Lorenzo Cecil Mitchell-Henry was born in London in 1866. Mitchell-Henry came from an affluent family, attended Eaton and later completed his education in Heidelberg Germany. He learned to shoot at a young age and was a crack shot. He also had his own steam yacht with a crew of four from which he learned to fish. Mitchell-Henry had a passion of invention, he fashioned his own trawling nets as well as a shotgun cartridge called the "Henrite". During WWII he invented a machine gun mounting for coastal patrol boats. He also invented a rocket-like missile that attached to a thin steel cable for becoming entangled in propellers of enemy bombers.
Being both an avid sportsman and an inventor, Mitchell-Henry fished for tarpon in Florida with Edward vom Hofe reels that he had improved upon by adding a band style drag of his own invention to the rear side-plate. In 1913 Mitchell-Henry moved to Montreal Canada and was introduced to "Tunny Fishing". Having had success catching tarpon with a reel of his own design, Mitchell-Henry now decided to test it against the strength of a giant bluefin tuna. In 1914 he landed a 520 pounder, the first tuna caught on rod and reel unaided in the open sea off Nova Scotia.
In 1926, after World War I, Mitchell-Henry came out with a new reel that improved on his earlier efforts; the reel was manufactured by S. Allcock & Co. Ltd. of Reddich England. To complement the reel he also invented a harness, swivels, a rod guide and a rod rest to go with it. During construction of the first batch of reels, he came up with an even better idea and started in on having that model built straight away. In 1930 he used this new outfit to land a 560-pound tuna, the first caught in the North Sea on rod and reel. In 1933, using a Mitchell-Henry rod and reel, he landed a world record, 851-pound bluefin tuna.
Mitchell-Henry reels had a very distinctive look with their band style drum brake drag mounted, fully exposed to the elements, on the outside of the rear side-plate. In 1937 Mitchell-Henry came out with a new reel, this model was made of Micarta with the drag inside the frame of the reel. This new model had a narrow spool and came equipped with a second handle that could be added to the opposite side of the reel. The main handle on the right side of the reel was set up for a one to one ratio of retrieve. The second handle on the left side of the reel was geared for a three to one ratio of retrieve. Both handles would ratchet if the angler choose to pump the fish in instead of the winding the line in the conventional way. The reel came in three sizes. The first was a 2-inch size for salmon and there were two larger sizes for tuna fishing, a 9-inch model and a 10-inch model. Mitchell-Henry died in 1965 at the age of 99.
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