New Member from Oak Ridge, TN

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Terry Battisti
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New Member from Oak Ridge, TN

Post by Terry Battisti »

Hi All,

Well, I finally decided to join ORCA after years of enjoying this site as an outsider. My name is Terry Battisti and I have been a student of bass fishing for nearly 50 years. I started down my path in 1974 at the age of 10 and still have the first four custom rods I made that year - they are proof that you get better with experience. :-)

Regarding tackle, I have nearly every piece of tackle I have ever owned, which is saying something since I worked at a tackle shop from 1978 through 1988. Yes, I am a tackle junky.

As some of you might know, I own a website called the Bass Fishing Archives, which is dedicated to documenting the rich history of bass fishing from James A. Henshall's famous books to contemporary times. Being that I grew up in the early days of competitive bass fishing, a lot of the site has been dedicated to just that, competitive fishing.

Recently, a close friend of mine, Bill Sonnett, has infiltrated my mind and has gotten me excited about old baitcasting reels. Hence my joining this wonderful group of old reel aficionados. Bill, this is all your fault.

At this point in time, I am a sponge. I just want to learn all I can about the reels of the 1900s. Yes, the reels of the Kentucky watchmakers are important but I have to start somewhere and the 1900s reels are more my speed at this time.

What I am interested in are the Langley, Shakespeare, Pflueger, South Bend, and Coxe reels. I have an affinity for Langley because my old boss at the tackle store had a few of them around and he and the old timers would sit around and talk about how great they were. Since receiving a "starter kit" from Bill a couple months ago (Thank you Bill!), I currently have in my new collection:

3 Langley 310 Streamlite
2 Langley 350 Lakecast
1 Langley 330 Lurecast
1 Pflueger AKRON 1893
1 Pflueger AKRON 1893L
1 Pflueger AKRON 1894
1 Pflueger Nobby (1963 I believe)
1 Shakespeare Marhoff 1964
1 Shakespeare Superior 1862 (needs a handle)

I have fished the Lurecast on a vintage Actionrod and caught a bunch of topwater fish on it and after getting used to having to use my thumb as an anti-reverse, it was a joy to fish with. The other reel I have used is the Nobby on a vintage custom Fenwick (circa 1960s) with a Featherlite handle. I've used this to pitch around the house and in the back yard. Both reels are awesome and have opened my eyes to vintage gear. Now I have to find rods for all these reels I have accumulated!

I look forward to meeting some of you in the future and learning all I can from you all. If there is ever anything I can do for you, please don't hesitate to contact me. And, if you have time, check out my site and let me know what you think.

I have to thank Bill Sonnett for not giving up on me. We have known each other for a long time and he has always been a trusted confidant when it comes to all things vintage tackle. Bill, thank you sir for corrupting me. :-)

All the best!

Terry Battisti
Bass Fishing Archives
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john elder
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Re: New Member from Oak Ridge, TN

Post by john elder »

Welcome, Terry! Sounds like we have a lot to learn from you as well! Bill is, indeed, a gem and a wealth of knowledge about fishing, especially with vintage tackle. He has been a mainstay of our Club since the beginning and you couldn’t ask for a better mentor! (Bill, i will send you my PayPal address later).

I live in San Diego, the home of Langley and they did, indeed, make some great, user-friendly reels. The Lurecast is even controllable for a hack caster like me!

Think about making the upcoming ORCA convention at Lake George. You can meet some of the characters in our play and get immersed in the hobby!

Best
John
ORCA member since 1999
Honorary Life Member

Specializing in saltwater reels...and fly reels...and oh, yeah, kentucky style reels.....and those tiny little RP reels.....oh, heck...i collect fishing reels!...and fly rods....and lures
Terry Battisti
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Re: New Member from Oak Ridge, TN

Post by Terry Battisti »

Thank you John for the warm welcome. I'm not sure what I can teach this group as I've just recently headed down this rabbit hole. LOL. I am fairly adept at cleaning and repairing reels but when it comes to vintage bass tackle, I am all ears.

San Diego, huh? Where do you fish down there? Fresh or saltwater, or both?

I grew up in Huntington Beach and cut my teeth fishing the SD Lakes and also out of Point Loma. When I left in 1993 for Idaho, I left all my saltwater gear with two friends, some 40+ Penn reels and various rods from the 60s through the 80s. I wish I had them as they're now worth a mint. Back then you could go to the Orange County Swap Meet and buy Penn parts for pennies on the dollar and build a new reel every week for less than $5. LOL. I'd buy sideplates and internals and then build them out with Newell kits. Fun times.

I'd love to make an ORCA meet. I just went to my first NFLCC meet in Pidgeon Forge, TN (I live in TN now) this past January and was blown away. Not just by the gear but also by the people. All of them top notch and willing to help a novice like me learn.

