VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WFXR) — Very few fishing reels are made in America these days. However, one Virginia company is bucking that trend. Seigler Fishing Reels produces reels at its headquarters in Virginia Beach.
“We’re proud it’s made here and that’s the biggest thing, making something in America,” said Seigler Fishing Reels President and co-founder Wes Seigler. “It’s a challenge it’s not, it’s not easy; it’s a lot of hard, late nights and struggling, but it’s worth it.”
By Seigler’s estimate, his company has produced about 25-thousand reels. Not only are the reels made in the United States, but so are all the materials and components that go into them.
“As fishing rod and reel makers, and as outdoorsmen and women, you want your stuff made right here in America, and you want it forever,” Seigler said.
Seigler says his devotion to reel-making comes out of his lifelong passion for fishing, both conventional and fly. His company makes both types.
Wes Seigler on the production floor at his Virginia Beach facility (Photo: George Noleff)
“It just became a passion to try to keep it here, one machine led to another and to another machine,” Seigler said as he gestured to milling machines at his facility.
Seigler says that time on the water provides in the reel-making process: “Anytime you’re on a fishing trip, anytime you’re on a boat you’ll come up with three of four new things. You think, is this something that will only affect a small percentage, or is this something that will change the world? You never know. But, that’s how it happens.”
One innovation Seigler has come up with is a lever drag system on the fly reels he makes. It has been described as a game-changer by anglers who have used it.
“I started to flyfish saltwater, big game stuff,” Seigler explained. “So I came up with a new design, just really targeting some really mean fish, some of the biggest fish in the world. Next thing you know I have the fly reel line that I have now that is as strong as our conventional reel line up.
The lever drag system on a Seigler Fly Reel (Photo: Seigler Fishing Reels)
Seigler reels are available online direct from the company, as well as from select tackle stores. They are computer-tooled from high-quality materials. Their cost is higher, but they are durable and built to last.
Seigler works with many professional anglers and fishing guides on his reels. One Smith Mountain Lake guide who uses them is Captain John Mathena of Patriot Fishing Charters.
“I use them on my Chesapeake charters and my Smith Mountain Lake trips,” Mathena said.
In this age when most fishing reels are made overseas, Seigler says making reels and creating jobs here is a company commitment.
“We’re proud to make our reels here,” said Seigler. “It’s been a pretty neat journey.”