Praising old-school gear

by Ray Blades | May 2, 2023
reel gear

Ok, I get it. With a hunting and fishing publication, you expect to read about the latest and greatest in gear. There’s obviously nothing wrong with showcasing what’s shiny and new. Heck, I have the curiosity of a magpie when it comes to that stuff. Why wouldn’t I? Innovative products keep us on our toes.

That doesn’t mean we should overlook what’s old and well worn. Many anglers and hunters are still quite comfortable and happy using hand-me-down gear that’s been in the family for generations. These items are usually simple, effective, and operational. The classic Ontario deer gun, the Winchester Model 94, is one such classic. The 94 stands for 1894, and hunters have been using it ever since then.

Through much of my youth, I exclusively fished a Mitchell 300 reel my uncle gave me, spooled with Maxima Ultragreen line, and Mepps spinners of various sizes. I caught everything from diminutive, small-stream brook trout, to Canadian Shield smallmouth, and Great Lakes steelhead. A Canadian Wiggler, Williams Wabler, and Toronto Wobbler were my go-tos for pike, lake trout, and big-river walleye. I kept it simple, and it worked. All of that gear and straightforward presentations still catch fish today.

Ask me how I know…

Celebrating classic gear

To celebrate classic gear, we have a number of stories with that theme. Several of our “seasoned” contributors list their old-school favourites; Managing Editor Jason Bain uncovers some family angling history in the Wolverine canoe, Gord Ellis covers his classics, and Guns and Ammo columnists Linda and Keith talk vintage firearms.

Oh, and if you also want to read about some tech, check out my review of the Garmin GPSMAP 66i GPS Handheld and Satellite Communicator. I took it for a test spin along with OOD reader Doug Bruce, and we like it.

Ray headshot

Originally published in the April 2022 issue of Ontario OUT of DOORS

Ray Blades is the Editor of Ontario OUT of DOORS and a lover of wild places and the life-giving magic of hot black coffee. Reach Ray at:; Twitter: @rayOODMAG; Instagram: @ray.blades

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