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Vintage Tackle Contest: Wonderod-Zebco Combo

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July 26, 2012

Vintage Tackle Contest: Wonderod-Zebco Combo

By Joe Cermele

This week in our vintage tackle contest we've got an old combo with nostalgic story to match. This photo was sent in by Cale Canter, who writes: This was my grandfather's. He left it to me in his will a few years back. He was a big trout guy out in New Mexico during the 50's, and said this was his "Old Reliable." Just looking for some info and value concerning the pieces.

Cale, I think Dr. Todd Larson of the The Whitefish Press and "Fishing For History" blog can accommodate that request. Dr. Todd says:

"You've got a great fishing combination -- although it's a bit mismatched when it comes to age. You have a nifty Howald Wonderod, one of the most important developments in modern fishing as the first widely available hollow fiberglass rod. Although it was first offered in 1947, your model dates from the late 1950s. I wasn't sure about the reel so I called my friend Dick "Mr. Zebco" Braun who told me it is a Zebco XLR 35 spinning reel with full bail and reversible handle, sold by the company from 1972-1978. I'm sure this rig has caught a lot of fish. As a collectible, the rod is worth $10-$20 and the Zebco reel about $15 in current condition. But as a piece of family fishing history it is priceless. Rig that baby up with some new line and take it out, and I'm sure this "old reliable" will continue catching fish just like it did for your grandfather."

Terrific find, and I agree that this rod and reel deserve the chance to get back on the water. Let us know what you catch! 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 fstackle@gmail.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).

Comments (9)

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from buckhunter wrote 1 year 38 weeks ago

There you go again. Calling stuff from the 70's "vintage". I'll have you know I still get the same haircut I got in the 70's. Tapered up the sides, combed over on top. lol

Other than that, the reel does bring back some fond memories.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from santa wrote 1 year 37 weeks ago

Buckhunter.... I have to agree with you, but I have went back to the sixties where you didn't get a haircut at all and there are now a lot of places up top that do not have any hair to even cut any more thus a lot of comb over. In many ways the seventies brought in the "new age" of fishing. We had become a disposable society for example with all the Bic pens, razors and lighters. Even Zebco sold a 202 reel which was cheeper to throw and buy a new one which came with new line rather than replace the line on the old one. We were able to buy new items to up date and advertising constantly encourage us to do so. For example, I remember giving up my zippo in order to say "flip my Bic". Every time we updated, to dispose of the old became a way of life instead of the recycle/repurpose thinking of today. Therefore many of the items from the seventies did not survive and have actually now became artifacts. To see survivng tackle from that age makes my little old heart go pitter patter because I was a part of that age. I was in the middle of the growth to the fishing tackle industry at that time and to call it vintage is to also call me vintage. Hey.... maybe that is not so bad after all.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from buckhunter wrote 1 year 37 weeks ago

Santa, I went through a lot of 202's in the 70's but it was the Johnson Century that I had always wanted but could not afford. The Century could cast a mile.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from whitefishpress wrote 1 year 37 weeks ago

@buckhunter Some of the tackle from the 1960s and 1970s is actually much harder to find than that from the 1940s and 1950s. I think this is because the people who fished with '40s-'50s gear largely disposed of it, while 1960s and 1970s gear is still sitting around boathouses, garages, and basements. I have a hard time finding some of the tackle I fished with as a kid in the '70s, even on eBay.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from santa wrote 1 year 37 weeks ago

Buckhunter, my wife still has the first 202 that I got her. Johnson made one of the best reels of the closed face type that a person could buy. They even had a series of reel with a soft brush inside to help with controlling the cast which was some very fancy tec for the time.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from santa wrote 1 year 37 weeks ago

