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New Versus Vintage
Posted by: Kent Griffith (---)
Date: February 17, 2021 01:51PM

I post this thread as a curiosity to see where custom rod building members of this forum stand on this issue.

For me, I am nearly 60 years old so I have been fishing since the late 1960's and I have lived through many phases of the fishing tackle changes over the years and decades and I have seen things come and go and some stick around.

And it is precisely all those years- my younger years mind you- that has developed within me a passion for vintage gear. Not always, but in some cases...

My preference today for baitcast reels are the Shimano Curado i series. My spinning reel preferences are for Shimano Stradic reels in the FG to FJ range. I have worked as a professional rod and reel technician and trained as a warranty tech for numerous brands, but I find that mid line Shimano gives me the performance I want and reliability I need as well as access to parts no longer in production, but can be found in the numerous reels sold over the years, so I can keep mine in tip top shape as I watch the trend towards more plastic and cheaper construction is never ending.

But moving on to blanks...

I have an affinity for blanks made in the USA. And while I like a lot of the technology improvements, I do find myself looking back and pulling out my older vintage rods for fishing enjoyment. I go out of my way to find them, even old blanks decades old for custom rod building or taking older rods and stripping them down and redoing them with modern changes and upgrades, but still getting that vintage rod fishing satisfaction.

I find that vintage rods tend to be more forgiving when fishing with braid line and have more bending ability deeper down into the blank than newer rods do- at least the ones I have tried. So quite often when I go fishing today in some ways I am using newer technology in reels, line, guides, etc, but finding myself really enjoying vintage rods some dating back 30 years or more.

And living in the central Florida area brings me into closer contact and direct access to some older dealers who still have numerous vintage rods in stock like decades old vintage Lamiglas blanks- and other brands like LCI- some long since out of business, so I find myself digging through those old rod blanks from time to time enjoying the throwback to vintage... and yet I have fast access to Get Bit OutDoors and MudHole just minutes down the road, and yet I prefer digging around in old Lamiglas stock and old LCI stock and whatever else is in there to new modern rods...

Right now I am overhauling a rod I had in college 35 years ago- a Berkley lightning rod, 6'6" early graphite model with good medium qualities to it. An excellent swimbait rod for bass fishing. I'm putting new micro guides on it in a spiral wrap setup and can't wait to get it back on the water. Vintage has its appeal to me and I was wondering if it does for any of you or if some of you always buy new blanks to build?

Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 02/17/2021 02:47PM by Kent Griffith.

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Re: New Versus Vintage
Posted by: Russell Brunt (---.hfc.comcastbusiness.net)
Date: February 17, 2021 03:50PM

Similar age, experience, and from Florida as well.

I suspect our past experiences strongly influences our feelings on such matters. I grew up fishing off shore. Back then there were few reels that would stand up. My dad was a reel mechanic/rod builder back in the 50's/60's. My first salt water spinning reels were Shakespeare. Conventional reels I remember around the house were Vom Hofe, Ocean City, and Penn. When I was old enough to start buying my own price was a consideration, so I was buying Penn. I still have Senator, Long Beach, and spinning reels like the Penn 704. I never liked the Mitchells and never had a Luxor. I did think the DAM Quick was a nice reel.

The Daiwa black gold spinning reel was a game changer and had me buying Japanese spinning reels ever since. These days I mostly buy mid range Shimano's but do have some Daiwa's. I have some Penn, ABU, and Avet conventional reels.

There wasn't the same problem with blanks standing up to off shore. We didn't need sensitivity to feel a bite and weight wasn't an issue as they were often in rod holders. Early on it was Shakespeare and Lamiglas. Later on Fenwick. Never did use Calstar and seeker but did use Sabre. Looking back I suppose we didn't have the money and what little we did have went towards a better reel than rod.

Had I grown up knowing what a LCI blank was I suspect I would feel differently. I did buy some closeout blanks 10-12 years back, blanks I wouldn't be able to afford at the time otherwise. I believe they were made by Cascade Composites. I would consider them a very good blank even by today's standards. But when it comes to my old glass blanks from the past the only one I still have is a store bought Shimano Triton model TS-1654. I also have an old Kunnan "hot rail" spinning rod that I rebuilt.

So i guess I'm more likely to use older reels than older rods.

Russ in Hollywood, FL.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 02/17/2021 06:47PM by Russell Brunt.

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Re: New Versus Vintage
Posted by: Robert Ford (---)
Date: February 17, 2021 06:01PM

I like both vintage and modern gear. I fish steelhead in smaller streams and sometimes I use a fly rod with mono,and old 1974 Heddon 50 golden mark rod and a modern reel with a good drag. I love old ambassadeurs,1970s and older. They are just too cool! I also really like my new rod blanks ,rainshadow,NFC. I am currently building a lamiglas Certified Pro spinning light surf rod from a vintage blank,and just finished a build,and Eternity 2 8 wt fly rod. Fun stuff.

