Seamaster reels were the invention of Robert Lee McChristian, Jr. He was born in New York, NY on August 1, 1912, and his reel making was later in Miami, FL. In the 1920’s, his father moved the family to Chicago where he was a machinist for an auto manufacturing company. Later in the 1920’s the McChristian family moved to Miami, FL. In the 1930’s, Bob was a member of the Dade County Tennis Doubles team and won many tournaments. In the late 1930’s, Bob’s father had a business of making patent models using the machinist skills he acquired while working for the auto industry. In the 1940’s, he helped his dad operate a couple of charter boats. In 1944, he married Elaine Davis. Also during the 1940’s, his occupation is shown as an Eastern Airlines Passenger Agent. While operating a charter fishing boat, he also ran “Capt. Mack’s Tackle Shack” in Miami Beach, FL. In the 1950’s, Bob and his wife Elaine were very active in tournament casting and in fishing tournaments. They both specialized in the spinning reel competitions.
Bob was not happy with existing spinning reels and designed and built the “Seamaster.” It was only available for a short in the late 1950’s and became too expensive to manufacture. He stopped making the spinning reel and started making fly reels designed for the harsh corrosive environment seen by a reel during fishing in salt water. This was the beginning of the “Seamaster” line of salmon, tarpon and marlin reels. Bob designed and produced an improvement to his reels in the 1980’s. It was called a dual mode fishing reel because the crank handle would not go backwards when the line was going out, but would engage when retrieving the line. He received a patent for the reel on December 29, 1987. Bob died on August 22, 1995. Bob’s grandson made the Seamaster reels for awhile after Bob’s death. These reels are considered to be some of the early great reels made in the USA.
The SEAMASTER Spinning Reel, circa 1955
The SEAMASTER Dual Mode Mark II
The SEAMASTER Salmon, Tarpon and Marlin Reels
The SEAMASTER Mark I, I, III and IV Reels
The SEAMASTER Reel Boxes
January, 1981 Outdoor Life Magazine Article Excerpt About McChristian
The SEAMASTER Dual Mode Patent
The SEAMASTER Reel Box Inserts
To see the an article in the January 1981 “Outdoor Life” magazine about Bob McChristian and Stan Bogdan, click on the link below.
To see the an article written by Ron Gast in the March 2019 “ORCA Newsletter” magazine about Elaine McChristian, click on the link below.
Another Great Antique Vintage Fishing Tackle Link: