Mitchell Reel Museum - Mitchell Mates Discussion Group

302 Salt Water reel.
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Author:  BoFinn [ Fri Jul 12, 2019 10:38 am ]
Post subject:  302 Salt Water reel.

I’ve used this site to date a few old Garcia Mitchell reels. I just picked up an oldie from an old gentleman selling all his old Zecbo 33’s on the side of the road. I immediately decided that he had nothing I was interested in, and started to leave, when I spied an old 302 saltwater rod and reel in the back of his truck. I bought it! My problem is that I can’t find a serial number on it to date it correctly. The patent number is 2.726.052. Any help dating this reel would be greatly appreciated.

Author:  CDSAND7640 [ Fri Jul 12, 2019 1:14 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: 302 Salt Water reel.

BoFinn, :sSig_welcome4: to the Mitchell Reel Museum. You've come to the right place for all things vintage Mitchell spinning reels!

Unfortunately, there is no documented dating chart for the 302 series. Though, if you provide the serial number stamped onto either the bottom of the foot (six or seven numerals) or the back plate (starts with A, B, C or D followed by five digits), we can get close to yr of work too...


Author:  cshannon772 [ Sat Sep 07, 2019 10:18 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: 302 Salt Water reel.

Hello Mates,

I thought I'd add on to an already established thread for the Mitchell 302 Salt Water reels. This is a fairly new addition to my Salt Water collection.
2-3 Version Salt Water.jpg

It's in beautiful, lightly used condition, with what I believe to be the original box and owners manual. It's Ser# A19656 which I think places it around 1955/56. The handle is the slotted, smooth screw out counterweight
2-3 Version Salt Water 1.jpg

The "A Garcia Product" decal is the very fragile type vice the heavier cloth/paper sticker and in almost perfect condition (my other one is of the cloth/paper sticker but a later version based on the bail). Note the straight bail mount which is (if I'm correct) the first full bail Salt Water.
2-3 Version Salt Water 2.jpg

Another great addition to the Reel Room and just wanted to share with the Mates. As always questions/comments are welcome.

Sandman and Randy, I would be very interested in your assessment on this reel,


Author:  CDSAND7640 [ Sun Sep 08, 2019 1:47 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: 302 Salt Water reel.

Chris, what a fantastic find and addition!! find this early of a Salt Water in box, with manual, in such good condition, is a very rare find...I believe it deserves its own topic. I'll place as much info as possible in this thread in attempt to have it all in one topic.

The straight arm bail mount is the first version of the SW full bail. The crank handle seems period correct too. Just need to verify there is a shoulder on the screw mount. Below is a link to a topic I posted after studying these early crank handles.


Coincidentally, I found a very similar boxed SW of the same period earlier this year (A19913). Below is what I posted in an earlier post you may of read. Though, maybe not in quite as good of overall condition as yours, it did however, come with the original crank handle tag, showing "New in 1955". You can read my dating thoughts that would also apply to your reel, which indicate these reels were produced in 1954 for the 1955 "Season" of about 9/1/54 - 8/1/55. They were, afterall, withing the first 20,000 SW reels produced.


Post subject: Re: Show Your ReelsPostPosted: Fri Jan 18, 2019 10:28 am
Mates, thought I'd share a recent add...A Salt Water, A19913 with box, crank handle tag, straight bail arm and uncommon "stepped" Garcia sticker.

The reel is in excellent used condition. Has some minor paint loss, just a little around the rotating head lip and very little on the foot tips from mounting. No corrosion on the chrome or under the paint. Never been taken apart, all original grease (I can see the amber grease through the lube port) which is the only thing I will take apart of the main body. As suspected, it cranks a little stiff, but not bad. I did remove the bail assembly, cleaned and lubed. Overall, a little used reel, could not get much better without being MIB or NOS (which Chris Sh. seems to have found).

The box is whole, but a bit rough. I did put some of the insert back together. This version is prior to the fish label on the side, so all sides are solid blue.

No manuals or cards, but did come with the crank handle tag. This is likely the first version of this tag, since it states "New Model". Am curious if anyone has seen (or owns) this crank handle tag. It was likely produced for the entire first full year run, production year 1954 of about 25000 reels.

The serial number and handle tag, per Christian's dating chart, indicate this reel was produced in late 1954, during the 1955 production year. I suspect the "New Model" was to indicate either the Salt Water was a new model, assuming the half-bail was only a "test run" of the same reel and not yet considered a new model, or to distinguish the full bail verison of this reel as a new model vs the half bail. Not sure which?

I've not seen this early of Salt Water reel in this good of condition with box, nor have I seen this crank handle tag. I've also rarely seen a "straight" bail arm with no corrosion. These bail arms were produced until about 32000 reels, at which time they transitioned to "bumper" bail arms. To find one with box, to me, is pretty extraordinary. I'm hoping other mates may have earlier and nicer versions they can share photos (and now somebody does)...


Other Early SW Characteristic Changes:

1 Bigfoot offered from 1953 - 1974 as option and maybe Europe only.
2 No SN lower than 1000
3 302 model number engraving began around A93xxx
4 Straight bail arm with the straight wire, to the straight bail arm with the bent wire, to the cushioned bail arm with the bent wire (per Randy)
5 Christian Llhemite - the Salt-Water right handed was produced 2802 copies in 1953 and 25090 in 1954 (I believe this refers to calendar year production)
6 The Salt-Water left-handed was first produced in December 1954 to 312 copies.
7 Salt-Water 1955 LHW = 28148
8 Salt Water 1955 RHW = 7664

Author:  Dennis2149 [ Sun Sep 08, 2019 5:03 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: 302 Salt Water reel.

