Atalanta fishing reels were designed by Errol Bullen. One of Australia’s most prolific early game fishermen in the 1930s. He had the first boat built made especially for game fishing. The reels were manufactured by Frederick Commonwealth Smith in an upstairs room in his house that was converted into a workshop. Fred was born the 1st January, 1901 at the Royal Exchange Hotel in Marrickville, Sydney where his father was a hotel keeper. He did most of his schooling in Adelaide. He completed a course in Wireless telegraphy. He moved to Sydney around the 1920s. He trained as an engineer with Goodyear Tyre and Rubber Co. where he worked for over thirty years. Fred started making fishing reels in 1930 and produced Atalanta reels from 1933. On the 17th March 1934 Errol Bullen landed an 800lbs tiger shark using an Atalanta fishing reel. In his book An American Angler in Australia, Zane Grey commented that “the reels made for Bullen were just about as good as any reel I own”. Most of these reels were custom made with the owners name imprinted on both the reel and its leather case.

In the Outdoor and Fishing magazine, April 1952, Errol Bullen stated “The reel mentioned is still being used today. It was part of King Hardwicks gear when he caught his 1,120-lb. tiger shark off Dee Why (N.S.W) on March 19 this year. Although the biggest “tiger” caught in Sydney waters for some time, Hardwick’s shark was 260-ln. behind the record taken by Lyle Bagnard, a member of Zane Grey’s party, during the latter’s visit to Australia in 1939.”

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