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The pair of big game reels, shown here, created around 1905 for estuarine trolling and tarpon fishing are thought be unique.

With 5,5/8in (14cm) nickel-plated brass bodies, they were a non-production size and each had a custom ivorine handle that could be elongated when the user was in 'fish-fighting' mode.

They were marked and and each was offered in a fitted Hardy leather case.

According to the vendor they were bespoke commissions for W.H. Grenfell, Lord Desborough of Taplow, a renowned all-round sportsman, politician and captor of 100 tarpon in less than a month in Florida. Estimated at £5000-7000, they sold at £16,500.      

A single bronzed brass Birmingham-style reel of c.1900 was also a monster, measuring 6in (15cm) in diameter where the design was only listed by Hardy at up to 5in (12.5cm). Again it was probably made as a special request and again it was in excellent condition, very little used and retaining its full bronzed finish and black horn handle.

It made £6200 against an estimate of £2000-3000.

The buyer's premium was 20%.

Cascapedia Reel

Meanwhile, another interesting Hardy reel appeared at Angling Auctions (15% buyer's premium) sale at Chiswick Town Hall on March 29.

Grand Cascapedia River in Quebec gave its name to one of Hardy's most famous inter-War reels. Designed for salmon fishing where larger fish and strong currents required a robust reel and a multiplying action, the ebonite and nickel silver Cascapedia  with its distinctive S-shaped handle was made only between 1932 and 1938 (although it has recently been reborn in a Mark II version).      

Most examples were in smaller sizes but records at the Alnwick factory note the production of 13 reels in the 1/0 size.

The well-preserved example at Angling Auctions, smothered in Royal appointment medallions, proved the highlight of the sale.

It improved upon an £8000-12,000 estimate at £15,000.

Totalling £220,000 this catalogue took the value of antique fishing tackle sold in the UK in mid-March well beyond £500,000. 

St George Salmon

Also appearing at Mullocks (16% buyer's premium) last month was another top Hardy reel.

Offeredat Ludlow Racecourse on March 15, the Hardy 4,1/4in (11cm) alloy widedrum fly reel is known as the St George Salmon. It is relatively common in smaller sizes but it is thought to be one of perhaps 100 of these reels made for salmon fishing c.1920-24.

This example retained virtually all its original dark lead and bronze finish and came in its fitted Hardy block-leather case.

Estimated at £2300 to £2800, it topped the specialist fishing sale at £3200.