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Mitchell Reel Museum Discussion Group

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 Post subject: Collecting Perspective
PostPosted: Sat Jan 13, 2018 9:02 pm • #  
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Mates,

I’ve given the idea of a Mitchell collection a lot of thought recently and decided to jot down a few thoughts on the topic. These are only my thoughts, opinions and experiences. My first thought is it’s not the number of reels in your collection or the expense involved but most important is the enjoyment YOU get from the hobby and the relationships you build with respect to your collection. I believe there are several levels of Mitchell collecting; Some may be progressive and others may be static but the enthusiasm remains a constant. I have transitioned, I think, through all of the levels which I think I can explain.

The Owner: Possesses a Mitchell or two for fishing which he/she maintains and would not fish with another reel. Loves them and brags about their reels to other “lesser” :sHa_biggrin: fishermen. This was me when I received my first Garcia Mitchell 304 from my Dad in 1973 – He was a proud “The Owner” and I always wanted to mimic his talent for fishing but that was impossible with a Zebco 202 when your 13 years old. He always used a Mitchell 304 (his favorite) and a Mitchell 300. He gave me his pristine Mitchell 300 when I graduated from High School. At 13, my Dad gave me my first Mitchell, a 304 to fish for trout in Maine where I grew up. I still have both, my original 304 and my Dad’s 300 – there is no other reel that could replace those two in all of my collection. This “Owner” group is relatively static and the largest throughout the world – with lots of love and a little maintenance, they will hand their prized reels to their Grandchildren.

The Hobbyist: They have fished with Mitchells and have expanded their “collection” to include other reels for other purposes i.e. Saltwater, Ultra-light, lakes, streams/creeks/brooks, etc.. Probably have a couple of nice ‘display” reels in a drawer or on a shelf which they like to admire; joined the Mitchell Museum to occasionally check on the community but rarely comment – just surf……nothing wrong with that. For many years I was perfectly happy with my Mitchell 304 and 300 (still the “Owner”) but my Dad became a Hobbyist after he retired from the U.S. Air Force. He had a couple of CAPs and ‘egg bodies” to include a 300 DL in a drawer – I only saw them a few times. He just loved them and never fished them – only his Mitchell 304. He passed in 2012 to go fish his favorite waters and I never saw those reels again – my step mother passed them all out to her family. I didn’t want them all, but would still today give my entire collection for his old Mitchell 304 – just to hear it spin again. That’s when I decided to become a Collector of Mitchells. I had no idea what I was doing so I started picking up a few reels and doing some light research. I built my first display rack which would hold about 15 reels and considered that sufficient. I did a lot of reading, email back and forth with a couple of experienced collectors, picked up a few reels and some reference material to try to become a Hobbyist. I made a lot of mistakes in my purchases upon reflection now.

The Enthusiast: They have researched Mitchell history and pursue their interest in the reels of their choice – many times it’s the Mitchell half-bails, 300s, ultra-lights, Saltwaters, CAPs (actually I think I’m one of the few into the CAPs). But most of the time, in my experience, the Enthusiast has a focus on their interest in a specific Mitchell reel. They study and collect that model extensively but possess a vast knowledge of Mitchell history and the various versions of their choosing. They establish relationships with other collectors – not necessarily of their specific model interest, to expand their knowledge and experience – it becomes a collaborative and everyone gains knowledge. Enthusiasts usually have a small library of reference material, books advertising and schematics. They concentrate the additions to their collections to only the best examples of reels, New in the Box, Mint or the very rare models of their choice. They have a moderate investment (money wise) in their collection but a significant investment in time and effort researching and documenting the reels that their passionate about. I think I moved to this level in around 2014 when my collecting started to take off and my knowledge of Mitchell started to take hold with the help of many other collectors and enthusiasts. Reading and researching became a normal part of my week, studying the reels in my possession and conversing my findings with others as well as asking lots of questions as to what they knew. Regular visits to the Mitchell Museum filled in missing information for me – especially in the Forums.

The Serious Collector: Through a significant investment in time and money, they possess many Mitchell reels of various models, versions and distributors, a vast library of books, catalogs, advertising and schematics, and a significant collection of memorabilia such as reel bags, jewelry, lures, commemorative items, tools, dealer kits, rods and parts. They can talk fluently on most any topic pertaining to Mitchell reels and the company history and when they can’t, they can go to their reference material and look it up. They also have a large network of other collector contacts that they converse with on a regular basis to exchange knowledge, observations and ideas. They possess many very hard to find and rare Mitchells – normally at least mint and with the boxes, X Boxes and K Kits. They take their hobby seriously and work at it to better their collection and knowledge base – it becomes personal not pride (Admittedly, there is some pride involved when they finally track down that “Unicorn” Mitchell and close the deal”. Many spend a portion of their day – most every day, pursuing their passion for Mitchell reels and the history of the company, be it learning or adding a reel to their collection. Most can identify a Mitchell , model, version, year etc. with a glance and disassemble/reassemble them with little/no effort. Most of these people just happen to evolve into this position – it was never a conscious decision or a goal until they got “there”. I think I “Got There” a couple of years ago. My collection interests include the 200 series, 300 series, 400 series, 500 series, several 600 (Saltwater trolling) and 700 series (Fly reels) – all of them. Additionally, I have all of the Garcia Fishing Annuals, most of the Garcia Fishing Tackle Catalogs and many of the catalogs from Albatross, Balzer and Mitchell France. Almost all of the published books on Mitchell are in my library in the reel room. This didn’t happen overnight as it doesn’t for any collector; it came through a lot of work and expense which I took on myself and have absolutely no regrets. My Reel Room is my Happy Place where I can drink a beer or two, read/research and play with Mitchell reels!

