Thursday, March 6, 2008

Review: March 2008 The Reel News

Review: March 2008 The Reel News

When I was a kid I used to read comic books, and once a year they would send out a "Giant Sized Marvel Annual" of whatever title I saved up enough money to subscribe to. It would be roughly twice the size of a normal issue, and was always the one most anticipated issue of the year.

March brings ORCA's "Giant Sized Annual" edition of The Reel News. From what I can tell, it is the the largest single issue ORCA has ever published, coming in at a whopping 64 pages. That's a LOT of reel information! Of course, 22 pages are taken up with the annual directory, but still 42 pages is 15% more Reel News than normal.

But I digress. This issue brings us some old friends and new writers. The first is Phil White, erstwhile Reel News editor who took time away from watching Bert the Boykin catch all the fish to pen an interesting piece entitled "Meaner than a Junk-Pile of Bass: The Shimano Brush Buster," the fascinating story of the first reel made especially for flippin'. I well remember the flippin' craze as a kid, although I used a Daiwa Mag Force on my flippin' stick. A great piece, and I hope Phil will continue to write on what many people consider "modern" reels.

Tim Bahr opines in a very funny piece on "Hoosier or Hillbilly Reels?" It is a witty discourse on the nature of names, and in particular, why we call them Indiana reels.

Steven K. Vernon and Vernon H. Kirby Jr. gives us a wonderfully detailed and informative piece on "An American Original: The First Patented Spinning Reel," which covers in great depth the Winans & Whistler patented reel of 1875. As we come to expect from anything Vernon is involved in, it is extremely detailed and informative and a crackling good read.

My own contribution is "A Buckeye State Tradition: Cussins & Fearn Ohio Trade Reels," which detail the Pioneer Bait Co. and Great Lakes Products "Buckeye Special" trade reels from this overlooked Ohio retail chain. I really enjoyed this piece as before a year ago, I hadn't even heard of C&F before.

Michigan writer Terry McBurney brings us Part II of the history of the Ranger Reel Company. "Ranger Reels, Part II: A Timeline of Reel Development" covers a lot of new information on this firm, and sets the stage for Part III on the aformentioned Pioneer Bait Co. reels.

Robert A. Miller brings us another great "Pflueger Pfacts" article. "Bond: Another 'Reborn' Pflueger Reel" covers the development of this workhouse model that was completely changed and relaunched in the 1950s.

I was fortunate enough to have a second article in the magazine. "The Saga of Bruce Heitman & the Heitman Reel" is one of the most enjoyable articles I have written. It details a saltwater reel few are likely to have heard about, but the story behind it is simply amazing. I am pleased to bring this story for the first time to a national audience.

The regular columnists do not disappoint. Ben Wright offers up "Abu Cardinal 3 Repros: Can You ID It?" It is the last in his series on Pure Fishing's repros from 1977-1981. Jim Madden's "South Bend Bits" column details the FreeCast reel. "The South Bend FreeCasts" gives us a great overview of this Shakespeare-made casting reel. Col. Milton Lorenz details the Olympic Dolphin 625-LW saltwater reel. Stu Lawson offers up an informative essay entitled "A Guide to Photographing Reels," a must for anyone contributing, collaborating, or writing an article or book.

This is all in addition to the always useful directory. As always, if you're not a member of ORCA you should be. Just reading The Reel News will allow you to ID many, many reels that come up for sale, and knowledge is power. Join ORCA by clicking here. The Reel News is edited by Richard K. Lodge.

-- Dr. Todd

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