Monday, January 18, 2010


TOP: Manual showing the Garcia Mitchell 300
MIDDLE: A Garcia Mitchell 350 salt water reel

I got my first Garcia Mitchell 300 Spinning reel when I was about ten years old. It took a lot of chores around the house to save for one, and I would always gravitate to the fishing section when we visited stores to look at and try reels like this and the iconic Garcia Ambassador 5000 level wind reel. Stores like Gibsons, K-Mart, Oshmans, Wards and Sears. Wards and Sears in the sixties and seventies maintained quite decent fishing sections, and manufactured and/or branded their own goods for years and years. They also sold other folks wares as well.

I've fished with my 300's all over the States and in the Bahamas. Salt and fresh water fishing. You can find them on ebay, but I generally prefer to find my reels at garage sales or at vintage fishing tackle shows, where I can try them out. I have bought and sold numerous reels on ebay however, and I've really never been burned. The last few Garcia AbuMatic 290's that I found on ebay were, in a word, New. NIB.

There was a whole series of Mitchell 300 reels, from the salt water 350's to the ultra light models they made. Just different size versions of the same excellent reel. My reels are still going strong, decades later. Just as many other of my friends 300's are still going strong.

Surprisingly, there's no wiki page for the Mitchell 300, but I did find some good information on them and their history which I'll be posting below, You can go to the links provided to see the whole posts and lots of other good stuff.

I remember as a teen once there was a fishing tournament on Lake Livingston, and we were fishing out of that same Marina that weekend. Back in the 1970's in Houston, Saturday morning and afternoon TV had the fishing shows (on UHF, as I recall) on and The American Sportsman was on in the afternoons on ABC.

So I remember seeing some of the fisherman and their boats at the tournament, and several of them were endorsers of reels like Zebco and Johnson, which are great reels (I still use many of each today) but the pros were carrying Mitchell 300's and red Ambassador 5000's on their rods, not the reels they endorsed.

Anyway, I found this very informative post on a striper forum and thought I'd quote it here. Here's the link to this excellent forum called Stripers 24/7 :

Here's the post from the Administrator striperjim a/k/a Titus Pullo Administrator

Join Date: Mar 2004
Location: Planet Earth
Posts: 17,488
"Mitchell Garcia "The Reel story"

Here is the reel story of the legendary classic French-Made Mitchell-Garcia Mitchell open faced spinning reel that would introduce spin fishing to millions of people.The Mitchell spinning reel which would become the Mitchell 300/ Garcia-Mitchell 300 was manufactured in France by a company known as Carpano and Pons. It was 1868 when Henry Jacottet and Louis Carpano founded a business under the name Carpano-Jacottet. This company manufactured watch gears and related items. In 1874 Campano retired and Jacottet continued the business.Carpano retired in 1902. Having no children the company would be taken over by his nephew, Jean Constantine Carpano.Jean Constantine Carpano died in 1927. That same year Charles Pons, Constantine's son-in-law, and the Carpano family formed a new company called Carpano and Pons.In the mid 1930's Carpano and Pons was asked to do some designing of two existing spinning reels: the Pecos by Pecheur Ecossais of France and the CAP reel designed by La Canne a Peche of Agier, France.About the same time a design engineer named Maurice Jocomin started working at Carpano and Pons, Charles Pons asked Jocquemin to work on a design of a new concept for an open-faced spinning reel.

That marked the birth of the most well known open-faced spinning reel ever produced, The Mitchell /Garcia Mitchell Model 300.Just how did this reel get its name? Charles Pons' brother's name was Michel. Michel died just before the company introduced the new reel thus the reel was named after Michel.How did the Charles Garcia Corporation end up being the sole distributor of the Mitchell lines in the United states? It was 1946, and Jules Gumprich and Charles Garcia owned an import/export company named Impecco. Jules who lived in France sent one of the reels to his brother Otto, who was head of the Charles Garcia Co. in New york City. Thomas T. Lenk, who worked for the company, saw the reel and asked if he could try and market it here in the United States.

