I have long been an admirer and collector of traditional British fly reels, yet in the last couple of years I have come to appreciate the so called 'classic' Vom Hofe style of fly reel so admired in the United States which are characterized by their black side plates, silver rims and serpentine handles. Edward Vom Hofe made his reels during the latter half of the 1800's which later inspired Hardy's to make their own version, the Cascapaedia, during the 1930's.
Visitors to this site will be aware that I have a penchant for hand made, or 'bench made' reels as they are referred to in the US. These are reels made by one man (I know of no ladies..) working on a manual lathe. Currently, Ted Godfrey of Westminster, Maryland USA is such a craftsman and the reel of his that I would like to review is the Classic 275 (2 7/5") trout fly reel. One discerning feature of all Godfrey reels is that the rims are bound in nickel silver, giving the feeling of quality at first glance. Closer inspection reveals that each of the screw slots are paralell with each other on both the front and back of the reel which is a nice touch. Indeed Ted Godfrey is one of those reel-makers who makes each and every part of his reels, including the nickel silver screws. Spare spools are available and can be readily changed by unscrewing the knurled bronze cap on the back of the reel and removing the underlying single brass screw, the reel can then be simply disassembled. On his website Ted is very careful to point out that those nickel silver screws should never be tampered with.
The Classic 275 is ideal for a 4/5 weight fly line, Ted also makes a slightly wider version of the same size to hold a 6 weight. My impression of this fly reel is of overwhelming, yet understated, hand made quality. The back of the reel is particularly attractive to my eye with its recessed check regulator made of nickel silver with a stamped bronze medallion. The click-pawl regulator has five settings which would be easy to adjust while playing a lively fish, indeed the maximum setting gives quite a considerable resistance. On this type of reel, if finger control is required on a running fish, most anglers apply light pressure to the slightly raised inside of the spool.
A visit to: www.tedgodfreys.com will provide a wealth of detail and information about these very high quality fly reels.