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toolemera

Who Fishes Garcia Mitchell & Conolon?

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I'll admit it, I'm a Garcia Mitchell guy. With the exception of an item here and there, everything's older Garcia Mitchell spinning rods and reels.

On the net, other than the Mitchell Mates forum, there's not much on the subject of Conolon rods and who fishes them or their history. A few sites have some information. I'm in the process of putting together what I can but for now, I'm just wondering who fishes Conolon or even Narmco rods?

My Rod preference: 2121, 2110 Gold series from the 1960's for general fresh water (or the Narmco Spin-Flite's if I want to go really light tackle for trout). Though I just picked up a Narmco custom spin cast 7 foot, medium that might be put to use. Not a gloat, it's just a nicely balanced rod.

Reels: 300, 314, 308

I grew up on Mitchell reels (I'm 59) and Conolon Blue rods for fresh and salt water and stuck with them. Now, I look for the Gold and Brown at auctions and flea markets when I can find them. I fish salt water too but that's another story.

Gary

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I'm 40, and used some of that gear as hand me downs. I still have some of it, for sentimental reasons.

But modern gear is leaps and bounds better, and that's what I think you'll find most use.

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It's a funny thing. I've been collecting, selling and using old woodworking tools for over 30 years. Many people go for the new versions. Some only want the old stuff. I get a kick out of using the old stuff. So far it's been the same with the tackle. I even enjoy taking a beat up lure, cleaning it up with new hooks and fishing it. Go figure.

I did pick up a Shimano M10 which I look foward to trying out. And a Zebco Omega Pro which is brand new so I guess that counts.

Perhaps it's the crazy challenge of fishing a light Mitchell 308 on a Light Taper rod just to see what happens that gets me. I'm not a competitve sort of guy, it's just for enjoyment. And, as said, I have this thing about old stuff.

But, I can understand how modern tackle is way ahead of the older stuff technically.

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I still have one Mitchell 408 and one Conolon rod that I bought about 1966 or so. I fish them once or twice a year for fun but they go back on the rack after that. The 408 reel still fishes fine with my only complaints being the lack of a convenient manual close on the bail, and the clicking from the AR pawl and associated back-play that goes with it. The Conolon rod, a 6'6" light power, is just hopeless by modern standards...

gallery_25379_89_85526.jpg

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I have my grandfathers old conolon 2213-A casting rod. I would never think to use it though.

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I just lost out on a N.I.B. 300 at an auction last week. But I managed a N.I.B. Abu 7000c. I know guys who still swear by the Zebco Cardinal spinners.

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The Conolon rod, a 6'6" light power, is just hopeless by modern standards...

Seems that way, but I had fun, and was happy to have the 2nd hand gear back then.

We weren't as well off as I am now.

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Seems that way, but I had fun, and was happy to have the 2nd hand gear back then.

We weren't as well off as I am now.

You bet - the 408/Conolon for me back then would be like a Shimano/Loomis combo today. I saved all my pennies for quite a while to get the Garcia combo and took great care of it. I had another spinning combo, and a spincast combo, that I used the most - the Garcia combo was the "princess" combo... :lol:

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I had a Garcia and a 301, and my dad had a Garcia and a DAM Quick. I later upgraded to a Penn and an Ugly Stick. That lasted until I was about 14, and I got bit by the "bass bug."

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I suspect part of it is what you are fishing with. I've never been a huge fan of the 408 or 308 though I use a 308 for snappers when they're running in salt water. For a light reel, the 314 is it for me. That and an ultra light rod and it's a good combination.

Most people, myself included, fished brown or blue Conolon rods. When I discovered the Gold series, I realized there is difference there. The dollar difference put a Gold series in what would now be the $200 range and then in no way did we have that kind of cash. But, like I said, it's most likely a matter of preference and expectation.

Mostly I fish a 300 on a Conolon Companion 2133 Light 7' or a 314 on a Narmco Spin-Flight 70 ultra light. My friends do look at me like I'm nuts but I'm in no rush for anything. This spring I'm trying out a Companion 2201 spincast with Zebco Omega Pro fitted out for left hand reeling.

The younger BPS guys think I'm nuts too. The older ones, we enjoy talking about it.

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I'm still using my 408 from about 1974 or so. I have it mounted on a Garcia ultra light rod, but I don't have the rod number handy. I had to save my money to buy that rod and reel back then, perhaps that's one reason it has a special place in my fishing arsenal, but it just feels so comfortable to me. I couldn't begin to count the number of crappie that's been pulled out of the water with that rig.

It's good to hear these reels are still appreciated!

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For those that haven't see one - here's the Mitchell 314 - from the 1964 Fisherman's Digest... :thumbsup:

gallery_25379_89_22012.jpg

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I'm still using my 408 from about 1974 or so. I have it mounted on a Garcia ultra light rod, but I don't have the rod number handy. I had to save my money to buy that rod and reel back then, perhaps that's one reason it has a special place in my fishing arsenal, but it just feels so comfortable to me. I couldn't begin to count the number of crappie that's been pulled out of the water with that rig.

It's good to hear these reels are still appreciated!

and why not try it on some bass too? I've fished ultralight on bass and trout. Not a 408 or 308 but a 314. It's a blast.

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For those that haven't see one - here's the Mitchell 314 - from the 1964 Fisherman's Digest... :thumbsup:

For what it's worth, the 314 is descended from the 304 which is descended from the CAP, back at the start of the Mitchel spinning reel line. I like the 314 because it is your basic no frills reel. There is nearly nothing in between you and the line except some minimal gearing. It's tough and stands up to salt and fresh water with regular cleaning. Ok, so I'm biased.

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My first spinning outfit was a Garcia Mitchell 301 and a 7" blue Conolon rod (don't remember the number). Must have been '67 or '68. I got bit by the ultra-light bug about a year later and bought a 409 and 5" blue Conolon rod. Those two outfits served me well for many years.

Compared to today's tackle, they were kind of crude, but they were bulletproof (except for the bail springs in the reels), easy to maintain and repair, and looked the part of all-business, no frills fishing tools.

Tom

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