There are many different companies on the market today that produce high-value and high-quality fishing reels. Shimano, Daiwa, Okuma, Penn, Abel, and Shakespeare are a few of them that come to mind. When considering fishing reels that serve dual purpose in freshwater and saltwater, one company really stands out. Abu Garcia is that company, and below you’ll find my thoughts and small product reviews on some of their fishing reel lines.
Abu Garcia is a company that started off in Sweden in the early 1920s producing watches and other timing devices, such as taxi meters and telephone timers. The founder’s son was a fishing enthusiast, and during World War II when demand for the timing devices they created dropped off, the company moved towards creating fishing reels. Their most popular fishing reel line, the Ambassadeur series, was first introduced in 1964, and remains one of the most popular baitcasting reel models on the market today.
Abu Garcia has obviously been around the block. They have a lot of time and experience in creating high-quality fishing reels. But just because a company has been around for a long time doesn’t necessarily mean that they are keeping up with technology. Let’s look at a few of the newer Abu Garcia lines of fishing reels to see if this company has kept up with the competition in terms of implementing lighter, sleeker, and more advanced materials on their reels.
Abu Garcias reels can be broken down into these categories:
- round baitcasting
- low-profile baitcasting
Abu Garcia has round big game and baitcasting reels, and breaks their low profile baitcasting reels into three lines: Revo, Orra, and Max.
Abu Garcia Ambassadeur C3 Classic
The Abu Garcia Ambassadeur C3 Classic is a round baitcasting reel that is the newest in their most successful and popular fishing reel line throughout the years. This fishing reel offers Abu Garcia’s trademarked Carbon Matrix Drag System, which features a three ball bearing core with instant anti-reverse attributes and six pin centrifugal brake. This drag system is one of the smoothest on the market today. Coming in at between 9.3 and 11.3 ounces depending on the model, it is very lightweight and sleek. The Ambassadeur series is a freshwater and saltwater baitcasting reel, and can be used effectively for medium-sized ocean species. I have owned my Ambassadeur C3 fishing reel for going on 10 years now, and have not had any problems with it. I have fished successfully in freshwater and saltwater applications, and this reel just keeps on going. Scan a few other online reviews of this reel, and you are likely to see the same story about the performance and durability. Priced at around $100, you will not find a better long-term investment than this baitcasting reel. Click here or the picture below to see the price, read more review, or purchase this reel.
Abu Garcia Revo MGX
The Abu Garcia Revo MGX is a low-profile baitcasting reel that pushes the limits of ultralight fishing gear. Coming in at just 5.4 ounces, it’s hard to believe that this fishing reel is loaded with features. First of all, the reel is made from a single piece of patented alloy, which does not sacrifice strength. Carbon side plates and aircraft grade aluminum gears round out the rest of the reel with strong lightweight construction. The same trademarked Carbon Matrix Drag System as found in the Ambassadeur series is also used on the Revo MGX. There are 9+1 (yes, count them 10) stainless steel anti corrosion ball bearings included in this reel, providing a butter smooth action. Did I mention that it only weighs 5.4 ounces? I am somewhat of a stickler when it comes to the weight of my fishing gear. But ever since I purchased this reel, it’s hard for me to use anything else. Priced at around $350, it is definitely not for everyone. More budget minded anglers might be better suited purchasing the lower priced Revo S or Revo SX. But if you’re looking to shave ounces off of your rig while not sacrificing quality, the Revo MGX might be the reel for you.
Abu Garcia Orra Inshore
The Abu Garcia Orra Inshore low-profile baitcasting reel falls between the Revo and Max lines of reels. Priced at around $130, you will likely not find a better saltwater baitcasting reel for the money. With six stainless steel high-performance anti corrosion ball bearings, Carbon Matrix hybrid drag system, a corrosion resistant alloy frame, a pitch centrifugal brake for greater cast control, and brass gears for a long, durable life, this reel is simply loaded with features. Weighing just 8.8 ounces and with a larger spool capacity, this low-profile reel is ideal for hard running saltwater fish. When it comes to weight, it’s pretty hard to beat the Revo MGX, but this reel does not cause fatigue when fighting heavy sea fish all day long. It is a great option and great value for the price.