Hi Chris, beautiful addition to the "Reel Room". Sandman, great info.
Best regards, Dennis2149

Author:  Ted Lanham [ Sun Sep 08, 2019 5:15 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: 302 Salt Water reel.

I spent the day trying to resurface a sidewalk in front of the house, and I admit my nerves were in high gear, even with a tranquilizer.
This is exactly what I needed to have a set down, view some beautiful Mitchells, and get all the associated information about them, too.
After viewing this, I'm sure my blood pressure dropped 20 points. :sHa_yes: :sHa_yes:

Ted Lanham

Author:  cshannon772 [ Sun Sep 08, 2019 6:43 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: 302 Salt Water reel.

Hi Mates,

Sandman, Dennis and Ted, Thank you for the kind comments - I too think this is a pretty special Mitchell and am fortunate to have it.

Sandman, Great write up and very informative, appreciate you reposting. I have several Salt Water Mitchells with the banners still attached to the handles but none with the "New Model year" on them. I do have a NIB Mitchell 300 that does have a similar banner attached to the handle stating "New Model 1954". I thought you especially would appreciate this Salt Water...…..I still have more reels to post :sBo_bounce2:

Ted, Glad this post and displayed reels eased your stress and lowered your blood pressure - Don't read my "Century" post - both will go right back up :-) . Resurfacing a sidewalk doesn't sound nearly as much fun as playing with Mitchells!!

Kind Regards,

Author:  CDSAND7640 [ Mon Sep 09, 2019 12:45 am ]
Post subject:  Re: 302 Salt Water reel.

Ted, hope the flatwork came out well...I'd probably crack a cold one after a day like that...

Chris, couple other thoughts:

1) The all blue box with no attached paper "Fish" label are very rare. Maybe more rare than the reels that came in them...probably transitioning about the same time as the straight bail arm to bumper bail arm occurred. Though the earliest Fish label box I have recorded is A43xxx.

2) Do you mind checking from how the axle is attached to the oscillation slide? screws or clips? You can see this through the grease port vs disassembling.

3) Do you mind checking the axle nut? Hex or spanner? The transition was somewhere in this range..

Thanks Chris, and congratulations on acquiring such rare package in exceptional condition.


Author:  cshannon772 [ Mon Sep 09, 2019 7:16 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: 302 Salt Water reel.

Hi Sandman,


This reel gets me more excited the more I learn about it - Thank you for the great insight.....I had no idea, I just knew it was a very nice early Mitchell Salt Water with the hard to find Garcia decal.
Here is the axel nut and it is hex. Of note though - I have not touched this reel with respect to cleaning it up.....The thing is clean!
2-3 Version Salt Water 5jpg.jpg

Here is the handle which has a washer on it.
2-3 Version Salt Water 6jpg.jpg

And finally, the axel is attached to the oscillation slide with clips. This reel still has the original grease in it so when I looked through the lube port. I couldn't tell either way :sFun_bricks: .
2-3 Version Salt Water 7jpg.jpg

What I do find as odd is that I have another 2nd Version Saltwater Ser# A24231 with the straight bail arm mount and an arched (like on a CAP) Garcia decal but it has the shiny aluminum A/R lever (like on the half-bail Salt Waters!). This one is an earlier Ser# but the A/R lever is black???

Thanks again Sandman! Interested in learning more about this reel.

Kind Regards,

Author:  CDSAND7640 [ Mon Sep 09, 2019 11:32 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: 302 Salt Water reel.

There may not be an earlier SW reel that is that clean (unused)...a museum piece...

Crank Handle: The crank handle is original. It matches my A19913. It has the early smaller shoulder.

Oscillation Slide: The oscillation slide axle clips also match my A19913. I have an A18008 that has screws that attach the slide, so transition was likely just before your reel.

Garcia Sticker: The first stickers were arched, then stepped (what I call them), then Oval. The earliest "stepped" I've recorded is A12xxx and no arched after that.

Bare Aluminum A/R Lever: I've recorded 23 aluminum levers through A09324, then they transition back and forth (between alum and black) through A18008, which is that last aluminum A/R I've recorded that seems original to the reel. I'd like to record more of these to make assumptions less questionable, but trends are beginning to take shape from the data that I have.

Your A24231: Two schools of thought here, 1) This reel is all original and it was put together from earlier stock (at least the face plate) at a later time, hence the later SN, or, 2) The original face plate has been swapped with an earlier reels face plate. I've not found an alum A/R with any sticker other than the arched sticker and again, no arched stickers passed A09324. The earliest stepped I've found is A12xxx. You may be able figure this out by looking at the oscillation slide fastening. If screws, the parts (maybe whole reel) are/is from a much earlier reel with a later serial number (assembled later). If clips, its likely a replaced face plate, or at least the face plate is from earlier parts...

Beautiful reel and box,

Author:  cshannon772 [ Tue Sep 10, 2019 4:27 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: 302 Salt Water reel.

Hi Sandman,

Thanks for all the great information.....I'm very pleased with this one. :sHa_biggrin: :sHa_biggrin:

Kind Regards,

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