The ‘Speedia’ Centrepin by W R Products Ltd.

4" diameter ⅝" wide MK I version in unused condition in its original box. 15th of August 1950.


The ‘Speedia’ is a superb reel. It has always had a devoted following of practical anglers who appreciate its utility, good looks and modest price. The late Dave Swallow (of Swallow Centrepin fame) told me that he modelled the reels he produced under his own name on the Speedia. At the time, Dave had just caught his sixth Hampshire Avon roach over 3 lbs by trotting. Quite an angler, as well as being a time served tool maker. If he liked the Speedia that much, so should the rest of us!

Made by W R Products Ltd of Shepherd’s Bush, London, this is a very nice reel in its original date stamped maker’s box.

By the way, W R Products are equally well known to serious connoisseurs of split cane rods as the firm who made the butt caps and sliding reel bands for such firms as B. James & Son.

The reel has a fine tool steel spindle that runs in a phosphor bronze bush. It spins very freely indeed and without wobble, as you would expect from an unused reel.

The ivorine handles are free running. The check mechanism is lever operated and the spool is released by a neat Slater-style button on the spool’s face.

Imagine yourself sitting by a favourite pond next summer, fishing for tench or crucian carp, the Speedia balancing your Wallis Wizard to a nicety. If you can’t wait and have to use this reel sooner, fix it to your Chris Yates Merlin and go to that nice stream you know of. Enjoy watching the Speedia turn silently and easily as it pays out line to your float. Thrill at the feel of the line tightening as you connect with the three pound (or four and half pounds. Why mess about?) perch under the over-hanging Alder, or the five pound chub that simply couldn’t resist your pinch of bread flake.

You’d have to have a heart of stone not to be seduced by the unpretentious charms of this delectable Speedia. At this price, we’re virtually giving it away, and soon it’ll be Christmas. Oh well. Perhaps next year we’ll have a turkey.