Reel wizardry

While travelling  through Australia we had the pleasure to cross path with several of the great names of fishing in the country. One of the legends we were hoping to meet at some stage, was Jack Erskine. When still in Switzerland, we read a lot about him and his contribution to big game fishing in Australia and the USA. More than 40 years ago, Jack started designing and building high end fishing tackle and he is still running Jack’s Precision Reel Engineering in Cairns, the number one address for anyone wanting to improve his or her fishing gear. He is also an outstanding fisherman and has caught many billfish on fly. In 2009, Jack was inducted into the IGFA (International Game Fishing Association) Hall of Fame for his achievements.

So when the drag on one of our baitcasting reels started playing up while up on the Atherton Tableland, it was time to get serious and give Jack Erskine a call. A friendly voice on the phone patiently answered our questions and despite the fact that he was more than busy with work, Jack asked us to come down to his workshop and see him. Having access to the best workmanship, we took several of our reels with us. Our idea was to have the drags on these reels serviced, to get the original carbon fiber washers exchanged for Jack’s famous Carbon Tex washers and have the spool shaft bearings upgraded to ceramic Boca bearings as well.

When we arrived at the workshop, we were greeted by Daniel, one of Jack’s two sons, and his very talented successor in the engineering business. Daniel showed us their workshop, which looked almost like a Swiss watch manufacturer’s place. Immaculately organized, with every tool at its particular place and a lot of machinery to do whatever job is required. Just a little later Jack welcomed us like friends and we enjoyed talking fishing to the two Erskines very much indeed. Five days after our first visit, we picked up our reels again. What a difference Daniel’s work had made! The drags were much smoother and up to 50% stronger as well. And thanks to the ceramic bearings, the spools turned even easier than before and spun like a devil. We had the pleasure to hear some more tales about fishing and the amazing work they do. And what a humble experience to see a man in his early seventies being as keen and passionate about what he has been doing for so many years as when he started it all. Daniel, the young gun, was converting overhead reels from right to left hand retrieve at the time and showed us how he improved the overall built quality and performance of the reels in the process.

Jack has been a member of the Cairns Game Fishing Club for many years and he invited us to come along and have dinner with the club members. On the day of the dinner, Jack had organized another surprise for us and drove us to a long time friend of his, who showed us the most amazing private collection of fishing tackle we’ve ever seen. The sheer amount of thousands of lures, reels, rods and accessories, most of them made in Australia, left us speechless. What an amazing time we had looking at those treasures and listening to the stories behind it all. And the club dinner at one of Cairns landmarks, the Cock & Bull Pub, was another highlight. Jack and his lovely wife Veronica drove us to the venue and what awaited us was spectacular: An entire room covered in game fishing paraphernalia. Thanks to the very friendly and welcoming club members, we felt right at home and time went by far too quick once more. Can’t wait to be back in Cairns and to spend some more time with the Erskines and the crew.

If you own reels that need to be serviced, drags that have to be improved or any other seemingly impossible task, give Jack or Daniel a call or visit If it can be done, they will be able to do it. And they have state of the art lubricants and drag grease for your precious reels as well.

You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.
Both comments and pings are currently closed.

Comments are closed.