Over the weekend I was in a wedding in Harrisburg, PA, and on the way home, my wife and I decided to pull off the Turnpike to scope out a few antique stores in the countryside. I am always on the lookout for old fishing gear, but I won’t buy just anything. I keep a mental list of the items that I’d love not only to own, but even just dream about finding while junking. After all, the excitement of the game comes more with the find than the purchase. So what would you do if you walked into an antique shop and every single piece of vintage or discontinued fishing gear you’ve ever wanted was there? I’ll tell you what I did. I had a total meltdown, complete with chest pains and vertigo.
The store is The German Trading Post & Antiques in Adamstown, PA. Even if you didn’t buy anything, it’s worth just looking at dealer Mike Kalafut’s tackle collection. It’s comparable to a stroll through the IGFA museum. The main problem I had was that the things I wanted were not $5 and $10 items. Good gear costs good money. Luckily, my wife realized pretty quickly—probably because of my swooning and slurred speech—that I wasn’t kidding around about the rarity of this tackle, and gave me the thumbs up to start bargaining for one item. One? More panic.
Though it was a tough decision, my heart belonged to the near-mint Penn International fly reel, size 2.5. These reels are beasts and were discontinued after a short run years ago. I’ve always wanted one. I’ve even called friends at Penn, insistent that there must be a dusty leftover in a back closet somewhere. Nope. If one pops up on eBay, the final selling price is always too high for my wallet. But, thanks to Mike being a cool guy that was willing to work with me and my wife’s blessing on the purchase, I can check one dream reel off my list. I need to name it before steelhead season.
So we’re clear, if you find yourself at The German Trading Post & Antiques, here are the things you are not allowed to buy, because I’ll be back for them eventually.
Fin Nor Ahab fly reel
Penn 12/0 Senator
Any of the Orvis glass rods
Fin Nor Wedding Cake fly reel
Those are mine. If you buy them, Mike has my number and will let me know. And I will hunt you down.