The Mitchell Expert: These are people who have invested months and years of their lives collecting, traveling, interviewing and researching Mitchell reels and the history of Mitchell. Some have published books, others have amassed collections of Mitchell reels not seen in a public venue, some developed websites to share their knowledge. There are collections out there that only a few people know about and even fewer have actually seen. I think it’s incumbent on us as Hobbyists, Enthusiasts and Collectors to build on their work. What they have produced is and was the best information that they had based on their work for our benefit but as we all know much still remains unknown or incomplete. The Mitchell Museum is, I think the most comprehensive and active venue to gather new information and exchange observations available to anyone holding a Mitchell reel in their hand. I’m not even close to this level – yet.

Mates, I’ve given this much thought over the past couple of weeks and I realize this is a very long post – hence the thought process transferred to print. I feel no obligation to explain myself – as I’ve stated, I’m just a regular guy with a bunch of nice Mitchell reels. But the posts that I have shared with the Group over the years was to enhance the information contained in the Museum, whether it was photos of reels not shown in the Mitchell Gallery, observations on a particular model/version of Mitchell that I was very fortunate to obtain, some documentation I have in my library or to answer a question from another Mate – It was never intended to brag, show-off or make anyone feel bad; that’s just not me. Wherever one should fall into the above categories (not to stereotype) is not a vessel of that persons value or contributions to the Group, should they be static (Happy where they are) or progressing (Building a collection and knowledge base). This venture is NOT a competition – nobody has all the answers or all the reels but the Mitchell Museum is a treasure and will only get better if we all participate. Only my two cents and it may not be worth that.

Regards,
Chris


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PostPosted: Sat Jan 13, 2018 10:36 pm • #  
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Joined: Sun Feb 08, 2015 4:01 pm
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Greetings Chris, Just finished reading your outlook on the various stages of a reel collector. First I can truly say as a young boy you were extremely lucky to have a father that took you fishing, I unfortunately didn't . My father was I guess what you could call a workaholic, never any time for any type of recreation at all.My fishing days began with a few neighbor boys night fishing mostly, the Lehigh River that flows thru Allentown and at times the Delaware near Easton.I was also about 13 -14 at that time but I didn't have the luxury of a Mitchell when I started fishing,just a cheap simple baitcaster of some make or other.lf I remember correctly I purchased my first 300 around 16 years of age and then a 308 when they came out. I don't think you have any need to explain yourself or your quantity or quality of your collection to anyone.I my self fall I guess into the category of hobbyist, one who has the first reels he ever purchased ,does work on them and maintain them and always keeps his eye out for a nice one he can buy at a fair price.l my self don't have near the collection you do,but then again it's not about the quantity ,it's to me about the peace & tranquality I get when I'm working on them. Just thought I'd let you know how another Mate feels and I hope I didn't offend you in any way. Best regards, John in Pa. P.S. , I can still recall trying to un ravel those professional overruns (birds nest) out of a baitcaster at night by the light of a kerosene lantern LOL.


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 14, 2018 1:17 am • #  
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Joined: Sat Aug 12, 2017 6:20 pm
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Chris,
Well written mate. :sHa_okay:
I am trying to figure out what level I am in and where I want to transition to.
Kind Regards,
Bill :tup


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 14, 2018 6:55 am • #  
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cshannon772 wrote:
Mates,

This venture is NOT a competition – nobody has all the answers or all the reels but the Mitchell Museum is a treasure and will only get better if we all participate. Only my two cents and it may not be worth that.

Regards,
Chris

Hi Chris
I'm not too desire where I might fit in with the categories but the way you ended your excellent post resonated most .
I have more questions than answers as I do not have the depth of knowledge that most here have . As a result I often feel daft making posts and asking for opinions or advice .
The Mitchell Museum is a great resource and I believe you are right in suggesting people are All levels participating will only improve this Treasure .
Kind regards
John


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 14, 2018 7:50 am • #  
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Joined: Thu Sep 01, 2016 2:41 am
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Good to see you back posting, Chris.

Ro.


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 14, 2018 8:52 am • #  
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Dear John eBoy,

You must never feel you look daft for asking perfectly sensible questions. Don't forget, others will have been wondering the same things.

My only purpose in posting on this Forum is to make available information to other members that I found difficult to find. I was very diffident about showing my reels because it opens you to all manner of accusations. I came to the conclusion that life is too short to worry about what a few malcontents think or say.

I would echo what Chris said : this Forum needs more contributors.

