Abercrombie & Fitch 200/6 Spinner

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Paul Roberts
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Abercrombie & Fitch 200/6 Spinner

Post by Paul Roberts »

This past winter I picked up, and fixed up, an A&F 200/6 and... like it! Although the internals are in good shape, it's just a tad noisy (grindy) by more modern standards, I believe owing to the straight bevel gearing. But it's not excessive and I think it's a cool looking -pretty- reel, and I want to fish it. So I finally did.

This A&F version (and the Langley 830) boasted a self-centering rotor/bail and full-time anti-reverse. As a confirmed -almost religious- back-reeler, this is... blasphemy! So I removed the offending AR parts (saved if I ever decide to pass the reel on to someone else). So, to have an AR to keep the line and lure in check when not actively fishing it, I affixed a classy black hair band to the rod handle to hold the reel handle in check. Tighten the spool (via the drag) and I can stash the rod until it's needed again.

The reel has a slow IPT which is just fine for cold water crankbaiting. A particular plug I really like for cold weather cranking is an old (1980's) Natural Ike, a square-billed, flat-sided, Tom Seward design (a Master designer). It casts like a potato chip, if I'm not careful, and requires a slow retrieve, being unstable in water as well as air. But therein lies its effectiveness; It wriggles and "hunts". Killer.

Last edited by Paul Roberts on Fri Apr 08, 2022 8:34 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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kyreels
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Re: Abercrombie & Fitch 200/6 Spinner

Post by kyreels »

Great photos, thanks for posting the vintage reel. Just curious, I always like the anti-reverse, you can turn it off on most modern reels, but I never do. What do you do that requires "back reeling"?
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Paul Roberts
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Re: Abercrombie & Fitch 200/6 Spinner

Post by Paul Roberts »

Back-reeling means locking the drag down and giving line incrementally only when/if you need to. It means you give line, or not, instead of relying on a mindless stack of washers. It was originally employed when spinning drags were not very reliable. But back-reeling turns out to offer some serious advantages. It gives much more control in, and feel for, the fight. You control the pressure at every moment. No more fiddling with drag during a fight, regardless of fish size, amount of line out, whether the line might be compromised during the fight. No yanking line out at boatside, which even the pros seem to end up doing. Drag seems to have become a fear-based concept -egged on by marketing- that a stack of washers is a necessity to do what we can do better.

All this said, back-reeling is not recommended for large long-running SW species. Not bc you'd break them off, but a continuously spinning handle could be... uncomfortable, not to mention a bit silly! However, I've back-reeled plenty of freshwater steelhead, and a few salmon. For the salmon I went to a Quick 441, which gave me a meter of line per turn, which apparently surpasses their maximal swimming speed. I never did have to leggo the handle.
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Midway Tommy D
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Re: Abercrombie & Fitch 200/6 Spinner

Post by Midway Tommy D »

There are those among us that cringe whenever we see someone back reeling when playing a fish. One little mistake and you can end up with a loop in your line, line around the spool, line caught under the spool or in a line clip, or have a moment of slack line and the hook comes loose.

Personally, I prefer to use a quality spinner with well maintained drag components and play the fish with smooth drag and my pole. Using one's pole as an aid to playing a fish has become a lost art, IMHO.
Love those Open Face Spinning Reels! (Especially ABU & ABU/Zebco)

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Ron Mc
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Re: Abercrombie & Fitch 200/6 Spinner

Post by Ron Mc »

pretty neat Paul - have been wondering when you'd wake up your new pond.
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Re: Abercrombie & Fitch 200/6 Spinner

Post by Paul Roberts »

Me thinks those “little mistakes” are… more realistically figments of imagination! Or possibly they are more apt to be produced when one doesn’t have complete control of the rotor? An AR doesn’t let one reel back to gather those loose loops. I can’t imagine not even being allowed to do that, due to an “anti-reverse”. “Hey it doesn’t reel backwards, it must be broke!” :) Regardless, either way, spinning is about controlling tension on the line and “back-reeling” is a very good, and complete, way to do it.

I think the term back-reeling brings to mind… frantically reeling backwards, and conjures up fears of losing control of the handle when the line is under tension. The focus though is not just the handle, it’s the rotor. The rotor is controlled with a trained rod hand, and it’s instantaneous. I must say, in over 4 decades of back-reeling I’ve never had/allowed a “backlash”. Can’t see how it could even happen, unless I suppose one only tried to control the rotor via the handle. That could get ugly if the line is under heavy strain and one lost a white-knuckle grip on the handle. That is indeed a scary thought! But again, it’s the rotor we are controlling with the fingers of the rod hand.

Back to controlling fish, letting them take any line due to a safe preset simply prolongs a fight. Fish are neutrally buoyant hydrofoils. We fight fins and body depth. Allowing a good sized fish to shoulder against our pressure, or face away from us results in a prolonged stalemate. The trick is to control, turn, the head, and every chirp of drag from a mindless set of washers is… maddening. I want to decide when to give line. The rod, arm and body movement, line stretch and strength provide plenty of forewarning. And reels are plenty fast to keep up with most fish actions. And if a bolt from a fish does surprise me, I simply leggo the handle, but always have that rotor in check with my rod/rotor hand.

In the end, don’t let my passion on this subject be mis-taken. I’m not telling anyone what they should be doing. Just suggesting that turning off the AR and drag and manually controlling the rotor makes handling spinning gear and fighting fish a much more efficient, and richer, experience. It might surprise people how different it is to fish and fight fish with complete control.

Ron, yes! This past year and a half has been essentially a complete life altering disruption. Oddly, I didn’t even feel rusty. Or maybe I was so rusty I didn’t notice! Anyway, it feels so good to be getting some of the best parts of life back in place. Although this pond may not pan out for quality bass fishing, there is another larger one on the property. And lots of other waters nearby. That was part of the plan. Feels darn good.
Last edited by Paul Roberts on Fri Apr 08, 2022 2:53 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Midway Tommy D
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Re: Abercrombie & Fitch 200/6 Spinner

Post by Midway Tommy D »

Paul, we'll just have to agree to disagree. :mrgreen: I can't even imagine trying to fish with a spinning reel that doesn't have an operable anti-reverse option. :roll: If I had to fish that way I might as well be using an old dragless single action fly reel. :)
Love those Open Face Spinning Reels! (Especially ABU & ABU/Zebco)

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Re: Abercrombie & Fitch 200/6 Spinner

Post by Paul Roberts »

:) Yes, most people do. I'm used to it. :lol:
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