The colonial fishing reels for the travelling angler

As worldwide travel became increasingly easy around the 1900’s it was important for anglers to retain their fishing habits whilst in India.

Hardy, Farlows, Army & Navy & others supplied, generally from London, the Royalty, gentry and servicemen who fished in the untapped waters of Asia for Mahseer, tiger fish, trout etc.

However, the ingenious Indian businessmen soon realised that there was a market to supply the anglers who perhaps could not afford these expensive brands.

A long-distance trade began c. 1900 where the expensive alloy parts were being cast in Redditch and shipped to India where they added the brass parts, pillars, screws winding arms etc. to make a reel complete.

One such 3” trout reel is shown here.

They are made reasonably well and they do last. The brass work is generally a little rough, the screws misaligned and the foot supports and blade can be hit and miss.

There are many patterns and styles to collect, from 2-1/2” to a huge 5” I saw some time ago. Single handle, twin handles, free running and not: basically anything which would appeal and sell.

Generally unnamed but a few bore the names of tackle shops where Hardy agents also sold their wares.

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