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Australian Antique Vintage Fishing Reel History Reference, Jenkin Bros Game Reel.

ReeLpedia ®   by Bernard (Bernie) Ladd, 25/3/2012.

Jenkin Brothers Engineers Melbourne, Victoria Australia. Three brothers, Graham [engineer], Bob [sheet metal technician], and Bruce [engineer] began their engineering factory in Bayswater Melbourne, in 1974. Over the years, the Jenkin Brothers achieved various awards for excellence in their engineering production.


They were also known as Big Game fishermen who were frequently using a Kenworth prime mover to tow their 36' Bertram boat and 4-wheel drive, to various fishing locations in NSW and Victoria. Their enthusiasm for Game fishing, led them to design, in 1981, a heavy-duty Big Game ball bearing reel, consisting of aluminium alloy body and a twin-disc clutch drag system.


When I interviewed the Jenkin brothers in March 2012, I noted Bob Jenkin commenting: "You could drop it in a bucket of water and the drag system would still work perfectly without sticking! " Bob and his brothers manufactured six Game reels in total. Production was discontinued, as it was deemed to be not cost-effective. The limited manufacture of the reel was followed by yet another project that the Jenkin Brothers embarked upon. In 1982, they designed a Big Game Salt-water Fly reel, which is rumored to have taken a 400lb Dog Tooth Tuna! Production costs incurred in the manufacture of this reel were also deemed as not feasible. Only five of these Salt-water Fly reels were manufactured at the Bayswater engineering plant.


Sometime during 1983, the design prototype of the Jenkin Brothers Big Game Salt-water Fly reel was taken up by another engineering company, which aimed to mass-produce it. The company tried to cut production costs by reducing the thickness of the alloy body and crank, the foot was also changed to Aluminium. Soon into production, it was realized they could not compete with the international market. Only 20 of these reels were manufactured. I have allowed my enthusiasm to propel me to seek further information about those involved in this particular project. At this stage, I have not been able to come across anyone who knew anything about this, other than Jenkin Brothers themselves.


Jenkin Brothers engineering company was sold to the current owners in 2005. Graham, Bob, and Bruce are now enjoying their retirement at their large picturesque property near the Victorian Dandenongs. Compiled by Bernard Ladd (Ladd 2012)

JENKIN Big Game fishing reel made in Australia by Jenkin engineering
JENKIN Magnum H D - 15 Game reel maker Jenkin engneering
JENKIN Magnum H D - 15 Game reel maker Jenkin engneering
JENKIN Magnum H D - 15 Game reel maker Jenkin engneering

Jenkin Bros Engineers, Melbourne, Australia. Magnum H D - 15 Twin Drag Game reel. -c 1981 Machined, aluminium alloy bar; Gold anodized side diameter's 10cm; width 13cm; spool 8cm. Twin nonstick drag; free spool and drag lever. S/S one-way crank ball bearings, optional check; knurled secondary drag set; stainless steel crank and saddle.

Information Courtesy Jenkin Brothers Melbourne, Victoria.

Photo of Engineer Graham Jenkin holding his JENKIN game reel

Engineer Graham Jenkin, presenting here 1 of 6 Big game reels designed and made by Jenkin Brothers Engineering -c 1981.

JENKIN Magnum salt water Game Fly reel
JENKIN Magnum salt water Game Fly reel
JENKIN Magnum salt water Fly reel

Jenkin Brothers, Melbourne, Australia. Magnum saltwater Game Fly reel - c 1982. Turned from Aluminium alloy stock bar, one-way heavy-duty crank direct drive, Delrin drag wheel, permanent check; and stainless steel foot. The initial production resulted in only five reels. The quality, workmanship, and time involved, rendered this reel as not cost-effective for any further production. Information Courtesy Jenkin Brothers, Melbourne Victoria.

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