Ustonson Fishing Reel-pre 1837.

An antique fishing reel/winch retailed by Ustonson with a reversible handle, 3 1/2 inch diameter, all brass engraved ‘Ustonson Maker to His Majesty Temple Bar London’. Mullock’s will sell this reel at their forthcoming auction. The knurled retaining disc handle allows the handle to be reversed for storage. The foot is perforated and it has a raised check housing. This dates the reel at pre 1837. King George IV granted the Royal Warrant in 1824 to Maria Ustonson and continued by King William IV. In 1837 William died and Queen Victoria ascended to the throne.

Queen Victoria continued with the Royal Warrant, however there is no evidence that she fished. Her husband Prince Albert certainly did fish . I have seen and handled many examples of rods carrying his Royal Warrant for Fishing Tackle which was held by G Little. Many people have questioned if Ustonson made these reels and I for one do not believe they did.

Following the appearance of these images on our Facebook Group there has been considerable interest in who actually made the reel. It is has been suggested that the reel was made by others. My own suggestion is James Haywood another has suggested Hero the London tackle maker. One thing is for certain that if an antique Ustonson fishing reel is up for auction it is certainly worth more than an unnamed example by the same maker.

This “intriguing” reel will be sold at Mullock’s next auction along with other sporting goods. The auction is on-line only but the auctioneers will be more than willing to provide more images and condition reports if required

For more details of this and other items of tackle being sold contact

Ustonson brass reel
Onsimius Ustonson brass fishing winch.
Ustonson brass reel
Ustonson brass fishing winch. with raised check housing.
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Antiques & Vintage Tackle

We have started a Facebook group together with an Instagram page for Antique and Vintage fishing tackle. The Facebook group, Antique Fishing Tackle is for items of tackle that are 100 plus years old. It’s an open group and anyone can post, once they have requested to join.

The Instagram page is Antique_vintage_fishing_tackle and the idea is to have new items posted regularly. In addition to the facebook page items posted here do not have to be over 100 years old.

You will find the join buttons on the right hand side of the page, just click and follow.

Please feel free to join or comment.

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Nottingham Wooden Fishing Reels

Men of Trent will give a history of the Nottingham wooden fishing reel from it’s early beginnings. The book will pinpoint the various developments from the early bush reels, the strap backs, star backs and centre pins.


It will endeavour to help  the reader understand this fascinating area of tackle collecting helping to identify the mundane run of the mill from the rare, and consequently valuable stars.

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Redditch Review.

I arrived nice and early in the hope of finding something nice to add to my collection but unfortunately despite a few hours looking I could find nothing.  There were some fantastic items including a David Slater made Combination reel in gun metal with its original leather case retailed by Forrest of Kelso. At £450 it was too much seeing as I have three models of the same reel and would in effect be paying only for the leather case.

I have started looking into Malloch Sidecaster reels, having previously given them scant attention, due to the fact that they were not the only people making them. The patent expired in 1900 and having seen an advert for a sidecaster by Smith & Wall I wondered who else made them. Certainly there were a few, the Forrest of Kelso one differs from the others in the fact that there is a rim mounted on off check button. Les Shaw had a Foster of Ashbourne model and Andrew Race had a Reuben Heatons model. Just how many other makers are there? I would be interested in receiving pictures and information.

After the show I joined a friend fishing for carp, well he was fishing as I am a bit of a traditionalist and follow the close season. He has found a great lake where the fish just cruise around and its possible to stalk them. He told me that he uses pet food and visited a site which had a very large selection and somewhat baffling. Eventually we settled on dog biscuits and found a nice advantaged position overlooking the lake and started throwing a few free offering to the cruising carp.

It was fascinating and after a short time Ray baited his hook with a dog biscuit and cast out and I followed with the free offerings, the carp homed in on the bait and it was heart stopping. After 5 minutes all the free offering had been taken but they showed little or no interest in the hook bait.

Two hours later with half a bag of dog biscuits gone we still had not managed to get a carp to take the bait. We discussed it and started crediting the carp with super intelligence, surely they could see that the hook bait was sitting lower in the water than the free offering? maybe.

I will return to this lake and try again possibly with floating bread flake, with a split cane rod and an Aerial reel.

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Has Europe gone mad?

A friend of mine asked me if I knew anything about a proposed law about to be introduced through the back door that would affect anglers?

No, tell me more. He directed me to the UKIP website, let me say politics is  something I do not usually indulge in. However this “fringe” party is the only one that is making any effort to overturn this bureaucratic nightmare.

Just picture this scene, some guy out with his children on a typical British seaside Pier catches a fish, BANG the fishing police arrive and deduct his catch from the UK’s quota – idiotic?

Click here to see what they are trying to do.

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