It wasn't long before sales grew to a point that Charles Garcia and co. would gear its business around the new found success.The Impecco company was the importer while Garcia continued the sales, advertising, etc. Upon Otto's retirement Tom Lenk became CEO of the company.The Charles Garcia Corp. was the only distributor of Mitchell in the United staes from 1947 through 1978. The company was moved in 1969 from New York City to Teaneck, N.J.Also in 1969, 100,000 reels were being manufactured a month. That same year Charles Pons died. The Carpano and Pons company was then restructured. At that point Mitchell became an independent company.By 1972, Garcia was the main stockholder of Mitchell and purchused Mitchell in 1974.In 1980 Mitchell was purchased by Browning.By 1984, Mitchell Sports USA, a division of Mitchell/France, was a major owner and handled all North American sales.

In 1991, Mitchell was sold again, this time to Johnson worldwide. But Mitchell of France retained the manufacturing and design rights of all Mitchell products.In 2000, Mitchell would be sold again to Pure Fishing Group of Spirit Lake, Iowa. Pure Fishing Group is now the main stockholder and principal owner.One reel--The Mitchell / Garcia 300--without question had more impact on U.S. Manufacturers to start manufacturing open faced spinning reels than all others.Also there are more Mitchell collectors worldwide than any other single manufacturer of open faced spnning reels.

There is an endless variety of Mitchell / Garcia Mitchell spinning reels for the collector.For whatever reason, U.S. Mitchell collectors are of the opinion that the value of the left handed reels are the same as the right-handed models yet European collectors will pay more for the left-handed models*I agree with the European collectors. The fact remains there are a lot fewer left handed reels manufactured than right handed.(cont)* Ben WrightFrom Ben Wrights Book. The Wright price guide for the reel man"


Here's an excellent series on cleaning and repairing Mitchell 300 reels.

Here's some information about collectable 300's, including SOME with gold plated hardware:

You can find schematics and after-market or NOS parts here

If you made it this far through this post, then you either remember these reels from your younger days or you happened upon this post through a google. Or perhaps you've found my writing is a good cure for insomnia.

In any event, as I've indicated in prior posts, I've had exceptionally good luck with several reels from the later Mitchell spinning reels series, from the late seventies and early eighties. I recently scored a very nice older new in box Mitchell spinning reel of later vintage. I've also got a 1995 Mitchell salt water sized reel that has rendered exemplary performance for 15 years despite being somewhat neglected. I bought it and a very nice medium length salt water rod for about $35 and despite repeated catfishing and salt water fishing trips, it's still catching fish and still working great.

You can read the posts at these links if you are interested in Mitchell reels:

New American Rodsmith Rod and now I need a new spi...


  1. i have a lure made by the company in the package still un opened called garcia abu-reflex how would u get ahold of the company or is it long gone.u can contact me

  2. I bought a mitchell 300 a few days ago was tring to find out how old the reel is... could you help me?


  4. Spinning reels, whether freshwater or saltwater spinning reels, share one thing in common that differs from conventional fishing reels. When casting a spinning fishing reel, the fishing line is cast off the reel spool in a circular unraveling, around a stationary spool.

  5. I'm still fishing with a Mitchell 300 my Dad bought for me in 1952 a little worn but fishes just fine.

  6. i have a mitchell spool in a small black hard plastic container it says Mitchell with the word Large under, the case has a few scratches but the spool inside is brandnew i was wondering if its worth anything my e mail is

  7. Hector, I don't think it's gonna pay for a Vegas vacation. Although I can't say for sure without seeing a few pictures and knowing the exact measurements, it sounds like a large arbor spool for one of these "series" of Mitchell reels, which range from the "normal sized 300" to ultralight to salt water.

    Normally, something like that would go for anywhere from a low of $3 to $15 on ebay, depending on who is looking, how well your ad and pics entice a buyer, and if anyone else is willing to get in a bidding war for it.

    Go do a search at ebay for Mitchell 300 spool and there will be lots for you to look at and gauge the worth of your item.

    Thanks for stopping by!