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Re: New Versus Vintage
Posted by: Mark Talmo (---)
Date: February 17, 2021 07:07PM

It is nice to meet someone else who appreciates vintage fishing gear but you and I may be virtually alone and heavily out-weighed by those in favor of wanting the newest, most state of the art equipment available. I suppose it is to be expected as people become spoiled with advancements in technology. CF blanks, guides and entire guide concepts, seats and reels have certainly benefited from technology, often to the point their predecessors have been relegated to the back of the closet or forgotten entirely. While a CF blank may be smaller in diameter with a thinner wall thickness and thus lighter, inherently more sensitive, and dampen tip oscillations quicker, I have found FG to provide more Fish Fighting Fun Factor and a vintage Conolon blank puts the experience over the top. The most common remark I hear from CFoholics is that FG feels “sloppy”; I consider it merely full-flexing. Many on this site know me for my admiration of vintage FG Conolon blanks. I have found a niche (at times it feels more like trying to fill a void) of creating a very unique feeling rod by utilizing/melding the vintage feel of a Conolon blank with modern components and concepts. Apparently you have discovered the same.
About 2.5 years ago, I had just finished my 7.5ft Conolon calico rod (extended from a 6tf blank) and was waiting at the launch ramp for my buddies to head out to Catalina. Three local gentlemen were taking their morning stroll around the landing and on their third pass I said good morning. They came over and after briefly talking one of them asked,”Is that an old Conolon?” I replied with a very proud, “Yes it is”. While inspecting the rod, another asked, “What’s wrong with the guides?””That is what is called a spiral-guide-wrap”. Those guys really made my day; heck, more than that, I still enjoy thinking about it.
If you are interested in a NOS FG Conolon blank, let me know what you are looking for and I will see what I have. These blanks are absolutely beautiful after a coat or two of PG to highlight the weave pattern.

Mark Talmo

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Re: New Versus Vintage
Posted by: Todd Andrizzi (---.slkc.qwest.net)
Date: February 18, 2021 08:31AM

Kent, that makes me smile. I have a few years on you but I love the older, more simple times of life. I started fishing in the early 60's. Back then if you had a Mitchell 300 and a Garcia rod you were set. Bird hunting..you were in with a Remington 870. I love and miss those days. Good for you to hang on to good memories. If you like the bend of the old rods (most likely glass), why not build on a new glass blank. I just finished a glass fly rod and haven't fished it yet but had a warm day recently so went to the park and cast it. I am hooked! And they say the fun part is actually catching fish because of the bend and give in the blank. Just a thought. Thanks for the memories tho!

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Re: New Versus Vintage
Posted by: Joe Vanfossen (---.net.kent.edu)
Date: February 18, 2021 08:39AM

A good blank is a good blank regardless of when it was manufactured. If the action and power are right, I would not hesitate to use a glass or graphite blank of any vintage for a build. I have one cranking rod built on a late 60's vintage Lamiglas 6702. The blank predates even myself by a good bit. I wish I had a good local source to pull on some old blanks to see what is out there.

Mark, I may take you up on that offer. I'll have to think a bit about what I might want one for.

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Re: New Versus Vintage
Posted by: Todd Andrizzi (---.slkc.qwest.net)
Date: February 18, 2021 08:41AM

Sorry Kent...I have a question for you. I was always a Shimano guy but the last two years have swayed and now really like Pflueger spin reels. You being a certified tech on some brands, how do you feel about Pflueger? I use their middle reels. My favorite is the Summit XT. What are your feelings? Thanks.

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Re: New Versus Vintage
Posted by: Aaron Petersen (12.144.64.---)
Date: February 18, 2021 08:45AM

My Grandfather has so many vintage Lamiglas in his shop. Some he will still use on occasion. Mostly Salmon trolling and jigging blanks that were used on the Hood Canal. Every time I lay eyes on those vintage brown/honey rods it takes me back to when I was a kid learning to fish with Grandpa. Many of his stock have minor things that are easy repairs. I live too far away now to just grab them and restore them but I would love nothing more than to bring those back to tip top shape.

I am not 40 yet and enjoy fishing with vintage fly and salmon rods. I also agree that the vintage Abu Ambassadeur reels are too cool. Thinking of this stuff brings back a lot of memories.

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Re: New Versus Vintage
Posted by: Spencer Phipps (---)
Date: February 18, 2021 09:37AM

I know what you mean, I have some old Lamiglas S-glass blanks I stored away, have a few of the old Lamiglas graphite 5 1/2 ft bass blanks. My first total rebuild was an old Saber 6 1/2 ft medium baitcaster from my grandad's collection, if there is an easier rod to teach someone to baitcast with, I haven't seen it. It was his "anything not a salmon, sturgeon, or steelhead rod." Came out looking like brand new and still does. It has caught a lot of searun cutthroat, flounder, sole and other smaller species fresh and saltwater fish over 60+ years.

