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Reel Review

How well does the Abu Garcia Ambassadeur 7000C3 hold up to the test of time?

Date: 10/06/03
Tackle type: Reels
Manufacturer: Abu Garcia
Reviewer: Zander

Total Score: 6.33

Introduction: Abu Garcia is a company rooted in rich fishing history and has developed some of the fishing industry's most revered products. The Ambassadeur C3 series of reels have gone through extensive upgrades throughout the years, but how well does this reel stand up to the new competitor offerings available in the market today? We examine Abu's largest Ambassedeur C3 reel to see how well this venerated reel really performs.


Abu Garcia Ambassadeur 7000C3 Specifications

Weight 17.8oz
Gear Ratio 4.1:1
Bearings 3BB
Line Capacity (lb/yds) 17/325, 20/270, 25/230
Additional Features Synchronized Levelwind, Precision brass gears, line out alarm, assembled in Sweden
MSRP $129.99


The Ambassadeur 7000C3 comes with a reel clamp and oil for routine lubrication

About Abu Garcia: The history of Abu Garcia is rich with heritage and reverence. By the river of Morrum in Svangsta Car Borgstrom founded the original company in 1921. Originally the company manufactured watches, telephone timers, and taximeters. But at the time of World War II a sharp decline in these goods caused the founder's son, Gote Borgstrom, to redirect the company's focus to that of the manufacture of precision fishing reels. The first reels were marketed in 1939. The Ambassadeur reels got their start in 1954 at the New York World's Fair, and one year later ABU introduced the ABU444, their very first spinning reel. Since that time Abu is considered among the most influential companies when it comes to fishing reel design and development.


Impressions: Over the past few years larger big game reels have gone from a focus on raw power to a balance of power and refinement. While reels just a decade ago were capable of hauling in the largest fish, many felt just about as smooth as hand held coffee grinders. The 7000C3 comes from a long line of reels that for the most part has not changed for over a quarter of a century, except for advances in gearing and the adoption of hardened materials for key components.


When you first pick up the 7000C3 the thing you notice most is how simple the reel is in design. There is no fluff here, no plastic accents, no gold finishes...just a utilitarian reel housing comprising of two plates. There is one traditional Abu badge on the left plate, and the rest of the information is found on two labels that extend around the reel plates. These are the same type of labels found on the majority of all Ambassedeur series reels. The build quality looks good, and the only plastic that can be found on the reel is the actual hand grip. One very nice addition to the overall package is a reel clamp for heavier salt applications.


Complete Rig for Abu Garcia Ambassadeur 7000C3 tests

Rod Ugly Stick BWC/AO 2201
Reel Abu Garcia Ambassadeur 7000C3
Line 20 lb. Trilene Big Game

Real World Tests: The Anbassedeur C3 series comes in sizes ranging from the medium sized 4600 to the large 7000. The 7000 is a good crossover reel which can be used for heavy fresh up to medium salt applications. The majority of our tests centered around light to medium saltwater fishing for rockfish as well as ocean running Salmon.


The freespool button is placed on the right plate and is little more than a metal switch


Casting: Casting the 7000C3 may be tricky for some anglers, and requires some adjustment to compensate for varying lure weights to prevent nasty backlashes. For maximized casting distance anglers should first tie on and allow the lure to freespool, then adjust the mechanical brake knobs on the reel plates. If the lure falls too quickly it is too loose, and if it doesn't move at all the lure will not cast well. While this is easy the adjustment of centrifugal brake weights in this reel is awkward. Unlike competitor brake weight systems that allow anglers to open a plate and snap weights forward and back, the 7000C3 requires that anglers not only disassemble the right side of the reel but rather than snapping weights forward and back they need to be removed and switched with either lighter or heavier weights. Since there is nothing holding the weights in place they can fall off or easily become misplaced during the process. We highly recommend that you switch the brake weights to match your preference at home and avoid doing so in the field.


The centrifugal system requires the changing of weights, but because they slide freely they are easy to lose


Anglers that are fans of traditional baitcast reels will also find the freespool button on the 7000C3 inconvenient. Unlike thumb-bar freespool systems that can be activated and cast with one hand the pushbutton on the 7000C3 requires your right thumb on the spool and your left hand to activate the free spool. The button on the 7000C3 also leaves a lot to be desired in terms of comfort, as it is simply a raised steel switch.


Once you are ready to toss lures the 7000C3 does cast quite well, and can achieve a good distance with even light jigs and poppers. The overall feel of the cast is good, and anglers will find the spool quite easy to control despite it's wide diameter. Another plus for both casting and retrieves is the use of titanium nitride plating on the line guide to prevent abrasion.


