Wednesday, June 24, 2015

New-to-me USA made fishing gear

I've been dabbling with some fishing lately, and I have to say I'm put-off by cheap Chinese made reels that American based companies now sell.  The Internet's full of stories how these imports often fail right out of the package or, more commonly, within a season.

While the Chinese-made reels I've had for a few years (and have used only a few times) haven't failed yet, I'm wary of reports that the latest round of Chinese manufacture may be even less robust than what I have.

American made Zebco reels arrived today.
The rod however is a Chinese import bought for $12.99 at Academy.
So when I decided to upgrade, and add some more gear, I turned to eBay.

A very nice used Zebco 33 from the mid-1980s, arrived today. Cost me under $15 delivered, and seems to work very well. Not nearly so wobbly as the Chinese "33"incarnation I've been using.

Also arriving today was a beefier American-made Zebco 888. Also used, but in outstanding condition. Total outlay through eBay was $21.50 including shipping.  A couple of even older Zebco 33s I purchased, from the 1960s and '70s, are still inbound.

With mounting reports that new Chinese production reels are prone to failure with only light to moderate use, used U.S. manufactured ones in great condition can be had for about the same money. It seems a no brainer to go with used American, especially if you like to tinker, and don't mind picking up a second reel as a spare or for parts. If properly maintained, experience and eBay listings suggest an older American-made budget reel might last for 30, 40, even 50 years of occasional fishing.

I'm sure there's fishing snobs who will look down on my choice of reels, but the old Zebco "spincasters" are what I used as a kid growing up.  And if not fishing solo, my fishing partners today are likely to be novices borrowing one of my rigs, so I'm sticking with what I know and what's easy to use.

Also on the subject of foreign production...

The new Hoover WindTunnel vacuum cleaner I bought last February has already failed. After just four months of light household duty, the motor apparently burned out last night, making a nasty spell.

Used to be, you could buy a vacuum, even a budget one, and expect five to ten years of trouble free service. Not so anymore.

My failed unit is marked "Made in Mexico." But I'm guessing chances are good the motor came out of China.

Sent Hoover an email last night asking about warranty repair. Still waiting on a response.

Thought about buying an Oreck, but I see they too are now mostly made in China.

Are we really better off with declining quality and today's cheapness of goods that have resulted from off-shore sourcing and so-called free trade treaties?

Last year, when shopping for bicycles, I stuck to thrift stores, and found two from the 1980s.  One for a daughter, the other for me. The first was made in USA, the other out of Taiwan. Cost me a fraction of what new ones would, and they'll probably be roadworthy long after today's new Chinese production has rusted out and been sent to the crusher.

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