  8. Hi. I have a garcia mitchell 300 reel with no serial number on it with 3 spools that go with it and the brochure, I also have a mitchell 302 reel eith a serial number that starts with c and has 5 digits. I can't find apraisers anywhere around us or online. Was trying to get an idea of what they're worth. If anyone can help it would be appreciated. My email is I live in joliet, I'll if anyone knows of an appraiser around here, please let me know. Thank you!

  9. I have to admit I have never tried any older Mitchell reels , thought I did get hold of this newer model 310x gold , and I am very happy with its performance for ultral-light fishing.

    What do you think about this new models compared to the older ones?

  10. My Dad gave me a Mitchell 300 and a Roddy fishing pole for Christmas when in grade school,I am still using both and they work like new.This, after catching many fish in many states.

  11. James from Arkansas... I baught 4 reels and some more fishing tackle that included a garcia mitchell 300 spinning reel for $15.00. Just wondering what the reel is worth now???

  12. I recently shocked myself by telling my daughter I've been fishing seriously for 50 years. YIKES.

    For some reason have always loved the French made Garcia reels. Have many fancy dancy reels, but almost like a religion, I take a Mitchell 300 or 308 with me every fishing trip.

    The simplistic design attracts me like a good lure.

    I can't imagine how many fish have been caught using these wonderful reels.

    For years I trolled the White River with them as well. Hard on a reel is an understatement.

    A non fishing friend took one apart telling me due to the quality of materials the reel is virtually indestructible.

  13. I just bought a new model of the Mitchell 300 XE, I have used it twice so far, no problems whatsoever, it casts beautifully, retrives nicely.

  14. Mitchell 300, in the box, from the 60's. Any takers?

  15. I have a 300dl in a oak box with gold trim. Bought it new in the 70's
    What kind of value would it have now?
    Or should I just take it fishing for it's first time.

  16. I'm trying to find a rod for my dad's mitchell 300, but the (freshwater) fishing store I just went to didn't have any rods that fit the reel! The part that the reel slides into was too small. Any suggestions on where I can find a good 6ft rod that it will fit?


  17. That's an easy one, Anon. Get on Ebay or hit some garage sales in a good part of town for a few weeks. Pawn shops can be a source but most of the stuff I've seen there was way too run down.

    For freshwater general fishing, you can't go wrong with a used Fenwick, Browning or Garcia rod. These older rods will have larger clamps or what have you to hold the 300.

    If you want a brush bustin' rod for bassin or any kind of heavy duty fishing, look for a used black Lew's Speed Stick for a spinning reel on ebay. Worth it's weight in gold, I tell you.

    I've bought some spinning rods (Shimano, Cabela's) in the past couple of years and they take my 300 just fine. Were you trying ultra light rods with very small rod holders?

  18. I have been using Mitchell reels since 1953, when my Dad let me use his for a cub scout fishing trip. I have been using Mitchells ever since. Since I cast left handed, the "lefty" reels are my choice. I bought a 411 and a 409 when I returned from Vietnam. I have been using them ever since. All I do is clean and grease them after each season. Now I have almost a dozen. I am an ebay junkie and all I have bought have been serviceable once cleaned and greased. I will pass these reels off to my nephews when I hang up the rod for the last time.

  19. I'm glad to know there are others out there who appreciate these reels. Truly, they are a great reel, and you can't beat their performance, even though they are heavier than the newer reels on the market today. I wonder if folks will be writing about today's current stock of Shimano reels and such 40 years from now. I doubt it...

    Thanks for stopping by!

  20. I have two 300 reels that I've used for over 35 years. Pulled in countless fish from sunfish, largemouth bass, trout, catfish, others, from all over the U.S.. These reels are bulletproof; never let me down. They just don't make them to last like this anymore.


  21. I have a mittchell 300, but it does not say it on the side, made in France, reel is a little on the rough side, it says mittchell under neath the bottom of handle, I was raised on a mittchell, I also have a mittchell 302, both GREAT reels, how else can I figure out the (300) if it is one.... thank you

  22. I have a mittchell 300, but it don't say it on the side under the handle, made in frnce, push button spool release, also a Mitchell 302, both reels work great, love my Mitchell reels, help me find the number. thank you