Thursday, September 6, 2012

The St. Croix / Cosmo Fishing Machine

File this under " Cool Flea Market Finds " , or at least cool to me.

I had a chance to visit an extremely large flea market last weekend , and managed to pick up this cool little telescopic rod/reel combo. I've honestly never seen one before and was pretty intrigued. I could have wasted my five bucks on something else , but I just had to add this little guy to my collection.

There isn't really a ton of info online about these things , past expired eBay auctions and snippets of conversation buried in fishing and antiques forums , but I did manage to find out that they were made sometime around 1976. Mine is a Cosmo brand , but apparently they were also sold under the St. Croix name at some point. It's kind of a chicken or egg conundrum for me right now , since I'm not entirely sure whether St. Croix made them for Cosmo or Cosmo made them for St. Croix , though I suspect the latter.

Regardless , it's a neat little rod and reel. I would certainly rather take my chances with this 5 foot rod and surprisingly smooth reel , than I would with it's main (and more successful) competitor , the Ronco Popeil Pocket Fisherman. It kind of blows my mind that I've never seen one of these before , but I assume it was only made for a year or two in an attempt to steal some of Ronco's market , and then discarded after it couldn't compete with legendary late night infomercial king , Ron Popeil.

Enjoy the bad photos , and leave me a comment if you have any information about this combo!

The squarest reel in the world.

With fancy red accents.

Kind of reminds me of an old camera , with the black and chrome.
It takes very little to amuse me these days. On another matter , I have some great things in the works for the next week or two that might even involve a fishing trip.

Have a great week!

36 comments:

  1. I've seen the Ronco one, but never this one. I would have bought it too just because it's so different.

    Mark

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    1. That's what lured me in Mark. I've seen most everything when it comes to rods and reels , but this was a new one for me.

      I did miss out on an awesome antique wooden deep sea rod with handmade (blacksmith) reel seat , and a very nice no name bamboo surf rod. I just don't carry that kind of cash around. I'm already regretting not getting those two :)

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  2. how much are these now/

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    1. The only info I've reaaly been able to find was closed Ebay auctions - most went for around $25.00. I was lucky to find mine at a flea market for 5 dollars. A collector might pay more for one in really good condition , or if it was a St. Croix. Mine is a Cosmo and lacks the ST. Croix name.

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  3. can you still fix these kinds of rods/

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    1. Finding parts would be a big problem unless you had two. Maybe someone who does reel repairs and rodsmithing could help you out? Changing it to much would hurt the value in many collectors' eyes , ,and you always run the risk of damaging it further by tampering with it.

      To me , they have a certain value just as the oddity they are. Neat little combo for sure , and I'm positive you could catch fish with one!

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    2. Hi. did you get an owner's manual with this? I found two in the trash the other day. it had a pleather carrying case.

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    3. I didn't get an owner's manual with mine , and as with anything of that vintage I assume it is increasingly harder to find as the years go by. I think they originally sold for $25.00 or so , and as I think about the fishing gear I buy now it dawned on me that I rarely ever save manuals on relatively inexpensive items. Small wonder any have survived at all.

      A quick Google search didn't turn up anything for me , though I did find an expired ebay auction that had the original packaging and manual(s) included with the rod/reel combo and carrying bag.

      If you are looking for the manual to possibly rebuild or repair the two you found , contacting St. Croix may be your best choice because it is possible they may have an old parts list or diagram that could be emailed to you , or possibly even a .pdf file with the complete manual.

      Good luck!

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  4. Hi there, anyone know how to use these rod and reel combo?? I have just bought one due to it being rare and different? How do I get the line to coil back around the spinal that the line is around, I just can't see how the line gets back on to the spool. PLEASE HELP. Many thanks for rainy England

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    1. A few things could be happening :

      1. There is a pin that pops out of the upper part of the spool , this grabs the line and wraps it around the actual spool as you turn the handle. If the internal mechanism is broken it may not be working correctly.

      2. The cap must be on for it to work properly. Most spincasting reels are like this. The pin mentioned above will not pick up the line if the cap is not on.

      3. Some spincasting reels require a certain amount of tension to be on the line before the pin will "catch" the line to begin wrapping it around the spool. Basically the same principal as the reel cap having to be on.

      4. The push button that allows you to cast may be broken or stuck. If this is the case , it probably isn't letting the mechanism disengage?

      Sorry I can't be of any more assistance , but feel free to contact me via the email form on the "Contact Us" page above. Perhaps we can find a fix for your problem if we send a picture or two back and forth across the pond!

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  5. My grandfather LOVED fishing and I found one of these (the ST. Croix version) in his collection after he passed away back in 1994. I know I kept a lot of his "cool" stuff, especially a good bit of his fishing supplies/rods, but I just stumbled upon this little gizmo again while cleaning out my garage last weekend. I was about to put it in a yard sale our neighborhood was having but decided to do a little research first. Your blog here has inspired me to hold onto it and take it for a test run the next time we're at the lake:). TY

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    1. They are neat little combos , and definitely something you should hold on to. I think your grandfather would be very happy if you took it fishing :)

      Thanks for stopping by and taking time to leave a comment , and for sharing such a cool story about your grandfather.

