May 17, 2012
Vintage Tackle Contest: Whirlaway Rod & Reel Combo
By Joe Cermele
This week in our ongoing vintage tackle contest we have the odd-looking rod and reel combo below. The photo was sent in by Henry Kenworthy, who wrote: This unique fishing rod was given to me as a child (approx 35 years ago) in Marianna, Arkansas, by a man named Cody as payment for helping him clean out his boathouse. I was 10-12 years old at the time. I remember Mr. Cody telling me that "in it's day, this was the Cadillac of fishing rods."
"For at least 125 years, anglers have been trying to create the perfect all-in-one rod and reel combination. You have one of the many examples of this style from the post-World War II era. It is a "Whirlaway" manufactured by Great Lakes Products of Detroit, Michigan. First sold around 1950, the first model (which you have) was in fact a bit of a failure, and replaced by the all-new Whirlaway 75 in 1954. Noted tackle historian Bill Sonnett recently wrote an article about the Whirlaway, and noted that the problem was the original twisted the line so that after an hour of casting it became unusable. Your combo is quite popular with collectors, and should bring about $50-$100 depending on condition. To read Bill Sonnett's article on the Whirlaway, click here."
I hope you didn't do more than $50 to $100 worth of work cleaning up that boathouse, Henry. Still in all, a terrific find. Thanks for sending, and enjoy the Berkley Digital Tournament Scale that's headed your way
If you've already sent me photos of your vintage tackle, keep checking every Thursday to see if I chose it for an appraisal by Dr. Todd. If you haven't and want to enter the contest, email photos of your old tackle to email@example.com, along with your name, mailing address, and story of how you acquired the gear. If I use it in a Thursday post, you get a Berkley Digital Tournament Scale (left, $40).