The Tunny fishing days post-1900 saw many improvements in the tackle developed specifically for this branch of the sport.
Makers around the globe invited designs and ideas from the eminent anglers of the day, trying to produce the ultimate reel to handle huge fish.
This was not an ordinary man’s sport.
It meant buying expensive high-quality tackle, rods, reels, traces, swivels and hooks, hiring or crewing a boat and often being afloat for days on end, sometimes without success.
Hardy, Allcock, Vom Hofe, Coxe, Fin-Nor, Montage, Farlow and others all lay claim to fame in the reel department.
However, the reel which stands out showing the intricate external mechanics is the Allcock Mitchell-Henry Tunny reel.
L Mitchell Henry, the English born son of an eminent family, was Eton educated and moved between Germany and Canada during his early days.
An inventor, angler and all round sportsman, he instructed Allcocks of Redditch to produce his reel under licence.
The example here is stamped to the face plate “The Allcock Tunny Reel, Prov.Pat. Patent Applied For, Manufactured under Licence of L Mitchell-Henry. London.”
This 7” diameter alloy reel is both substantial and of a high build quality with fine tolerances. The foot and rod saddle clamp show little use, the number 126 is stamped alongside. I’m assuming this is the reel’s individual production number.
The unique external brake band system is both effective and easily repaired or adjusted quickly at sea, unlike the internal systems of the Hardy, Coxe and other competitors’ models.
The effectiveness of the reel could not be better advertised when in 1933 Mitchell-Henry took the world record rod caught Bluefin tuna of 851 pounds.
Mitchell-Henry produced various reels including ebonite and brass early models plus later multiplying variants in alloy. All are rare and sought after by collectors worldwide.
The reel here appeared in 1926 and was superseded in 1937 by another model, so it was a fairly short run in old reel maker’s terms. These days if a reel lasts a season, it’s a miracle.
This reel is part of a huge collection of approx.100 rods, reels and accessories covering the last 100 years of big game salt water fishing.
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