The year was 1969 when Mitchell officially introduced
their model 498 surf reel. Mitchell, wanting to be
innovative, yet competitive, designed the reel & it's
components specifically for the surf. The 498 was fitted
with hardened bronze gearing, weight balance ratio, a
strong and multiple bearing point system, an extended
manual pickup arm; later changed to a retractable
system, an extra long handle to increase torque and
retrieval speed, and an extra capacity spool to handle
“heavy” line. The entire package was well suited for the
event and received good results.  It established itself as
a premier surf reel that was capable in all situations.
Over the years, the 498 went through a series of
refinements, a sort of renaissance period, both
internally and externally. Collectors divide the 498 into 4
different periods of change. The first period starts at
1969 until 1978. This is when “Mitchell” was inscribed
on the bodies. The second period, from 1979 until
1992, is when Mitchell switched to raised lettering and
introduced different body colours. The third period is
from 1992 until 2001. This period is identified by the
inclusion of the letter (X) next to the 498 logo and a re-
sculpturing of the body to have smoother lines. The
fourth period is from 1997 until 2000. Reels made at
this time were special issue 498’s that were produced in
addition to the standard 498X model.

One of the more important modifications Mitchell
completed was the redesign of the anti reverse system.
Collectors can determine early versions by properly
identifying this change. The original has a raised
“circular hub” on the body where the handle connects
to the gear shaft. This raised portion allows for seating
of the main gear. On the later versions, this was
modified, and can be identified by the small “U” shape
impression above the circular hub as shown here.

The 498 was designed as a Manual Pickup (MP)
system. The Europeans referred to this as a PUM
(Pick Up Manual).  Mitchell made many changes to this
system over the years. The first roller guide was an
exposed ball-bearing roller that could be adjusted from
the back and front screws to tighten or loosen the race
that held the bearings.

It was a non-adjustable Sleeve type mechanism preset
from the factory.  The backend nut was recessed into
the retractable arm on later models.  The final change
incorporated a single screw-like center pin held in
place by a backing nut that was recessed into the
pickup arm
Mitchell 298
Mitchell, in 1980, before Browning’s
involvement, was still producing its full product
line. Reels were sold to Garcia-Mitchell of
Canada Ltd, who remained in business as the
sole distributor of Mitchell products in Canada
until 1984. For approximately one year,
Mitchell produced a number of reels that were
sold only in Europe and not to Garcia.  One of
those models was a generic 498, identical to
the Browning version shown below. The reel
was all black with raised lettering. Early
versions of the model had the wording,
Mitchell 498 also in black. Collectors refer to
this version as “ black-out”. It is believed this
498 was the only version that was made by &
for Mitchell and sold exclusively in Europe for
less than a year. Sleeve type roller and wire
line guide.
Browning Mitchell: 1981-1982
When Browning became involved with
Mitchell in the later part of 1980, they decided
a “face-lift” was needed to help the marketing
of their new product line. Browning revamped
the 498 to encompass a change of reel color
to sky blue, and the noticeable absence of the
Garcia logo preceding the word Mitchell. The
raised lettering remained intact but the spool
color changed to gray in lieu of Garcia’s
white. The line guide remained metal. Very
few were sold of this version. Marketed only
in Europe and Canada.  Sleeve type roller
and wire line guide.
Browning Mitchell 498: 1983-1984
Browning only produced two variations of the
498 during their tenure with Mitchell. Their
second offering was somewhat different from
what was considered normal for the 498.
Midway through 1982 to1983, Browning
decided to change the colors of most of their
reels to black. Only a few of their saltwater
models stayed sky-blue but the 498 was not
one of them. Now supporting their new black
body, rotor and spool, Browning hoped to
entice a new following for their saltwater
models, particularly in the 498. This version
maintained the metal line guide and a
non-adjustable roller guide that was designed
using a screw center pin as the axis for
rotation. New to the reel was the addition of a
dark chrome handle and black plastic locking
nut. The lettering was white and
raised.  Only sold in Europe and Canada:
Mitchell Sports 498:  1984-1989
When Mitchell Sports USA, became involved
with Mitchell of France in 1984, many
changes occurred in the form of new
products and the refinement of existing reels.
