The 'Hall of Fame'

Match Aerial - The Uncontestable


My first reel was a centre-pin. A flashy, gold, pressed aluminium thing, which would spin about three revolutions when well oiled and if I was lucky. Already fixed-spools were the “must have” and I was saving hard to buy a second-hand Intrepid Standard.

But there were certain blokes – regulars in the local saddler’s and tackle shop – who claimed through clenched teeth and clouds of Old Holborn pipe smoke that a fixed-spool would never replace the Aerial Match.

They were very nearly wrong. But the first time I handled an Aerial I understood why they were so fiercely attached to it, and why centre-pins have made their come-back.

The Match Aerial, properly tuned, retrieves line at a phenomenal rate when batted. The merest suspicion of a current sets the spool in motion. It is smooth, free spinning, elegant and utterly, utterly silent.

What’s more, just like Mitchell’s first design for the Spitfire, it looks right because it is right.

I believe that the Match Aerial was the inspiration for the more recent Young’s Purist. I have one of these excellent reels and it spins just as well as its forebear but unfortunately generates a bearing noise that the original does not. Perhaps this will ease with running in over the years.

There are other Aerials that I cherish even more than the Match…the wide cage “Improved Aerial” and the delightful 3 ½ “ Aerial Popular which looks so perfectly right on a Wizard rod…but the Match Aerial is an icon.

I (and many a ghostly charabanc load of Sheffield and Nottingham anglers, probably) think it deserves a place in the Hall of Fame.


Inducted on 26/04/2007

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