C. Gayle Reels – Frankfort, KY

C. Gayle reels were made after Clarence took over the G. W. Gayle & Son company in Frankfort, KY when his father George died in 1896. Clarence continued to make the reels that he and his father had made up until the late 1940’s. His reels can be found in sizes ranging from small fly reels up to large big game reels. Clarence also made reels for the famous tackle companies VL&A of Chicago and William Mills & Son of NY. The William Mills & Son models were named “Intrinsic”. “Intrinsic” bait casting reels came in the “Standard” and “Frankfort Reel” styles and had extra fancy knurling. They also made Tarpon and Salmon “Intrinsic” reels for William Mills & Son.

C. Gayle, the reel maker, started marking his reels “HAND MADE” in about 1930. The last reels were marked “HAND MADE” and the maker’s name “C Gayle” in script. Clarence did make some reels using B.C. Milam & Sons parts that he had acquired when that company dissolved in 1928. Typically, these reels have Milam marked head plates with Gayle handles and Gayle style knurling. The last Gayle reel ad can be found in a 1946 issue of “Kentucky Happy Hunting Grounds” magazine. Gayle also made an inexpensive fly reel named the “Simplicity.” It was made in several models and was mass produced. Clarence died in 1948.

2 c gayles



The Small CLARENCE GAYLE Tournament Reel

2 more c gayles

CLARENCE GAYLE Tournament and B.C. Milam Parts Reels

1937 c gayle ad

1937 Field & Stream Ad Showing Reel Using B.C. Milam Reel Parts


The CLARENCE GAYLE Multiplying Fly Reel

The CLARENCE GAYLE Salmon Reel made for Wm. Mills

The CLARENCE GAYLE 9/0 Size Reel

Clarence Gayle Size 3 Reel

The CLARENCE GAYLE “Intrinsic” Reels Made for Wm. Mills & Son

The CLARENCE GAYLE “Intrinsic” Reels in Mills 1909 Catalog

The CLARENCE GAYLE Reel Made for VL&A, Circa 1900

The CLARENCE GAYLE “Hand Made” Marked Reels

The “New Gayle” Design Variations

The GAYLE “Simplicity” Fly Reel, Circa 1930

The GAYLE Lure

GEO. W. GAYLE & SON 1946 Magazine Ads

gayle letter

1929 CLARENCE GAYLE Flyer Sent to Customers

The 1935 GAYLE Reel Catalog

To read articles written about Clarence Gayle, click on the links below.

To see magazine articles written about the history of the Kentucky Reel, click on the links below.