The 498 was continued from Browning’s
original offerings which is basically the same
reel as their 1984 version. The only
differences between the two reels are the
gold lettering on the reel body, and the red
colored band and gold lettering on the rotor.
Additionally, the spool was made out of
graphite in lieu of metal (first graphite spool).
Aside from these few changes, both reels
were the same. Becoming difficult to locate.
Screw type center pin roller guide.
Mitchell Sports 498 Pro: 1986-1990
As Mitchell Sports refined their existing
inventories, they also made new models.
One of the new entries was the very
successful 498 ProPum. Mitchell made five
different pro models during this period with
the 498 their “flag ship” in the series.
Supporting many esthetic changes, the
498ProPum was featured with an emblem
on the side cover plate where a person can
inscribe their name. A wood handle knob,
gold and red colors, and a metal spool were
added to the reel to separate it from the
standard 498. Made in limited quantities for
the US and European markets. Extremely
rare product. Note this was the last 498 that
was offered for sale in the US. Screw type
center pin roller guide.
Mitchell Sports 498 Tournament: 1990-1991
In 1992, Mitchell Sports USA was out and the new
owner of Mitchell, Johnson World Wide; an outdoor
sports company in the US, was the new provider of
Mitchell products in the US. What made this company
different was they did not sell the full line of Mitchell
products to the US. Most, if not all, Mitchells sold in
the US came from the Pacific Rim and not from
France. Unfortunately, the 498 was never offered in
the US from that point forward.  Mitchell Sports Euro
did flourish in France and continued their own line of
reels including the 498 models. Mitchell introduced for
the first time a tournament-casting version of the 498.  
During the last 2 years of production, using a standard
498, Mitchell Sports added a tournament spool as an
optional feature.  After 1991, the reel was
Mitchell Sports 498 Pro Tournament: 1991-1992
Building on the successful 498 Pro Pum issued in
1986, Mitchell Sports Euro, decided to introduce a Pro
version of their 498 Tournament casting reel issued in
1990. Mitchell released the same model but this time
as a Pro version having the same aesthetic changes
as the original 498 Pro. This reel was made in
extremely limited quantities with distribution in select
regions of Europe. Used for both fishing and
professional tournament casting. One of the main
differences between this version and the standard 498
Pro Pum was the addition of the graphite tournament
Mitchell Sports 498 Pro (Custom
Tournament): 1989
Mitchell had a request by tournament
casters for a custom designed 498 made
specifically for professional competitive
casting. Mitchell produced this model in
less than 500 units. A one-year wait for this
reel to be completed was a long time, but
the results were stunning. Never has
Mitchell produced such a reel with as
dynamic application as this reel. The reel
was a basic Pro Pum 1986 version that was
mechanical altered to compliment the
pro-caster. The reel was fitted with
additional bearings, a special conic
anodized spool, and a radically designed
adjustable pickup arm combined with a ball
bearing roller guide. Without doubt, one of
the most intriguing reels.
Mitchell Sports 498X: 1992- 2001
It was 1992 when Mitchell decided to “repackage” the
498 and modify the reel geometry to smooth out the
lines. The new design, with the addition of a distinct
paint configuration, all added up to a very desirable
piece. Of the different 498’s made from this point
forward, this version became the standard that was
offered every year from 1992 until 2001. In fact, this
model was the last version offered before the 498 was
officially discontinued by Mitchell as of the end of
2001. The reel was painted dull black on the body with
red/gold color markings on the spool. Mitchell
redesigned the bale arm mechanism for the first time
since the 498 was introduced in 1969. The arm was
made to retract during casting to prevent line from
Mitchell Sports 498X Pro: 1992-1996
As with most 498’s manufactured after 1987, Mitchell
made two versions of the same reel. They made a
standard 498 and a Pro version. The Pro version, as
shown, was Mitchell’s fourth and final makeover of
their large surf reel. This particular model was
upgraded to include a rosewood handle, a Pro
insignia, and gold inscription emblem. We also see
the use of a screw type center pin roller guide and the
addition of a new bailarm system that was radically
altered from the original. One of the unique features of
this bale arm is that it is retractable during casting to
prevent line snagging on the roller guide.  Only
offered in Europe and was the second Pro model
offered since their first in 1987.
Mitchell Sports 498X (Tournament): 1992-
This was Mitchell’s second version of the
non-Pro casting model that was originally
introduced in 1990. When Mitchell
upgraded the 498 to this current version,
they retained the casting spools on select
Pro and non-Pro models for a short period.
This reel is the fourth generation 498. The
non-Pro casting models, as shown here,
came with the standard black “coffee
grinder” handle knob, 4-point bearing
system and no Pro insignia. The body of
the reel was basic black with no added
features except for the casting spool. This
model was offered with the tournament
spool until approximately 1996.
Mitchell Sports 498X Pro:  (Tournament)
The Pro casting models came with the
rosewood handle, six-point bearings, a gold
inscription emblem, and the word Pro
shown on the body of the reel, as well as a
retractable bale arm. The body was basic
black with some esthetic markings on the
rotor and graphite spool. This model was
offered until approximately 1996. Mitchell
took a standard 498 X-Pro, added the
tournament spool, and packaged it as
complete unit. The reel was marketed and
sold in Europe.
Mitchell Sports 498X Pro: (Special) 1997
This 498 version is basically the same reel as the one
above except for the paint scheme. Mitchell made
some minor external changes that differentiated this
model from the standard version. This was the
beginning of Mitchell’s radical paint style that
continued until the end of production. The reel was
fitted with a wooden handle knob and a paint pattern
similar to a weave design using black on steel gray.
Released in 1998 and only offered for 1 year. All 498
special issue versions, from this point forward, are
extremely rare items that required special order from
select vendors in Europe. The MP assembly is
retractable and can be disengaged to allow for
casting without line snagging on the roller guide.
Mitchell Sports 498X Pro Africa: (Special) 1998
Mitchell continued the series of special issue 498’s.
The Pro Africa is a very interesting reel. It seems no
one is quite certain as to why Mitchell marketed the
reel as “Pro Africa”. Probably it had to do with the fact
that Mitchell produced the reel, specifically the spool,
for braided line that is predominately used in certain
regions of the World, especially Africa. The reel can
only be purchased from select stores in Europe as a
special factory order. Reel is identical to the
498XProPum listed above with the exception of the
modified special application spool.
Mitchell Sports 498X Pro 30th Anniversary
Tournament: 1999
To celebrate the 30th anniversary of the 498
(1969-1999), Mitchell produced a unique
498 having an unusual paint scheme of light
gray and labeled with the 30th Anniversary
logo. Following the same body shape of the
new 498 styles, Mitchell wanted something
special to celebrate this milestone. To
complete this special issue, Mitchell fitted
the reel with a standard rosewood handle
knob, chrome handle, and a bronze
tournament spool decoratively enhanced.  
Only sold by special order through European
vendors in France. There was also a
standard bronze spool available for only the
first year. Limited edition – very few made.
Mitchell Sports 498X Pro Millennium: 2000
When this version was released, it could only be
obtained by special order through select European
vendors. Mitchell outdid themselves by introducing a
special paint application never before tried and will
probably never be used again. The paint pattern was
layered to give the effect of a granite design or
marbleized finish. This reel was made specially for the
Millennium.  By July of 2000, Mitchell stopped
production of this model. By year-end, inventory was
sold out. Extremely low volume was produced of this
very special version.
One of the most valuable skills you can develop in this business is learning how to spot the real collectibles,
those things that people are really collecting. I'm not referring to those items that were produced for the sole
purpose of being collectable, which we've all been conditioned to think are valuable, but which so often end
up being worthless. I'm referring to those older, often unusual items, which very few people even know about
except for the people collecting them. The more of these weird little niches you're familiar with, the more
money you can make.
Mitchell 298 Spinning Reel
Mitchel 298 fishing reel parts list