Paul made this reel for himself and he used it a good deal before reluctantly parting with it to finance the purchase of an underwater camera. Knowing Paul, he was going to film mermaids. Yes, definitely mermaids.
In a note after his last visit (yesterday actually) he commented that I hadn’t changed in thirty years. Charmer! We’ve known each other since 1991 and believe me, thirty years ago I was slim and had a full head of wavy brown hair. Now I’m stout and bald. Paul, on the other hand, is remarkably well preserved. His hair, of which he retains a full thatch, is a distinguished grey and he really is a fine specimen.
So is this reel. It’s a 4″ diameter wide drum with Paul’s unique sealed pin system. The spool hub is phosphor bronze and all other components are brass apart from the steel check wheel and pawl. The handles are faux Ivory and the aluminium back plate and spool rims are patinated most attractively.
The check itself has the sweetest sounding voice in the whole choir of ratchets. Quite a contrast to the football rattle racket of my old Allcock. Of course, the Witcher Centenary Coxon has a beautiful hand made caliper check.
The reel runs smoothly and silently as only a really fine hand regulated centre pin can. As with all of Paul’s reels, everything is unique and hand fettled.
If that other maestro Chris Lythe is the Rembrant of the centre pin, the talented Mr Witcher is its Paul Cézanne, but without the beard.
You will see in the accompanying pictures how lovely this incredibly rare reel is. There’s a snap of the painting by the late John Searle of Paul holding a large barbel. The reel can be seen, as can Paul’s fishing suit. Looks like Savile Row. Probably Norton & Sons. They dress all the best tackle makers.
Also shown is the letter of provenance.