2006 Convention – Lake George, New York

2006 Convention – Lake George, New York

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.

Before the main events even got started ORCA members had a treat when show host Henry Caldwell invited everyone up to his “family farm” overlooking Lake George for drinks and dinner.
This was the view that greeted the members to journeyed to Henry’s farm.
Ben Wright (left) and ORCA President Andy Foster (right) admire the plaque that Ben was awarded for his selection to ORCA Honorary Membership.
Ben Wright shows off his Barbara spinning rod/reel combination during his seminar on open faced spinning reels.
A Seminar about the reel collection at the American Museum of Fly Fishing was delivered by Jim Brown, another ORCA Honorary Member. Noted author Steve Vernon (far left) also delivered a seminar for ORCA members. Steve is also an Honorary Member of ORCA.
Herb Henze, son of the Penn Reel founder. Herb, who spent a life-time at Penn Reels and served as President of the company, also gave a seminar about his life with Penn and the growth of this popular reel company.
Tom Harwood with a largemouth bass he caught during the fishing tournament. Note the old tackle that Tom is using. However, you need to ask him about the special chipless, weedless and fishless lure he was using before this catch.
ORCA Vice-President “Big Fish Bill” Muth with his prize winning fish. This largemouth was caught on a Pflueger Pal-O-Mine as the tournament was winding down.
George McCabe (left) caught several largemouth on his dad’s old South Bend fly rod and deer hair bass bugs to win the tournament. Bill Muth’s bass shown in the preceding photo won the big fish honors.
ORCA members journeyed to the American Museum of Fly Fishing to take a tour of the museum. There were many historical items of fishing tackle to be seen by all who headed to Vermont.
Jim Schottenham presents a donation to the Museum as Andy Foster and other ORCA members look on.
Lorraine Lawrence warms up for the casting contest at the pool outside the Hotel. The warm-up was necessary for we had a few showers the morning of the contest.
Champion Caster Jim Madden shows the form which won the championship.
The Convention ended with the ORCA show on Friday evening and Saturday morning. Here Tom Harwood (left) and Tom Conroy discuss some of the finds they’ve made.
Bill Muth served as auctioneer for the items that walked in the door. The quality was outstanding! Here Bill auctions a Julius Vom Hofe fly reel. A lure brought over $2000 as well.
The displays at the ORCA Show are unbelievable! This display of side mount reels by Jim Schottenham was awarded first prize.
The display winners were from right to left: 1st – Jim Schottenham for the above display, 2nd – Dwight McKenna for his display of Heddon Reels and tackle, and 3rd – Ed Clark for his display of Hendryx Reels.
Finally! “Leather Suspenders” Jack Bright shows off his 40 yard Shakespeare Perfect reel for which he has been searching for many years. You can smile better than that, Jack!

Photos by Richard Lodge, Editor of The Reel News and Phil White, Web Editor.