Fishing Reels photo

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So after combing through all the current entries–great ones I might add–in our weekly vintage tackle contest (if you missed the details, click here), I chose the reel below as the week two winner. Not only is it a cool piece of old gear, it also has a great story, which I think adds character. The photo was sent in by Dustin Brown, who wrote:

In 2009, I took a trip to our family’s old homestead to hunt deer during Arkansas’ muzzleloader season. I set up camp in one of the woodworking shops that was still standing on the property and found this baitcaster inside a rusted out toolbox. My dad remembers my grandfather pulling many catfish out of the area lakes with this old reel.


Well Dustin, I’m sure you’re itching to learn the history of this classic and see what it’s worth. So I’ll pass the mic over to vintage tackle expert Dr. Todd Larson of The Whitefish Press and “Fishing For History” blog. Dr. Todd says…

“What your grandfather had here is a perfect catfishing reel. It was designed by California reelmaker Joseph A. Coxe and manufactured by the Bronson Reel Company of Michigan beginning in the late 1930s. It is a Coxe Do/All Model 65. You may wonder why it does not say “J.A. Coxe” anywhere on the frame; this is what we call a “trade reel,” meaning Coxe manufactured it for another company, in this case, Montgomery, Ward & Co., the famed Chicago catalog retailer who sold a great deal of tackle under the Sport King name. It is a fine reel, but the picture shows it is missing the level wind mechanism. I’m betting your grandfather removed it because it was a more useful catfish reel without the level wind. In this condition, its value as a “parts reel” is negligible, but a Do/All in mint-condition would command $25-$50. You can view a pristine model by clicking here.”


Maybe you’re not going to buy a new truck with the proceeds from this reel, Dustin. But you’ve got a genuine heirloom there. I hope you put it on the shelf and keep passing it down through the family. I guess you could honor your grandfather by catching one more cat with it, too. Congrats on the find. Your new pliers are in the mail.

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, 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 pair of Berkley Aluminum Pliers (above) worth $50.