Skeleton fly reel: (noun). A small fishing reel with perforated spool, usually of simple stamped frame or riveted construction.*
Skeleton-style, raised pillar fly reels are among the more common types of fly fishing reels collectors, antique hunters and flea marketeers might encounter in the field. Although the definition above* was made up, it's my effort to define these sometimes common, but always interesting fishing reels. One of the early examples, the Meisselbach Featherlight No 270, is shown here, and dates to the early 1900s, but this style of fly reel has been made for more than a century as is still being made and sold today. Bamboo fly rod aficionados and anglers who have discovered the smooth casting of early fiberglass fly rods also know how much fun it is to attach an antique reel of classic design to one of those rods. This website is meant to show some of the many different manufacturers and variations of skeleton fly reels, to highlight ways a collector can determine a reel maker - even if the reel is unmarked - and to shamelessly promote my book, Skeletons: A Collector's Guide to Raised Pillar Fly Reels, published by Whitefish Press. I welcome questions and tips about skeleton-style fly reels you've discovered for your collections.