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Re: New Versus Vintage
Posted by: Kent Griffith (172.58.172.---)
Date: February 18, 2021 10:04AM

Robert Ford Wrote:

> love old ambassadeurs,1970s and older.

I have used the old abu's but they have a couple of problems I have encountered as a fisherman and as a reel tech...

One of the downsides to the abu round reels is that the level wind line guide is directly tied to the spinning of the spool with gears. So when trying to cast one, the level wind line guide is also moving from side to side during the cast dragging down the reel's ability to cast well. So this is something I can no longer live with. I did decades ago, but today all my reels have free spinning spools and the level wind line guide stays put where I want it in the center of the spool during each cast.

Another downside to the abu round reels I had to repair over and over and over is what I consider a design flaw in some of the reels. Not all of them, but a good number of them.

These reels have a steel frame, but the spools are suspended from the side plates and bearings or bushing in those side plates. This is significant because those side plates are made of soft aluminum that bends quite easily. Drop a reel hard enough and the side plate will bend and could bind up the spool. I've seen this quit a bit in the repair business.

So the engineers at Abu came up with an interesting band aid approach to give some toleration to this problem. They are the only reel manufacturer to change from a squared off edged spool bearing to a rounded edge spool bearing or bushing and the reasoning is clear... bend the side plates just a little bit as Abu expects to happen, and the rounded edged bearings or bushings can move around inside the side plate to accommodate for some minor side plate bending without binding up the spool.

I have seen some bent so badly the side plates had to be replaced and if not available had to attempt straighten them back out myself. And anyone who takes out those rounded edge bearings or bushings and replaces them with squared off edged bearings is in for a rude awakening since they can not move around in the side plates and will quickly bind up a spool if the side plates are bent just a little bit.

The rounded edged bearings and bushings are a dead give away that Abu is very well aware of this design flaw in their reels, but they kept the basic design and went from rigid side plates to soft as butter aluminum side plates and simply changed out bearings and bushings to accommodate a problem they knew existed and would not correct so they took the easy way out.

To this day I avoid these reels for my own personal use, but in the used tackle business I can often buy them cheaply and each one sells for about $50 on the used market rather quickly. So they can be viewed as a quick money maker if in good working condition and are easy enough to rebuild and parts readily available as well.

And there is one more issue with these reels I have zero tolerance for... there is a gear connecting the level wind line guide to the spool mounted on a side plate. Quite often the lubrication will wear out and in the old days this gear was made of metal, but newer Abu's use only plastic gears in this location, and once the lubrication is gone, this gear will become a noise maker. Take the side plate off and thump the gear into a high speed spin with your finger and listen to it whine and scream! And this will happen with every cast! So in the repair shop this gear is always removed and carefully lubricated with a multi-level lube trying to keep it from whining for as long as possible.

I do still use round reels, but mostly Shimano Calcutta's. I do still have one old Browning reel that is basically direct copy cat rip off of the Calcutta and I actually like it better than some calcutta's. I call it my frankenstein reel because parts are no longer available for it and so I have to search out other reels of similar construction for parts, especially gears. So I have fun tinkering with it keeping it going, even having to make my own custom brake shoes for it as well. But it is still just as smooth now as when new, but now with higher speed gearing and twice the size drag washers in it. I mainly use it for live bait fishing fresh and saltwater. It makes an excellent wild shiner reel for good old Florida bass fishing.

I almost forgot... concerning those old Abu round reels... as a repair tech on them, trying to find the correct schematics is a nightmare, making tracking down the correct replacement parts very time consuming, and since reel techs work on commission and not by the hour, I don't get paid spending time tracking down the right schematics. Abu was not very kind in how they changed the internals on the reels without keeping up with them in the schematics. We have to take the numbers off the bottom foot of the reel and then try and track down the schematic based on those numbers and not the model number per say because one model number can have more than a dozen different variations of internals. And this is a 'reel' pain in the ars for those reels.

Say you have a model 6500. Think finding the right schematic is a breeze? Take a look at the abu schematic website: [www.abugarcia.com]

6500 78-11-01.PDF
6500 A
6500A 80-06-00.PDF
6500 C3
6500C3 15 01 1115458_12459-3.pdf
6500 C3 CT MAG
6500C3CTMAG 18 00.pdf
6500 C3 Camo
6500C3Camo 17 02 1135518_12569-2.pdf
6500 CA
6500CA 80-06-00.PDF
6500 CL
6500CL 07 03 1014212_12004-9.pdf
6500CPCATFISH PRO 18 01 1156762_12658-1.pdf
6500 CPH
6500CPH 16 00 1122600_12501-4.pdf
6500 CPH
6500CPH 16 01 1122600_12501-5.pdf
6500 CR Carp Pro
6500CRCarp Pro 20 00 1225796_12820-0.pdf
6500 CR Carp Pro
6500CRCarp Pro 20 01 1225796_12820-1.pdf
6500 CS MAG
6500CSMAG 17 01 1130035_12556-2.pdf
6500 CS Pro Rocket
6500CSProRocket 18 01 1152352_12640-1.pdf
6500 CS Pro Rocket
6500CSProRocket 18 01 1157028_12689-1.pdf
6500 CS Rocket
6500CSRocket 01 07 1013985_11915-6.pdf
6500 CS Rocket Chrome
6500CSRocketChrome 07 03 1052226_12047-7.pdf
6500 CS Rocket Premium
6500CSRocketPremium 19 01 1160553_12691-1.pdf
6500 Inshore
6500Inshore 17 03 1132372_12563-4.pdf
6500 KCC
6500KCC 05 18 01 1156523_12647-1.pdf
6500KCP 02 20 00 PINK CUSTOM1236554_12828-0.pdf
6500KCP 02 20 01 PINK CUSTOM 1236554_12828-1.pdf
6500 RD CAT
6500RDCAT 01 20 00 1233542_12819-0.pdf
6500 RD CAT
6500RDCAT 01 20 01 1233542_12819-1.pdf
6500 TCCM
6500TCCM 20 01 1204495_12768-1.pdf
6500C 79-11-05.PDF
6500CHERITAGE 14 00.pdf
6500C TPH
6500CTPH 18 00.pdf
6500CS 17 01
6500CS 17 01 1130044_12553-3.pdf
6500CT MAG BY 34-13114-0 24 00 1324534.pdf
6500LC 16 01 1120894_12498-4.pdf
6500STSPC 34-13111-0 24 00

Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 02/18/2021 11:43AM by Kent Griffith.

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Re: New Versus Vintage
Posted by: Kent Griffith (172.58.172.---)
Date: February 18, 2021 10:45AM

Mark Talmo Wrote:

> If you are interested in a NOS FG Conolon blank,
> let me know what you are looking for and I will
> see what I have. These blanks are absolutely
> beautiful after a coat or two of PG to highlight
> the weave pattern.

Am I correct that these are glass rods?

Thanks for the offer, but I'll pass on these rods. Honestly I don't use glass rods any more for bass fishing, but I do for saltwater. I really like to zero in on early graphite rods made in USA.

And if I were to dial it down even more I want rod blanks made by Don Mook. He is the man who built rod blank factories in the USA for numerous brands over the years. He built the first two factories Gary Loomis made his first rods in like LCI. Don Mook built the factory in Oklahoma where a number of great blank companies made them like Shikari. He built factories in the northwest for Cascade and Rainshadow and even lamiglas.

But in my opinion Don Mook's greatest achievement was when Morgan McCain founder of All Star rods out of Houston, Texas, sold All Star rods to Brent Chapman. Early All Star rods were made in a Don Mook factory by Gary Loomis. Those early All Star rods are in fact Loomis rods made elsewhere and turned into All Star rods which are still highly prized and sought after to this day and still command prices above many of today's brand new technology rod blanks. Some of those old rods sell for over $200 to this day. I collect them as well.

But Don Mook's greatest achievement came when Brent Chapman bought out and took over All star rods and decided he would no longer outsource his rods and would build his own factory in Houston, Texas and start making his own rod blanks. So Brent called in Don Mook and had him build yet another rod blank factory this time exclusively for All Star rods.

And it was in this factory that history was made that to me has never been duplicated by anyone anywhere. Don Mook was a man ahead of his time. He knew about rod blank construction. And, once he built this Houston, Texas factory for All Star rods, Don Mook is the man who was now making rods, not Gary Loomis. And Don Mook did something different. He built what I call one of the first ever pencil rods. He tightly rolled the scrim into a much denser thinner rod blank than had ever been done before with the exception of solid glass rods.

And Don Mook also used some sort of binder that seems to have gotten harder over time. Today a Don Mook rod blank when tapped on by a hard object emits a high pitched resonant frequency much higher than any other rod I have ever touched or handled in my life. I call it my crystal rod because of that high pitched resonance. This is important to me as a former live sound engineer dealing with audible frequencies on a daily and nightly basis. The higher the pitch, the harder the material and the easier its ability is to transmit vibrations through it. The softer a rod blank is the lower the pitch is, and the less likely it can transmit vibrations from the input or tip to the output the grip. Softer rods absorb much of the vibration signal, but not this Don Mook rod. Holding it and using it was exceptional. A signal coming into the tip was a like a jolt of lightning to the hand.

No one before or since has created a rod with the characteristics Don had achieved in Houston, Texas on his own. No one. I have found some companies that come close, but the crystal rod still beats them all.

And the funny thing is, when this one type of rod was sold to the public back in the mid 80's it was retail priced around $20 and very few people ever really appreciated or even knew what Don Mook had done. Today I would pay $300 for another one if I could find one. And I have been searching for more than 10 years with no luck. When I would find one it would already be sold, but no one knew what they had. It was just another fishing rod to 99.999999999% of the people who had them. But to me they are the holy grail of fishing rods. Gary Loomis never achieved it with his blanks. Even today with all the modern technology available, test the blank resonance and listen to it. What is its resonant frequency? Guaranteed to be lower than the Don Mook rods.

When I use this rod with braid line, when the rod loads up with a fish, the braid line literally causes the rod to vibrate or sing with the line flowing through its guides. It comes alive. Its an experience I do not get with other rods to this degree. Never seen anything like it before or since.

I asked Todd Vivian at MudHole one day what makes this rod different and he said the binder. The type of epoxy binder Don Mook used. I think it might also have to do with how Don Mook rolled the scrim into a thinner blank as well. Don hit upon something I have never seen nor found in other rods. Maybe it followed him out of All Star and to his other ventures after All Star.

So the bottom line to this comment is all about Don Mook and his rods is where my money is today. And these are as vintage as it gets and in my opinion some of the best in the world.

Don Mook is one of the least known but most important rod blank builders of all time. People like Gary Loomis and Mudhole's Todd Vivian built their legends on top of Don Mook's. This is purely my opinion of course... but across the web others also recognize Don Mook's innovations- even here on this forum:


"Just in case you don't know the background, you owe it to yourself to check out All Star's Elite and Austin fly blanks and how they came into being. Both are collaborative designs by two of the legends in our industry. Don Mook, a true pioneer in modern graphite fly rod design and construction, teamed up with Bill Gammell, a fly fisher considered by many to be the finest caster in the world in our day. Bill is an FFF Certified Instructor TO Master level instructors and sits on the FFF Board of directors. He holds numerous titles in tournament casting, but is most renown for the purity of his casting stroke and his ability to do near-magical feats with the fly line. For a company to have either of these guys involved in the design of a high-performance fly rod would be a coup--but for one company to have BOTH Don and Bill working on a fly rod design is the stuff of legends--or at least how legendary rods come into existence, which is exactly what these two blanks are becoming."

And now based on the above comment found here on this forum 17 years ago, I have to wonder if my crystal rod also came from this same collaboration??? As my crystal rod being thinner may have some of those fly rod characteristics and may be the source for this innovation he did back then.


"I suspect not many folks will remember or have even heard of Loomis Composites (LC) as they were a rather short-lived rod making company based in Woodlands, WA. However, as the name suggests, a certain Mr. Gary Loomis was at the heart of the venture, partnered with Mr. Don Mook.

Loomis had initiated graphite rod making in 1974 while with Lamiglas but this was his first partnership in his own company, formed in late 1979/early 1980. They built rods from their own blanks made from the same ''96% Graphite' formula he had devised while with Lamiglas who he had left in'78. It was while he was with LC that he developed his next graphite, the renowned 'IM6'. However, this was never produced by Loomis Composites themselves but by Loomis second company, G. Loomis, again of Woodlands, WA. Gary Loomis left LC in 1982 and formed the company which really made his name, G. Loomis, in the same year."


"I'm intrigued to read that you recall two rod series by Loomis Composites. May I ask, are you certain you are thinking solely of 'Loomis Composites' rods, not the confusingly titled, post-Loomis 'Loomis Compostite Inc. Excelon', created by Don Mook after G. Loomis left to form .... ummm ....G. Loomis? ;)
LCI Excelon brought out several '96% graphite' rods of their own, eg 'Striker' & 'Striker II', and later the 'Flyfisher GF' series of IM6 rods, so I can imagine it's very easy to confuse the two. LC and LCI."



LCI was sold by blank and rod designer Don Mook around 1990/91. It was at the very beginning known as Osprey, and has been the Talon Factory for quite some time now.
Don Mook left around 1992/93, and then built the Tridon Factory that is now Shikari in Oklahoma. He moved back to Longview in 1994, and built the Cascade Graphite Factory for Pacific Bay. In 1997, the new owners of Pacific Bay decided to close it down, and sold off the equipment.
Don has been the GM and blank designer at All Star for the last four years. I believe that he is looking forward to sometime moving back to his home in the Northwest.
I have used Don as a supplier of rod blanks through all of these years, as he is one of the top designers in the country.
We are fortunate to have very good blank designers in this country (especially the Northwest), that are also experienced in composite materials and resin systems.
I hope this answered your question about what ever happened to LCI."


