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Enthusiast Reel Review


A Reel Novelty : The Abu Garcia EON Pro 3600C/3601C


Date: 1/29/06
Tackle type: Reels
Manufacturer: Abu Garcia
Reviewer: Cal

Total Score: 7.33

Introduction: Daiwa and Shimano are not the only manufacturers producing reels for exclusive sale outside the United States. Abu Garcia has been producing a solid lineup of round baitcasters, designed and built in Sweden, for the Japanese market as well. We acquired one such product that has been discontinued but can still be easily found thanks to the likes of import tackle dealers and online auction houses. Sit back and enjoy as we find out more about the very unique and intriguing Abu Garcia EON Pro 3600C/3601C.

Abu EON Pro 3601C Specifications

Line Capacity (lbs / yds) 12/100
Gear Ratio (actual retrieve) 5.8:1 (22 inches per turn)
Measured Weight 6.6 ounces
Measured Max. Drag 5 lbs
Bearings 11
Features Planetary Gearing System, bearing knobs, Infini Spool, Stamina Drag
MSRP ~$300


Impressions: Possessing a Studebaker-esque appeal, the EON Pro is quite the unique reel in appearance. Throwing convention out the window Abu designed this reel to be part round baitcaster, part low profile. This ellipse-like profile is only the tip of the iceberg. A magnesium frame surrounded by graphite sideplates complete with carbon fiber weave highlights lead to a drag wheel instead of the traditional star and a cast control knob located right in the center of the reel. This form follows function design of the EON Pro leaves one to query whether it should be marveled or euthanized. These concerns aside, clicking the reel over to freespool and giving the spool a whirl reveals potentially mind boggling performance - our test model spun for close to two friction-free minutes!

The Abu Garcia EON Pro 3601C, a 200 sized reel with unique appeal

Planetary Gearing System: In 2000, Abu Garcia introduced the world to their ICast design award winning Planetary Gearing System: essentially, a direct drive system where the pinion gear is surrounded by three orbital gears and a large ring gear. This departure from conventional, offset gearing enabled the use of larger drag washers and up to 25 percent more freedom for the spool during casts (hence our incredibly long freespool experience above). Abu Garcia introduced at least six models with this new internal configuration. The EON Pro was the top model in this lineup.

The EON Pro possesses a very unique look and profile.

Field Test: We spooled our Abu EON Pro up with 14lb Berkley Fireline and paired it with our G.Loomis BCR893 GLX Senko Stick then took to our local waters to see how this incredible free spooling demonstration would translate into real world performance.

Casting/Pitching: The Abu EON Pro possesses a centrifugal braking system to control the spool during casts. Adjustments to the braking system are made by removing the sideplate and turning a red disc that uncovers the brakes in varying combinations. Not exactly an intuitive design, we ran into difficulty taming our reel during overhead and side arm casts. In addition, no matter the brake setting, once a breeze or wind of any sort showed up to slow down our presentation, results were displayed in our spool with the telltale fluff of our line. The Abu EON Pro is not a reel for those unfamiliar with baitcasting equipment and will even give seasoned pro's a run for their patience.

A closeup look at the ineffective brake system on the EON Pro's spool

Conversely, on slower, easier presentations like pitching, this reel shines. We were able to pitch 5" weightless Senkos incredible distances across the water with this reel and were all quite amazed as to how this reel performed. We enjoyed the pitching performance of this reel so much, we were almost ready to dismiss the casting difficulties.

Retrieving: The Swedish gears and engineering beneath this rather odd looking shell feel precise and machined rather than smooth and solid as compared to some of the reel's Japanese counterparts. Not to say we ran into any issues in this department during our tests, but the reel definitely has a different feel to it. Otherwise, the 22 inches of line recovery turned out to be quite the comfortable retrieve rate for the baits we fished.

The sideplate for the EON Pro is held in place by the two white plastic catches seen on the sideplate to the right

Drag: While the planetary gearing design supposedly affords a larger washer ring, we didn't feel the benefit translate into better performance. The drag on our EON Pro shuddered unacceptably under load, and even when not under pressure never felt very smooth. The 5lbs of maximum pressure we were able to measure in our lab was reassuring, but overall delivery was somewhat below par.

The EON Pro is definitely a unique looking reel

Ergonomics: The elliptical profile of our EON pro was actually rather comfortable to palm but we had issue with the sideplate as we were using the reel. To remove the sideplate and gain access to the brake control mechanism, all one has to do is rotate the plate counter clockwise. There are no secondary locks to hold the plate in place and as we discovered, the plate can work lose as you are using the reel. In addition, the thumbar to release the spool for pitches and casts has a non-positive engagement. To release the spool, you press down on the thumbar as usual, but the bar moves back up part way with your thumb, so until you grow accustomed to the reel, you're always left with the feeling that the spool may not have released properly. Given the historic precision of Swedish engineering, we found the above issues very disappointing.

The drag adjustment on the EON Pro is handled by the large wheel behind the handle while cast control adjustments are made through the dial located right in the center of the handle and bearing the Abu Garcia name.


Design: The EON Pro is a unique looking reel to say the least. The first words muttered out of each staff member's mouth when looking at the reel for the first time were, "what the heck is that?". We applaud Abu for taking such an unconventional tact when designing their planetary gear system reels, unfortunately, the risk doesn't seem to have paid off given the fact they have discontinued production on all models domestic and abroad. For us, the reel is so odd and seemingly misplaced, we've grown to love it for it's individuality.

One last look at our EON Pro mounted on our G.Loomis BCR893 GLX


Abu EON Pro 3601C Ratings (?/10)

Construction/Quality Coarse and unrefined with a loose sideplate and strange thumb bar 7
Performance The reel's pitching ability is its saving grace 7
Price Considering this was their top end offering in this model line, MSRP was not entirely out of line 8
Features We applaud Abu Garcia for their innovative thinking. Unfortunately, it just did not work out as the reel was discontinued 8
Design (Ergonomics) You either love it or want to put it out of its misery 7
Application Freshwater use only and best suited for pitching presentations 7

Total Score


Pluses and Minuses:

                 Plus                                    Minus

J Light weight Magnesium Frame L Choppy drag
J Large, easily adjustable drag wheel L Loose sideplate
J Pitching performance is out of this world L Temperamental brake system
J Swedish engineering  

Conclusion: Try as we did to enjoy this reel for its uniqueness, we ran into disappointment after disappointment in actual performance. Owning one of these reels out of sheer novelty has its own rewards, but relying on this reel for day to day fishing is probably not something you want to do unless you can find it at a very affordable price. Though discontinued, they are still out there or we wouldn't have been able to acquire one to satisfy our tackle curiosity. And satisfy it we did. Pitching performance is worthy of its Abu Garcia heritage, but beyond that, we didn't feel this reel was quite ready for prime time.











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