Wednesday, June 13, 2007

A Classic Minnesota Reel

Minnesota may be the land of 10,000 lakes but it was never noted as being a hotbed of reel making. One of the major exceptions is the Johnson Reel Co. of Mankato, Minnesota, makers of a line of inexpensive and popular spin casting reels.

The Johnson Century, pictured above (from Justin Crouse's great web site--more on this later), is an enduring classic. When I took my daughter fishing along the St. Croix river earlier this week, we saw three young kids using vintage ca. 1960 Johnson reels. They looked like they'd seen almost continuous use since they were purchased.

Fortunately, there has been renewed interest in the history of Johnson Reels. The company web site, which appears to be down right now, had a very nice history of the company. In addition, collector Justin Crouse founded the Johnson Reel Collector's Association and is working on a detailed history of the firm. Anyone with information on Johnson reels is requested to contact him directly.

First with Zebco and now with Johnson, the spin casting reel is finally being given its due. How many first fish were caught with one of these little gems? And how long before they become a sought-after collectable?

--Dr. Todd

No comments: