Fishing Reels photo

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I’m no vintage tackle expert like our resident appraiser Dr. Todd Larson of The Whitefish Press and “Fishing For History” blog, but when I saw “Julius vom Hofe” in the subject line of a recent entry into our ongoing vintage tackle contest, I knew we had a very special item potentially worth mucho dinero. The vom Hofe reel photo was sent in by Todd Howell, who wrote:

This Julius vom Hofe fishing reel with instruction manual was my grandfather’s. According to what my father told me, his father purchased it in the twenties but he wasn’t sure of the exact time. It is in mint condition and looks like it wasn’t used too much. When my father passed I inherited it.


_ Most impressive is the condition of the reel, and even I was excited to hear the feedback from Doctor Todd. He says: _

“You have a very rare and valuable fishing reel on your hands, made by the legendary Julius vom Hofe Company ca. 1920. Julius was the son of Frederick vom Hofe, a German immigrant who made fantastic reels beginning in the 1850s, and the brother of legendary reelmaker Edward vom Hofe. He died in 1907, but his company was continued by his sons Alfred and Julius vom Hofe, Jr. This particularly model is called the B Ocean, and was a very important reel in fishing history, as it was the first to carry vom Hofe’s 1911 patent star drag mechanism. By the 1930s, the star drag was common on nearly all saltwater reels. Your B Ocean looks to be in excellent condition, and worth $200-$300 and perhaps more in that shape. It’s simply an incredible reel. For images of the 1911 B Ocean star drag patent, and a catalog page from 1921 showing the various model B Ocean reels, click here.” _



_Congrats, Todd…you officially have the tackle with the highest appraisal showcased in the contest so far! Normally I’m a proponent of using vintage gear, but this I’d put in a glass case. You can use the new pliers headed your way, though.

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)