Saturday, May 21, 2011

Deconstructing Old Ads: A Historic Reel (1939)

A Historic Reel -- The dawn of Spinning in America

I don't run into people under 50 that can remember what fishing was like before the coming of the spinning reel. I still remember my first sight of an open face spinning reel around 1951. It was green (I have no idea what the make or model was) and a young man of 16 or 17 was standing on a rickety wooden dock, reeling in his line as my Father and I passed by in a boat. The reel with its revolving bail and odd “hang down” configuration was so outside my experience, it could have just arrived from outer space. I asked my Father what kind of reel it was and after some thought he allowed as it might be one of those new spinning reels he had heard about.

Today's ad from the July 1939 issue of Outdoor Life is truly historic in that introduces the first spinning reel to the American public. A careful reading of this ad tells us that this is a new method of fishing called “European Spinning” and it also describes the bamboo spinning rod that is available with the reel as well as the available types of line.

In January 1976, Field & Stream printed a long and wonderful article by A. J. McClane entitled “The Evolution of Spinning in America”. A more significant article on the recent history of American fishing has seldom appeared in the popular 'Outdoor' press. It is impossible to improve on what Editor McClane had to say in regards to this reel. He is quoted here with the kind permission of Field & Stream.

-- Bill Sonnett

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