I love discovering these old reels. Cleaning them up, learning about their mechanics and researching their history, and of coarse, fishing with them. I keep some reels and others are sold to other anglers who appreciate them. Here is just a selection of the reels I've collected from various places and enjoyed using with my assortment of old rods.
Here's the first vintage reel I bought, a Mitchell 300 fixed spool reel with folding handle. I paid £20 for the reel and in hindsight, it was probably a little overpriced but I couldn't wait to have a vintage reel to use with my vintage rod and I still enjoy using the reel.
This is one of four Mitchell reels I bought locally as a job lot, along with an old Intrepid Black Prince. This particular Garcia Mitchell 410A was in very good condition; it worked superbly and had that lovely Mitchell sound and I sometimes wish I'd kept it.
The second Mitchell reel bought locally, this Garcia Mitchell 206 was also in very good condition. Although the 2 series reels were apparently budget reels, I enjoyed using it for a while and I'd recommend this model as they are strong and reliable.
A Garcia Mitchell 324 and the third of four Mitchells bought locally. This reel was also in good condition and worked well. Another reel I'd recommend to someone starting a vintage tackle collection. Lightweight and solid, they are fun to use for spinning and float fishing.
This Mitchell 410 'High Speed' with a torpedo handle was the fourth of the Mitchell reels I bought locally and I ledger fished with it regularly for while, before I replaced it with a 410 in better condition. A very nice reel with a lovely sounding spool.
A nice, boxed Bakelite Pridex fly fishing reel which I bought from a weekly antique fair at a local garden centre. Although I don't really know much at all about fly reels it appeared to work well, it was sold on the internet and I got good feedback, so it must have been ok!
Someone gave me this Shakespeare Cosmos 2001 spinning reel years ago. I'd forgot I had it, so I dusted it down and used it with my Olympic Match rod before buying the Mitchell 300, even though it looked far too small on a 13ft rod!
The first sea reel I bought, the mighty Shakespeare Mentor! Well, I thought it was mighty at the time as the biggest reel I had. It felt a bit 'plastic fantastic' but was solid enough and sold quickly when someone bought it for some nostalgic beach fishing.
This Garcia Mitchell 207 is right-hand wind and sold with a boxed spare spool and nice old Relum canvas case. This reel was in near mint condition, I'm not sure it had ever been used.
Another reel from K P Morritt. Made in England along with the Intrepid reels, I believe in Surrey then Falmouth. There are quite a few of these Tru Spin reels about still and this was in pretty good condition, although a bit loud when the anti-reverse was on.
A nice, well looked after Daiwa 7700 sea fishing reel with an anodized spool. I've had a couple of similar reels and this one was in very good condition. Some of the old sea reels have unfortunately succumbed to saltwater damage, but this reel was solid and worked perfectly.
This Garcia Mitchell 410 'High Speed' reel replaced the Mitchell 410 I bought locally and as it was in better condition and sounded smoother. I still use it along with my Mitchell 300, the 410 is used for ledger fishing and the 300 more for float fishing.
Two old, wood and brass centre pin reels, although I'm not sure how old they were or who made them. I've come across a number of old unnamed reels and not known anything about them until I sold them and asked the buyer.
This brass baitcaster was made in the U.S. by Andrew B Hendryx Co, who began making reels in 1887, producing huge numbers in different models. Most, like this one, were inexpensive, but some were higher quality and made in limited numbers, which made them collectable.
A Shakespeare Match 2660 closed faced reel and case. I bought a large job lot of mostly closed face reels but this was one of the best I've had. I don't fish the river very often which is what they are designed for, so wouldn't get the most out of them.
This Intrepid reel was one of several New De Luxe reels I've had, but this one was the best example and still boxed. In good condition, they are solid, nice sounding, smooth-winding reels.
Although this Garcia Mitchell 320 reel was sold with a manual, they were bought separately, which was stated in the advert. Reels sell for a good price if they are in their original box with original paperwork and especially if they've not been used.
This Galion 19 was made by Mitchell and similar to the Kingfisher reels made for Garcia. The major differences were the larger Galions incorporated a manual pickup system whereas the Kingfisher reels only used a full bail mechanism.
These American engineered Gladding Intrepid Surfcast sea reels are very well built, with deep spools. Perfect for some retro beach, pier or harbour fishing.
