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  1. #1

    Default Jeff Woodhouse: I Think I’m Going Back…

    Perhaps I’m just having a late-life crisis. I went through the mid-life crisis years ago, but I’m starting to look at old vintage tackle on ebay. What’s worse, I’m bidding on it as well!
    I have two cane rods already, a Sealey Octopus 11ft float rod that I bought cheap to do-up as a project and the other was given to me by a neighbour as it had been sitting in his shed and doing nothing for 30 years or more. The latter is a Peter Stone Legerstrike and because I met and got to know Peter a little, it brings back lovely memories of him. The Sealey I finished, but somehow the ferrule between middle and tip sections isn’t straight and there’s a kick to the right, probably only half a degree, but it still works.

    FM members from long ago might recall an article I penned about the old ABU closed-faced reels – The ABU Closed Face Reel – A Love Affair. | FishingMagic

    More recently, I was talking to a mate on the phone and he was looking for a 501. I’d noticed a 506 going for a lovely price in an auction but I waited until close to the end expecting the price to shoot up as it often does, but it didn’t, and within the last minute I made a bid of £23.00. I won, but the price had only gone up to £19 – BARGAIN! Ok, so there was £4.00 post to pay but I didn’t mind. When I received the reel I found it in very near perfect condition ie: no severe marks or scratches, and the mechanism worked perfectly.



    This fired me up and soon I was on the look-out for a 505, a reel I had owned for nearly 30 years and had so stupidly sold. One came onto ebay with a ‘Buy it now’ of £30.00 and, looking at the photos, it too looked to be in near-perfect condition. And what do all the antique experts say on TV? “condition is everything!” ‘CLICK’ and I’d purchased it hoping that the rider “but is it in fully operational and functions as intended.” was true: sadly it wasn’t.



    The outside casing, handle, star drag and spool cover were immaculate as shown in the photographs. You can see on the red spool cover just one very tiny chip – almost like a pin prick – and when the cover is put on correctly it’s at the bottom and out of sight. However, the rotor, or ‘bell-housing’ as some call it, was jammed on, cross-threaded, and wouldn’t come off. I didn’t want to send it back because ABU reels of this age and condition are as rare as hen’s teeth. I wrote to the chap expressing my disappointment and said that I would try to fix it but that it would be at my risk.



    Fortunately, I did free the rotor and when it came off there must have been around 3-4 metres of line of about 1½lbs bs wrapped around the spindle and threads, probably why it had gone on cross-threaded in the first place. The seller said that it was his grandfather’s and he didn’t know anything about reels or fishing for that matter (shame on him!) He must have thought the rotor came off with a right-handed thread, whereas loyal ABU users know it’s a lefty!

    Once that was off it was easy to see the other faults in the spool-housing and the main gear area. Lots of what I think was dried ground-bait was in there but it was easy to remove. I de-greased it all and applied some nice fresh clear stuff with Teflon, plus oil where required. I even took the handle and drag system apart and noticed that the holding screw at the end is also a lefty: watch that if ever you get one.

    I got it all back together again with every piece accounted for, unlike a mate who bought a cheap Mitchell back in the 60s and took it apart on the way home. When he put it back together again there were three pieces left over – but it worked! How? This ABU 505 does work now and quite satisfactorily, but I’m not sure that the QA people at the old Swedish factory would have passed it; there’s still a grinding sound at times when you fast wind it. The only thing to do was to try it out…

    So last Wednesday I went to one of the club’s ponds that holds different species including carp that go to around 10 lbs. I rigged up a Preston 11ft float rod (because of overhanging trees) and put the 505 into the reel seat. Oh boy did the years slip away! Once I’d cast out it was like 1969 again. It was like having a girlfriend or just some bird you fancied back then and you’d just met up again. She hadn’t changed one bit and in your own mind, neither had you. A young lady called Jackie O came to mind. She was as fit as a butcher’s pup and worked in our fashions department at the CWS. She wanted to become a model and had every attribute she could wish for – and in all the right places . But I digress.

    I caught a few small carp to 2½lbs but that was enough to test the reel and it worked like a dream. It was carefully placed in a velvet bag for transportation and I was very careful not to put anything heavy on top of it. Even in use when I had to put the rod down, I placed it so that the reel was over my tackle bag and nowhere near the ground where it might get scratched. Member and former joint editor on here, Geoff Maynard, once described me as ‘anal’ (whatever is meant by that term) towards my tackle [re-phrase – Ed] I’ll take that as a compliment: I like to look after my gear.

    Some day soon during the river season I will give the 506 a go. This too has been fully taken apart, cleaned, re-greased and now it ticks like a Rolex watch – not so surprising given ABU’s origins as watch and clock manufacturers. The simplicity of the engineering inside their reels is amazing, but the new Chinese made ones are not a patch on the quality of the older Swedish models.

