish Victory 400 slight wear @ 377.78

cardinal 3 first version wear on cup @ 142.50
     "        "    second version some wear w/box @ 154.50
large sterling 7050 slight wear @ 31.00

more and more parts listed what a pain !!!
spring is just about here !!!!

Friday, April 15, 2016

The One That Got Away: The Heddon River Runt Spook in Grey Mouse

First of all, my plan going forward is to blog occasionally (once a week or so) and then slowly move up from there. For those who didn’t know, I stopped blogging when I found two (!) people had been stealing content and selling it to aggregation sites, making a huge chunk of change on the backs and labor of me and my friends. Combined with some personal issues, I just didn’t have the heart to do it any more.

Anyway, I will try and post something when I can and when I feel like it.

Today, I am going to write about a heart breaking episode in my collecting history: the one that got away. I ran across the emails from this incident recently (I used to copy emails off telnet and Eudora to text files, which is where I found these).

The story begins in the fall of 1999. I was on fellowship at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, working with the great minds at NCSA (the legendary National Center for Supercomputing Applications) by day, and spending my nights digging through the stacks at the UIUC library hunting down ads for fishing tackle companies.

The internet was in its infancy, just on the cusp of exploding. I decided to try out a new web site I’d heard about, where people were auctioning off fishing lures in real time. The site was called eBay, and it had gone public one year before, and by now was just starting to grow.

My first purchases on eBay came in early fall of 1999. My brother had started collecting River Runt Spooks back in the early 1990s (Tom Jacomet and Seth Winger were the only other two collecting them that we knew about for years). This was back when eBay was much more open; you could watch who else was bidding on auctions, for example, and you could contact sellers directly.

I listed some duplicate River Runt Spooks on eBay — the first things I ever sold on the site — and at the end of it I put an ad that read “If you have any River Runt spooks you would like identified or evaluated please email me at” This was my university address.

I received a couple of emails from, as it turns out, from NFLCC members. I even ended up buying a really, really tough River Runt Spook Sinker in Green Crackleback from a great guy in Texas as a result of these leads.

And then on October 5, 1999 I got an email from a guy named Mike.

Color me intrigued! Especially after I saw the attached images he sent, in all their low resolution glory.

Holy schnikeys! That’s an honest-to-God River Runt Spook Floater in grey mouse!
Unbelievable. At the time, I had never seen one before but wasn’t overly excited. So here is my reply email:

Anxiously, I checked my email via dial-in internet (14.4 modem) until I got this response:

I was super excited and penned an email asking how much he wanted, and then waited.

And waited. And waited some more.

After about three days, I emailed him again, asking if he got my earlier note. No answer. I waited a few more days and sent another email. Radio silence.

Then, I probably made the worst mistake. I sent a panicked email and offered him $75. This was more than I'd paid for any River Runt Spook before (the Green Crackleback sinker cost me $50 just a month before and that was the most expensive one at that time).

No response. What would you do? The emails didn’t bounce back, so I assume he saw them.

Interestingly, it’s only after a couple more years, when I inquired at every show, that I began to realize just how rare this bait was. In fact, in 25 years of collecting River Runt Spooks it’s still the only one I’ve ever seen.

An interesting sidebar is that about every six months for the next five or so years, I sent an email to this poor guy’s address. I never once got a response. One day, the email came back as undeliverable mail, and the lure was gone forever.

I still think of this as the one that got away.

Anyone ever seen another one? And what is the one that got away for you???

— Dr. Todd

Monday, February 29, 2016

Happy 45th Birthday, Dr. James Henshall!

180 years ago — on February 29, 1836 — the legendary Dr. James Alexander Henshall was born. Yes, the “Father of Bass Fishing in America” was a leap year baby, born in fact, on Leap Day itself. Since his birthday came around only once every four years, we get to celebrate this day as his birthday.

Happy 45th Birthday, Dr. Henshall! And thank you for everything you did for the American angler.