I've seen footage of Chris Yates using one of these, very futuristic, rocket-looking Le 'Omnia' Super reels. Although Le Omnia sounds French, they were made in England by T J Harrington & Son Ltd. Other models included the Gemima, Little Kraka, Maxima and Regina.
This Japanese made Match 530 wasn't a reel I'd come across before. It was in near mint condition, with very smooth action and felt strong enough for some big carp fishing. A nice reel along with a retro blue vintage reel case it was sold with.
A boxed Daiwa 250RLA in very good condition and had obviously been looked after. An anodized reel is ideal for sea spinning and it worked and sounded as good as it looked.
A mint condition Olympic ES-2 reel with a faux leather bag. This Japanese made reel looked unused and was almost too nice to use. I'm not really one for putting reels on display, I like them to be used and enjoyed.
The first multiplier reel I bought, an excellent example of a classic reel, A Penn 285. I had to look up if it all worked ok as I haven't used a multiplier since I went sea fishing on a boat as a teenager! It was all in good shape and this reel was sold to someone on the coast.
This Japanese Diamond Super 700 was a very solid, all metal spinning reel. It was another reel I found to be in near mint condition. It’s always nice to come across well looked after reels.
This Shakespeare Omni 070 2000B Series was, I believe for sea fishing. It was a good, solid reel as you would expect from Shakespeare. I think it would also be ideal for some vintage carp fishing, which it may have been used for, as the reel was in pretty good condition and didn't have any signs of saltwater damage.
It's not all about the reels. This Milbro Mitchell 321 reel box and guarantee sold without a reel to someone in the U.S. who had a large collection of Mitchell reels and wanted a Milbro box. Originally D W Millard Ltd of Caledonia Rd, London, the company changed its name to Millard Brothers, then Milbro, a well known British distributor of Mitchell tackle.
From Woolworths own Winfield brand, the Young Angler A9930. This budget reel was a nice blue colour and had pretty good, smooth action for its age. Note the little anti-reverse switch and I think the small cylindrical part on the front of the foot to catch the bail arm is genius!
Occasionally I'm lucky enough to come across a job lot of vintage fishing tackle, either from a house clearance, inheritance or a loft or garage find. The 24 reels below are predominantly closed faced reels and baitcasters from one particular lot. The reels were all given a really good clean inside and out. They were in a wide range of conditions from excellent and working perfectly to needing some TLC. Most of the reels went on to other enthusiasts; however, I did use some of the closed faced reels for a while.
These three Abu reels were in excellent condition and all worked superbly. There's an Abumatic 150 Svangsta, a boxed Abu Garcia 1075 and a 506 which I enjoyed using a few times, along with a 506M. Also, a brightly coloured FIG C30 baitcaster in perfect condition, not a reel I'd come across before.
Two vintage Daiwa baitcasters; a No.960 and an Apollocast 108, both were in very good condition. Made in the U.S.A. this nice but worn Heddon 112 baitcaster wasn't in working order and needed some TLC so was sold for spares/repairs. Another American reel in the lot was this nice, boxed Johnson Century 100-A with its original paperwork.
Two Zebco baitcaster reels, a metal Spinner Model 33 and a 202 model. Another item of tackle from the Winfield brand, a Baitcaster 44 reel which was made in Hong Kong and worked well. A Pflueger Galaxie 89 baitcaster reel which was also sold for spares/repairs as I couldn't get the cover off and I didn't want to force it.
Four Shakespeare baitcaster reels; a Synergy Steel, 1788 Heavy Duty reel, 1700 and 7500.
Two fixed spool reels, both in excellent condition, although the Garcia Mitchell 410A had been hand painted! This Intrepid Supreme was at the top of its range in the 1960s. Another Garcia Mitchell, the 602AP multiplier reel which I hope to use next time I'm on holiday. A Tru Spin, another once very popular reel.
Finally for this job lot, a little brass baitrunner and centre pin reel, both unnamed and worked ok after a good clean and grease up. To finish, we have two nice centre pin reels, The Gemina, boxed and in good condition, made by Harrington of England and a nice example of a Mordex Merlin.
Another job lot, but this time just three reels seen here after a clean and grease up. All Daiwa reels, there’s a 730-R spinning reel, a 1050 and an anodized 7270A.
This Korean made Kassnar PLS-300 was in near mint condition, I bought it for ledgering but never got round to using it. A solid reel with really smooth winding and the bail arm made a nice ‘clunk’.