When I started collecting Mitchell reels only 5 years ago, I immediately became attracted to the claw-bails. Probably something to do with Dick Walker smashing the UK Carp record with a MK.2 Mitchell and MK.4 rod. It took me almost a year to find my first MK.1 reel; and what a thrill that was. My frustration was that there was so little information available on this reel. There was the reel in the MRM study and Wallace's book and that was all I could find apart from some externals on Jan Haanstra's site. I spent a lot of time with Wallace's book.

I have been fortunate enough to find quite a few early reels and feel obliged to share with others the information that was not available to me. I hope that some will find this information useful.

So John, you keep asking your questions and perhaps you would share some of your reels with us.

Kind regards,

Rolands.


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 14, 2018 10:28 am • #  
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Great post Chris. I like you, like to post my reels and ask questions about them here. How else would we get information of them without interacting with others here? My father never fished but came with us on a few occasions. Our go to place was a river/stream in back of the house miles walk away. My father was more comfortable knowing the only other people there were fishermen like us. We were in our early teens too. No reels handed down from him. I liked Mitchell reels but didn't LOVE them until the 2000 ORCA Convention in Rochester, NY. We went on a wing and a prayer. Glad we did. Met Dennis, Ben, Bill and many more. Bought his ( Dennis's ) book and became a Mitchell lover/collector. Purchased some reels and a Conolon pole which was a 1 piece and it stuck out the window of my wife's car because it was long. Still have it and fished with it. I don't think I fit in one category but several. Don't plan on writing a book either, have a hard enough time understanding the ones already out there ;) ;) . Keep posting and I'll keep reading. Thanks............
Kim :sCh_fisherman: :sHa_clap2: :sHa_okay: :tup


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 14, 2018 12:07 pm • #  
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Chris, wonderful post. You're gifted by having a great reel collection and the ability to compose thoughts clearly and to your point allowing us to reflect. As to where I might fall into the Mitchell Collecting range is, well, still in flux. I do hope to post some reel pics soon. Most of my small collection is in storage since moving. Best regards to all mates, Dennis2149


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 14, 2018 9:04 pm • #  
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Hello Chris, very well written and I believe covers the bases very well, I guess I am in the bottom end of the hobbyist level. As you say, I did not plan on this, I too also had a Dad that loved fishing and his prize reels were his 300's for lake trout fishing and pike. Never got my own but I could use his when I got older. As time went on and Dad got sick with cancer the fishing came to an end. But I have and always cherished the memories of fishing with him. I still have all his reels and poles. As time went on I would pick up older Mitchell reels to have ones of my own and then it became a relaxing therapy to pick up old ones and bring them back to life.
When my daughters were very young I started them with small modern mitchell reels on a ice fishing pole then moved the reel up to bigger rods, so I guess the cycle keeps going.

I believe that there may be another hidden level for a bunch of us and that would be just before your first level, and that is we have those older memories of the mitchell reels and we did some googling and then found and stayed with this site. I wish I had found it earlier. There would be a few really nice reels I would still have in my collection. Oh well, I really enjoy it here and plan to stay. Its about the fun and friendship that we have along the way.


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 14, 2018 10:51 pm • #  
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Chris,
I was very happy to see this post, and I thoroughly enjoyed its contents. You have a real knack for expressing your thoughts that few possess.
Like GreatLaker, I'm trying to figure out what slot an old man, like myself, with a love for the Mitchell 300s would fit. :sFun_oldguy:
And wherever that place is for me , I will continue to look forward to all the posts, pictures, information that makes the Museum, as Chris states, the "most comprehensive and active venue to gather new information and exchange observations available."

Regards,
Ted Lanham


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 15, 2018 4:51 pm • #  
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Location: Portland, OR
Chris, nice work...I think most of us can identify where we are in the hobby from these definitions. I seem to land pretty squarely as an Enthusiast with a focus on ULs, of course...

Like many of you, growing up fishing these reels with my father is the reason I began interest in them later in life. Everytime I pick one up, I feel a connection with my dad (he's been gone 10 years) and memories of using these reels with him comes back...

Without gaining the fascinating history, technical information on this website and the vast knowledge from the mates who contribute, which has helped fuel my interest and passion for these reels, I would not be able to experience those connections and memories to the same degree. I can't place a value on that.

Most importantly the camaraderie of being part of the Mitchell community was an unintended consequence of much delight. I value the relationships we've created here and do my best to repay all I've gained.

I hope to see more photos of your collections. It's not bragging, its obligatory sharing. The community should see the wonderful reels and the passion behind them.

Sandman


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 16, 2018 7:12 pm • #  
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Really very nice words. A pleasure to read. Magnificent definitions.

At te,
Mauricio


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 16, 2018 7:23 pm • #  
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Joined: Thu Jul 26, 2012 5:28 pm
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Hello Mates,

Thank you all for the kind responses and speaking for myself, really enjoyed the personal aspects to your posts. I think the more personal, the better we understand each other and the less room for misunderstandings, hence a better opportunity to exchange information and ideas. I've been very fortunate in 2018 (so far) so I'm happy to share a few new additions ...... Stand-by for posts. I hope they are informative and you enjoy them. :tup

Kind Regards,
Chris


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