LEE’S – Miami Fl.
Roswell Lee was not an angler but made many contributions to big game fishing through his innovative efforts. Lee worked out of his father's Miami sports shop, which opened around 1920 at 324 N.E. 13 St. in Miami. Witnessing Fin-Nor's recent success, Roswell Lee saw an opportunity to jump into a quickly expanding big game reel market. With help from his father, Lee purchased a lathe and other machining tools. Lacking practical experience as a machinist the young Lee bought a book on the subject and, according to Lee in a 1996 interview, he "read and studied it like the bible".
Lee's first reels were large 16/0 size reels that could hold 900 yards of 54 thread line that he named the "BIMINI". Like the Fin-Nor reels, Lee's reels were made specifically to catch the monster marlin and tuna that anglers were pursuing just 50 miles away in the Bahamas. The drag was similar to that of the Fin-Nor reel with an outside-the-frame drag housing and controls for the free-spool, and drag adjustment located on the side of the drag housing.
1938 Lee had internalized his drag and improved his drag controls. This second version reel came in two models. One model had the standard single handle. The second version would adapt a second handle that would attach to the rear side of the reel so that the angler could fight a fish by cranking with both hands. All Lee's reel came with a free three-year service and maintenance guarantee.
Lee's reels were well respected by anglers but, he ultimately choose to move in another direction, manufacturing a fine array of rod components, rod holders and outriggers. It is believed that about 14 to 16 Lee Reels were made. Lee ceased production of big game reels at the onset of World War II but after the war continued to make fishing components. The company is still in business today.
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