The Willoughby – Or is that Will-not-oughby?

Willoughby ad from the March/April 1975 Issue of Bass Master Magazine.

The cover of the March/April 1975 Bass Master has a picture of what I thought was just an old antique reel. Kind of a fly reel-looking sort of deal. I figured, “Eh, Bass Master has an article on old antique fishing gear this issue. Cool.”

As I flipped through the magazine and landed on page 20, though, I realized this was no antique tackle article, it was about some guy trying to bring back to life an antique reel – namely the Willoughby.

Okay, I’m all for collecting and/or fishing antique gear. It’s fun and gives you an idea of what the people – a long time before me – had to deal with when they went fishing. For example I have some old Garcia 301s (not really that old) that are fun to pull out every now and then and some old Plfuegar direct-drive knuckle busters with cat-gut line on them that make me feel for anglers of the past. Do I seriously fish with them? No.

Anyway, the article is about bringing back this archaic reel because it retrieves line faster than any casting reel of the time – 20 inches per turn of the handle as opposed to 16 inches by an ABU 5000-series reel. [Read more…]