Thank you again for the response and I hope to meet you all some day.

Terry
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Midway Tommy D
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Re: New Member from Oak Ridge, TN

Post by Midway Tommy D »

Welcome, from NE, Terry! You will find a quite few like minded vintage bait casters on this board. When I say vintage I'm referring to both reels and humans! :D It doesn't say "Old" for no reason :lol:
Love those Open Face Spinning Reels! (Especially ABU & ABU/Zebco)

Tom DeLong, NE
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Terry Battisti
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Re: New Member from Oak Ridge, TN

Post by Terry Battisti »

Thank you Midway TommyD for the warm welcome. Yeah, I resemble the "Old" in this too. LOL. I never thought I'd get there but my joints tell me different.
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kyreels
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Re: New Member from Oak Ridge, TN

Post by kyreels »

Welcome Terry! Hope you have or can find a copy of the Langley book (Langley Field Tested Tackle, Alan Baracco & Colby Sorrells, Nello Armstrong, 2014). It is out of print, but the authors may be able to provide a copy.
Matt Wickham
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Terry Battisti
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Re: New Member from Oak Ridge, TN

Post by Terry Battisti »

Hi kyreels, yeah, I've been looking for Sorrell's book for a couple months now. I hear it's the bible of Langley. Hopefully one will pop up on eBay at some point. :-/
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Re: New Member from Oak Ridge, TN

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Welcome to ORCA, Terry. It's great to hear you've kept so much of your gear over the years. I still have the Zebco spinning reel and fiberglass rod I bought with lawn-mowing money decades (and decades) ago and the 9' Shakespeare glass fly rod my uncle taught me on. I think you'll find we're a decent bunch with varied interests. There are a few folks, like Bill, who are treasure troves of information about fishing with and enjoying older reels and tackle. Welcome aboard!
Richard Lodge in Newburyport, Mass.
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Mike N
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Re: New Member from Oak Ridge, TN

Post by Mike N »

Welcome, Terry! Maybe we can have another ORCA National in the Volunteer State one day, even if we all have to wear Tennessee orange t-shirts.

PS- thank you Bill Sonnett!
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Re: New Member from Oak Ridge, TN

Post by Terry Battisti »

Richard Lodge wrote: Thu Aug 03, 2023 11:59 am Welcome to ORCA, Terry. It's great to hear you've kept so much of your gear over the years. I still have the Zebco spinning reel and fiberglass rod I bought with lawn-mowing money decades (and decades) ago and the 9' Shakespeare glass fly rod my uncle taught me on. I think you'll find we're a decent bunch with varied interests. There are a few folks, like Bill, who are treasure troves of information about fishing with and enjoying older reels and tackle. Welcome aboard!
Richard Lodge in Newburyport, Mass.
Richard, thank you for the warm welcome. Yeah, it's hard to part with my old gear. LOL. Call me a packrat or a hoarder... I fit the definition. I look forward to talking with you all and meeting you at some point. This year I can't make the Nationals due to another conflict. I hope to some day, though!

Thank you again,

Terry
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Re: New Member from Oak Ridge, TN

Post by Terry Battisti »

Mike N wrote: Thu Aug 03, 2023 9:35 pm Welcome, Terry! Maybe we can have another ORCA National in the Volunteer State one day, even if we all have to wear Tennessee orange t-shirts.

PS- thank you Bill Sonnett!
Mike N, Thank you for the warm welcome! Having Nationals in TN would be awesome! And, I understand what you mean by the Orange. I'm still getting used to it! :-)

Take care,

Terry
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leland99
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Re: New Member from Oak Ridge, TN

Post by leland99 »

Hello Terry,
Welcome to ORCA. You're going to have a great time and thanks for working with David L on getting ads into the Library.

Reach out if you need anything. I helped David with the library for a couple years and still help occasionally. There is a procedural document out there on AWS if you need some assistance.
Bryce Tawney
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Packing these reels into my nest hole: Talbot, Milam, Meek, Horton, Heddon, Wm Shakespeare Jr, and small diameter skeleton fly reels!
Terry Battisti
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Re: New Member from Oak Ridge, TN

Post by Terry Battisti »

leland99 wrote: Sun Aug 06, 2023 8:03 pm Hello Terry,
Welcome to ORCA. You're going to have a great time and thanks for working with David L on getting ads into the Library.

Reach out if you need anything. I helped David with the library for a couple years and still help occasionally. There is a procedural document out there on AWS if you need some assistance.
Hi Bryce! I got your welcome letter and the last few issues of The Reel News! Thank you for sending those to me and for the nice letter.

I sent David a few ads this weekend to start with the library. But I'm not sure I know what AWS means.