Dr. Larson, I have a whopper of a collection from the sixties and seventies. I have a brand new still in the box Lew's #100 3 way reel which was the first reel sold originally by Childre and Sanders Inc. I still use one of the first prototypes of a hollow fiberglass telescoping spinning rod that Lew brought back from Japan during the early sixties long before he actually got into the fiberglass rod market. I still have #6 of the first 10 prototype BB1 reels made for Lew by Shimano and a picture of me with Lew while we opened that first box of those 10 reels. I have a prototype of a bream buster fiberglass rod that was eventuaslly sold under a Bill Dance trademark. It is very unique because the white color on it was from real mother of pearl because crushed oyster shell was cheeper and easier to get in Japan than pearlescent paint at that time. Working in the R&D department at Lew Childre and Sons during the seventies for me was one of the highs in my life.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from BobGWI wrote 1 year 37 weeks ago

Yea, 70's vintage? Come on. I've still got a Mitchell 308 not the plastic A model but the real metal one I bought in '72 and it's still catching fish. The story is the best part this week. Cale, cherish it for the memories.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from whitefishpress wrote 1 year 37 weeks ago

@santa WOW! Awesome. I love early Lew stuff. I have some cane poles from his pre-bass fishing days, and a cool Speed Spool made by Ryobi. Great stuff. The 1960s and 1970s has become the hottest collectables in the tackle market. Fred Young "Big O"s, Bagleys, Mann, Heddon, Storm, Bill Lewis, Smithwick, and for reels Daiwa Millionaires, Ambassadeurs, Lew's, and Shimanos. Rare color Bagleys now regularly outsell ca. 1910 Heddon 150s with glass eyes.

What do you think of the new Lew's reels?

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from santa wrote 1 year 37 weeks ago

Dr. Larson, Mr Lynn Reeves acquired the Lew's name from my close friend, Casey Childre, and promised to continue to make the Lew's name proud and grow it back into a brand to be reckoned with industry wide. So far it seems that he is a man of his word. I have one each of all his reels and used/tested them. I have been impressed so for with them. I was a friend of Mr. Bob Baenziger who designed the Mark III reels for Heddon. Mr Baenziger also designed the angle bar levelwind system that is currently used by US Reel, and I like that levelwind performance so much that I seldom promote the new Lew"s reels over them. By the way, Bob sent me one of his personal Mark III reels just before he died which is still in new condition and has never been fished. I sits nice in my collection. Also I have a handfull of the Ryobi manufactured Lews BB-XLM reels. That is the first Lew's reel made with the main shaft having a bottom bearing like all the reels of today have. As to Jim Bagley, I was friends with him too and have a five pound box of his salty dog tails from the sixties sitting on my desk infront of me. I just took them out of the freezer to get a few out to fish with Tuesday. Needlees to say, I have a good number of balsa lures also in my collection. I got to fish with Lew, John Fox, George Perrin, Cotton Cordell, Jim Bagley, Shag, and many others during the seventies and even got paid to do it. I collected a lot of what my wife calls junk during those days.

0 Good Comment? | | Report

Post a Comment

from buckhunter wrote 1 year 38 weeks ago

There you go again. Calling stuff from the 70's "vintage". I'll have you know I still get the same haircut I got in the 70's. Tapered up the sides, combed over on top. lol

Other than that, the reel does bring back some fond memories.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from buckhunter wrote 1 year 37 weeks ago

Santa, I went through a lot of 202's in the 70's but it was the Johnson Century that I had always wanted but could not afford. The Century could cast a mile.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from santa wrote 1 year 37 weeks ago

Buckhunter.... I have to agree with you, but I have went back to the sixties where you didn't get a haircut at all and there are now a lot of places up top that do not have any hair to even cut any more thus a lot of comb over. In many ways the seventies brought in the "new age" of fishing. We had become a disposable society for example with all the Bic pens, razors and lighters. Even Zebco sold a 202 reel which was cheeper to throw and buy a new one which came with new line rather than replace the line on the old one. We were able to buy new items to up date and advertising constantly encourage us to do so. For example, I remember giving up my zippo in order to say "flip my Bic". Every time we updated, to dispose of the old became a way of life instead of the recycle/repurpose thinking of today. Therefore many of the items from the seventies did not survive and have actually now became artifacts. To see survivng tackle from that age makes my little old heart go pitter patter because I was a part of that age. I was in the middle of the growth to the fishing tackle industry at that time and to call it vintage is to also call me vintage. Hey.... maybe that is not so bad after all.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from whitefishpress wrote 1 year 37 weeks ago

