From merry old England comes a new book on Mitchell reels--The Mitchell Match and Auto Bail Book by James Partridge. A detailed and entertaining look at the reel most famous for its distinctive automatic bail mechanism, it covers the Auto Bails from the introduction in 1955 as the Otomatic to the end of production in 1990. In between, a bewildering variety of reels were sold, and Partridge goes a long ways in helping us sort out the details.
The book begins with an overview of Otomatic patents before jumping into the introduction of the Otomatic in Europe in 1955. Vintage ads help to illustrate this section, and the color photography, coming from a variety of sources, is generally of a high quality throughout and quite helpful.
The book follows each model (330, 440, etc.) through a general linear progression. Inserted into this are a few trade reels, like the Albatross-MItchell Otomatic 330. My favorite of these reels--the Mitchell 440 in blue--is an example of what is good about this book. It aided me in distinguishing what version of this neat reel I own, and thus helped me to better understand when it came out and where it fits into this family of Mitchell reels.
There is coverage of some of the less popular models--such as the high speed 840 and 841 models and the Auto Lightning Casts as well as the Browning Mitchells and even a few oddities.
There is much to like about this book. It covers a lot of information, presents it in a generally clean manner with large full color photos, and fills a nice gap on our collectable reel bookshelf. It does not, however, cover every model of the Match and Autobail Mitchells, which may invite a revised edition somewhere down the line. Additionally, internal photographs as well as photos of the disassembled working mechanisms of various autobails would have been useful.
I love Mitchells and my very favorite spinning reels, in this order, are the Mitchell 308 and the Mitchell 300. So I definitely have an interest in Mitchell reels. So while this book may not be the final word on the subject, overall, it is a good effort and very much a welcome addition to any reel collector's library. Like all Mitchell books, when it sells out its limited run, expect used copies to triple or quadruple in value.
It is available directly from the author by Clicking Here.
-- Dr. Todd