Mitchell Reel Museum - Mitchell Mates Discussion Group

Before Mitchell.
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Author:  Tinca [ Sun Jan 14, 2018 7:34 am ]
Post subject:  Before Mitchell.

My interest in the early years of Mitchell has caused me to look at French fixed-spool reels of the 1930's. This is when simple round-bodied reels were being developed. Three reels in particular - Luxor, CAP and Pecos - have a part in the Mitchell story.

The Luxor is a fine round-bodied reel which appeared in around 1936. Judging by how easy they are to find today, they must have been made in large numbers. At one time they were also made in the US. I attach photos of a boxed early example. The owner's leaflet foretells of the release of a range of cane rods in 1940, which helps with dating the reel. Around 1939?

The Luxor was a product of Pezon et Michel. This company held the 1945 patent for the wire line clip which was used under licence in the first Mitchell reels. It has also been suggested that Carpano changed their preferred reel name of Michel to Mitchell to avoid conflict or confusion with P & M.

Other reels of interest are the first C.A.P's which were produced in small numbers judging by rarity today. These were products of La Canne a Peche. It is believed that these reels appeared in 2 forms in around 1939. I think that these reels were made by AMR of Lyon. I attach photos of the 2 CAP's; and Le Simplex which was made by AMR for H.Bazin. The reels are strikingly similar and some parts are interchangeable.

The C.A.P. reel is significant in the Mitchell story because, after manufacturing difficulties were experienced during WW2, Carpano was contracted to manufacture C.A.P. reels. Their version was very different to the originals.

Le Pecos is a lovely little reel which was first advertised in 1939. It was made for Au Pecheur Ecossais of Paris, and some believe that this was the first fishing reel made by Carpano et Pons. This reel is very hard to find which suggests not many were made. I attach photos of an early example and owner's leaflet.

One interesting feature of this reel is that it has an external counterweight on the rotor similar to that on the early Carpano-built C.A.P's. The Luxor and C.A.P reels mentioned earlier have no counterweight.

A second reel, The Pecos-Luxe, was released in 1948 with a hoop-bail, and internal counterweight very similar to the Mitchell. This is a lovely little reel. Did Carpano make this reel? Was the hoop-bail used under licence from Hardys? The Luxor switched to a hoop-bail in 1949.

An interesting fact that Dan Hawks brought to my attention is that an anti-reverse mechanism only came into common usage in France after WW2. In 1949 the Luxor was available with or without an AR and the first Carpano C.A.P's lacked one.

When one looks at the round-body reels and how simple they are, one can see just how revolutionary and astonishing the Mitchell must have seemed when it first appeared. No wonder it took the fishing world by storm.

Author:  Tinca [ Sun Jan 14, 2018 7:37 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Before Mitchell.

Early C.A.P's and Le Simplex.

Author:  Tinca [ Sun Jan 14, 2018 7:40 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Before Mitchell.

Claw-bail Le Pecos.

Author:  cshannon772 [ Tue Jan 16, 2018 8:55 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Before Mitchell.


Fantastic display of very early round body half-bails. I particularly love the two CAPs. I have seen the second CAP in your photos on a couple of occasions and yours is all original which is almost impossible to find, but the first photo CAP I have never seen before - very interesting! Thank you for sharing and I would be very interested in seeing more photos of your two CAPS.

On a side, a few years ago there was a CAP like your second photo on eBay France but the seller only shipped to France. I contacted the seller and told him what I was willing to bid on his reel and he agreed to ship it to the US but he couldn't figure out how to turn off the "France only shipping" to allow me to place a bid :sCh_taz: .......I watched that reel sell for a portion of what I was willing to pay for it. :sSa_sadeyes:


Author:  Tinca [ Wed Jan 17, 2018 5:48 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Before Mitchell.

Dear Chris,

These early CAP's are just about my favourite reels. They are very chunky; much heavier than the later Carpano version.

I think the only place to find them is France, and even there they are difficult. They are tricky to price. I bought the first 2 as a pair and paid about 3 times what they are worth. Do I regret it ? Not for a second : they have given me tremendous pleasure, especially once I figured out how to disassemble them.

I bought 2 more as part of a bundle of 6 high-end Mitchells from a friend in France. The 6 reels were actually his entire Mitchell collection and he used the proceeds to buy 2 rare French reels. It's nice when 2 collectors can work together to mutual benefit.

Another friend in France sold me a bag of parts which nearly made 2 reels, one of each type. The bodies were repaired as I detailed elsewhere. One reel is complete, but the other needs parts making including an aluminium spool and I can't decide if it's a legitimate thing to do.

The reel with the plastic spool lacks vertical movement and is, according to Caminade, the rarer reel. The one with the aluminium spool has vertical movement and is, in my experience, the rarer of the two. The only other one I've seen is in Christian's collection. The second reel has a "hammered" paint finish.

I paid a premium for the first 2 reels because they might be the finest examples in existence, and one had the ridiculously rare box. I'm sure that you will agree that one has to be philosophical about price : it tends to be a case of swings and roundabouts. Sometimes you just have to hold your nose and pay up !! I don't sell my stuff unless occasionally I can help a friend, so price is relatively unimportant. We are lucky in the Mitchell world that prices are not murderously high.

If you need more photos of these reels, let me know.

Kindest regards,


Author:  Tinca [ Wed Jan 17, 2018 5:51 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Before Mitchell.

More photos, including a second CAP2.

Author:  Tinca [ Wed Jan 17, 2018 5:54 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Before Mitchell.

Paperwork you might find interesting.

Author:  cshannon772 [ Mon Jan 22, 2018 10:35 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Before Mitchell.


Great photos and excellent information. I have seen these very rare CAPs from Christian's collection but it's comforting that a few others exist out there. Thank you for posting and Congratulations on some VERY rare CAPs. :sSig_youtheman:

Kind Regards,

Author:  Jeremy Fisher [ Tue Mar 19, 2019 6:43 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Before Mitchell.

A very interesting discussion. Thanks to the contributors.

It has always surprised me that the first French fixed-spool reel did not appear until 1935 in the form of the Mepps Vamp, bearing in mind that the Illingworth no.2 was produced as early as 1910. Perhaps it has something to do with patents.

The Vamp was quickly followed by The Luxor in 1936. For my money the Luxor is the finest round-body reel of all.

I do, however, have a soft spot for the first CAPs with the straight foot; even though they are not the prettiest of reels. They are superbly engineered, but admittedly on the heavy side. One can see why Carpano was asked to re-design a lighter reel with a better pick-up. Of course, this eventually led to the Mitchell and the rest is history...….

There must have been a reasonable demand for the first CAPs because after the War AMR produced a derivative called Le Simplex for Bazin, as shown here.

I see that reference material has been discussed elsewhere. For anyone interested in the history of the fixed-spool reel "Understanding Threadlines" by John Stephenson is essential reading, although it doesn't cover CAPs or Mitchells.

Just my tuppence worth.

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