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    2. Hi, We recieved this same exact fishing pole in a donation. Everything is the same, except on the top of the pole, in the black handle part it has Cosom. I am wondering if this is a type-o. Do you know anything about this? It also came in a pleather carring case, but no owners manuel.

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    3. I've never heard of any being made with typos , but of course that doesn't mean much because of the scarcity of any real information about these rod/reel combos.

      The only thing I can think of is that maybe a mistake was made when they were setting up molds to make the frame. I know very little about injection molding , but I do know that lots of companies can make two similar products for two different customers by just changing the tooling a little bit. Of course , I'm not even sure these are made by injection molding , so take that with a grain of salt.

      Depending on how many were made with the typo , it could add significant value to yours , but unfortunately as of right now they aren't very collectible other than as an oddity or a neat little piece of fishing history. They average around 20-25 dollars on the ebay auctions I have seen , so I assume the typo would add possibly another 5-10 dollars to that at most. If you received it as a charitable donation and want to sell it , I would recommend ebay as your best chance to get a decent price for it , since most people would only be willing to spend a few dollars for it at a rummage sale, if that.

      Sorry I couldn't be more helpful!

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  6. Going through my dads fishing gear and found his. Brings back good Times

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    1. Thanks for stopping by and taking time to leave a comment!

      Nothing like those fond memories of fishing with dad!

      I've actually been very touched by the sentimental comments , and emails I've received regarding this reel. It makes me happy to know that something I post here has been able to bring a little bit of joy to someone , however small. It's always amazing to me to see how fishing is a common thread in so many peoples' lives , from all walks of life , and it's telling that a lot of us have fond memories of time on the water with dad , grandad , even mom , and grandma.

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  7. My fiancé was given 1 by his uncle but we can't seem 2 get the cap off, can anyone tell me how?

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    1. I'd have to get mine out to make sure, but it should just twist off - it'll either be threaded or just take a quarter turn and then pull straight off. A lot of closed face reels will get grit or gummed up and can be tough to get off. Maybe some warm soapy water or a little machine oil will loosen things up so it will come off.

      Thanks for stopping by!

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  8. I just saw one of these at a yard sale today. Could have had it for $5, but was afraid my son would laugh at me. Maybe I should have gotten it just for the novelty.

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    1. They are a neat little novelty, if nothing else. For what they are, they wouldn't be terrible to fish with, but I wouldn't want to tangle with anything big.

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  9. Hi...I bought one of these today on Ebay for $9.99. I am looking forward to using it. The telescopic combos I have been seeing all look dirt cheap. As this is a vintage model, and has survived, it is a keeper. And a conversation starter!

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    1. I think you might be surprised by how well it works, considering what it is. I know I would certainly use mine if need be. Maybe try some 6 pound line? Definitely stop in and let us know how it works out for you!

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    2. I got one the other day and its in perfect shape has pleather case and an excellent condition owners manual

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    3. Congrats on finding one with an owner's manual. They are pretty rare, from what I've heard. I'd love to see one, just out of curiosity.

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  10. I just found the st croix version at s yard sale yesterday for 5$ had a friend offer me 20 tonight I told him money can't buy memories with my kid and I thought it was bad ass when I spotted it.

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  11. I just bought 2 of these at a yard sale with the leather cases and original tackle unopened and poles where never used $5 for both, they are St. Croix and I never heard of or seen them before. I read about the range finder and I can't wait to use them such an awesome find

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  12. I just bought 2 of these at a yard sale with the leather cases and original tackle unopened and poles where never used $5 for both, they are St. Croix and I never heard of or seen them before. I read about the range finder and I can't wait to use them such an awesome find

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  13. My Pop (who was also our Scout Master) actually purchased one of these to take on camping trips back in the 70s.

    The first time he took it out and tried it, the reel wouldn't cast properly...wouldn't go more than 5ft. So, he dropped in the bottom of his tackle box and, to my knowledge, never tried to use it again.

    I came across it again when going through his things, after his death in the spring of 2013...still laying in the bottom of that old tackle box, after more than 40 years.

    I took it home and decided to clean it up and actually got it working properly. It caught it's first fish in March 12th 2014...exactly one year, to the day, after his death.

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    1. That's an awesome story! Thank you for sharing

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    2. That's an awesome story! Thank you for sharing

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  14. i found one today 6/12/16 at a flea market and got t for $2 and just kinda want to know more about it because its so different from anything i have ever seen

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    1. They are neat little rods. Unfortunately there isn't much info about them online . I do what I can, lol. Email me through the contact page if I can help :-)

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  15. I begged and begged for the St Croix Fishing Machine as a kid even though it cost a fortune ($25 at the time). Best Christmas ever (Thanks Dad), I fished with it for about 3 years before the line and reel became a disaster and I graduated to open reel. Reading this makes me wish I still had it.

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  16. Just acquired one today missing reel crank handle but had to have it

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  17. I had one when I was a kid. I remember it would cast a mile.

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  18. I found a Typo Cosom version today in Miami FL - thanks for the info !

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