Wednesday, February 2, 2011

A Personal History of the Spinning Reel by Randy Wright

Today we get a nice treat with a guest post from Randy Wright. Randy runs a new blog called The Fishing Pole Holder where he reviews fishing equipment. But today, Randy gives us a little personal history, specifically of the spinning reel. Take it away, Randy!

A Personal History of the Spinning Reel

By Randy Wright

I have looked up several sites trying to find out when the spinning reel was invented and the best information I found was that they have been around for over one hundred years. Their use really became widespread shortly after World War II.

Well, the reason I decided to dig into this is just plain curiosity. I am 63 and did not start fishing until I was 18.The first rod and reel was a spinning outfit. I did not even consider a bait caster until I was about 25 and I thought I should try one. All the older fishermen were using bait casters. I quickly found out why I saw so many spinning reels on other fishermen's rods, as we’ll find out.

So I got to thinking about the bait casting reel and the spinning reel while I was cleaning my reels, and remembered running into one particularly grouchy older fisherman on a lake. He was using his baitcaster very well and I asked him why he fished with that type of reel. He informed me that the bait caster had a better braking system and did not twist your line when reeling it back in. He told me it was a far better reel and besides, when the spinning reel was invented and put on the market it destroyed fishing everywhere. He said they were so easy to use that everyone seemed to buy one and go fishing, making the lakes and river too crowded and over fished. I was certainly glad when he decided to move on to another spot in the lake to fish.

I had been fishing only about 7 or 8 year then—a late starter—and his comments made me decide to go buy a baitcasting reel. All of mine were spinning reels at that time. I wasn’t sure the older man wasn't right. When I first used my casting reel I tangled it up so badly I had to cut the line off the reel and start over. After some practice and learning how to adjust my reel I got better, but I had to agree with one thing he said. The spinning reel is a lot easier.

If the spinning reel was not available I don't think a lot of dads would be taking their kids fishing very often. I’m not really sure many would take up the sport of fishing, either. The ease and price of the spinning reel certainly made fishing more popular throughout the world.


I'd like to thank Randy Wright for sending in his spinning reel story. Do you remember your first spinning reel? The spinning reel revolution? I'd love to hear your story, and I'll post it on the blog if you're willing for other to read.

-- Dr. Todd

2 comments:

Don Krahn said...

Well, /i've had it with the spinning reel. By the way, I think it was invented in France. That was where I saw the first one in my life, back right after WW2. I had grown up using telescoping steel fly rod with an automatic reel. I used live flys, bugs, crickets and grasshoppers for bait. If there was much wind I put on a small lead shot. I teach my grandkids to fly fish. It is easer. Spinning is just one big tangle. Fly lines untangle with ease...

Roger A Ford said...

I've heard that the spinning reel dates from 1907, when the British textile magnate Holden Illingworth was inspired by a shuttle on his weaving machine to create a fixed-spool or spinning reel.

As mentioned in Randy's excellent article, the reel made learning to fish a matter of minutes. Though it may have created great pressure on fishing at the time, it now allows many people (including me!) the pleasures of fishing without the steep learning curve of a bait caster (though I am also a fly fisherman). Plus you can cast lighter lures, and cast farther, with a spinning reel.

You don't see ultra-light baitcasting outfits!

Thanks for the post!