The 2006 ORCA National Convention at Lake George, N.Y. came off without a hitch, except for a bit of bad weather, one casting contest caster’s bird nest problem and one antique tackle fishing contest participant’s problems with his hook protectors.
More than 50 club members made the trip to Lake George to enjoy reel collecting, seminars, fishing and casting contests, great food and a surprising assortment of reels and tackle available in room trading.
Jim Schottenham and Henry Caldwell served as show hosts and went the extra mile to make the convention an enjoyable experience. The conference center was easy to negotiate, the area offered a wide variety of restaurants and historic areas, and the classic tackle fishing tournament at Lake Lonely offered up some decent fish and more than a few laughs.
Collectors put together numerous reel displays that gave many club members a chance to get a close-up view of some museum-quality reels. Co-host Jim Schottenham, well known for his amazing sidemount reel collection, captured first prize for his display, with Dwight McKenna and Ed Clark also taking home plaques for their excellent displays.
Jim Madden was the overall winner in the classic tackle casting competition, although he faced stiff competition, mainly from George McCabe, who tallied some impressive scores in his casting efforts.
For those looking for new information about reels, the seminars offered up interesting insights and slides in programs by Steve Vernon, Jim Brown, Ben Wright and Henry Henze, a member of the family who ran the Penn reel company for many years.
Steve Vernon focused on ways to identify reels that don’t bear the desirable maker’s name or patent dates. He said collectors can start with patent dates as one important way to ID the maker of a reel. He showed photos of Silas Terry reels, vom Hofe reels and a number of reels by John Kopf, which were profiled by Steve in a recent Reel News.
He urged collectors at the convention to dig into research as a way to identify and document the heritage of reels, and to share what they find with other collectors.
We really have a long way to go. There are a lot of reel makers out there who need identification and need rediscovery, Steve said.
Ben Wright, who sold off a vast collection of vom Hofe reels at one point and switched to collecting spinning reels, talked about his interest in spinning reels as a big area for collectors.
Ben showed off an unusual Barbara reel, made in Italy, as evidence that there is always something new awaiting the spinning reel collector.
People who think spinning reels are too new’ to collect really haven’t studied them to find out how many kinds there are and how long they’ve been around, Ben told a crowd of collectors who attended his spinning reel seminar.
ORCA Secretary/Treasurer Roger Schulz noted how more than half the people who have joined ORCA recently list themselves as spinning reel collectors.
Ben said collectors just starting out in the hobby can get a nice collection going at $20-30 per reel, in many cases.
He urged collectors to learn as much as they can about what interests them.
Knowledge is power, he said. I don’t care what you collect.
Article by Richard Lodge
Some Photos from the convention follow. Just click on the thumbnail to see a full size photo.
Photos by Richard Lodge, Editor of The Reel News and Phil White, Web Editor.