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automatic fly reels

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for the older generation. have you ever used them? stoll have them? still use them?

 

then

 

442-2014627144650_540x360.jpg

 

now

 

flyreel-VivarelliElite.jpg

 

flyreel-Ghost2.jpg

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Back in 55, there were several in the fishing box. I used one then, and picked up a Mitchell Auto Reel in the 60s. Use it for a season or 2, and haven't used one since. I did keep using my Martin Multiplyer up until a couple of years ago. Gave it to my fishing buddy then.

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I don't have any of those fancy new models. Like everything else, I'll stick with the least expensive ones.

I've got a few of these:

VINTAGE_SOUTH_BEND_OREN-O-MATIC_No_1130_

 

And a couple of these:

$_1.JPG

 

I use them in the boat. I have several rods, each with a different set up and/or fly. Automatic reels allow me to rapidly change rods.

 

They're a little too heavy for my lightest rods ... and they don't have the capacity for my 8 weight lines. Everything else is automatic.

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My very first intro to fly fishing was in the mid-sixties as a teenager and this was in the deep south when fly fishing meant tossing popping bugs at cover for panfish and small bass... I didn't do much of it - but it was a gas.... particularly when the mayflies were hatching. It was all lift and lay stuff at very close quarters and since this was well before decent electric motors my "teacher" (about two years older than me) would scull the small jonboat we were in with one hand using a special short paddle while laying out his popper with the other. Those old automatic reels were perfect for line management doing that style of fly fishing... Me, I had a cheap split bamboo rod and a simple clicker reel and could barely lift and lay a bug properly - but we did catch a bunch of fish with our small poppers (every one less than 30 feet from our skiff.. ). All we ever did was canepole the fish at the strike and we were in heaven...

 

Ten or more years later, now grown up and down here in south Florida I joined a fishing club that had a fly category we could compete in - so I built my first fly rod - before I learned how to use it... That was 1976 - and another story entirely...

 

I never owned an automatic -but they were perfect for bass bugging... I haven't fished north Alabama since before 1968 when I went in the service. I imagine there are still quite a few in that area that still use fly rods with automatic reels....

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I have 2, one was my grandfathers and the other mine both Heddon mark IV model 11's, from the late 60's early 70's? prior to my military career. Yes I fish them on glass rods about once or twice a year (more for memory's) both function without issues. My grandfathers saw more use in brackish water for white perch and salters with a level line and grass shrimp or garden worms for bait and it still looks fine, although I know he cleaned it frequently. Mine sat in a chest for 28 years prior to me finding it with a few of my other treasures some fishing & tying stuff I had forgotten about.

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We had a treasurer for the fishing club that had a Sage rod with a garage sale automatic reel.

 

Worked for him.

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Wore a few of them out. Still got a couple. Usually $25 now more. Kinda a status as kids. I always thought it was a Southern thing at least breamses/bass...Wuts backing and G,H, HCH. Didn't know there was anything but level line. Used the lil push in eyelit; nailknot, huh?

IMG-5046.jpg

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I never had one, but I can surely see their place. I remember as a kid in Michigan I would fish for crappie in the canals around Mt. Clemens with my cousin Dave. He had an automatic reel on a fly rod. Dave really knew how to use it and I was amazed at how he was able to strip line in with one hand and retrieve the stripped line with his little finger on the trigger of his automatic reel. We only used live minnows. I don't remember what brand his auto reel was, but from then on, I always wanted a Perrine that I often saw advertised in the outdoor magazines. I was never able to afford one and my parents would not buy one for me as they said I already had enough fishing stuff.

Joe

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My dad had a Utica on his fly rod. It was the only reel he ever used. Bass, trout, panfish, it didn't matter. They are great for line control, but you can't really fight a fish with them.

 

I still have his Utica with it's patented phrase, "The little finger does it". It's too heavy to use on a graphite rod, but it balanced his old HI Trouter perfectly.

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Great time saver if wading and covering lots of stream, not legal in R.I. when I lived there on fly only water, had to be a single action reel or it was not fly fishing, so for many years I could not use regularly.

But, I have had a few and I can recall when many western fly rod fishers used them exclusively.

Shakespeare, Perrine, Martin all had good models both vertical and horizontal mount. South Bend had a good reel but as I recall a bit heavier. It's interesting that I don't recall seeing many Pfluegers in use back when and yet they are the survivor- I believe only one on the market

They are a marvel of engineering.

Can't fight the fish on the reel? Why do that anyway? But when you have stripped in a pile of line and want to get it on the reel so's not to get it tangled around your feet while fighting the fish that little finger can pick that pile fast, leaving you two hands to work with.

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I used to enjoy using one on my bass rod, wouldn't use it for my type of trout fishing, but it worked well for bass with a heavy line. Then one day it wouldn't reel in, I changed reels to a non auto reel and put the auto on a shelf. several months later I decided to take it apart when I realized the reel has a safety switch! To me it didn't look like a switch, but it was a switch and must have gotten bumped half way or so. So after two hours of putting the spring back in, it worked perfectly as it should.

 

It currently doesn't have any line on it, but perhaps I'll load it up again with more heavy line and use it next year.

 

Jeff

 

P.S. Great reel. While you can't fight a heavy bass on the reel, you can reel the slack out, fight with your rod and keep reeling in the slack. On mine you couldn't adjust the drag, but the drag was set fairly stiff, but not bad for 3x or heavier tippets and when you pulled the trigger the drag was lightened up quit a bit.

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