Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Voices from the Past: Samuel Camp (1909)

The following piece by Samuel Camp, noted outdoor writer, entitled "The Reel and Its Handling" was published in Outing Magazine for April 1909. Its subject was the multiplying reel, which by this point had become commonplace. It's a neat overview of the outdoor writing style of the day.

Contrary to the ideas of a good many anglers the speed of a quadruple reel is strictly not for the purpose of getting in the line as speedily as possible, thereby endangering tackle and courting the loss of a hooked fish, but merely to facilitate casting. The gearing of the reel, four revolutions of spindle to one of handle, is such that, in practiced hands, long casts are easily made. In the handling of the quadruple reel the most common mistake is to keep the reel constantly in an upright position. The rod should be so held that, in casting, the sides of the reel are almost parallel with the water, the rod being turned in toward the angler. In this way the reel reaches its highest efficiency and, too, the friction of the out-running line against the rod is reduced to a minimum. The quadruple reel most suited to baitcasting is long in the barrel and of small size. When choosing a reel of this sort it should be remembered that, for casting purposes, only very fine lines are practicable, "tournament," size H, or the very largest line that will give good results and the one most used in fishing, size G. So the reel, to hold fifty yards of regular casting line, need be no larger than the size known as "sixty yard." The use of a small reel is very desirable since it tends to lighten any outfit, and it is especially desirable for use on split-bamboo casting rods under six feet in length, since these rods are usually of very light weight. The angler should bear in mind that a good quadruple casting reel is built like a watch —watchmakers made the first Kentucky reels and their descendants are still at it— and that while it will indefinitely stand intelligent use, it will most certainly not stand abuse. The reel should be oiled at intervals, but only sparingly so as not to flood the mechanism. Also it should be kept clean outside so that small particles of sand or other matter may not work in; and at times, the inside mechanism should be cleaned, but this should be delegated to the maker or some professional—the average amateur has mighty little business with the "insides" of a casting reel. German silver is the most satisfactory material, and it is preferable to have a casting reel of solid metal. For the single-action click reel, german silver and hard rubber is recommended; the metal being placed in the form of a band around the outside of the reel plates to guard against cracking the rubber in case the reel is accidentally dropped.

The uses of the double-multiplying reel are many, and the average fisherman, who is neither a bait or fly-caster, usually employs this sort of "winch." It may be used to advantage in worm fishing for trout with a regulation bait rod, that is, a rod with reel-seat above hand-grasp, and also in still fishing for bass or other fishes. For trolling purposes the double multiplying reel is preferable to the four-multiplier, for the reason that as you increase the speed of a reel there is a resultant loss of winding in power. The chronic bait- or fly-caster is usually too nervous and restless, as a consequence of the activity of his favorite angling methods, to be a good still-fisher; and so, when casting the minnow, artificial bait or fly fails to interest the fish, he generally resorts to trolling. The retrieve of the single-action reel is much too slow to handle efficiently the usual long line used in trolling.

-- Dr. Todd

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