I am proud to offer the bench-made reels of William Olson. William is an old-world style craftsman and perfectionist. His reels are things of beauty. William has tested his reels in fishing situations from freezing rain and snow, to tropical heat, and all he has learned has been integrated into his designs.
From William Olson:
"To my eye there are no reel designs more beautiful than the “classic” styled ‘serpentine crank’ reels of the late 1800’s and early 1900’s. In general, vom Hofe (and others of that ilk) leading up to Bogdan, heavily influenced the outward appearance of my reels. It is my hope that you will find my reels just as beautiful as any found today or yesterday sporting the classic North American look. By molding old and new ideas into classic styled bench made reels, they become as functional as they are beautful."
"I have been fly fishing since 1979. I started by chasing trout and various warmwater species. In March of 1993, my life took on a new meaning as I had decided to try my hand angling for pacific steelhead from Oregon's North Umpqua River. Like many before me, it wasn't the fish that was hooked, it was me. Obsession of the pursuit of steelhead became and remains my burning passion. I have chased steelhead in all the western US states along with many British Columbia rivers. By 1997 Atlantic salmon were added to my life; fishing for them in Quebec, New Brunswick, Scotland, Ireland, and Russia. I even found time to dabble a bit in saltwater flats fly fishing for Tarpon, Permit, and Bones."
At this time, Olson Reels offers two models of reels. Gear and pawl, and sealed disc drag. Each is available in a number of sizes. Currently, Olson Reels are available only in sizes for two-handed (spey) rods or equivalent single handed rods.
Gear and pawl reel with a rotating backplate:
This backplate allows manual drag to be applied when needed, keeping your fingers and knuckles away from the wildly spinning crank handle. The wide frame opening also allows the angler another option by going more 'old school' and offering the option of feathering the spool flange/edge for additional manual drag. One can also create a manual 'caliper' with thumb and forefinger by pinching the spool flange/edge in conjunction with the backplate to really put the brakes on a fish if need be. For those whose fishing experiences are enhanced by a minimal mechanical drag that screams in protest of a sprinting salmon or steelhead, this reel will shout, wail, and sing like no other. The drag is adjustable if one desires by removal of the back plate via a hex screw. It does have a directional click, with the outgoing click louder than the incoming click.
Sealed disc drag:
For those that prefer, Olson Reels also offers a fully sealed disc drag. Designed to flawlessly assist the anadromous fly angler in tackling any situation they may encounter in freshwater. Whether you chase Deschutes A-runs in searing August heat, wild winter-run steelhead from a Pacific Northwest temperate rainforest, fresh tackle busting Dean River Chinook salmon, or the object of your desire swims in the 'Big Fish Rivers' found in the Atlantic salmon world, let alone everything in between, this is the reel for you! This reel is a culmination of 15 years of design tinkering and testing. It has a beautiful, if not magical, click sound in both directions.
Warranty: Olson Reels offers a lifetime warranty to the original owner that covers manufacturers defects only. i.e.- anything that breaks or malfunctions. This warranty does not cover neglect, field damage, or other impacts beyond the control of Olson Reels.
Damaged or neglected reel repairs will be charged POA via a reasonable quote. A destroyed frame is going to take me a lot more work to replace then say a reel foot. For US customers only Olson Reels also offers a one-year period where Olson Reels will cover shipping both ways in the event the reel requires warranty work. Beyond that timeframe, or being outside the USA, the customer is responsible for shipping and any customs taxes BOTH WAYS.
Returns: Olson Reels will allow a three day inspection in which the reel must be returned at the customers expense in the same condition they received it. No exceptions.
Lead times: Lead times vary. Each reel is built by hand and to order. There is no stock. Right now, the average time from placing the order to shipping the completed reel is 2 years. Olson Reels will notify the customer about a month before their reel will be finished. Full payment is due at this time. If delivery times slip, or there is a problem with your order, the customer will be informed. No 'hurry-up' orders will be accepted. A bespoke reel is finished WHEN it is finished. Often lead times are less than 2 years, but no guarantees.
Gear and pawl models:
LH/RH convertible, tool steel pawl and gear, spool runs on sealed ball bearings, internal tension adjustment, nickel silver- counterweight/name-badges/crank accent washer/palm plate retention washer, rotating back plate. One-piece frame and spool. Face plates are polished aluminum.
Frame Diameter/spool inside width(s)/weights-
'd' refers to Diameter, 'iw' to inside width
3.5" d X 1.0" or 1.1" iw. Weight is approximately 10.5 oz. Price: $1,400.00 USD
3.75" d X 1.1 or 1.2" iw. Weight is approximately 11.5 oz. Price: $1,400.00 USD
4.00" d X 1.2 or 1.3" iw. Weight is approximately 12.8 oz. Price: $1,400.00 USD
4.25" d X 1.2 or 1.3" iw. Weight is approximately 14.5 oz. Price: $1,400.00 USD
4.50" d X 1.3 or 1.4" iw. Weight is approximately 15.5 oz. Price: $1,500.00 USD
1. All black with silver crank/foot.
2. Silver frame/spool/foot/crank with black side plates.
3. Light gold (looks like nickle-silver) frame/spool with black sideplates.
Maker medallions included in side plate on each model.
The reel will ship directly from the manufacturer. Payment must be received and cleared before the reel ships. United States Postal Service money orders preferred. At this point, credit cards are not accepted.
Please email me with your inquery.
Example pictures of gear and pawl reels: