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"Old School Gear" - made before some of us became Tackle Tarts !!

Discussion in 'Sea Fishing Forum - Shore, Boat & Kayak Fishing' started by rupert, Jan 16, 2014.

  1. rupert

    rupert Blenny

    Over the past few months I’ve purchased some classic vintage boat fishing tackle, just for a bit of fun. I’m talking about quality old tackle, boasting well executed and functional design. Tackle that was built to last and proudly crafted in England. The type of gear that when I was a young lad, was regularly illustrated in the angling magazines of the day, alongside well known anglers and their seemingly colossal fish.

    In those days, such tackle was completely out of my price range, so all I could do back then, was to dream and drool.


    I’ve been surprised, however, that some of the rods from the top English makers of the 1960’s and 1970’s like Hardy and Bruce and Walker, can still be found in nearly new condition. To my mind at least, some examples now offer fantastic value for money, either as collectors pieces, or dare I say it, to use once again.

    For some reason, I’ve found old sea fishing tackle is much more affordable than so much of the vintage freshwater tackle you see advertised. This may be down to the fact that so much old sea fishing tackle has been damaged by saltwater that people don’t think it’s worth collecting, but I’ve found that if you’re prepared to spend a little time hunting around, there’s some great classics to buy out there.


    By way of example, last year, I picked up a 7’ 30lb class Bruce and Walker fibre glass boat rod. The rings are in tip top condition and apart from a small area of flaking varnish; the rod is in great shape and came with its original cloth bag. The cost - £32.

    I’ve since teamed this rod up with a narrow Mitchell boat reel – the 622 model with stainless spool and stainless side plates. I don’t know the exact age of this reel. It probably dates from the early 1970’s, but it still runs incredibly sweetly and the star drag works just as well as the day it left the factory. Previous owner(s) have fastidiously maintained the reel and it shows negligible signs of corrosion. This reel set me back the princely sum of £26 from that well known auction site.



    I’ve loaded the Mitchell reel with 250 metres of new 30lb Dacron. Whilst this line is a chunk thicker than modern braid, I thought that it would be more fun to fish this outfit with a line type that closer matched the era. I thought briefly about spooling it up with blue 31lb Sylcast, but I’m not sure I could deal with the elasticity of monofilament on a boat rod outfit ever again!

    Teamed up with the Bruce and Walker 30lb boat rod, I now have a balanced vintage setup that still feels remarkably good today. Bruce and Walker must have really thought about the rod design too, for here is a medium weight class of boat rod that actually bends! (It has a delightful through action). By comparison, I can’t remember my only boat rod from that era bending much at all. The B&W rod is hollow fibreglass, so weight wise, the outfit would still be a doddle to use today.


    I don’t know whether my purchases will increase in value in coming years, but that’s not been the driver behind me buying them. Rather, I wanted to live the dreams of my youth by owning the tackle I’d drooled over back then and have some fun using it every now and again.

    Don’t get me wrong. Quality modern gear definitely has the edge, but I’ve surprised myself just how serviceable some of this 40 to 50 year old tackle still is. In fact, I’d go so far as to say that with a limited budget, I would much rather spend my £60 on the Bruce and Walker rod and Mitchell reel, than the same amount on a cheap modern boat outfit!

    I’d also wager that this old school outfit would still be performing long after the modern outfit fails. How often do you hear about cheap boat multipliers lasting less than a season, or rod rings rapidly corroding?

    So what else have I picked up recently?

    I think the star find for me recently, was a set of three Hardy IGFA 50lb class big game boat rods. These are things of real beauty and ooze class. So they should too, as the Hardy Company was truly on top of its game, when these rods were made back in the 1960’s. The standard of workmanship is exemplary and each rod is numbered and signed off with the initials of the Hardy craftsman who was instrumental in their build.


    In my opinion and very sadly, Hardy gear has lost so much of its desirability, now that the Company has its rods manufactured out in China.

    Interestingly, the vendor of these boat rods told me with pride of the 364lb porbeagle shark that was landed on one of these Hardy rods when he fished them in the UK. A shark of that calibre would be an achievement today, but was certainly a very special fish in those bygone days. I would like to think that one day; I might bring them out to do battle once more, if not on the porbeagle shark, perhaps a big common skate?

    The Hardy 50lb rods are teamed up Grice and Young Tatler Supreme reels. There are two Mk 4’s and a Mk 5. Again, these have stood the test of time incredibly well and I’d be very confident using these today. I must admit to being in a slight dilemma here. Part of me is itching to press these Hardy rods and Tatler reels back into service, but the other part of me says that they are in such great condition; perhaps they should be left alone to enjoy their retirement.


    Some of the ‘older’ members of this forum will be smiling now, I’m sure. I’ll bet there is still a vast collection of vintage fishing rods and reels sitting in people’s homes that hasn’t seen the light of day for decades. Perhaps some of you own examples of the same tackle I’ve detailed above?

    Does anyone care to share some pictures and tales relating to use of your vintage gear?

    Perhaps there should be a vintage gear outing one day?

    E.F.C. FOREVER Whitby Fishing Forum _ Simply The Best

    Re: "Old School Gear" - made before some of us became Tackle Tarts !!

    Brilliant read rupert.
  3. BigPauly

    BigPauly Tina Turner _ Simply The Best

    Thanks for taking your time and effort in posting this.
    A very interesting read.

