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 Post subject: A Mitchell 308 Story
PostPosted: Tue Oct 27, 2009 5:19 am • #  
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Joined: Thu Apr 30, 2009 7:00 pm
Posts: 30
A 308 Story

The first time I remember using a Mitchell was when I was about seven or eight years old. My father loved his Mitchell 308. He loved it so much, in fact, he refused to let me use it. I was forced to use a Dam Quick--a fine reel, mind you, but unless regularly serviced the action would stiffen and it would feel like you were reeling in a brick through sand. I did not love the Dam Quick. (We won't go in to the entire South Bend spinning reel disaster--an epic failure of a reel, as it turns out).

But I did love the Mitchell 308. So much so that like many boys, I just could not avoid fishing it whenever my dad wasn't around. It was a revelation. Unlike most boys, I started out with a casting reel--I could handle an Ambassadeur very early in life--and then moved on to a spinning reel. But even under the best of circumstances I backlashed the 5000 once every twenty minutes or so. Something about being young and wanting to prove on every cast you can toss a lure half way across the lake.

No backlashes with a Mitchell 308. It may be the most perfect fishing reel ever made; tough, durable, aesthetic, and virtually idiot proof. But not kid proof, as it turns out.

Things being as they are, I simply could not stand NOT knowing what was inside the 308. I'm sure you can sense where this is going. One fine summer day while my father was away for a few hours in town, I disassembled the reel from its Fenwick rod and brought it up from the boat house to the cabin. On a big, round wood table in the dining room I got out the child's trustiest tool--a butter knife--and went to work taking apart the Mitchell 308.

Within five minutes I had pretty much fully disassembled the entire fishing reel (as fully as you can, mind you, at age eight). I marveled at the simplicity of the working mechanism, wondered who invented it...I clearly recall being lost in thought as I was introduced to the hidden world of the 308.

Then a thought hit me. Having taken it apart, I would have to reassemble it! I was frozen with fear. Young boys have no problem deconstructing; it's the constructing part that is often lost on them. I was too young to know what a schematic was, so I tried from memory to put everything back together again. I failed.

Panic set in. Thoughts of hiding the reel crossed my mind. I'm sure I contemplated blaming my older brothers. I am also certain I considered running away. Instead, I opted to just leave the fishing reel where it lay on the big round oak table and wait. I honestly don't believe I had any plan beyond this.

Before too long my father returned from his errands. As the dining room is directly to the right of the cabin's front door, I'm sure it took him all of eight seconds to notice his Mitchell 308 decapitated on the table.

In Hollywood, this would have ended with a a heartwarming story where the father gently instructs the son on how to assemble and disassemble a Mitchell 308. Life is not Hollywood. "Tooooooodddddddddd!!!!" I heard my dad yell at the top of his lungs. I meekly appeared, to be dressed down for the next five minutes about how irresponsible it is to touch someone else's stuff. Especially when that stuff happens to be a fishing reel. I was chased out of the house as my father properly assemble the reel. He didn't even let me watch.

But lest we think he was overly harsh, we went fishing later that day. I was struggling with that damn Quick when he wordlessly handed me his Mitchell 308 and Fenwick combo. I fished with a big smile the rest of the day.

One week later, he came back from town with a brand new Mitchell 308 spinning reel. Of course, he gave me the old one. I still have it to this day, and every time I look at it, all I can see are the disassembled parts all over the big round oak table in my cabin's dining room. And it always makes me smile.

So, what's your Mitchell story?

-- Dr. Todd

 Post subject: A Mitchell 308 Story
PostPosted: Tue Oct 27, 2009 8:53 am • #  
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Joined: Sat Apr 11, 2009 7:00 pm
Posts: 2096
Location: Asheville, NC-USA
Hi Dr. Todd,

This reminds me of my youth except my damn quick was a damn bait caster or at the time, my preferred cane pole. Dad used a Mitchell 301.

Thanks for the memories,

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 Post subject: A Mitchell 308 Story
PostPosted: Sun Nov 01, 2009 7:38 am • #  
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Joined: Wed May 20, 2009 7:00 pm
Posts: 698

Hi Dr Todd,

Here is my 308 story .
When I was 15 years old I became more interested in fishing and decided that the time had come to get some decent tackle and leave the good old bamboo pole behind.
Though tackle was expensive at the time so I saved up some money .
Just by chance my friend came back from a fishing trip and for the first time I saw this small black Mitchell reel....
I asked him if I could buy this reel and he said yes.
I bought it for 7 guilders , but didn't know what I just bought.
The reel was in a bad shape ; apart from paint damage it sounded like a grinding machine and the bailspring was broken.
also the edges of the foot were grinded of and foot and body were not straight .
Carefully I took the reel apart but one of the screws was so tight that it broke of .
Bye bye Mitchell ,
I called the local Mitchell dealer and he said that he had the part for me .
Well after some cleaning , replacing and finally lubrication my poor Mitchell came back alive
I enjoyed fishing with it and it never let me down until i replaced it by another Mitchell 308

regards Dries

 Post subject: A Mitchell 308 Story
PostPosted: Mon Jul 11, 2011 3:36 am • #  
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Joined: Sun Jul 10, 2011 7:00 pm
Posts: 3
I still have two Mitchell 308 reels in beautiful condition.  Also a Garcia 2121A gold rod and a Garcia Blue rod.

Back in the late sixties I became interested in Ultralight fishing for local bluegills and perch in Upstate NY. 

When I moved to Florida in 1978 I tried fishing from the edge of ponds but there are so many cat tails and other stuff growing around the shore line it's almost impossible to fish from the bank.

Needless to say I pretty much gave up fishing but miss it and may get a small boat so I can enjoy panfishing again.

I also have a Daiwa SS#1 UL reel on a Fenwick rod.

 Post subject: A Mitchell 308 Story
PostPosted: Mon Jul 11, 2011 3:57 am • #  
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Joined: Sun Jul 10, 2011 7:00 pm
Posts: 3
I forgot to mention the DAM Quick that Whitefish Press mentioned in his post.

After I bought my first Mitchell 308 I started to wonder how the Alcedo and Quick Microlite reels compared.

The Alcedo was tiny and I'm still lusting after that one.  I did manage to buy a Quick Microlite and it was a very well built unit with stainless steel gears.

Fishing with the Quick was OK.... until the wind blew. 

The front drag on the Quick Microlite was a single blade and when the wind blew the line would catch on the blade and you would be reeling in the line, not knowing the line was wrapping around the front of the reel.  It happened so often I finally quit using the Quick.  The Quick was stolen by a potential house buyer that real estate brought around.  

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