Pflueger Fishing Tackle Co. has been manufacturing and selling fishing tackle since 1881. I’m not sure when the first Medalist 1400 series fly reels were introduced, but it had to be a long time ago. I am familiar with 6 models of the first Medalist 1400 series that Pflueger made. They include the numbers: 1492, 1492-1/2, 1494, 1494-1/2, 1495, 1495-1/2, 1498 and 1498-1/2. The difference between the models that have the same number is the width of the coil. For example, the 1495 and 1495-1/2 have the same spool diameter, but the 1495-1/2 had a wider spool that would hold more fly line backing. The 1492 and 1498 models did not seem to be very popular. The 1492 is a very small reel with a 2-3/16″ diameter spool. The 1498, which had a 3-11/16″ diameter spool. reel, it was big and heavy for its time. All 1400s have a fairly adjustable drag system and originally came with a right crank, which can be converted to a left crank if desired. All early 1400’s have a black hard enamel finish.

Consider the models that were made in the USA in the mid 50’s, 60’s and 70’s, they were, and still are, a highly durable and reliable fly reel. Medalist 1400 series fly reels can be a good budget back up reel, a fly reel for in-laws, or a starter reel for the beginning fly fisherman. Also, you can buy one of these reels almost like new for a very good price on the used market. There are three models to consider depending on your needs. The wide model #1494-1/2 is a nice little trout fly reel. It has a 2-11/16″ diameter spool that easily holds 50 yards of 20 lb. fly line backing and WF-5 fly line. The #1495 narrow spool also holds trout that is 3 1/8″ in diameter. /16″. The reel will hold 75 yards of 20lb backing and a WF-7 fly line. The #1495-1/2 wide spool used for larger game fish is the same spool diameter as the #1495 and can hold about 150 yards of 20lb fly line backing and a WF-8 fly line.

The newest member of the Medalist fly reels is the foreign made 1500RC series. These newer versions are basically the same reel as the 1400 series, but the 1500RCs have an aluminum alloy spool and edge control frame. The “RC” is a very popular feature with many of the newer fly reels on the market today. It allows the angler to “palm” the reel and, if necessary, increase the drag pressure when fighting a big fish. Why is this important to you if you own an older 1400 series Medalist? Here’s the good news: the spools are interchangeable. So, if you are the proud owner of a 1960 Pflueger Medalist model #1495, you can go to your local sports dealer or fly shop and order a new Medalist 1595 RC (rim control) spool and it will fit your old #1495.

The only problem you may have with the Medalist series fly reels is the screws that hold the reel frame together, they can get loose and need to be tightened from time to time. This can be resolved with Lock Tight cement found at local hardware stores.

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