@buckhunter Some of the tackle from the 1960s and 1970s is actually much harder to find than that from the 1940s and 1950s. I think this is because the people who fished with '40s-'50s gear largely disposed of it, while 1960s and 1970s gear is still sitting around boathouses, garages, and basements. I have a hard time finding some of the tackle I fished with as a kid in the '70s, even on eBay.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from santa wrote 1 year 37 weeks ago

Buckhunter, my wife still has the first 202 that I got her. Johnson made one of the best reels of the closed face type that a person could buy. They even had a series of reel with a soft brush inside to help with controlling the cast which was some very fancy tec for the time.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from santa wrote 1 year 37 weeks ago

Dr. Larson, I have a whopper of a collection from the sixties and seventies. I have a brand new still in the box Lew's #100 3 way reel which was the first reel sold originally by Childre and Sanders Inc. I still use one of the first prototypes of a hollow fiberglass telescoping spinning rod that Lew brought back from Japan during the early sixties long before he actually got into the fiberglass rod market. I still have #6 of the first 10 prototype BB1 reels made for Lew by Shimano and a picture of me with Lew while we opened that first box of those 10 reels. I have a prototype of a bream buster fiberglass rod that was eventuaslly sold under a Bill Dance trademark. It is very unique because the white color on it was from real mother of pearl because crushed oyster shell was cheeper and easier to get in Japan than pearlescent paint at that time. Working in the R&D department at Lew Childre and Sons during the seventies for me was one of the highs in my life.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from BobGWI wrote 1 year 37 weeks ago

Yea, 70's vintage? Come on. I've still got a Mitchell 308 not the plastic A model but the real metal one I bought in '72 and it's still catching fish. The story is the best part this week. Cale, cherish it for the memories.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from whitefishpress wrote 1 year 37 weeks ago

@santa WOW! Awesome. I love early Lew stuff. I have some cane poles from his pre-bass fishing days, and a cool Speed Spool made by Ryobi. Great stuff. The 1960s and 1970s has become the hottest collectables in the tackle market. Fred Young "Big O"s, Bagleys, Mann, Heddon, Storm, Bill Lewis, Smithwick, and for reels Daiwa Millionaires, Ambassadeurs, Lew's, and Shimanos. Rare color Bagleys now regularly outsell ca. 1910 Heddon 150s with glass eyes.

What do you think of the new Lew's reels?

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from santa wrote 1 year 37 weeks ago

Dr. Larson, Mr Lynn Reeves acquired the Lew's name from my close friend, Casey Childre, and promised to continue to make the Lew's name proud and grow it back into a brand to be reckoned with industry wide. So far it seems that he is a man of his word. I have one each of all his reels and used/tested them. I have been impressed so for with them. I was a friend of Mr. Bob Baenziger who designed the Mark III reels for Heddon. Mr Baenziger also designed the angle bar levelwind system that is currently used by US Reel, and I like that levelwind performance so much that I seldom promote the new Lew"s reels over them. By the way, Bob sent me one of his personal Mark III reels just before he died which is still in new condition and has never been fished. I sits nice in my collection. Also I have a handfull of the Ryobi manufactured Lews BB-XLM reels. That is the first Lew's reel made with the main shaft having a bottom bearing like all the reels of today have. As to Jim Bagley, I was friends with him too and have a five pound box of his salty dog tails from the sixties sitting on my desk infront of me. I just took them out of the freezer to get a few out to fish with Tuesday. Needlees to say, I have a good number of balsa lures also in my collection. I got to fish with Lew, John Fox, George Perrin, Cotton Cordell, Jim Bagley, Shag, and many others during the seventies and even got paid to do it. I collected a lot of what my wife calls junk during those days.

0 Good Comment? | | Report

Post a Comment