John Milner, a master machinist from Birmingham, England, immigrated to Canada in 1963 and shortly thereafter began repairing centerpin fishing reels in his spare time for his friends that fished the Vedder River and Fraser River. An avid salmon fisherman and born of a lineage of mechanical engineers and machinists, John decided to make his own float fishing reel one day. Working into the late evening on lathes and milling machines, he eagerly crafted his own centerpin to fish steelhead in his local BC salmon rivers.
In 1964, John completed his first centerpin reel. This ball-bearing pin reel was finished with a red plastic cap, the kind normally used to protect the threads of the massive hydraulic cylinders he built during the day.
Just over a decade later, and after countless repairs to the classics like Hardy centerpin reels, John dreamt of crafting a pin reel that would withstand steelhead fishing in the Vedder and Fraser Rivers while keeping the timeless elegance of the centerpins that first influenced him.
John’s first bushing centerpin reel, crafted in the Hardy Silex fashion, was made in 1975. The praise from friends over the completion of his reel led John to his first batch of centrepins. In 1977, John released seventeen “J.E.M. 77” bronze bushing float reels for BC salmon. Word of mouth on the river banks and in the tackle shops soon flooded John with local and international requests and in 1979 his second batch of twenty fishing reels were released and called The Talisman.
His attention to detail and its resulting reliability is now sought by dedicated fishermen worldwide who appreciate his hand-built quality and precision. John Milner began crafting The Talisman centerpin in his spare time in 1995 when he retired and moved from Vancouver to Cranbrook, BC. Forever listening and chatting with friends and fans, John released a new open-faced float reel reel in October 1998; the now equally famous centerpin, The Kingfisher.
In 2006, after support and encouragement from salmon fishing enthusiasts from Ohio and Lake Erie, John produced his first batch of ball-bearing Kingfishers.
We hope you enjoy looking at some other float fishing centerpin reels by John Milner.
John Milner’s first centerpin was a 4” ball-bearing pin.
John Milner’s second centerpin was a 3-3/4” brass bushing float reel.
Seventeen made, John Milner, “JEM 77”, 3-3/4” bushing centerpin
John Milner made twenty Talisman 4” bushing centerpin reels that were nickel and 24K gold plated.
John Milner produces first batch of twenty Kingfisher float fishing reels in 4-3/8”.
John Milner made two 4-1/4″ spey fishing reels with nickel and 24K gold plated finishes.
The first two Kingfisher reels in 5” that are designed for Ontario and Ohio steelhead fishing, are completed.
The Snipe. In tribute to Eric Milner Senior, the first 58 Snipe reels were made with a memorial inscription.
The Manx. The first 10 reels of this limited edition reel were created.
A John Milner “Big E” Kingfisher Cheese-Grater ported frame is custom made around a 5” ball bearing Kingfisher. Three more were later made “Kingfisher Big E” with Big E becoming a production model designated for Lake Erie steelhead float fishing.
The River Wraith. As a request from the eastern States, John presented the River Wraith as a lightweight trout fishing reel.