Searching old fishing magazines is like panning for gold; many times what appears like a rich vein produces next to nothing of use, while other times an unlikely source reveals real nuggets. For this reason I like to chase obscure magazines and journals. Purchasing them is like buying a lottery ticket, sometimes you win, and sometimes you lose.
In this case, I could not have been happier with a small circulation West Coast magazines called The Western Sportsman. One issue in particular--April 1955--revealed a host of fascinating information. Perhaps the most interesting was a reel gizmo I'd never seen before, patented by Richard .C. Tuttle of Salida, Colorado on 02 August 1955 (#2,714,272).
The magazine wrote up the new development as follows:
Something Really New
Brother R.C. Tuttle, over Salida, Colorado way has hit on something so new that he's still blinking his eyes over the sparkle.
He is putting out an item for fly fishermen consisting of a quickly detachable lever which clamps to the rod handle, adjusts to fit the brake lever of any automatic reel, and gives the fisherman "trigger finger" control of his reel.
In providing index finger control, Tuttle not only relieved the awkward little finger of a job it should never have been required to perform, but also made possible a much firmer, more natural grip, farther forward on the rod handle. It also developed that the position of the ReeLever over the brake lever of the reel served as a "trigger guard" to prevent accidental release of the reel.
To the angler who has hooked his finger, broken his rod tip, or stripped his line of flies through accidental release of an automatic reel, this feature is fully as important as the fore-finger control.
For full dope on the ReeLever, write Tuttle Tackle Company, Box 431, Salida, Colorado.
The same magazine ran a nifty pictorial advertisement for the ReeLever:
I'd often wondered why people used automatics, but this idea is quite clever. The problem would be getting it to fit the myriad of different automatic fly reels that were being sold at the time.
Has anyone ever seen one of these before?
-- Dr. Todd