Cast From The Past: G. Little Fly Reel and Flies From Ronald’s Fly-Fisher’s Entomology

Photo: Steve Woit

This fine engraved brass trout reel from G. Little and Co., 15 Fetter Lane, London, “Makers to H.R.H Prince of Wales” is a good example of the height of design and form in British reel making during the Victorian era. This version of the reel, designed with raised pillars is an early model from the 1870s.

The sprays of trout wet flies were tied specifically for an early version of “The Fly-Fisher’s Entomology, Illustrated by Coloured Representations of the Natural and Artificial Insect and Accompanied by a Few Observations and Instructions Relative to Trout-and-Grayling Fishing” first published in 1836 by Alfred Ronalds (1802–1860).

This book published with a fly wallet with leading patterns included was the first comprehensive work related to entomology in fly fishing. Although the work was Ronald’s only book, it was published in 11 editions between 1836 and 1913 and has been extensively reprinted in the last 100 years.

Steve Woit is the author of “Fly Fishing Treasures: The World of Fly Fishers and Collecting”, a book featuring profiles of 30 experts and collectors and over 800 photographs of rare and collectible fly rods, reels, flies, books, and ephemera.

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