ADDED- I've been buying and selling used fishing tackle for decades. And I study U.S. rod making history, so I know what I am looking for, but to my advantage most of the people who are selling and unloading older fishing gear do not know what they have 99% of the time giving me an edge in buying it cheap. I can not tell you how many times I have purchased high end rare rods custom- and commercially available rods- for less than $10. Rods that to the right person could sell for hundreds of dollars if only they knew what they had.

In fishing tackle knowledge is power! And yet some of the rods I actively search for simply can not be found any longer.

Anyone remember Ray Scott? Founder of B.A.S.S.??? Over the years he has tried to make a go of producing fishing tackle in his name and it has failed every time. But, decades ago he made a line of fishing rods that today are rare indeed. Super lightweight. Thin strong rods made by a friend of his who owned and made rod blanks for Kistler. So those old Ray Scott rods are indeed Kistler rod blanks! Awesome rods if you can find one. And if I am not mistaken, but I think Don Mook also had something to do with helping Kistler develop their blank factory as well. So by default, the Ray Scott rod I have could very well be derivative of the Don Mook legacy.

From an interview with Trey Kistler:

"Another great memory was helping Ray Scott design and perfect his light tackle spinning rods. I still have a few prototypes I use when fishing for fun. Ray was by far my toughest customer to please but I know now why he is so successful in everything he touches."

Edited 3 time(s). Last edit at 02/18/2021 11:48AM by Kent Griffith.

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Re: New Versus Vintage
Posted by: Kent Griffith (172.58.172.---)
Date: February 18, 2021 11:26AM

Todd Andrizzi Wrote:
> Sorry Kent...I have a question for you. I was
> always a Shimano guy but the last two years have
> swayed and now really like Pflueger spin reels.
> You being a certified tech on some brands, how do
> you feel about Pflueger? I use their middle reels.
> My favorite is the Summit XT. What are your
> feelings? Thanks.

Having been a reel tech in Florida has its advantages and disadvantages as compared with a reel tech in Kansas. In Florida most of the incoming reels are saltwater corroded. And this tells me real fast whether a reel can take it or not.

I myself enjoyed using the Pflueger reels, namely the President line. Man I could get some of those working so smoothly it was scary. And with all the bearings inside some of those reels could turn so easily and keep on spinning too. But here is the deal on some of those reels and others...

The various brands of reel manufacturers are very well aware of the corrosive effects of saltwater. And so they use this knowledge to their financial advantage to this day.

The reel brands have developed over the years various metal alloys they use inside some of their reels. A pot metal as we call it for mainly spinning reel drive gears, while still having to use brass for pinion gears simply because it holds up along with steel while other metals will not work for pinion gears, but they can get away with using a pot metal for the main drive gears.

And they know if saltwater gets onto that drive gear that it will start to react like an alka seltzer tablet dropped into a glass of water. They do this on purpose. By plan. By design. And for years I got stuck with having to fix reels coming into the shop all corroded up because of saltwater intrusion into the reels. Same with their bearings too. They rust right up and need replacing.

Pflueger tried marketing a saltwater series reel I think it was called the Supreme. And about the only difference between the supreme and president series was the company's choice of metal alloys. The president was not made for saltwater so it had metal alloys that would not last long in saltwater use, while the supreme was marketed as made for saltwater "despite its magnesium frame" was "approved" for saltwater use, while inside it still had the same pot metal gears as the president and would last equally as long as the president, yet the supreme was quite a bit more expensive.

Bottom line the pfluegers were OK reels when in good condition. But here in Florida they had a short life span. I am still using Shimano Stradics that are now 20 years old and going strong, while my pfluegers are now long gone.

In my opinion, the best saltwater spinning reel ever made was made by Penn when they made the black and gold SS line- when Penn was Penn. Those reels are built like tanks. All brass gears. Simple internals. Easy to maintain and service. Last forever. I still seek these reels out to this day because they have a high resale value and are well known, and just good quality. Today Penn is owned by Pure Fishing and in my opinion just cheap chinese junk.

I remember a customer who brought three of his spinning reels into our shop. All 3 were brand new Pure Fishing cheap chinese junk reels he claimed he took out to fish in saltwater only one time and carefully rinsed them off after use and put them away, and while in storage they had corroded beyond use and beyond repair. We told him we could not and would not repair them under warranty. He was irate and yelling at us and just furious over it. Not our problem. Call Penn and yell at them. Send your reels back to them. We got paid peanuts for warranty repairs and with the condition of those reels we were not about to touch them under warranty. I did not believe Penn or Pure Fishing would fully reimburse us for our efforts. For something like that we would have call Penn and ask them for permission to cover them under warranty and then hope we could at least break even, but we knew we wouldn't so why bother? I think, not sure, but I think the shop eventually had to drop a brand or two from warranty repairs because of this type of problem. They just made cheap junk not worth warranty repairs on our end. And this guy certainly was not going to pay for full overhauls of his reels and all the parts they needed replaced. Just the way it goes when brand names nose dive off the deep end into China.