Terry
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kyreels
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Re: New Member from Oak Ridge, TN

Post by kyreels »

Our best ORCA National venue in Gatlinburg, TN burned down in the great fire of November 2016. However, there is a good ORCA turnout at the NFLCC Jan Regional show in Pigeon Forge, TN. The next show is January 4-6, 2024. The info is here https://nflcc.org/wp-content/uploads/20 ... -Flyer.pdf.
Matt Wickham
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Re: New Member from Oak Ridge, TN

Post by Terry Battisti »

kyreels wrote: Tue Aug 08, 2023 11:24 am Our best ORCA National venue in Gatlinburg, TN burned down in the great fire of November 2016. However, there is a good ORCA turnout at the NFLCC Jan Regional show in Pigeon Forge, TN. The next show is January 4-6, 2024. The info is here https://nflcc.org/wp-content/uploads/20 ... -Flyer.pdf.
Hey kyreels,

Thanks for the heads up. I went to the PF show this past January, it was my first event and I was really impressed. Great venue and a great group of people. I can't wait to attend this January's event!!

Terry
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Paul Roberts
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Re: New Member from Oak Ridge, TN

Post by Paul Roberts »

Welcome, again, Terry. Not surprising that you’ve caught the direct-drive bug. I too have developed an interest in old DD casting reels.

Ron McAlpin sucked me in with images of some beautiful old casting combos he’s put together. I joined ORCA and… ended up with a “collection”. Originally, I’d planned to acquire just a few old DD’s to fish with. But the engineering put into these little machines to address the challenges inherent in “bait casting” and fishing, sucked me down that rabbit hole.


Bill Sonnet, through his writing and conversation. introduced me to some of the reel models I’ve acquired. Other ORCAN’s helped me in various ways, as well, to put together a nice collection of now fishable DD reels. And, despite what I was able to see on YouTube, these old knuckle-busters, when properly maintained and operated, can perform! (Albeit in somewhat limited scope.) How cool is that? 😎

I currently have DD reels by Pflueger, Langley, Coxe, Shakespeare, South Bend, and Ocean City. I've also customized a few common (non-historical value) models.



I haven’t got the fishing in that I’d planned to do to, or normally would, but have got in just enough to have me excited about future adventures.



So here's another welcome to... an ever deepening rabbit hole.
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Terry Battisti
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Re: New Member from Oak Ridge, TN

Post by Terry Battisti »

Paul,

What a great story and set of images. My desk is beginning to look like yours. :-) I agree with you that the engineering behind these reels is impressive. At least with the circa 1940s and 50s reels I have been playing with. In actuality, they are really simple reels on the inside compared to the ABUs that came out a little while later.

What I like about this rabbit hole is you can see or track the improvements through time. It seems little in the way improvements were made after the levelwind was invented. Then you get the casting club folks who were all interested in faster reels, thus they started decreasing the weight of the spools to the point of customizing narrow spool reels to fit in standard width reels. The reel companies saw this and started to offer aluminum and magnesium spools for their standard reels.

Drags are another improvement that I notice took a while to evolve. The advent of the handle drag was strange, but a solution. I need to find out who invented the anti-reverse and contemporary drag system. Then the contemporary freespool mechanism.

Love to see you're fishing this old tackle. I see you're fishing the old reels on new rods. Do you ever fish them on period rods? Nice fish, by the way!

Thanks for sharing your passion Paul. Sorry it took me a while to respond. There's been a lot going on the last two weeks here.

Terry
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Re: New Member from Oak Ridge, TN

Post by leland99 »

Terry, with your appetite for learning about reel mechanisms, I would suggest you invest in Steve Vernon's book Antique Fishing Reels which is full of historical information about the mechanical innovations of fishing reels. It is available through the ORCA Store or you can reach out directly to Steve via his info in the Member Directory. A table covered with reels and reel parts can be very therapeutic! :D :D
Bryce Tawney
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Packing these reels into my nest hole: Talbot, Milam, Meek, Horton, Heddon, Wm Shakespeare Jr, and small diameter skeleton fly reels!
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Re: New Member from Oak Ridge, TN

Post by Terry Battisti »

leland99 wrote: Sat Sep 02, 2023 4:39 pm Terry, with your appetite for learning about reel mechanisms, I would suggest you invest in Steve Vernon's book Antique Fishing Reels which is full of historical information about the mechanical innovations of fishing reels. It is available through the ORCA Store or you can reach out directly to Steve via his info in the Member Directory. A table covered with reels and reel parts can be very therapeutic! :D :D
Bryce,

Thanks for the heads-up. I'll be buying the book today! I can never have too much reading material! LOL. Which edition should I get?