-- Dr. Todd

Ben Wright's Spinning Reel Report for February 2016




Featured reels:
  rare zebco XBL45 gold plated presentation  w/wooden stand slight wear
@ only 310.oo
super rare zebco 1970 clear plastic salesman sample crack in cup,
oscilating arm broke @354.39
zebco model 1970 nib @ only 203.63
zebco cardinal 3 second version exc+ @190.49
    "          "      "    third version nib @180.50

rare 333 red/black slight wear @ 397.78
early 444 slight wear @ 175.oo
999 nib but broken foot @ 209.15

Abercrombie and Fitch Niagara supreme slight wear kinda rare @139.67

Vic green slight wear w/box @85.00
Feurer Bro's astro 414 ewb needs bail spring @42.00
    "        "    master spin cf 427 deluxe ewb @100.00

minispin w/screw on foot exc @39.00

Dam Quick:
Junior ewb @141.48
500c some wear @ 34.00
1000 ewb @315.00 wow

Charles Garcia spinette exc w/worn box @ 82.00

Fin Nor no 3 ewb @280.00

zangi torino 1 exc @ 232.50

Dux 57 slight wear w/box @ 36.53

Martin 27 nib @ 98.00 say what
      "    bretton 600 ewb @84.85

two books collectors reference guide by D Roberts and birth of a legend
by BR Frewing @158.38
garcia 3-0-0 kit 8101 w/tackle box, lures and extra spool like new @ 457.00
330 w/large plastic case exc- @ 250.00

712 nib @ 125.00
two 950SS  both exc @ 152.50  and 162.50

pres 11 2810 e+wb @ 117.56

Wordens farther caster belly reel with strap ewb @95.11

sure wish the bay would have a separate catagory for parts !!!!!

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Ben Wright's Spinning Reel Report for January 2016



Alcedo 2c/s Italy 2c/s on medallion exc @ 99.99
two centuare pacific 5's both with some wear @131.50 and 172.50
Crack contact 400 scf nib  235.00
H-I 1903 deluxe nib @ 75.42 wow
ocean city 350 yellow some wear @ 63.0o
orvis 100 first version ewb @ 112.00
green penn 710 nib @ 155.49
sea kung 400 japan ewb @ 49.99
ted williams 310 zangi e+wb @ 181.50
    "      "          350  nib @113.50

Some reel deals-----------
alcedo micron bent leg ewb @ 55.0
garcia mitchell 308 ewb @ 54.60
j w young ambidex  slight wear @28.00
the omnia exc @ 28.00

cardinal 33 cdl ewb slight fading on body @510.00
suveran s400m e+w/black fitted box @ 295.00

Airex apache some wear @ 32.79

Mepps super meca orange exc @ 96.51

alcedo micron curved leg exc @ 100.00
dpr lynx slight wear w/box @ 185.00
falcon 22 nib @ 119.oo
silver fish 402 nib @ 62.34
sears 391-38250 exc @ 90.00
orvis 75a exc+@ 207.50

Brandie s410 slight wear @ 16.62
columbian 61 exc @ 20.50
thunderbird mite nib @ 38.00
spinfisher ewb @ 23.10

Mitchell--- book collectors guide by D Roberts #105 @ 188.49

2052 first version nib @ 87.00

K11 nib @ 94.00
staro 58p/p11 ewb @ 94.95
early record 50B fb ewb @ 43.00

Other reels-----
flo-line nib @ 149.90
harrison 100 auto max exc- @ 75.00
johnson princess 100a not pink ewb @ 150.00

next month brings some rare Zebco reels !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Ben Wright's Spinning Reel Report for November 2015



also check out the tournament and other spin reels that were sold by
mullock's auctions
of the UK on Nov 21 st

Italian reels:
Cargem 2-fish (pesci) first version needs cleaning @ 701.77
Atom matte black like new @ 152.17
Gemini 1 like new @ 172.13
Jolly Deluxe gray exc @ 122.50
Jolly Deluxe orange/cream exc @ 117.50
Misquito Kid blue exc @ 204.50
     "           "    orange/cream exc+ @ 157.67
     "           "     gray/blue cup exc @ 100.00
Pelican 75 dark green like new @ 250.00
Atom GOLD some wear @ 105.50
Dorado exc @ 225.00
Joker exc but needs bail spring @ 150.00
Jolly r/h retrieve some wear @ 120.00
Pelican 50 dark brown slight wear @ 147.50
True Temper 322 exc @ 65.00
2000 GOLD like new @ 297.00