Abu Garcia Black Max
The Abu Garcia Black Max is a low-profile baitcasting reel that might be one of the best values on the market. Priced at around $50, it is hard to beat the features and price included in this package. As part of the Max line of bait casting reels, the Abu Garcia Black Max might not be as light as the Revo MGX or as popular as the Ambassadeur C3, but it certainly doesn’t lack for features. There are 7+1 stainless steel ball bearings included in this reel, offering a smooth action. The internal gears are made of brass, increasing the life and durability of the reel. The frame is made of graphite, which is not as durable as the alloy used in the Revo MGX, but is lightweight and economical. Abu Garcia markets the Max line as ‘maximum performance and value.’ Click here or the picture below to read other customer reviews, view prices, or to purchase this fantastic reel!
When it comes to spinning reels, Abu Garcia breaks their options up into three different lines: Revo, Orra, and Cardinal.
Abu Garcia Revo Premier
The Abu Garcia Revo Premier is Abu Garcia’s top-of-the-line spinning reel. Priced at around $250, and weighing between 7 and 9 ounces depending on the model, this reel offers a lightweight high-performance competition to the market. This reel is similar in features, price, and weight of the Shimano Stradic line. The Revo Premier does have 10 anti-corrosion ball bearings which offer a very smooth action. The body and spool are made of a new Nano Shield technology that allows the materials to be 300% stronger than graphite but 50% lighter than aluminum. If you are looking for high-performance, this is Abu Garcia’s spinning reel to invest in.
Abu Garcia Orra SX
The Abu Garcia Orra SX spinning reel is a more affordable option to the Revo Premier. Priced at around $100 (and $79 for the Orra S), there are still a lot of features for the money. Included are 8+1 anti-corrosion stainless steel ball bearings, Carbon Matrix Drag System, brass gears for extended life, and a corrosion resistant alloy frame for use in fresh or saltwater. If you are a stickler on weight like I am, this reel might seem a bit on the heavy side. But for the price, you can’t go wrong.
Abu Garcia Cardinal 400i
The Cardinal series of Abu Garcia spinning reels are meant for budget minded anglers. With the 100i priced at $35, the 300i priced at $40, and the 400i priced at $50, there are a few different options available. The main difference between these three models is the number of bearings included. The 100i has 4 bearings, the 300i has five bearings, and the 400i includes 7 different bearings. The 400i is also significantly lighter than the 100i model. These fishing reels are basic and are not as high-quality as some competition on the market, such as the Shimano Spirex (which costs around $50, the same as the 400i model). If you are just starting off in fishing and need a cheap spinning reel, there’s no reason not to get a reel from this line.
I’m a big fan of Abu Garcia baitcasting reels. They really shine when used for larger fish and saltwater applications. As mentioned above, the Revo MGX has been one of my favorite baitcasting reels that I’ve ever used. I haven’t owned it for very long, so we’ll see if it lasts as long as the Ambassadeur C3s that I have fished for around 10 years. Abu Garcia spinning reels are not bad, but I find that Daiwa and Shimano compete very well in that category, and often have more options available. One thing is sure: Abu Garcia knows how to make high-quality fishing reels. Their top-of-the-line reels may not be very affordable, but they perform as well or better than any that I’ve ever used. To answer the question posed at the beginning of this article, I believe that Abu Garcia has definitely kept up with, if not surpassed, the competition in terms of implementing new technologies and materials on their fishing reels. Hopefully these Abu Garcia reviews will help you if you are on the market for either a new baitcasting or spinning reel. Be sure to shop around to find the best deals on Abu Garcia reels for sale. And as always, happy fishing!
What are your thoughts on Abu Garcia reels? Do you have a favorite? What other brands of reels do you like and why? Please feel free to leave your feedback in the comments section below. Thanks!