Vintage fly reel restoration
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Nostalgia - opportunity to fish with older (and sometimes better) technology ... Online Fly Fishing Forums. What am I looking For? Frame is not cracked, bent, or warped ...

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Vintage fly reel restoration l.jpg

Vintage Fly Reel Restoration

Presented By Paul Ricker

Algonkin Fly Fishers

February 19, 2009


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Why buy a Vintage Reel?

  • Affordable alternative to modern reels

  • Restoration of long forgotten gear hidden in basement

  • Nostalgia - opportunity to fish with older (and sometimes better) technology

  • Backup reel to complement current gear


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Acquiring a Reel

  • Garage / Yard Sale

  • Antique Stores

  • EBay

  • Online Fly Fishing Forums


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What am I looking For?

  • Frame is not cracked, bent, or warped

  • Spindle is straight and not worn

  • No missing parts (Latch Cover, Drag Knob, handle, etc.)

  • Limited corrosion (Paint and finish wear is acceptable)


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Desirable Reels (1)

  • Under $50

    • Pflueger Medalist, or Gem

    • Heddon-Daisy 300 series

    • Martin MG series, or 67 series

    • Ocean 35, or 76

    • Miesselbach Rainbow or Airex


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Desirable Reels (2)

  • $50-100

    • J. W. Young Condex, Pridex, or Beaudex

  • $100-300+

    • Hardy Perfect, St. John, St. George, Marquis, or Lightweight

    • Scientific Anglers System series

    • Orvis CFO or Battenkill (*English Made)










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Cleaning & Maintaining Your Reel

  • Take the reel down as far as you feel comfortable.

  • Wipe everything down with paper towels or q-tips


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  • Vinegar-water bath. This is generally four parts warm water to one part vinegar.

    • 30 to 45 minutes for painted reels, or rubber side plates and handles

    • 1 hour for lead finished alloy fly reels

    • 2 hours for plated brass

    • 3 hours for bare brass or German silver

      (Take a soft tooth brush to the debris every 10-15 minutes)


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  • Lube and reassemble to one part vinegar.

    • Use Quantum Hot Sauce

      • Hot Sauce Grease on drag gears, and on worn and wobbly spindles.

      • Hot Sauce Lube (light oil) on spindles/bushings, handle spindles, pawl stanchions, bearings, drag blocks and threads.


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My Reel Experience to one part vinegar.


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Pflueger Medalist Tips to one part vinegar.

  • Pre-1966 reels are most desirable

    • Circle Trade mark on latch cover

    • Stamped Made in Akron O USA or Patented on reel frame

    • No Letters after model number stamp

    • 6 Rivets around spool latch cover

  • Reel foot seat may not fit all reel seats

    • Replacement feet and parts available from OnePfoot.com

  • Use blue Loctite on frame screws


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Upgraded Pflueger Medalist to one part vinegar.


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The End to one part vinegar.


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