The Paul Witcher Bisterne II 4” x 1” Aerial centrepin reel.

№ 17 of this already near-mythical reel in as-new condition.


In the specially printed hand-bound owner’s handbook, artisan-artist Paul Witcher tells us how this unique and magnificent reel came about. Space prevents me from reproducing the text here but when you purchase the reel you’ll be able to read it at your leisure.

It’s a ventilated 12 spoke Aerial-type reel and at a glance it looks, with its combination of patina’d alloy, brass and phosphor-bronze, like a super stylish artisan interpretation of the Allcock original. But look closely. It has no tension regulator (hands up anyone who has used one) and no spoke mounted sprung shoe spool release. Interesting!

Spin it and it seems to go on forever, spinning and spinning. Then you’ll see the little grub screw in the side of the spool’s phosphor-bronze hub. The tool kit (yes, this reel comes with its own tool kit) has a screwdriver in it so that once or twice a year, you can turn this grub screw just enough to release the tool steel spindle within, apply a drop or two of the special oil also supplied (he’s thought of just about everything hasn’t he) and put it carefully back in, tighten the screw and go back to watching it spin like a perpetual motion device.

And look at it. The combination of precise engineering and hand finishing, elegant dimensions and contrasting metalwork are just right. Listen to it. The Witcher caliper check is the best there is. In this instance, it plays its music left handed.

Fish with it. Imagine, clear four pound Maxima peeling off the spool, the float gliding down the crease to that willow bush. Spin the reel and sweep the rod down to the float, sweep it back, spin it again and so on. Nip the hook through a new pinch of bread flake and Wallis-cast it out. A fish would be fun but it’s so nice to be fishing with this thing that you don’t really want the flow to be interrupted.

This is the number 17 Paul Witcher Bisterne II. For less, far less than the price of the latest top end Daiwa carbon fibre roach pole, it can be yours.

Please study the accompanying pictures. You can zoom in for more detail.

The reel comes in its hand-stitched leather D-case with its leather tool wallet and owner’s handbook.