Museum Piece: A Fine Piece of Wedding Cake


Written by: Phil Monahan

Fin-Nor’s “Wedding Cake” reel, designed by Gar Wood, was one of the first fly reels specifically
created to handle the rigors of catching large saltwater fish.
Photo by Sara Wilcox

The American Museum of Fly Fishing is located right next to the Orvis Flagship store in Manchester, Vermont. The folks from the museum will be sharing many of the cool items from their collection in an ongoing series called “Museum Pieces.” You can take a little virtual walk through part of the museum below. Here’s some information about the fly in the photo above.

Gar Wood, Jr. was a boat racer and a tackle designer, and he first came up with the idead for a direct-drive reel in a cage-frame construction in the early 1950s. Fin-Nor picked up the patent and produced “Wedding Cake” reels starting in 1955. These early models are highly collectible, fetching prices in the thousands of dollars. The No. 3, shown here, was called the “Tarpon.”


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