I love gear with miles. I’ve put plenty of my own on tackle, but I’ve always been charmed by gear—fly reels in particular— that already has a past, even if I may never know its whole story. At yard sales and flea markets, I’m on a quest. I’m not interested in dime-a-dozen Pflueger Medalists or reels so old that you’d just put them on a shelf. I want classics and discontinued gems that were built to be fished hard and passed on. A scratched and dented Billy Pate I found in a central Pennsylvania junk shop is always with me offshore. I’ve got a Penn International that comes on every steelhead trip. A recently acquired Old Florida is one missing part away from making it into my striper rotation. I can get my hands on almost any new fly reel, but it’s not the same as holding one I resurrected from a dusty box, knowing that after a little grease and polish, I’ll be the one that adds the next chapter to its story.