  4. Steve

    Steve Rockling

    Have a look in cash express on promenade bridlington. They had a Mitchell 636 in the window today
  5. jason131972

    jason131972 Whitby Fishing Forum _ Simply The Best

    great read,i love old gear and storys,i could listen to the older generation all day talk about "how it was back then"even though I don't really remember the days being born in the 70s,thanks 8)
  6. Really interesting Post


  7. dmc

    dmc Whitby Fishing Forum _ Simply The Best

    Hi Rupert,
    like yourself old tackle fascinates me and when you think the tackle displayed was some of the best off its time. This reel is a Mitchel 498 fixed spool reel and i bought it and used it of Flamborough head and Filey brigg fishing into the heavy ground and the kelp.It was matched to an ABU ATLANTIC used two spark plugs screwed together and the earth electrode bashed closed over the loop of mono 50lb.
    The 498 hadnt a bail arm but a roller and after the cast the line was placed between the spring clip and the roller. on the handle was a black plastic nut that when wound tight prevented the handle rotating backwards during the cast.
    The idea of not having a bail arm was because early large fixed spools had a habit of snapping shut during the cast causing snap offs

    Attached Files:

  8. dmc

    dmc Whitby Fishing Forum _ Simply The Best

    OOPs,With ref to the text on the Mitchel fixed spool reel i should have explained,
    the spark plugs i used were instead of losing lead weights.
  9. Fishy Rich

    Fishy Rich Guest

    I still have a 20lb class riptide boat rod made by walkers, its a tippy rod with plenty of low down grunt, it was a present so i will be hanging onto it. its a heavy blank compared to my 12-20 kenzaki i use now!
  10. scrubbs

    scrubbs Whitby Fishing Forum _ Simply The Best

    Re: "Old School Gear" - made before some of us became Tackle Tarts !!

    I still have my Mitchell 624 and will be using my old Daiwa on Saturday(weather permitting:)

    Sent from my HTC One X using Tapatalk
  11. craigyb

    craigyb Whitby Fishing Forum _ Simply The Best

    Great read. And some fine proper made tackle :)
  12. congerball

    congerball Blenny

    Great post Rupert. A very good read.
  13. Threefingers onefoot

    Threefingers onefoot Whitby Fishing Forum _ Simply The Best

    well done Rupert cracking, we've also tried to go back in time with our gear.
    We both returned to fishing last April after 25/30 yrs absence and by god have
    we enjoyed ourselves even tho we ain't caught owt to post about. But we have
    gone back to gear we know about and how to use, suprisingly cheap to buy on
    that good old **ay. We've both gone back to Mitchell 486 reels and I've got into
    a Norris Shakespear 4.8m beach rod from the early '70s, great fun rod reel combo.
    Also got a Gladding Sealey sea spray boat rod, yet to be used due to family
    health probs. Sorry but tried attaching pics of our gear but can't do it, been trying
    for ages.
    Well done again and brill thread.
    The lucky ones!
  14. Roger Melly

    Roger Melly Whitby Fishing Forum _ Simply The Best

    Who is up for admitting to still using an Intrepid Sea Streak, or as they were known a Sea Shriek !

    Quite fancy magging one though LOL.

  15. Clement

    Clement Blenny

    Great report Rupert-can we look forward to seeing you launch your warrior with the "field marshal".
    Hope to see you when the Shads come out!-Andy
  16. rupert

    rupert Blenny

    Nooooooooooo!!!!!!! I'd maybe use her to push my boat into Castle Howard lake, but the sea? No way!
  17. Mop The Hoople 2

    Mop The Hoople 2 Whitby Fishing Forum _ Simply The Best

    Does anyone care to share some pictures and tales relating to use of your vintage gear?

    nice read Rupert,

    this autumn I decided to revert to the "old" school method of beach fishing.

    I took along my usual modern gear , century rod penn multi etc ,pennel/ pulley rigs etc etc.

    and my old 1966 xmas present a 11 ft milbro beach master, sea streak multiplier , using old type end traces

    buckle swivel & looped hook length @18" below the sinker.

    using "modern bait -peeler/cart /razor etc " on the modern set up

    just lug or rag or mussel on the old set up both caught equally

    during the sessions I tried them both.

    was this due to the amount of mops about? bait presentation/venue etc or just that if any bait is fresh etc

    the fish will take it.

    mind you the old "soft" hollow glass rods wouldn't last these days if overgunned!!

    regarding the tattlers, only by saving up could you afford one, the first one I saw

    was on the rabbit warrens at sandsend, late 60,s along with the first red side plated

    abu 9000c, but some old hands still used centre pins up there.

    id use & enjoy a least one of the tattlers on your boat fishing this year

    and see if they are still up to the job.
  18. wilky

    wilky Blenny

    An old Penn Squidder reel was brushed down and loaded with 50 lb braid for last summers shadding - carried itself off very well. I well remember my Dad attempting to teach me to cast multis with it late 60s early 70s, but with a metal spool it was a nightmare for overruns. It was many years with FS before I again plucked up the courage to even try with a multi again. Modern multis /mag brakes etc make it a doddle these days
  19. stevie62

    stevie62 Whitby Fishing Forum _ Simply The Best

    Good read that rupert, them rods have been well looked after.
  20. david blake

    david blake Whitby Fishing Forum _ Simply The Best

    ive got lots of lod reels i use em to change my braid round on my newer reels

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