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Reel Review


 

Going Old School with Abu's Ambassadeur C3 4600/01

 

Date: 5/30/16
Tackle Type: Reel
Manufacturer: Abu Garcia
Reviewer: Cal






Total Score: 6.73 - FAIR

Introduction:
With an overabundance of choices in the low profile baitcasting reel market to fit all skill levels and budgets, unless you're into nostalgia, it seems there's little room in today's bass angling world for round reels. Only two of the major manufacturers still offer products in this segment that are worthy of any real attention. One of these manufacturers, Abu Garcia, helped define the segment and has a staunch following. Today, we take a look at the Ambassadeur C3 4601 to see how it stack's up against the needs of today's bass fisherman.

 


Time for a closer look at a classic, Abu Garcia's Ambassadeur C3.

 

Abu Garcia Ambassadeur C3 4600/01 Specifications

Line Capacity - Rated 12/160
Line Capacity - Spool Volume 9.4 cm3
Retrieve Ratio
5.3:1
Inches Per Turn (IPT) - calculated
12.5"-25"
Weight 9.2 oz
Spool Weight 16 g
Handle Length 80 mm
Bearings 3SS + 1
Bearings per Knob Knobs are riveted onto handle - likely two bushings if any
Levelwind Bearings 1 Bearing
Tested Max Drag ~17lbs (rated 15lb max drag)
Origin Made in Sweden
MSRP $119.99


This is a round reel with a low gear ratio.

Quality/Construction: Abu Garcia's Ambassadeur C3 4600/01 is a round reel roughly equivalent in diameter to a Shimano Calcutta 200. Its surface is polished aluminum, no paint. All the seams and edges between frame and sideplate pieces are perfectly aligned. The stamped metal handle does not have any play in it, but the knobs do have a little wiggle room as you push them into and pull them away from the body of the reel.

 


Ambassadeur is about as old school as you can get with today's equipment.

 

Quality Ratings for Abu Garcia Ambassadeur C3 4600/01

Finish (1-5)
Frame & Sideplate Tolerance (1-5)
Handle Tolerance (1-5)
Knob Tolerance (1-5)
Total
Possible
Rating (= Tot/Pos * 10)
5
5
5
3
18
20
9.0


Spooled, mounted, and ready for some action!

Performance: I spooled our Ambassadeur C3 4601 with eight pound (8lb) test PLine CXX Copolymer and mounted it on the brand new Denali Lithium L945XD Magnum Crank cranking stick to see how this reel stacks up against today's bass fisherman's needs.


A bit of modern twist is the reel's swept handle design.

Retrieve: The Ambassadeur C3 benefits from brass gearing to give the reel a smooth, but connected feel to its retrieve. It's not as smooth as many of today's low profile baitcasters, but it does have a certain confidence inspiring quality to its retrieve that's difficult to explain. The standard sized handle provides average leverage so there's nothing really outstanding or disappointing with the way this reel feels as you spin the handle.


Ergonomics are a challenge with round reels.

Performance Ratings for Abu Garcia Ambassadeur C3 4600/01

Retrieve (1-5)
Drag (1-5)
Power (1-5)
Casting Range (1-5)
Brakes (1-5)
Total
Possible
Rating (= Tot/Pos * 10)
3
4
3
4
5
19
25
7.6


Abu Garcia doesn't do much to minimize this reel's profile other than providing a nice resting point for your thumb on the top bar.

Drag: Abu's Ambassadeur C3 is rated with a max drag of fifteen pounds (15lbs). We tested it out at the lab to a max value of 17 pounds. For an old school reel, it benefits from a very contemporary drag stack of carbon fiber and aluminum disks nestled within its main gear. The performance of this drag stack, as you can see from the reel's Sweet Drag Performance chart below is very smooth and consistent performance at the lower settings.


Fig 1: The Sweet Drag Performance chart above shows the consistency in drag performance of our Abu Garcia Ambassadeur C3 4600/01.

Out on the water, the reel's performance when battling some feisty California Delta largemouth did nothing to invalidate our findings in the lab. All line peeled off during a fight was handled very smooth and consistently by the C3 4601.


The C3's rather modern drag stack.

Sweet Drag Performance for Abu Garcia Ambassadeur C3 4600/01

Lock - 8
Lock - 6
Lock - 4
Lock - 2
Lockdown
Avg % Change
Start Up
1.8
2.4
3.1
5.8
8.7
Sustained
1.7
2.5
3.5
6.5
11.9
Lowest Value
1.3
2.1
2.5
5.4
7.1
Change in Startup vs Sustained
4.3%
5.3%
11.5%
11.4%
36.7%
13.8%
Biggest Drop from Sustained
26%
17.7%
27.3%
16.9%
40.4%
25.7%
Drag on this reel was tested with the dragstar fully tightened. Then with each successive test, the drag was backed off with two short pushes of the dragstar with our thumb.


If there's a disappointing feature of this reel it is with its lack of cranking power.

Power: If there's one downside to this reel it is in its lack of cranking power. I tied a Strike King 10XD to the end of the line, launched it several times as far as I could and each time, struggled to get the bait back to the boat. The Ambassadeur C3 4600/01 has cranking reel written all over it, but unfortunately, with its smallish by today's standards gear, it just lacks the power for deep diving cranks.


The reason for the C3's lack of power? Look how small the main gear is - not much larger than a quarter!

Tie on shallow or medium running cranks and spinnerbaits and this reel performs perfectly fine. It's just not built for real demanding cranking duties. Of course, its average sized handle doesn't help either.


Oh but casting this reel... that's where the fun is!

Next Section: Excellent Casting Performance


 

 

 

 

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