Mitchell 302 salt water reel

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I have a mitchell 302 salt water reel. A friend of mine said that surf fisherman prise these reels, is there any truth in this and what would this reel be worth ?? thank you for your help. Jigs

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I love them, i use mainly the 302 and 402 off the surf.I buy them whenever i can get a good deal on one in good condition, cant have enough.What its worth depends on the condition more than anything,wether its with or without box, papers etc. etc.Im sure guys here could tell you better than i, but i can normally find a 302 in good condition for around $35-$45 and ive seen them go in MINT for anywhere from $75 to $300 (but more commonly in the $100 range)

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Used, in average condition, $40 or so.


Mitchell sold a lot of them and many are still fishable.


New in box, with all paperwork, it's worth more.

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Do they come with a "round" handle?


The 402, which was the high speed retrieve version of the 302, came stock with a round coffee grinder style knob. That handle was available as an accessory item, and some guys installed them in place of the stock 302 torpedo knob version.

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I've developed a retro fixation for these reels over the last year.

I've managed to put together several 302s and 402s and a few 306s from parts so far.

"Buyin' 'em by the bag full." cwm31.gif

I fish them side by side with my Mitchell 6500 Nautil!


The 302s/402s were one of the reels to aspire to own in their day.


Things I have learned:

Their guts and their attachments are much more "complex" than their Penn 704/706 peers.

Tiny immoveable screws hold in the shaft bearing.

A tiny key holds the rotor cup via a keyway to the pinion gear.

A tiny spring and a pin with a slot holds in the bail trip mechanisim.

Lots of places for sand and clam slime to go.

A drag system that, as DitchJigger will tell you, and many have found out by accident; is full of washers that the spring wants to push skyward if you unscrew the drag knob.

Rotate the whole spool CCW to remove the spool. NOT the KNOB!

The line "roller" will roll occasional.

Some of the reels came with anti enertia brake clips.

I imagine they prevent premature lure ejection. biggrin.gif

I can't imagine how hard you'd have to cast to get that bail setup to flip.

You can't flip it by hand .


I hope some of the (with all due respect)"older" members chime in with any tips, hints, and memories of these reels and the fish they tamed.


Sorry for the ramble...

The End. redface.gif

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Bob You covered about every thing to look for when working on the 302.

It was a fine reel for its day and even today some prefer to use them over others.


Severel things that might also be considered is the reel could always be heard while reeling it up with or with out a fish on. It made it self known during the night time and one could estimate the aproximate distance the fishereman was to you .


The drag system had severel changes during its life time and Mitchell made a right and left version so it became apparent that one needed to be able to identify the difference between both as they were not interchangable.


This was very critical when picking up parts for the drag assembly.


The power handle on the 402 was interchangable with the 302 and is a change that most made as it was a good improvement to the reel.


The non manual bail required a lot of maintence to keep functional and the manual bail conversion kit was a roller bearing that again most made as this gave you less of a problem and this kit came with a lead balance weight that screwed into the end of the bail to counter act rotating head action while casting.


The roller bearing provided a more positive feel with the line and rod and again one needed to apply oil and have the proper tension on the securing screw to allow the bearing to rotate smoothly.

Once the side parts started to wear or it became grooved[because it was not rotating properly]It was a throw away and time for another.


Another point is the head bearing needed to be taken apart very carefully as some of the races that held the bearings inplace would part and the bearings would fall out.

A small screw held the bearing place and that was always hard to remove.,{one needed a good pair of jewlers screw driver and a whole of patients.

If you messed up the straight slot it would need to be drilled out and rethreaded in order to resecure the whole bearing inplace.


As I mentioned Mitchell made severel changes over the years to the inside of the reel and in most cases all were improvements ,but not interchangable on some years.

One part that comes to mind is the Main gear that the handle was screwed into. The flanges had different depths under the teeth gears and in some it meant the difference of reeling smoothly or hard.


There is a way to make the anti reverse lever from making a whole lot of noise,but you needed to be precise and I will simply say it requires some filing and application of a strip of teflon on the lever where it hit the teeth under the main gear.


I still have a few left of my original collection of over 30 reels at one time and I still have

,many of the blow ups and schematics in my repair book.


A good reel indeed in its day, but you needed to understand like any other reel what it took to make it work all the time and that only comes by from working on the reel yourself.



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I never really got into the 302 / 402 models but I've been havin' lotsa fun lately with the slightly smaller, slightly lighter 306 / 406 Mitchells. They're close to a Penn 704 size-wize and have a whole lot simpler drag and internals than the older 302 / 402 reels.


A near mint 406 and a pretty cherry 306, both fitted with Mitchell's excellent manual pickup kits...



Two still - for the moment - sporting their original bails; a 406 in the rear and and a somewhat hard to find 306A - the (semi) silent version of this one...


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Thanks smile.gif Yes they are mine, about as close as I've got to a "collection" of anything. Here's a shot I forgot I had which shows the pickups nice 'n clear. They're both original Mitchell 306 / 406 MPU kits but from different eras.


I had a coffee grinder handle on the 406 when I shot this one.

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Interesting thread. I know essentially nothing about these reels except that about 4 years ago I had finished grad school and not yet started my new job. It was a mid June weekday in South Eastern Mass and I was very bored. At the time I didn't fish, but on a whim I decided to head down to the shore. So I picked up my old mans gear, which included a crummy old 70s era surf rod, a rusy 8/0 J-hook, a 4 oz pyramid sinker and early 70s era Mitchell spooled with 20 yr old 30 lb mono (based on pictures it was probably a 302, the reel if I remember is quite large). I took that set up to the beach, strapped on a 1/2 a mackerel lobbed it out 25-35 yds and proceeded to sit and stare at the sea for the next 4 hrs (I had no idea what I was doing). Just as I was about to leave to make it home for dinner the rod, which I had wedged into some rocks so it would stand up, doubles over. That Mitchell reel, which had not been touched in at least 15 years, performed nicely and resulted in my first surf caught Striper (fish was released because I had no idea what the size limits were or way of measuring). I was instantly addicted to striper fishing and the rest is history. Sorry, I have nothing to contribute about these reels but they are a part of a nice memory for me.

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