Most folks entertained by fly fishing and who have made a few trips around the block have owned a Pflueger Medalist. Black, chrome and old is a fine combination. It was my first fly fishing reel, and I’ve retired it to a shelf, right next to other important mementos like portraits of my little girl and photos of past adventures with friends. It’s a part of my journey in the sport and it was passed down to me from my Father. It’s hard to believe that 20 years after my Dad bought this Medalist he passed it down to me and in another 6 years of use I never once questioned its drag, quality or sought something better. It was somewhere near the turn of the century that I felt it was time to leave behind my Medalist and I made the move toward a reel with a disc drag. I never looked back. Just like your first love though, you never forget it, and Pflueger is reintroducing the Medalist just after the first of the year. If you regret not stealing second base with your first love, you get a second chance with the Medalist, but it comes at a sacrifice.
Sure, I think it’s cool to reconnect with your roots. But this would merely be a show piece, impulse buy or trip down memory lane for me. I don’t see myself retiring my fancy new age reels anytime soon to replace them with Medalist. And I don’t see many folks new to the sport picking up a Medalist in that price range with so many other options available that have far more superior technology. Lastly, if it’s trendy to own a click-pawl, or you want to give a Medalist a try, why not opt to find someones cherished used Medalist on Ebay and give an old reel new life? If I want to relive the past, I’ll save myself the $130.00 and blow the dust off the one on the bookshelf. I’ve heard the quality of the new Medalists are great and feel rich with the use of new lightweight materials, but my richness is in the history of my own. Black, chrome and new just isn’t my thing.
I think Pflueger may have missed the mark by not taking classic styling and combining it with bad-ass new technology (Gas Monkey Garage-esque). Imagine old school Medalist looks with the new lightweight materials, AND a state of the art drag system and maybe a few new colors or limited edition runs? That may catch my attention to shell out a Benjamin or (maybe) two.
I wonder what reel of mine my daughter will retire to a shelf after making memories of her own with it.