Stones unturned

ORCA Online Forum - Feel free to talk or ask about ALL kinds of old tackle here, with an emphasis on old reels!
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Brian F.
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Location: Honolulu, Hawaii

Stones unturned

Post by Brian F. »

I was looking through a back issue of the Reel News, Spring 1999, for a particular article and happened to notice a little ad in the "For Sale" classifieds. Donald Thoms had placed an ad that apparently ran for 3 or 4 months saying he had some reels for sale (a bit of an understatement maybe?). I don't think I ever inquired, being that he didn't mention any saltwater reels, but wow! who would've thought he had that much. It all was destined to become part of the "mother of all reel auctions" 4 years later!

Unfortunately, I'm reading a back issue because haven't picked up my new one from the office yet!

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Steve
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Post by Steve »

Brian,
Two emails to you have bounced, as your server is not being recognized. Could you email me, please, at ?
Steve

Jim Madden
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Location: Indiana

Stone almost turned

Post by Jim Madden »

Brian, I almost walked into his motherload myself. I was desperately seeking my first South Bend 1131 (not A), and I heard that he had 2 or 3 of them. I got his number from a friend and called one evening. Don was quiet a talker, and it was a while before I could get to the subject of the SB reels. I do remember admiring his passion for his collection, but surprisingly, he seemed ready to sell the 1131's at my price. The only catch was that he was confined to a wheelchair and couldn't get down the two or three steps to his reel room. I told him that no one should ever be separated from his reels, and I offered to build him a ramp. It would be a 45 minute drive, and my Blazer would be packed with tools and materials, but he would get to enjoy his collection, and I would get the reel that had eluded me for so long. When I called for measurements days later, I couldn't get an answer. I was finally informed that he had been moved to a care facility because of a sudden health problem. I found another use for the piece of plywood, but I never suspected the bananza I would have seen had I made the connection earlier. I don't think I would have been able to concentrate on the carpentry.

Don told me about one of his tricks to get first shot a some of his reels. In Centerville, Michigan, at the fairgrounds there is a huge antique show held several times during the summer on a Sunday. As many as 600 venders will bring collectibles from all over the Midwest, others from as far as Florida. No crafts or trinkets allowed - all antiques. Those who pay for a booth or come up with $25 could get in on Saturday in the hopes of catching somebody just setting up. Don would boldly drive up to the side vendors gate every Saturday morning and flash a number of his booth - one that never existed. There were so many booths, no one ever noticed the duplication. After a while, all he had to do was wave. This went on for over two years till someone got wise to him. Having found some pretty nice reels myself there on a Sunday (probably because Don was out of the picture), I imagine he really cleaned up on a Saturday. Well, I did get one of Don's 1131's after all at Kalamazoo, but Len made me pay for it! (At least I didn't have to build a ramp.)

Brian F.
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Interesting fellow

Post by Brian F. »

Jim,

Thanks for sharing the story. I've heard a little bit about him through other postings and the new Reel News. Sounds like a really interesting fellow. I'm sure that he much preferred to stay out of the spotlight but it's too bad we're only learning about him and all those fascinating stories after he's gone. Your offer to help him enjoy his collection again was such an unselfish thought that I am sure it will be returned tenfold!

Aloha,
Brian

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