Mullock Auctions:
note all values are in USD
the 17% buyers premium is not included in the selling prices !
Dam Quick 330 w/339 tournament spool exc @ 197.04
Hardy Altex no 2 mk V with two tier spool factory ?? exc @ 394.02
mitchell with two tier spool exc @ 287.00
Mitchell w/three tier Wedding Cake style spool  exc @ 606.19
Morritts Intrepid Elite w/two tier spool exc @ 128.81
Allock Felton Crosswind Junior paint wear @ 288.01
Dingley, Walter slight wear @ 272.81
Milward Torpedo r/h retrieve  slight wear @ 303.13
Timsom patent slight wear @ 197.04

More reel from the Bay:
222 first version exc- @ 140.50
225 nib @ 179.29
record 450 sportex exc @ 480.13
5 Japan nib @ 130.00
C33 China nib @ 123.98
gray 55 exc @ 257.29

Dam Quick:
330 w/339 tournament spool exc @ 522.91
5001 nib @ 205.00

Hardy Altex no 2 mk V exc-w/box @132.53
early 4" Malloch brass spool exc @ 182.65
Illingworth no 5 alloy spool exc w/case @ 372.87

Crack 300 fb nib @ 75.00
Centaure 600 exc- @ 162.50 why?

Spool Change nib @ 102.50

350 5/1 foot repainted @ 100.00
508 ewb @ 405.00
508 combo exc @ 305.99
510 exc @ 113.49

430 Deluxe CF blue exc @ 199.00
710 green exc @ 90.99
711 paint removed w/711Z spool @ 101.88
716 nib @ 212.50
722 second version nib @ 76.00

Seamartin mark 11 exc @ 110.10
Seamartin type with Nylon body \wood spool no handle @ 256.91 WOW

Cardinal 3 second version nib @ 255.00
     "        "     "             "         "    @ 280.02
 An Omega 915XL like new @ 63.50

stay tuned next month for more Italian spin reels !!

hope everyone has a great Holiday Season !!!

Discover something new.

Monday, November 2, 2015

Ben Wright's Spinning Reel Report for October 2015



Listed as an Abu Cardinal 555? cut-a-way salesman sample exc+ question
is was this a standard model
with the side plate removed ?? it sold @ 99.00

Listed as an Abu Cardinal 33 per seller Grey unpainted rare 1976 exc+
w/wood box for 33CDL foot appears
to be double stamped with S/N 760301
the grey reels are known as test reels by most. one known has 1975
marked on the bottom of the foot.
the problem I have is that the s/n on the foot is marked 760301 which
happens to be for a 33 re-pro
circa 1992.
I did see a grey Zebco cardinal 3 many years ago.
was listed with a starting bid of 500.00 with no bids was re-listed with
a current bid of 310.00 will be re- listed
in my Nov report.

Listed by Morphy auctions thru Ebay was a very Rare Ball-on-Ball spin
reel by Karge and Son of Brockport NY
slight wear and sold @ 425.00 plus a 22% buyers premium .
Airex mastereel 2B light wear @ 10.50
Crack 200 fb e+wb @ 62.00
Flo-Line exc @ 45.25
Fin Nor no 3 exc+ w/case @ 113.50
Heddon Spin-Matic 295 ewb @ 19.99
Mitchell Cap 314 light wear @ 13.39
Shakespeare 1775 cf ewb @ 10.50
St Croix fish machine combo exc @ 17.50

More Reels--------
Abu Matic 170 cf exc @ 42.55
  3E nib @ 400.00
    77 3rd version nib @ 244.07
garcia 520 scf light wear @ 58.99
Suveran S4000M wear on leg/foot @152.00

Centaure Pacic 5 e+wb @ 197.50
Mepps Super Meca slight wear @ 100.00
Punch exc- @ 102.50
Volo exc- @ 65.09

Alcedo 2C/S nib @ 72.00
Rare Ambidexter exc @ 303.55
Coptes Pelican 100A exc @ 183.50
  Ted William 450 ewb @ 61.13
    "      "        510 exc+ @ 107.50
    "        "        551 some wear @ 71.50
    rare 2000 GOLD like new @ 297.00
Orvis 300 exc+ @ 170.50

Jamison no 7 nib @ 50.00

Berkley 4210 UL exc- w/box @ 53.84
Dyko sr101 exc+ @ 22.50

Johnson Pink Princess 100A nib @ 142.50

Garcia 300DL nib @ 1300.00
408 nib @ 240.00
440 nib @ 161.50

420SS exc @ 137.50
704Z exc @ 39.00
706Z exc @ 102.50
710Z exc @119.00
722 nib @ 199.95

