Charles Dunn purchased Fin-Nor from founder Fred Grieten in 1957 and decided to expand the line of reel beyond the line-up of high quality trolling reels that made the Fin-Nor famous worldwide. Dunn, an early South Florida salt water fly fisherman, derived little pleasure from watching his Pflueger Medalist reels explode the under the pressure that a large saltwater fish could exert on a reel. Dunn's good friend, Gar Wood Jr., built Charlie a fly fishing reel that he believed would stand up to any fish that Dunn could throw a fly at and in 1962, presented it to him as a gift.
Dunn loved the reel and made a deal with Wood Jr. to produce a series of salt water fly reels that would revolutionize salt water fly fishing. In 1967 the "Wedding Cake" fly reel is introduced in the #1, #2, #3, and #4 sizes. The #1 and #2 size reels each have 3 tiers and the #3 and #4 reels each have 4 tiers. The first twelve #1 size fly reels, advertised as the "Trout Reel", were anodized black. After the first twelve black reels were sold Fin-Nor changed their color to gold to match the other reels in the series.
Fin-Nor's earliest reels had a Medalist style foot with two pillars holding the reel seat in place. The foot was soon changed to a one-piece design. Fin-Nor builds 28 of the #4 fly reels before they were discontinued due to a design error. The diameter of the #3 and #4 size reels are the same with the difference being the width of the spool. The flaw was that both reels used the same small diameter spindle (the #4 is a bit longer) which worked fine on the narrower #3 reel but was too weak for the wider #4 size reel. When a big fish started running out line against the drag on a #4 reel and the line got to the far edge of the spool it would tweak the thin spindle enough so that the spool would catch on the frame, stop the line from playing out and break the line. Instead of correcting the design flaw Fin-Nor discontinued the #4 and redesigned the #3 to have only 3 tiers so that it would look like the #1 and #2 size reels. There were only about 97 of the extra tier #3 size reels produced.
"Wedding Cake" fly reels were also sold in a presentation set which included the #1, #2 and #3 reels in a fine wood box designed specifically to fit them. Later in their production, "Wedding Cake" reels received a counter-balance courtesy of Stu Apt and they stayed pretty much the same from that point on. Fin-Nor discontinued the Wedding Cake" fly reel in 1976 and later produced both direct drive and anti-reverse reels.
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