Take a look at this Hardy Perfect Reel. It just won Best in Show at the Denver Fly Show. Although the Perfect was introduced in 1893, this new one is modeled after the 1927 version. Do you know what’s different about the new Perfect and the old one? Nothing. Same guts, same material, same milling process as the ones created back in 1920s ye old England. This really struck a chord with me, because it proves that good gear will always be good gear. While it’s always exciting to see what modern technology will produce in the fishing world, wouldn’t it be nice if more tackle companies reintroduced some stuff that anglers already know is rock solid?
I’ll use Penn as an example. They’ve come out with some pretty innovative reels in recent years, yet cruise the fishing message boards and you’ll see plenty of guys griping about the discontinuation of a bunch of their models. I paid $200 on eBay for a mint-condition Penn 704 Greenie because it’s one of the best surf reels ever made. Why? Because the simple one ball-bearing design and minimal guts mean you can actually get a few grains of sand in it and not have to throw it away. It’s a workhorse that even I can take apart and get back together. A few years ago, there was a baby buzz that Penn would reintroduce the Greenie, but I’m still waiting.
Are you still fishing a classic? Anything you want to see come back? I’ll admit that I’m all about buying old tackle because there’s something cool about fishing “vintage” gear that’s more reliable than a lot of stuff on the market now. I’ll leave you with a hot tip: If you are into old tackle, check out crazedlist.org. The site lets you search multiple Craigslist locations at the same time. I’m totally addicted.