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Gearing / Spooling in Mitchell Reels (Gears)

Mitchell reels had three types of gear systems affecting spooling during line retrieval. The first was Level-Wind on the Mitchell Half Bails followed quickly by Cross-Wind gearing as an alternate choice due to problems with line binding. The third was Planamatic gearing which combined the best features of the first two.


The various “qualities” of efficiency in the gearing has been a subject of controversy ever since the Cap and 300 were launched. This may seem a little “too much” for the average holiday angler who doesn’t use his equipment with a full knowledge of how to best employ it, but to a confirmed angler and caster the wide spool of the 300 – a unique feature – is the key to the success of the reel along with it’s sex appeal look.


If one is expert at handling the reel and doesn’t constantly get his line and lures or bait snarled in the bottom rocks or weeds, then the 300 consistently gave better casting distance potential…and that is what an expert angler is looking for. Maurice JacqueminMaurice Jacquemin then took other routes to design the planamatic, a fairly good substitute.


Cross wind is a relatively poor alternative since the covering over of line spires on the spool doesn’t’ make for the best ease on getting away from the reel. Highly technical, I admit, but some anglers in the best qualified markets: GB, Scandinavia, France new the difference. To this knowledgeable group the difference as similar to comparing the casting characteristics of ordinary bamboo rods, and a technical split cane rod… all before plastics and fibreglass of course. (Updated October 5th, 2008 by JP Gumprich)