Wednesday, June 10, 2009

ORCA Nationals 2009 at the IGFA

As I was unable to go to ORCA Nationals in Colorado last year, I was particularly excited about this year's nationals, held June 04-06 at the International Game Fishing Association (IGFA) Museum in Dania Beach, Florida--a suburb of Miami. Getting lost in Central Florida, the brutally expensive Florida Turnpike, and weather that would make a hurricane happen (10 inches of rain in 3 hours south of us) could not keep me away from ORCA Nationals.

It was a great show. A lot of nifty reels, including some super rare ones, showed up. More important, however, I was able to meet friends both old and new. Here's a brief photo essay on the nationals.

After registering at the hotel, I went to pick up my packet from show host Ed Pritchard. Ed should be commended for the smooth running of this neat show. The first reel I saw was Ed's nifty home made Kentucky style reel marked in tiny letters "Wm. De Forest."

After a night of reel talking, we awoke in the morning to breakfast with the board, followed by the casting competition. Here Tom Eidson shows off his baitcasting style, while Roger Schulz watches diligently for a foot fault.

Henry Caldwell winds up and lets fly.

Craig Barber trying out his Mitchell Cap during the spin casting competition. Overall title was won by Dan Basore. The Stu Lawson Ugly Reel Toss was won by John Yancey.

The evening of room trading began with this bizarre Pflueger, marked "Pflueger 3960" and anodized, owned by Tom Eidson. None of us had seen this model before.

The IGFA is an awesome museum. Housed in a $32 million building, it is truly the mecca of sport fishing.

The hall of records shows off many of the record mounts that people have donated to the museum.

There was lots of tackle on display; here is a case of awesome fly reels.

For the lure guys, here was a typical case of fishing lures on display. I'll have a far more comprehensive write up of the museum itself in the coming weeks.

The IGFA hosted ORCA Nationals and had plenty of space. We were fortunate that at the head of the room was Ed Pritchard's incredible Florida reel display, on loan to the museum.

Before we were able to set up, however, we had two seminars. The first was a presentation on E.A. Pflueger reels by Craig "The Pflueger Professor" Barber. Craig did not disappoint and gave the finest presentation on E.A. I'd ever seen. Really amazing stuff.

Jim Schottenham has a tough act to follow. But he knocked it out of the park as well. Using items from his "Best in Show" display of Billinghurst reels, he walked us through the origins and development of this incredibly cool fly reel. I would like to thank both Craig and Jim for their excellent presentations.

We set up early the next morning and as the museum did not open until 10:00, we were able to walk around and meet and greet fellow ORCAns. Here new ORCA member Carl Lambert shows off his Hardy Zane Grey, which Zane himself used to catch the first Marlin over 1000 pounds. It is one of the most historically important reels I've ever seen.

There were so many neat displays it was almost impossible to choose between them. Here is a nice display of Pflueger Portage boxed reels.

A shot from the floor of the ORCA Nationals.

There was a lot of tackle that walked in the front door for the auction; here Jim Schottenham auctions off a hand-made rod-and-reel combo.

And here auction winner Andy Foster shows off this massive reel.

The great Bill Stuart put some amazing "thumb reels" on display. These simple devices were largely manufactured in the south.

Ralph Hecht had a tiny portion of his mind boggling fly rod lure display.

Dick Braun brought six (count 'em SIX) tables of his incredible Zebco display. Considering it is only part of the collection, I was truly blown away.

Steve Linkous had a great display of reel oil bottles.

Here are some of the goodies I came away with, some from the auction. There were unbelievable spinning reels that came in, including this neat Ted Williams #400 by Zangi. This is one of the pre-Sears TWI Williams reels. There is also a neat A&I Perfection Montague, a Hendryx, a Portage, a beautiful Bronson Modern trade reel marked Kingfisher, and a rare Pequea marked No. 1700 trade reel.

Here is a nice brass Scottish fly reel marked "William Landell, 206 Trongate, Glasgow." It had a lot of eye appeal so I bought it.

My favorite reel I picked up at the show is this neat Victorian brass stoplatch baitcaster.

I had a chance to buy a marked Malleson baitcaster. When I went back to get it, it was gone (drat). The usual suspects had swooped in. I consoled myself by buying an unmarked Malleson stoplatch reel.

ORCA Nationals at the IGFA was a blast, despite the fact I had the rare "double blow out" of tires on the highway home (thanks for picking up that jagged metal off the highway, Florida construction workers). I'd like to thank Ed Pritchard for hosting the show, the ORCA Board for choosing the site, and the IGFA staff--especially Librarian and Hall of Fame manager Gail Morchower, who gave me a personal tour of the library--for making this possible. I think this should be a regular stop for ORCA.

-- Dr. Todd

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