Pflueger is also made in China as I recall. Not far off from the new Penn reels today. But I would take a pflueger before I'd ever take a new Penn reel.

ADDED: For the record, reels should never be rinsed off after use around saltwater. Rinsing only pushes water and the salts deeper into the reels and will cause corrosion and failure faster. So don't rinse off the reels! Shimano and our shop recommend wiping them off with a polish. We used lemon pledge spray on a rag. If a reel was dunked in water then a complete tear down and rebuild was necessary and I like to do saltwater corrosion prevention on my reels and I never have any problems with them. All of my bearings are treated with corrosion X synthetic lubricant which works well, but our shop was never allowed to use it on reels coming through the shop because one brand or another claimed corrosion X caused it to creep under reel paint and cause paint to come loose from the reel body.

I personally never saw this on any of my reels for personal use so I use it at home while we could never even bring corrosion X into the shop. Not allowed. So you know each person has to make up their own mind which way they want to go.

Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 02/18/2021 11:34AM by Kent Griffith.

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Re: New Versus Vintage
Posted by: Robert Ford (---.hsd1.ca.comcast.net)
Date: February 18, 2021 11:28AM

I am in the process of rebuilding/restoring a number of vintage blanks. I have an old Kunan rod that I plan on upgrading the hardware on for fishing floats and eggs for tidewater chinook. I have an original LCI rod that I am rebuilding. I also have an old Lamiglas Esprit that I am converting to a spinning rod.

I still have my grandpa's old Heddon Black Beauty fly rod he bought when he returned from WW2. That is going in a display case along with his old original hand tied flies and some vintage reels and lures.

Regarding the old ambassadeur round reels,I have a 5000D in near mint from '74. I also have a 1977 red 5000,and a weathered old 1960s 6000. I intend to fish with these reels very little,it at all. They are more for nostalgia and a neat conversation piece. I love the history of fishing tackle and am all for collecting as it makes me happy.

I am watching this thread and thank you all for the fun read!

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Re: New Versus Vintage
Posted by: Robert Ford (---.hsd1.ca.comcast.net)
Date: February 18, 2021 11:39AM

The Shimano Stradic Ci4 is the smoothest spinning reel I have for the price point. Excellent reels. I am continually impressed by Daiwa these days. I use Tatula and Zillion reels for my steelhead fishing and they have been flawless. These see major abuse. I can cast a 1/4 oz. little cleo 3/4 the way across the lower Klamath river on 8 pound test without using my thumb! That's impressive to me. We are hard on our gear,my fishing friends and I. Daiwa stands up to anything I have fished.

I built a custom spiral wrapped ST-964 HM North Fork Composite rod with a Fuji Torzite guide train and a custom black widow handle I managed to score,an Alps MVT reel seat,no foregrip,and it is my main summer and fall run steelhead spoon rod. That thing fishes epic with my Tatula SV TW. I get major compliments on it. The modern technology we have is a joy to fish with.

I fish a Daiwa BG and Daiwa Saltist in the surf,currently building a bucktail/swimbait rod on a Certified Pro blank from the 90s. I use a Daiwa Saltist surf rod for throwing plugs for our west coast stripers. It has worked as intended,flawlessly.

Find what works for you and have fun I say :)


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Re: New Versus Vintage
Posted by: Kent Griffith (172.58.172.---)
Date: February 18, 2021 12:03PM

Robert Ford Wrote:
> The Shimano Stradic Ci4 is the smoothest spinning
> reel I have for the price point. Excellent reels.

Yes they are nice reels, but as a former Shimano reel tech I avoid the newer stradics because of the drag mech. My older stradic drag washers last forever. The newer ones can be chewed up in a year or so. Shimano made changes that I saw come across my bench over and over and over and every year we were visited at the shop by shimano engineers attending ICAST in Orlando, and this was one of the issues our shop brought to their attention and they told us "they were working on it" and so until this mech is changed or corrected I won't use them.

Take a look:


If I could fit an older spool onto a newer ci4 stradic and solve this problem then I'd use them. But I can tell you the older stradics are made tougher and last better. The newer stradics have aluminum drive gears and we were always replacing those too.

The problem is those 4 prongs with sharp edges. What do fishermen do to drag mechs? They crank them down tight. So these thin felt drag washers skew out from under the pressure and go sideways right into the forked prongs and get chewed up quickly. And as the drag mech fails and starts to slip, what does the fisherman do? He cranks it down even tighter looking for more drag which is only causing the newer drag mech to fail even faster.