2052 first version nib @ 69.00
2062 second version ewb @ 36.00

Recordette 21 aqua slight wear @ 35.01
Record 700 scf e-wb @ 40.00

Van Staal VSB100G FB nib China @ 455.00
winter is on the way

Friday, October 30, 2015

The Fly Reel That Wouldn't Click

The Fly Reel That Wouldn't Click

by Dr. Todd E.A. Larson

A few years back I got an odd letter in the mail — it was a short note that stated that the writer had a very special fly reel and asking if I would be interested in it. That in itself was not strange; the local fly shops keep my name handy for when people bring in old tackle, so I was used to these unsolicited contacts (usually I get emails or phone calls, however). No, what was odd was that the letter was written on what seemed like ancient paper in what can only be described as a classic Palmer script. It was signed “Ronan” in a beautiful flourish and had a phone number written below it.

The phone number as printed read PEL 6621. I was clearly dealing with someone who was VERY old.

I dialed up the number (I have an antique rotary phone on my office desk so I was quickly able to decipher the old alphanumeric phone code, which was last popular in the 1950s) and it rang on the other end several times before a female voice answered. I explained who I was and why I was calling, and that I had gotten a letter with this number. There was a long silence on the other end. “You must be looking for Ronan,” she said in a scratchy tone. I explained that Ronan had written in this letter about a fishing reel I might be interested in. After another long pause, the woman simply said, “the address is 2315 Rose Hill Lane.” Then she hung up. I quickly wrote the address down before I forgot it.

To say I was confused would be an understatement. Was I supposed to meet “Ronan” at this address? When was I supposed to come out there? Were we accidentally disconnected? After thinking for a few minutes, I called back, but no one would pick up the phone.

After puzzling through the odd turn of events, I looked up the address on google and discovered it was in an old part of town only about ten minutes from where I lived. So after about an hour of waffling I decided to get in the car and drive over and see first hand where Ronan and what I presumed was his wife lived.

Ten minutes later, and I’m parked outside a Victorian mansion in an old part of town noted for being the neighborhood where Proctor & Gamble executives lived in the 1920s and 1930s. The house, however, appeared as if it hadn’t been lived in for about three decades. There was a broken window in the upper floor, overgrown weeds everywhere, and the general look (and vibe) was that of the setting of an old Hammer horror film.

As a collector, of course, all I could think about was how old this reel must be, given the living conditions. So I mustered up my courage and walked up to the front door. Just as I was reaching up to knock, the door suddenly swung open, nearly causing me a heart attack. A very, very old woman came out from behind the door. “You’re late,” is all she said, and motioned for me to come in.

I followed her in to the dimly lit foyer (I vaguely remember the door shutting by itself behind me but by this time all of my hair was standing on end anyways, so I may have imagined it). To the immediate right was a classic drawing room, filled with ancient artifacts, antiques, and about fifty years of dust. On a round “pineapple” foot mahogany table sat a single brass fishing reel, with the silk fly line still on it. The old lady motioned toward it with her hand.

Not knowing what to do, I reached over and picked it up. It was a late 19th century British fly reel, one of those small inch-and-a-half diameter solid brass numbers the British were so famous for. It showed a lot of use, but was complete and functional with a solid click, which made it a bit unusual for that style of reel. After turning the handle a half dozen times I put the reel back on the table.

“Well,” I said, clearing my throat and getting ready to tell the old lady what I knew about, “this reel dates from …”

“Take it,” the old lady said, grabbing it up and handing it to me in one sweeping movement.

I was speechless. I just stood there holding the reel for what seemed like five minutes.

“I insist on paying you …”

Again she interrupted me, this time placing a wizened hand on my elbow and gently but firmly turning me towards the front door.

“I don’t want money for it,” she said with finality. “Thank you for your time.”

For the first time in my life I knew what it was like to be dismissed. I walked toward the front door, the little brass reel feeling like a ten pound weight in my hand.

As I got out on to the porch, I turned back and said “Please thank Ronan for me. This is a very nice reel.”

The old woman’s eyes narrowed slightly. “Ronan drowned while fly fishing out east in 1952. He was using this reel when he died.”

Then she shut the door, leaving me standing slack jawed on the porch.

