Having grown up in a tackle shop in the 70s and 80s I’ve always felt pretty confident that I know a bit about tackle from the time. But it seems every time I open up a magazine from that time period, I get schooled again. Case in point – Greg Enterprises of Fayetteville, AR.
As we’ve discussed before, back in the early- to mid-‘70s there were a ton ABU/Garcia 5000s around. Problem was people were realizing that they needed more speed from their reels and the 3.8:1 ratio the 5000 provided didn’t cut the mustard. Around the 1973/4 timeframe, the infamous Lew Childre came out with the Speed Kit to bump your 5000s gear ratio up to 5:1. Then Buzz Gears came out shortly thereafter and did the same job, although not as well.
Well, there appears to have been another company that offered a speed kit and that, again, was Greg Enterprises. Looking at the ad, it’s hard to tell what the gears are made of – normally the pinion was brass and the main gear was aluminum. A closer look at the pinion gear also shows that the key-end of the gear is open, without a brass retaining ring to add strength. Lebercko (Buzz Gears) failed to utilize this design as part of their first production runs and pretty much dug their grave because of it.
Another piece of reel candy Greg offered was what looks like a power handle. Handles on those old 5000s were normally short in length and the paddles were small. The need for bigger knobs and a longer handle was there and it appears that Greg was trying to accommodate. You can’t tell what the knobs are made of but I would guess they’re a hard urethane.
I’m not sure the exact year Gator Grip came out but I had my first pair around the 76/77 time frame. Their soft rubber grips really helped an angler keep their hands on the knobs and pretty much changed the way reel manufacturers looked at handle production. I guess I better get my magazines out and do more research.