Another great old Mitchell, the classic 300 which I bought with another classic reel, a J W Young Ambidex No2. I sold the Mitchell as I already have my 300. I also sold the spare spool and spool case to someone who refurbished fishing reels. After getting used to the half bail and not having an anti-reverse switch on the Ambidex I enjoy using it for float fishing.
A Shakespeare PRO-AMx Series 2 and a Ryobi SX 4ND, both really solid old reels. A solid and quite heavy Shakespeare Ambidex 2000 and a Browning Silaflex SFE 13M, both nice reels and in good condition when I got them. I used the Browning reel with a Browning feeder rod for a while, before I broke the rod!
The 6 reels below were bought in a job lot of 11 reels from the 60s, 70s, 80s. I bought the reels for spares and repairs and although I managed to get some working again, others were beyond repair and I sold them on for spares, listing all their faults.
I'd not seen a decent job lot of reels for the right price for quite a while. Then I saw these mostly vintage reels on eBay. From the top row, left to right; Black Prince which I painted up and used for spinning. A Mitchell 320. A Shakespeare Power Play FD7000 which sold first. A Ryobi LX02. A Daiwa No730. Two Daiwa 7270A. A D.A.M. Quick Pirate 1. A Carbovan 800. An unnamed reel which looks a bit like a Tru Spin. An unnamed Japanese spinning reel. Most of the reels were in pretty good condition and just needed a good clean and a bit of tinkering to get the bail arms and auto-reverse switches working again. However, the Mitchell 320 beat me as I couldn't get the bail arm spring to engage and looking on the internet I wondered if it was the right spring. Also, the front drag on the Mitchell was missing.
This job lot was bought soon after the previous one and included an Allcocks Delmatic which I've been after for a while and a Delmatic MkII. From top left: a Sportex 55 British made and apparently quite rare, this reel came with a spare spool and was used by carp anglers in the 50s and was a forerunner of the rear drag system and sold for spares as the bail spring had come detached. Bretton 205S French made spinning reel in its original box. Cargem 22 Italian made spinning reel (top right). Allcocks Delmatic MkII. Galion 13R another French reel, this one made by Mitchell. Allcock Marvel classic Redditch of England fly reel, sold for spares as the boss on the outside centre of the reel was broken. Millward Gyrex also made in Redditch England and sold for spares as the ratchet didn't work.
This job lot included several K P Morritt reels; an Intrepid Supreme, New De Luxe, Black Prince, Tru Spin and a J W Young's Ambidex 2. Also included were two unnamed centre pin reels one made of Bakelite, the other just 3 inches in diameter. An Ambidex 2, Shakespeare, Daiwa, Diamond Knight, Roddy 996R, a Galion 45R and Galion 15, along with a more modern Abu Garcia 554 and Trident 04M. The lot also included an Actio 24 which is a make I've not come across before.
These five reels included two Mitchell 304s, a 300A, a 314 and an Abu 506.
Although I've come across several of these Gladding Intrepid Surfcasts over the years, this is by far the best I've seen. Bought as part of a job lot, I didn't have a use for this reel and thought it should be enjoyed by someone who would either use it or want it for their display cabinet.
This nice, old wood and brass reel were in a job lot with two split cane rods and a wooden handled landing net. The reel doesn't have a makers mark but it makes a nice display piece.
I'd been looking for a Mitchell Match ever since I first started using Mitchell reels. I think this is a 440 model, as it's left-hand wind and doesn't have a serial number. It served me well for a few years until I was given another Mitchell Match in better condition.
Here's a classic, British made, Allcock Aerialite centre pin reel. Made from Bakelite with brass fittings, one of the handles and the ratchet switch were missing. It sat on a shelf in my shed for a while I sold it online to a buyer in Iceland for spares/repairs.
This is the Mitchell Match I was lucky enough to be given which I think is a 440A. I only met the person who gave it to me once, at a local fishery. The next time I went he'd left the reel with the owner and said he'd found it in his garage and I could have it because I was "into that old tackle." It definitely restores your faith in human kindness.
A Japanese made Anon Shaw Mk1 spinning reel, which looked in good condition. However, there was a cog missing inside so it didn't wind, but the spool worked manually and felt smooth.
Another Japanese reel. A Roddy 810, in excellent condition, with a smooth, left-hand folding handle and anodized spool for some vintage Mackerel fishing on a windswept pier.