The Reels that Started it All…

Back in the early 90’s I was fresh out of the military and enrolled in college. I had 3 part-time jobs with one of them working for a local sporting goods store. I was hired into the Fishing Department which I thought was pretty cool. I spent a lot of time drooling over the display case containing the fishing reels. Being the typical broke college student, I couldn’t afford a nice reel. Keep in mind that up to this point about all I had used for a reel was a Zebco33 and its ilk. I hated that reel and still do to this day, so I opted to try a spinning reel.

After careful consultation with my meager budget and Frank, who was the Department Manager and a hard-core angler, I opted for the Shimano TX-4000 reel. I figured it was big enough to catch anything in Oklahoma and elsewhere. I even matched it with a Shimano TX series rod. If I recall correctly…the reel cost me $34.99 and the rod was $19.99. And of course I got an employee discount so it what somewhat less than that. I just remember strutting out of there like a peacock thinking I had the “ultimate” setup.

I caught a ton of pike and smallmouth with this reel when I fished up in either Ontario or the Boundary Waters. But I quickly learned that the TX-4000 was overkill and ended up purchasing a TX-1000 and a matching TX rod. I fished that combo for about 10 years and caught thousands of fish with it. I ultimately retired those reels to my display case and they hold the central position of honor; not because they are high-end reels but from the sheer number of good memories they provided.

Made in Singapore. The TX-4000 was made in Malaysia.
The TX-4000 had two ball bearings whereas the TX-1000 had one.
For a beginner, the QuickFire2 trigger was a small blessing.

All I can say is that these reels served me well and I beat them to hell and back and they never let me down. Reels have come a long way and get better with each iteration, but these two will always hold a special place in my heart. 30+ years later, when I turn the handles I am amazed at how rough and clunky they are. But I guarantee that I thought they were smooth as silk back in the day. Heck, I might even fish the TX-1000 one more time next year just for old times sake. Nowadays I will admit that I’m just spoiled and much prefer the higher end reels, but these will always “get the nod.”

Thanks for reading.

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