Though I cannot claim to be anywhere near the vintage tackle expert as Dr. Todd Larson of The Whitefish Press and “Fishing For History” blog, there are a few manufacturer names that even I recognize as being special. Julius vom Hofe happens to be one of them, so when Jim Weber submitted this photo to the vintage tackle contest, I was itching to know more, as I know certain vom Hofes bring in serious coin. So is Jim a big money winner? Let’s find out.


Dr. Todd says:

“That is one seriously old fishing reel! It was made by Julius vom Hofe, the younger son of the legendary reel maker Frederick vom Hofe and brother to his better known sibling Edward vom Hofe. While most people remember Edward today, Julius made an important contribution to fishing reel history (he developed the legendary B Ocean saltwater reel, the first to utilize a star drag). Before the B Ocean, he made a large number of ocean reels like yours, most of them with his 1889 patent date on it. All Julius reels are valuable; however, condition is a significant factor. Your reel has seen a lot of use, and has saltwater corrosion on the side plates (and certainly the spool as well). With some hard work and time, you can restore this reel to working order — the Old Reel Collector’s Association (ORCA) has a lot of tips on their Reel Talk chat board on how to properly clean vintage reels, and I suggest you look them up. As for value, as it stands now it would probably be worth $20-$30 — in new condition it could be worth as much as $200. I hope you’ll take the time to restore it, as it is a great old warrior and probably landed a whole lot of fish back in the day..”


Nice find, Jim. Too bad she’s not mint condition, but it’s still a cool piece of history I’d love to own. Thanks for sending and keep an eye on your mailbox, because there’s a set of Berkley Aluminum Pliers 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, 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.