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Mitchell 300 Why?

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#46 midwestexile

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Posted May 02 2012 - 3:11 PM

I aspired to own one, and when garage sales became common I acquired several of them in the early seventies, plus spare spools. They still serve well.

One other feature I liked was the range of spool sizes, from a very deep spool which could be used for a decent amount of 20 pound mono down to a very shallow spool which could be filled with adequate 2 pound without breaking the bank. I could also adapt drag level to that line range, from getting by with almost no drag for trout or almost locking it down for small jack crevalle from a Florida bridge. I did use mine for light bait fishing in the surf (what I now know to be northern kingfish and the very occasional grey trout) but they are really a freshwater reel.

Looking at them now, they would be more along the utilitarian range of a penn greenie or Z in about a 712 or 710 size, but a hair less expensive.

#47 toolemera

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Posted May 06 2012 - 1:34 PM

I've fished Mitchell reels for 50 years. And new reels but I continually fish 1970 vintage Mitchell. The 300 series lasts, unlike the new crop of junk that burns out, plating peels, drags strip, etc.

With some periodic reel maintenance, the 300, 300A last for decades and you can't say that about most modern spinning reels. Now we use the reel to move the lure. We're supposed to use the rod to move the lure and then the reel to take up the slack in between rod moves. No wonder we burn out reels!

Ever wonder why commercial equipment uses bronze bearings? Because with proper lubrication, it lasts. Ball and needle bearings are good but they wear on specific points. Bronze bearings wear evenly. When it comes to 12-15 lb line, I stick with the 300. For 8-10 lb line, I fish a 300A. 4-6 lb, a 308. I'll even load 2lb on a 314 on a Conolon ultra light rod for crappies. I had a Shimano ultra ultra light reel but it died after one season.

Yes, there is plastic, but it's bakelite, a much harder plastic than what you see today. It's a high fired form of plastic that stands up to wear and tear. Plus, many of the spools are actually aluminum with a baked on black finish. If you look hard, you can find carbon graphite spools as well as all aluminum spools, my two favorites.

Thing is, I use the reel to hold the line, not to work the fish. The rod works the fish.

Gary Roberts
Dedham, Massachusetts

#48 BigBillJettyJockey

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Posted May 14 2012 - 7:51 PM

Posted Image

#49 eastriverron

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Posted June 21 2012 - 5:56 PM

I am 62 and have been using same Mitchell 300 since I am 11. All original parts. Caught a 7 pound blue on it yesterday in a running East River tide. Never met a graphite piece of high tech junk I could not break!! Love getting spooled on it!! I make my own drag washers out of bicycle inner tubes. Like a Kalashinkov....never misfires or breaks down.

  Of course I have loads of other gear, but still love getting on my bike with my Mitchell 300 like I have always done.

  Your question runs parallel to why was the Model T Ford so popular? No power steering, air conditioning, on board computers or GPS. lolol  

#50 arleyp

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Posted June 22 2012 - 10:06 PM

aside from being workhorses, 300's are the onnly reels I know of that you can use to drive nails with during the day and then fish with in the evening.

#51 AL617

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Posted June 23 2012 - 5:34 AM

My father in law has a bunch of them up his lake house. I get bored when we go there, packed one up with grease and off I went :D


may the seagulls rise and pluck your eyes.

#52 fishhappy

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Posted August 21 2012 - 9:17 PM

Great reel. I have fished with a 300 and a 410 for the last 30 years. Besides paint, grease, oil, a spool and crank on the 410, and drag washers, nothing else has been replaced.  The 300 still looks new.  Last Sunday, the 410 hauled in bass. I use the 300 less, only because I am becoming sentimental about it, since it was my dad's favorite reel, and for a very good reason. The 300 has a place of honor on the fire place mantle. I hope my grandchildren will be using them someday.  Parts are getting harder to find, but they are still out there. 

#53 marves

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Posted August 28 2012 - 7:05 PM

i agree with you i have had several 300s and there just like a

watch they keep on ticking. i dont use them now i have bought me

some lighter spinning reels.

#54 tom w

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Posted August 29 2012 - 10:49 AM

I've had mine for over 30 years and I even think I got it used!  


Simplicity in design, attractive, bullet proof?  What more do you need?

#55 Charlie2

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Posted August 31 2012 - 10:33 PM

Exactly. Virtually bullet proof reel, easy to use, easy to clean, durable and functional for many kinds of fishing. With a Mitchell 300 and an Ambassadeur 5000, you could fish a lifetime and still be able to pass them on to your kids.

Right On!

I still have my original Ambassador 5000A and Mitchell 300 reels that I bought many moons ago to fish for Pompano off the pier and beach. Both are still around and still fishable.

I have other Mitchell Reels in my arsenal which are: Another Mitchell 300 of later vintage; 1-406 with crosswind cam, which I use almost daily and what I consider the best light surf reel that I've owned, and a Mitchell 402 with all the upgrades; cam, PUM, drags; etc and a tiny 308 which I use for freshwater panfish.

Thanks for all of the posts. They bring back memories of a product that was built right to last. C2

Pay it Forward- George(Gowge) Pope RIP

#56 Peter D

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Posted September 01 2012 - 6:09 AM

As for Winchester 94's I only have one in 30-30 as I prefer my Marlin 336 in 30-30 but that's another story.

Marlin 336 (35 Rem) purchased new at K-Mart for $88 in 1971 and remains my Maine go to deer gun. Other than cleaning only thing done to it was add a rubber butt pad.

#57 surffishn

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Posted October 04 2012 - 9:34 PM

I cut grass in the 60's for weeks.To save enough money to buy A mitchel 300. it cost If my memory is correct $14 then.I still have it and is in usable condition. Made in France.Only thing that ever needed changed was bail spring.A kid could take it apart clean grease and put back together.perhaps the best reel ever for the $.

NCBBA 13113
Proline 22WA

#58 BigAssBass

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Posted November 18 2012 - 7:03 PM

The 300 was my first reel, received Christmas morning 1968 when I was just 8 years old.  It was attached to a brown Mitchel Garcia 6 foot rod with black binding and as far as I was concerned it was about the best combo in the world. LOL  I'm sure my dad just walked into a tackle shop and asked for something of decent quality that was good for a kid to learn on.  Pop wasn't into fishing at all but he wanted to spend some time with his boy, and that made everything just that much more special.


The rod was broken two years later when on the last day of a guests trout fishing  tournament at an upstate NY resort, where I was actually in the lead among the adults with a 16" rainbow trout, a pro fisherman accidentally stepped on it while bring in the 18" fish that would ultimately win  first place.

Then twenty odd years later the reel stem broke where it meets the body and it wound up getting tossed in the trash.


Recently I was looking on ebay to see if I could find that rod with no luck. Plenty of 300 reels though.  I'm not sure why but I'd love to put that combo back together and fish it again.  Not because it was such a great gear, but maybe because a sometimes flawed dad made the effort to spend some time with his son.


BTW, it was dad who slipped away that day by himself and took the combo down to the lake to see if he could snag the big one. LOL