The Air-Light pictured below is definitely one of the more odd-ball reels submitted in our vintage tackle contest. Bob Brown sent in the photo, explaining simply that he found this gem in his grandfather’s garage and that it was made in Nebraska. It’s a design I’d never seen before, so I was really curious to find out what vintage tackle expert Dr. Todd Larson of The Whitefish Press and “Fishing For History” blog would have to say about it.


Dr. Todd says:

“Nebraska was home to at least two fishing reels that I know of — the Good-All Mftg. Co. reel made in Ogallala, and your “side-mount” Air-Lite reel made in Omaha. The Air-Light Products Company was a firm specializing in molded plastics in the 1940s through at least the mid-1960s. It was located at 1010 N. 16th Street in Omaha. In the early 1950s, the company got into making fishing tackle, first with a patented bobber and later with the Air-Light spincasting reel, which I believed was introduced in the late 1950s. It was not a success; my friend Bill Muth, the noted reel collector and scholar, once wrote that the Air-Light was “a horrible little plastic spin-cast reel.” I won’t go quite that far, but I will say that it’s relative scarcity is all the evidence we need to declare this reel a failure. It came in at least three colors (Black, Green, and Red) and I would value it as $25-$40 new in the box like yours. To see a different color Air-Light, click here.”

Well, Bob, perhaps there are no cults of Air-Light fanatics out there still using them on the water as they do with other vintage reels, but I still think it’s a cool looking piece worthy of a spot on the shelf (at least the garage shelf). Thanks for sending and enjoy the Cabela’s 50th Anniversary Duffle Bag headed your way. Special thanks to our friends at Cabela’s for supplying this awesome prize for the next few weeks of the contest.

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 Cabela’s 50th Anniversary Duffle Bag (below, $70).