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Why Collect Antique Fishing Reels?


  "My own fascination in collecting [old reels] lies in the knowledge that each of these simple machines has been used, cared for, even doted upon by one or more fellow fishermen. Each has stories to tell, just as each fisherman does.

  Beyond that quasi-mystical experience, there is, for me at least, an additional sense of wonder in the design of the reel. I can think of no other hand-powered machine which has undergone such remarkable evolution and yet must still be powered by hand, even in this age of the electric tie rack. That evolution reflects the reelmaker's attempts to compensate for the hand's deficiencies. The modern casting reel automatically compensates for line deceleration during casting and prevents backlash; it winds the line evenly on the spool during retrieval; it applies drag to the spool when a hooked fish attempts to swim away. All of these functions once were performed by the angler's fingers."

From the Preface, Antique Fishing Reels, by Steven K. Vernon,
Stackpole Books, 1985

Copyright by Steven K. Vernon. All rights reserved. Redistribution or republication of text and/or illustrations from this site in any form without permission is prohibited.