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Lorenzo Mitchell-Henry

Lorenzo Mitchell-Henry was born in London in 1866.  He attended Eaton and later completed his education in Heidelberg Germany.  He learned to shoot at a young age and was a crack shot.  He also had his own steam yacht with a crew of four from which he learned to fish.  He had a passion of invention, he fashioned a trawling net as well as the "Henrite" shotgun cartridge.  During WWII he invented a machine gun mounting for coastal patrol boats. He also invented a rocket-like missile that attached to a thin steel cable for becoming entangled in propellers of enemy bombers.

In 1913 Lorenzo moved to Montreal Canada where he was introduced to "Tunny Fishing".  Being both an avid sportsman and an inventor he had fished for tarpon in Florida with Edward vom Hofe reels that he had improved upon by adding a band style drag of his own invention to the rear side plate.  He now set out to catch a giant bluefin tunny on a reel of his own design and in 1914 he landed a 520 pounder, the first tunny caught on rod and reel unaided in the open sea off Nova Scotia.

In 1926, after World War I, Lorenzo came out with a new reel that improved on his earlier efforts; the reel was manufactured by S. Allcock & Co. Ltd. of Reddich England.  To complement the reel he also invented a harness, swivels, a rod guide and a rod rest to go with it.  During the construction of this reel, he came up with an even better idea and started in on having that model built straight away.  In 1930 he used this new outfit to land a 560lb tunny, the first caught in the North Sea on rod and reel.  In 1933, using a Mitchell-Henry rod and reel, he landed a world record, 851lb bluefin tunny.

Mitchell-Henry reels had a very distinctive look with their band style drum brake drag mounted on the outside of the rear side-plate being fully exposed.  In 1937 Lorenzo came out with a new reel, this model was made of Micarta with the drag built into the reel.  This new model had a narrow spool and came equipped with a second handle that could be added to the opposite side of the reel.  The main handle on the right side of the reel was set up for a one to one ratio of retrieve.

Lorenzo Mitchell-Henry Tunny Fish

The second handle on the left side of the reel was geared for a three to one ratio of retrieve.  The reel came in three sizes.  The first was a 2 inch size for salmon and there were two larger sizes for tunny fishing, a 9 inch model and a 10 inch model.


Lorenzo died in 1965 at the age of 99.

Lorenzo Mitchell-Henry
Mitchell-Henry Tunny Fishing Reels
Lorenzo Mitchell-Henry - Tunny Fishing Scarborough

BBC News Article

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