One of the first pieces we posted here on the Bass Fishing Archives back in March of 2012 was an article on Lew Childres’ Speed Spool Gear Kit. The kit was made to increase the speed of the 5000-series ABU reels from a paltry 3.75:1 to a 4.8:1 gear ratio – considered fast at the time. Lew’s debuted the kit in the early ‘70s.
There was another company out there, though, that was also in the business of speeding up your older ABUs. The company was Lebrecko Inc and their product was Buzz Gears.
I don’t remember which came first, Lew’s or Lebercko’s, but both offered the angler a much-needed increase in reel speed – something that ABU didn’t address until 1973 with their 500-series reels (4500, 5500, etc). One thing about the early Buzz Gears, though, was they broke pinion gears on a frequent basis. The gear would break where it engaged the spool leaving the reel inoperable until you got a new gear. In today’s world, that probably wouldn’t be a show-stopper because everyone carries 20 rods in their boat. Back then, though, anglers only carried a couple of rods.
In this ad, from 1975, Lebercko’s advertising their new gear set with the improved pinion gear. In order to overcome the pressure exerted on the ears of the gear, they placed a brass shim around the circumference of the gear. This helped with the problem but didn’t solve the bad press they’d received. I don’t recall them being around much at all after 1977.
Tackle technology has risen exponentially since the early 70s and reels are one of those pieces of equipment that have led the way. For those of you out there who don’t know what it’s like to have only slow reels feel blessed the reel companies now offer you a myriad of speeds to choose from. What has always amazed me is how long it took the reel manufacturers to catch on to the concept of gear ratio and its effect on the way we present a lure to a fish.