I guess it’s the end of an era in reels and reelmaking. According to a couple of recent news outlets, famed reelmaker Stan Bogdan and his son Stephen are finally calling it quits. The Bogdan duo built fantastic reels and their work stood as a testament to high-quality tackle in an era when reelmaking was increasingly sourced to far off places and mass-manufactured by those who don’t fish. And Stan and son did it the old fashioned-way: hand-made reels in a small shop, with decades and decades of collective experience under their respective belts. I’m sure many of you out there who are lucky enough to own a Bogdan can attest to his craftsmanship far better than I.
Out of curiosity I took a quick look around the internet and came across this especially good article about him written by Forbes’ Monte Burke last spring. My favorite part:
Every part of a Bogdan reel, save for the springs, is tooled by Stanley or Stephen, S.E. Bogdan Custom Built’s sole employees. In their garage-size shop in New Ipswich, N.H. stands a table littered with dozens of boxes, each containing different parts of a fly-fishing reel: discs of stainless steel, screws, brake shoes, anodized aluminum frames and spools. Armed with a 130-year-old Flather lathe and a 50-year-old Van Norman milling machine, the pair churn out only 100 reels a year and have a three-year backlog. They hold no patents, take no deposits from customers (“That way they can’t bug me, and I have control,” says Stanley), store no files, designs or accounts on a computer (they don’t own one) and do no advertising.
It’s hard not to respect that. We’re just sorry that it’s finally coming to an end.