    Both reels will remain with me for as many days as I have left on this Earth and the next time they leave this house permanently will be long after I’ve been placed in a long wicker basket. Perhaps now it’s refreshed my memories of Jackie O I’ll have some very pleasant dreams at night, but in the meantime, how much should I bid on a Richard Walker MkIV Avon rod?

    Jeff Woodhouse



    Source Article...
    Last edited by Cliff Hatton; 07-06-2019 at 23:22.

  2. #2
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    Smile Re: Jeff Woodhouse: I Think I’m Going Back…

    but the new Chinese made ones are not a patch on the quality of the older Swedish models.

    I was never lucky enough to own one of the originals but I have a new 506 and could not agree more with the above statement. On opening it, it felt tinny and I inadvertently scratched the matt black paint on the spool with my finger nail and it came off! It works ok but I have little confidence in it to be honest. Nice article Jeff.
    By the time a man realizes his Father was right, he has a son who thinks he's wrong.

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    Default Re: Jeff Woodhouse: I Think I’m Going Back…

    Quote Originally Posted by lambert1 View Post
    I have little confidence in it to be honest.
    You are right to have little confidence in it. I have a 704 and that is painted black, unlike the originals that were anodized aluminium which is much harder, but they can also be scratched and chipped, that's how you find most on ebay. If you can get an old 506 in decent condition for around £20, go for it, you will not regret it and it will not lose any value, only gain. These are now my babies...
    Jeff Woodhouse: I Think I’m Going Back…-abus.jpg
    "I care not what others think of what I do, but I care very much about what I think of what I do! That is character!" - Theodore Roosevelt

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    Default Re: Jeff Woodhouse: I Think I’m Going Back…

    What is the difference between a 501 and a 506 if any?
    Please....

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    Default Re: Jeff Woodhouse: I Think I’m Going Back…

    4..........................
    That's about as big as a fish that big gets
    If you understand what you’re doing, you’re not learning anything................

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    Default Re: Jeff Woodhouse: I Think I’m Going Back…

    It's getting worse. I just purchased a 503. :O

    Again, it's in really good condition looking at the photos so I hope it's as good as it states. This was the first closed faced reel model I bought. It will be delivered to an Argos store for collection because if the wife ever finds out she will ... Best hide the kitchen knives. And the hammers. And any ropes we have lying around.

    I used the 506 today for the first time, but the fish were playing really hard to catch so only one on that reel. I might try for a 506M, or is that going too far?

    Still can't bring Jackie O into my dreams though...
    "I care not what others think of what I do, but I care very much about what I think of what I do! That is character!" - Theodore Roosevelt

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    Default Re: Jeff Woodhouse: I Think I’m Going Back…

    Quote Originally Posted by peter crabtree View Post
    What is the difference between a 501 and a 506 if any?
    Please....
    The 501 was a kind of 503, but with the cover in black and a drag adjuster added to the handle. I did have one in reasonable condition too, but silly so-so me sold that as well. The 506's drag is more refined, but tricky to get used to. Whilst you have pressure on the handle you're in direct drive, but release the handle or just pressure and the drag comes into play automatically.
    Last edited by Jeff Woodhouse; 09-06-2019 at 22:07.
    "I care not what others think of what I do, but I care very much about what I think of what I do! That is character!" - Theodore Roosevelt

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    Default Re: Jeff Woodhouse: I Think I’m Going Back…

    Thanks Jeff, I have owned a 501 for many years and have just acquired a 506. I bought it on eBay last night (you may have seen it) but won't get it until next week.

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    Default Re: Jeff Woodhouse: I Think I’m Going Back…

    Quote Originally Posted by peter crabtree View Post
    have just acquired a 506. I bought it on eBay last night (you may have seen it) but won't get it until next week.
    Well done. I probably did see it as I'm looking for another 50n in very poor condition, so a low price, but with a good clean unmarked rotor cup to replace the one that's damaged on the 505 I bought. Then I'll sell the cr@ppy one for top dollar. Cheaper than buying a spare part.

    If it will help you here are scans of the instructions for oiling and greasing and the parts list that will help when taking it apart.
    Jeff Woodhouse: I Think I’m Going Back…-abu-506-maintenance.jpg
    Jeff Woodhouse: I Think I’m Going Back…-abu-506-parts.jpg
    "I care not what others think of what I do, but I care very much about what I think of what I do! That is character!" - Theodore Roosevelt

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    Default Re: Jeff Woodhouse: I Think I’m Going Back…

    Thanks for those diagrams Jeff. Safe to say I won't be taking it apart as past experience has taught me not to.

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