ADDED: In the photo it is clear someone used green marine grade wheel bearing grease on this shimano drag mech. They should not have done that.

Edited 3 time(s). Last edit at 02/18/2021 12:13PM by Kent Griffith.

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Re: New Versus Vintage
Posted by: Robert Ford (---.hsd1.ca.comcast.net)
Date: February 18, 2021 12:18PM

Why not upgrade the drags?

I have an older stradic as well. I use my Ci4 for trout in streams mostly. I'm good with it.

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Re: New Versus Vintage
Posted by: Kent Griffith (172.58.172.---)
Date: February 18, 2021 12:21PM

You can upgrade and install carbon fiber drag washers which will last in this mech. But it will still have soft aluminum main drive gear issue, so heavy load fishing will wear them out faster. Low load fishing will take longer. Keep in mind I saw these reels in the shop on a daily basis. When we stock those soft aluminum gears we bought them in large quantities like 20 or 30 or 40 at a time so we would not run out of them as fast.

I am still using 20 plus year old stradics still running smoothly on the original gear.

My only option here is to make my own gears and that would be very expensive indeed.

I personally do not use spinning nor baitcast reels with aluminum gears. I prefer brass and steel and pot metal to soft easy to wear aluminum.

Shimano actually coats the aluminum gears in black anodizing, so when the reels come in we can look at the teeth on the gears and can tell real fast how much wear they have by how much shiny aluminum is exposed.

Its time to load up the boat and take some Don Mook and Gary Loomis rods fishing! Time for some vintage fishing! Even my old aluminum boat is a 1974 vintage and will outlive me. But it drafts only 7 inches and can go into some shallow waters new heavy fiberglass bass boats will never go. An old "free" boat someone gave to me and said just please haul it off! OK! Thanks!

Us old guys have the best of both worlds... plenty of vintage in us mixed with just enough of the new but not too much.

Edited 5 time(s). Last edit at 02/18/2021 12:51PM by Kent Griffith.

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Re: New Versus Vintage
Posted by: Todd Andrizzi (---.slkc.qwest.net)
Date: February 18, 2021 03:49PM

Thanks Kent! I appreciate you taking the time to explain. I love learning....especially when I learn from people have have been there and done it. Thanks!

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Re: New Versus Vintage
Posted by: chris c nash (---.atmc.net)
Date: February 18, 2021 04:54PM

I have worked on all types of reels for years and I have to disagree with Shimano's aluminum gears being crappy . The higher end reels have a 'Cold Forged" aluminum drive gear and last years and years . Pinions are brass . Alan Hawk has written in depth articles on how exceptional Shimano's cold forged aluminum gearing is.

It's the Penn spinners of the last decade or so that that had pot metal gears that had to be replaced seemingly on a daily basis . I was a field tester for Penn and would constantly discuss how Penn needed to up their game with the gearing. Penn has been bought and sold numerous times and lost it's focus . Only a select few models are worthy of the legendary Penn name these days .

I do agree about the drags on the newer Stradic's though , not nearly as good as in the past .

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Re: New Versus Vintage
Posted by: Kent Griffith (---)
Date: February 18, 2021 07:24PM

I'm not saying they are crappy. But when you sit at a bench Monday through Friday and sometimes Saturday and see a lot of newer stradics come across the bench needing the aluminum gear replaced to make it smooth again in reels less than 2 years old- and on a very regular almost daily basis, I'd have to say it is problematic at the least. Keep in mind we have guys who will buy a small stradic and then run out to the intracoastal waterway and catch big reds and snook 3 and 4 feet long with them and put some heavier than normal use on them and in saltwater no less.

I have seen stradics less than 2 years old coming into the shop with those aluminum gears torn up. Yes, the brass pinion holds up better, but since we did Shimano warranty repairs when those reels were rebuilt and ready to send out they had to go through peer review of my bosses and if it was not smooth enough for them, guess what? New gears. Happened all the time.

And based on that experience alone, I personally will not buy the newer stradics with those aluminum drive gears. But that is just my opinion. If some like those gears and take good care of them and they last and stay smooth then great. My experience has shown a different story. Not crappy, but from experience just do not hold up as well or last as long as my older stradics and that is a fact I can not ignore. I am just one of those people who avoid reels with aluminum gears based on my own experiences is all.

And I'd bet Alan Hawk probably did not have to sit at a bench working on the newer stradics daily and replace those gears on a regular basis. If he had, his opinion might have been a little different. Judging brand new reels and new gears to well used 2 year old stradics needing servicing are different sides of the coin.

My question is what will these newer stadic owners do once Shimano stops making those gears?

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 02/18/2021 07:30PM by Kent Griffith.

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