Not all the gears are Swedish machined brass

The Retrieve: The 7000C3 makes use of Swedish cut brass gears for a smooth cast and retrieve. These gears are not cast, and are instead machined from solid brass blocks for very tight tolerances. But we discovered that all the gears in this reel are not brass, the levelwind gears for example make use of both brass and composite plastic gears. Overall the combination of gears results in a smooth retrieve, but one that is still unrefined. While fishing for rockfish the fish would often snatch up the bait during the decent and we found that disengaging the freespool with the handle requires more than half a turn of the handle to employ a two-stage mechanism bringing the spool back in line with the main gearing. This results in a slow transition back to the retrieve.

While the reel offers mid range cranking power it also exhibits some serious slip when reeling quickly. When reeling in Salmon for example the fish would often run towards the boat as it was brought closer the surface. To eliminate slack in the line I cranked speedily on the reel and found the spool to slip unnecessarily, reducing my overall control on the fish. Another complaint about the retrieve is the excessive backplay found in the handle. While many saltwater reels don't utilize roller bearings many of the new reels are implementing these bearings for a more responsive retrieve. Finally, the 7000C3's hard plastic handle leaves a lot to be desired in terms ergonomic comfort, with extended fishing the hard plastic square does little to conform to the natural shape of your hand.


The reel's simple design makes it a good light-medium saltwater reel (here the reel is clamped in for still fishing with the clicker engaged)


The Drag: The 7000C3 implements a multi disk system for solid drag performance. In recent years the drag size has increased, and the upgrade in overall drag surface area has helped the 7000C3 deliver very respectable drag performance. During our tests even 25lb Salmon could do little to resist the strong pressure exerted by the 7000C3, and quickly tired. Playing large fish was enjoyable, and anglers can make quick corrections to the drag pressure by rotating the adjustment star.


Line Out Alarm: The 7000C3 features a simple on-off switch to engage a audible clicker alarm. This handy feature makes it possible to use the 7000C3 for trolling or still bait fishing. Just make sure to disengage the clicker when casting or retrieving, as it will interrupt normal operation.


The best attribute of the 7000C3 is the solid drag performance


Durability: One major plus in terms of simple design is that there are few things that can go wrong. After months of testing the 7000C3 continues to perform within normal parameters. The gearing has held up to countless fish and the only maintenance required has been a quick rinse in freshwater after each use and periodic lubrication of the main and levelwind worm gears with the reel oil supplied with the reel. Abu Garcia recommends a thorough cleaning requiring disassembly by you or an authorized service center each season, though we didn't find this necessary as the reel continues to hold up nicely after all our testing.


Abu Garcia Ambassadeur 7000C3 Ratings (?/10)

Construction/Quality Good construction quality, materials are solid, and the brass cut gears help make the reel more durable and smooth in performance 8.0
Performance Good casting performance, but archaic centrifugal controls and a definite lack of refinement in terms of retrieve. Overall power and reliability of the reel is average, but drag performance is respectable 6.0
Price A decent price for a proven reel that is reliable, but there are plenty of up and coming competitors offering new features and performance for close to the same amount of money 7.0
Features Basically a no frills reel that is designed to be reliable and long lasting. Don't expect cushy options or new fangled features here, the 7000C3 is more of a utilitarian reel 6.0
Design (Ergonomics) Comfort needs improvement on this reel as the hard square plastic knob leaves a lot to be desired after a long day fishing. The freespool and centrifugal weight controls also require renovation 4.0
Application A good reel for both large freshwater applications and light to medium saltwater fish. The reel held up well to saltwater punishment with very little maintenance necessary. But if your looking for a refined crossover reel you should explore the many options available to you, as there are others offering a better balance of power and refinement. 7.0

Total Score


Pluses and Minuses:

                 Plus                                    Minus

J Reliable and durable gearing L Unrefined retrieve
J Casting distance L Uncomfortable plastic knob
J Respectable drag performance L Outdated centrifugal system
J Comes with reel clamp L Plenty of more refined and feature rich competition to choose from out there

Conclusion: There is no doubt that Abu Garcia has helped define fishing today, but personality can only go so far, and the 7000C3 is an example of a reel that 5 years ago would have been considered top notch, but simply put...falls short by today's standards. The lack of refinement in the retrieve and old centrifugal weight system is disappointing, while the hard plastic knob just isn't up to par to the competition's new ergonomic knob designs. While this reel is reliable and will do exactly what it is supposed to do the fact is that it is a buyers market for anglers today, and newer more innovative alternatives will capture the interest of anglers that no longer need to compromise. Hopefully Abu Garcia's newer and more innovative EON and new Morrum reels will offer a better balance of power and refinement. If your in the market for a good crossover reel the 7000C3 is just one choice out of many worth exploring.









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