As I drove back home, it was all I could do to keep from shuddering. Why did she write me the letter and sign it with Ronan’s name? It was all so … spooky.

I burst in the door and walked directly into my office so I could read the letter again. I had left it on my desk because I had used the phone number written on it to call from my office.

The letter and the envelope it came in were gone!

I spent a half hour looking for it, to no avail. As I was the only one home, no one else could have touched it but me. It simply … disappeared.

Since I had called the number on my iPhone I still had a record of it, and it took me two days to muster the courage to call it again. But there was no answer, no matter how long I let it ring. For my own sanity I drove by the house, just to make sure I hadn’t gone crazy.

There was a for sale sign in the middle of the yard that wasn’t there two days before.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

I still have that reel, which I keep in a display case with other early English brass fly reels. I haven’t touched it or cleaned it or done anything to it, and the fly line is still on there.

That’s not the end of the story, though.

About a month after I got the reel,  I was awoken in the middle of the night by what sounded like the slow click of a fly reel … an unmistakeable sound for any fly angler or reel collector. I shrugged it off.

A couple of days later I happened to look at my brass fly reel display, and Ronan’s reel had a couple inches of silk fly line spilling out in front of it that I could have sworn was not there before …

I took out the reel in amazement and began to silently wind in the line. It was at that moment that I remembered that the reel had a strong click. I wound the reel backward and forward, but to this day, it has never made a sound again.

I refuse to take it apart, for fear that i will find that it never had a click to begin with.

Friday, October 9, 2015

Ben Wright's Spinning Reel Report for September 2015




Tournament with two tier spool exc starting @ 1,999.99 NO BIDS re-listed

Tournament with three tier spool (WEDDING CAKE) exc starting @ 2,100.00 
re-listed @ 2,250.00 why is the question ??

second version exc+ w/box small rubs on foot SOLD @ 500.00

Garcia 408DL some gold wear start @1,999.99 NO BIDS re-listed @ 1499.99 

410DL special slight gold wear start @ 1,299.99 NO BIDS re-listed at 
same price NO BIDS

300DL w/extra spool some gold wear w/box sold @ 585.00

CAP 3rd version slight wear sold @ 87.00

More Reels of interest:
Rare Dam Quick 330 with two tier  cat no. 339 tournament spool /mpu's 
for field conversion
exc B/N @1,352.40 NO BIDS re-listed start @910.16

3 rare Zangi reels Audex, Pesca-Matic and 3000 all with clear plastic 
salesman sample side plates
Starting @450.00 for all three !!!! NO BIDS !!!!
we were advise by my good friend and ORCA member from Italy Sergio 
DiMarco that there were 15 each of
the side plates for these made by a friend of his and are NOT factory made.
personally me thinks the reels are worth 150.00 each because of the 
rarity with the sideplates
you can be the judge----------------------???

A Zebco Cardinal 3 second version missing medallion, wrong handle knob, 
paint wear
 per seller dirty and can be restored. after 21 bids by 5 bidders the 
selling price was
5,102.00 ya gotta be kidding me did the deal reeeeely go thru ???

A Zebco cardinal 4 repaint olive green with paint chips missing 
medallion and wrong knob
per seller used in good condition ??? was he/she looking at the same 
reel we were ????
it sold @25.00

More reels:
ABU Cardinal 66 rare first version some wear w/early black box @ 311.99

Dam Quick:
110 nib @ 200.00

early Hardy Altex mk 1 with turned down ducks foot  exc- @ 599.25
Hardy Altex no 3 mk V exc w/leather case @ 255.00
kasteasy ewb @ 60.61

Lynx DRP e-wb @ 99.87
Olympic e-wb @ 84.70
spin-in-royal Agal exc- @ 129.50
Wino exc @ 103.57

430 CF nib @ 96.00
700 3rd version nib @ 100.00

ST Croix 1610 scf exc+ @ 82.00

Benora ewb @ 83.99
Berna some wear @ 78.92
Record 50A w/plastic wing nut ewb @ 62.00

3 second version ewb @ 182.50
6 3rd version ewb @ 129.00

Where did summer go ???

Thursday, September 24, 2015

A Nostalgic Daddy - Daughter Fishing Video

Well, dang, if this video didn't make me feel all nostalgic …

Wish I had a video camera back then ...

-- Dr. Todd