Terry
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leland99
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Re: New Member from Oak Ridge, TN

Post by leland99 »

Terry, the 2nd edition. Bryce

Bryce Tawney
The Reel Packrat

Packing these reels into my nest hole: Talbot, Milam, Meek, Horton, Heddon, Wm Shakespeare Jr, and small diameter skeleton fly reels!
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Re: New Member from Oak Ridge, TN

Post by Terry Battisti »

leland99 wrote: Sun Sep 03, 2023 1:49 pm Terry, the 2nd edition. Bryce
Book ordered!
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Re: New Member from Oak Ridge, TN

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Terry Battisti wrote: Sat Sep 02, 2023 10:50 am ...
Drags are another improvement that I notice took a while to evolve. The advent of the handle drag was strange, but a solution. I need to find out who invented the anti-reverse and contemporary drag system. Then the contemporary freespool mechanism.
...
Love to see you're fishing this old tackle. I see you're fishing the old reels on new rods. Do you ever fish them on period rods? Nice fish, by the way!
...
Terry
Second Steve Vernon's input. He's the man when it comes to tracking the mechanical innovations over time.

Yes, AR and associated drag, was a big step up in terms of... managing potential chaos.

I don't think I can happily go back to the old rods -at least the ones I can monetarily justify to my wife. I could certainly see fishing an old quality bamboo in fishable condition. The rod in the photo above is the first 'glass rod I've owned since the 70's. (Oh yes, excepting a St.Croix S-Glass steelhead rod I used for Hot-Shot side-planing. Still have it, and would use it for same in a pinch.) My first graphite rods, two Skyline models from 1981 and 1984, had me spoiled. I rolled the glass DD bass rod above from a 2oz. CTS (New Zealand) blank. It's light enough to be pretty sensitive within its ML power range. Totally fishable, so, who knows where I might end up someday?
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Terry Battisti
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Re: New Member from Oak Ridge, TN

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Paul Roberts wrote: Tue Sep 12, 2023 7:45 pm Second Steve Vernon's input. He's the man when it comes to tracking the mechanical innovations over time.

I don't think I can happily go back to the old rods -at least the ones I can monetarily justify to my wife. I could certainly see fishing an old quality bamboo in fishable condition. The rod in the photo above is the first 'glass rod I've owned since the 70's. (Oh yes, excepting a St.Croix S-Glass steelhead rod I used for Hot-Shot side-planing. Still have it, and would use it for same in a pinch.) My first graphite rods, two Skyline models from 1981 and 1984, had me spoiled. I rolled the glass DD bass rod above from a 2oz. CTS (New Zealand) blank. It's light enough to be pretty sensitive within its ML power range. Totally fishable, so, who knows where I might end up someday?
I bought Steve's book and will be taking it to Australia this coming weekend. I'll finish it on the flights over so I'm pretty excited. So far the short glance I've taken of it, I love the images in it. Very nice!!!

I hear what you're saying about rods Paul. It's hard to move away from the graphite. But I do have about a half dozen glass rods I use for cranking. I also have glass rods I made for fishing trout and the surf. All spinning with cork Tennessee handles made from Fenwick and Sabre blanks. I haven't used them in years. I even have the first rod I made in 1974 out of a Fenwick Fenglass blank when I was 10 years old. Right after that I got my first graphite blank, a Fenwick GSP531, and made it. It was a Christmas present from my mom. I still have that rod and use it for bluegill, but have caught some big fish on it over the years.

So far I've bought two "period" rods for my Langleys. An old Actionrod, a steel Heddon Pal. I also have two Fenwicks, one a custom rod from the 60s and the other a Lunkerstik from the early 1970s. They all work well. I'm looking at buying a couple more from the 1950s, though.

Terry
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Re: New Member from Oak Ridge, TN

Post by Paul Roberts »

Steve’s book sounds like a great travel companion for such a long flight. The story of "bait casting" -what made it possible to begin with, esp in a freshwater context- is a fascinating one. Might make a good story for BFA? None more perhaps than the initial task of controlling backlash. The ingenuity applied is quite a story, I think. I spent some considerable time acquiring, refurbishing, and tinkering with -trying to get ‘fishable’ performance from- a range of these “early" anti-backlash reels.

My interest focused on the direct-drive (DD) reels, prior to AR and drag. As a longtime back-reeler with spinning gear, I've been relatively undaunted by having to manage line manually while casting and fishing. Once AR and drag appeared, and was sufficiently ironed out, I just lump them all after that point (Ambassadeurs) as "modern". Thus, my "collection" of DD casting reels.


After all the work, I found that they perform much better than I'd initially expected. And world’s better than what I’ve seen on “Grandpa’s reel” vids on YT where unmaintained, and improperly prepared, examples are… exposed to sunlight.

Enjoy your travels. Enjoy the book. Will be interesting to see where your new old reels take you.
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