Pflueger Medalist; What to look for...

Discussion in 'Bamboo, Fiberglass & Classic Reels' started by chrome/22, Apr 30, 2012.

  1. Noticed the bigger size of this retro fly reel is getting popular on some of the spey & switch rods, even on some single handed steelhead 6-8 weights they are being used. Looking at them on eBay the prices are all over the map, what are the valuable ones a gear-head like me should keep an eye out for ?

  2. If it were me, I'd look for one of the early ones with a metal latch plate as opposed to plastic, a round line guard, sculpted pillars and as much of the original finish left on it as possible.
    These early ones were really well engineered with tighter tolerances than the newer models and they purr because of it.
    Plus, they're just a nice looking and functional reel from the days when quality mattered more to people.
    fredaevans likes this.
  3. I have a 5/6wt with cosmetic issues. No dents or scratches, just paint flaked off. Let me know if you interested.
  4. If I was looking to add one to my collection, I'd be looking for the oldest one in the best condition I could find. If I wanted to fish one, I'd just buy the first one I found at a decent price.

  5. forgot to mention that mine is the 1494-1/2 DA
  6. The large Medalist is the 1498. I use one on a spey rod. I use a 1495 1/2 on a #7 switch rod. Try and find the oldest ones with metal parts. There was an individual making aftermarket metal parts for the Medalists (One P Foot) but no longer. Parts are now just about impossible to find. Good luck.
  7. Roger that, thanx for the info.

  8. Thanks for the link Jack, I've been using Medalists since I was a kid. I have an old reel that was my Dad's and I always wondered how old it is, the best I can tell it is an early 60's 1498. I use it on my 14'er and it works well.
  9. If the printing above the reel foot says 1498 is probably around 1952+.1498 Made in Akron O it is 1959+.1498 DA are the last ones made in the USA.If it says CJ it was made in Japan.You can get Onepfoot products now at don't make Medalists anymore and the prices are going up.
  10. I agree with one caveat, I would stay away from the CJ's and AK's, I had a 1492 break on me.
  11. I have two 1495's that were given to me as a tip from a client, both in excellent mechanical condition, but not cosmetically. One is on my Eagle Claw glass rod, the other I haven't found a use for just yet, waiting for the first bamboo rod I suppose.
  12. Older Medalists have considerable collector value. I acquired a 1494 a few years ago which was apparently a pre-1937 model. 1937 was the year when the adjustable drag was introduced; pre-1937 models of the 1494 and larger models had only a spring-and-pawl check mechanism (the 1492 always had, and still does, a spring-and-pawl check). The things to look for on older Medalists are: the aluminum spool-latch button, the round, "Diamolite" line guard, the amber-colored handle and the sculpted pillars.

    A while back I came across what was apparently a very early adjustable-drag model. Although it featured an adjustable drag, it seemed to be an example of using up the existing stock of reel castings. The reel body lacks the lug to house the drag-control button of later models and the location of the rivets to attach the various bits and pieces of the adjustable-drag mechanism are crowded and obviously not part of the original design.

    Just a few days ago, I bought another click-and-pawl 1494 on E-Bay and am looking forward to its arrival. It doesn't appear to be quite as nice, finish-wise, as the one I have, but I fully intend to load it up and use it.
  13. These are part of our history in the Pacific Northwest. I've used and admired them since the 1950s. The 1495 1/2 model was the standard on fly rods used in Northern California's Eel River when I arrived in the 1970's; everybody who didn't have the bucks for a Hardy was catching their chinook and steelhead with Medalists. Today I use a circa 1959 model 1498 for my winter fishing with 8wt rods. I enjoy the look on the faces of the recently-converted fly fishers I meet afield as they hold their fancy, new high-tech (high price) wonders.

    The bigger Medalists hold a bunch of line/backing, have trustworthy drag mechanisms and will take a beating. Just try dropping your micro-tolerance machined reel on the rocks a time or two, and see if you can get it working again.

    Look for a USA-made reel with all its parts, and in good working condition - who cares if it has all its finish. I kinda like the honest wear on my Medalist. You can easily replace most parts that are in need by also purchasing a beater/parts reel via ebay. Look for damaged reels and you can find a bargain. After taking it apart and lubricating internal bits, add the counterweight to your spool(s) and you are ready for anything. The One Pfoot company is back up and running (under new ownership), offering replacement parts such as counterbalances, drag plates, screws and the like. Sometimes you can find the One Pfoot stuff on Ebay too.

    These reels have a long history of use in saltwater too; back in the day they were among the first reels used by flyfishers stalking stripers, snook and even tarpon! For my money, there's no better heavyweight steelhead reel considering the cost/benefit ratio. For under $100 you can have a counterbalanced-spool workhorse. Weighs more than the high-end stuff, but I am never bothered as I throw my big intruders.
  14. I have quite a few medalists. In fact, all my old Fenwick Glass rods have medalists on them. All mine are older made in the US models.

    And you guys use them for spey lines?????? Hmmmmmm. Must be the newer heads I'm assuming. I know most of the traditional lines WON'T fit on them with any backing. I know I tried loading up my old 1498 and there wasn't enough room. But those were older lines too.
  15. Jerry,
    I use a 1495 1/2 on a 7 switch rod and I use a 1498 on my spey rod. The 1498 has a large capacity. I've had the reels since the 60's. They have been well taken care of and fixed up a bit with One P Foot parts.
  16. Jack I only fished salmon and steelhead as a kid. So have quite a few of them in the 1498 range I bought well used in the late 70s and early 80s. WhenI started throwing a spey again in the early 90s I could not get a line with any backing on the 1498. Moved up to the big saltwater reels to have some room. But those were real two handed lines back then.
  17. I still have several from my dad and Gramps, including in-laws. Some of which were mostly broken but I have purchased upgraded parts from: and I have successfully refurnished to very useful very old ones.
    Jeff Dodd likes this.
  18. I recently acquired this classic 1495 Medalist. The spool had already been completely stripped of its paint and there was some evidence of the paint on the frame having been shoddily touched up. Just to fully prepare it for whatever I finally decide to do with it, I carefully stripped the rest of the finish with acetone and Q-tips. I was rather surprised at how attractive it looked in the nude.

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