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Reel Review

A sophisticated new Ambassadeur "Record" reel courtesy of Abu Garcia

Date: 8/29/05
Tackle type: Reels
Manufacturer: Abu Garcia
Reviewer: JIP

Total Score: 9.0 + EDITORS CHOICE!

It was at ICAST just a month ago when we learned that Abu Garcia would bring back the Record. The first of which was a reel introduced back in 1921. This new Swedish reel is designed with enhanced features, a new-found level of refinement, and top notch performance that helps position this Ambassadeur a notch below the popular high-end Morrums.

Abu Garcia Ambassadeur Record Reel (RCN60) Specifications

Line Capacity (lb/yds) 14/145
Gear Ratio 5.3:1
Line Recovery (inches per turn) 30"
Weight 12.9 oz.
Bearings 4BB + 2RB
Additional Features Carbon Matrix drag system, six-pin centrifugal brake, corrosion resistant middle gear bearing, chemical nickel coated levelwind, crowned brass gears, Sensi-Brake spool bearing
Warranty One year limited
MSRP $139.99

Abu & the Record: 
Carl August Borgstrom founded AB Urfabriken (ABU) in Svangsta during 1921. His shop was located next to the Morrum River where the company designed and fabricated pocket watches, telephone timers, and taximeters. The company shifted its focus to fishing reels after World War II caused a sharp decline in demand for taximeters, and with his skilled craftsmanship developed the first reels in 1939... named Record.


Built with quality components, the Record will resist corrosion and can be fished in both freshwater and inshore waters

Impressions: This year Abu Garcia has brought back the legendary Record round casting reel that first showcased the fine Swedish engineering and craftsmanship in reel design. When we got first peek of this reel at ICAST last month we were already quite impressed with this fine product just from an aesthetic point of view. Made in Sweden, this reel looks attractive and feels very sound. The new Record is made of stainless steel and features brass components for superior durability.

The Record 60 size holds plenty of line. It also features a clicker to alert anglers when free-lining, bait fishing, or trolling

Complimenting this solid reel are features that further add to the reel's performance and ergonomics such as a carbon matrix drag system, centrifugal brakes, and corrosion resistant bearings. The gorgeous pearl multi-colored crossbar at the top of the Record holds a piece of firm yet soft rubber that felt welcoming when we initially held the reel. Compared to the existing Ambassadeur reels the Record does stay true to the series main design but has a much more distinguished feel. Details like beveled edges, reduced use of plastics, and laser etched logos in the place of screening all hinted at a superior level of refinement.


The Record is simple to take apart of maintenance. It comes with a screwdriver and wrench tool


The Field Tests: Upon initial evaluation it sure looked like Abu Garcia really did right with the Record and we couldnít wait to take this reel out for our field tests to see if the reel had the performance to back up its good looks.


Complete Rig for Abu Garcia Ambassadeur Record Reel Field Tests

Rod Airrus Spectra AFT (SPC701MH)
Reel Abu Garcia Record (RCN60)
Line(s) 50lb PowerPro, 12lb. Sufix Elite


We spooled the reel up twice during these tests, once with braided lines and again with mono from Sufix. The Record RCN60 size is a multi-talented reel and we decided to test the reel in both fresh and saltwater applications by putting it up against King salmon, stripers, and rockcod fishing along the West Coast inshore waters.


Abu Garciaís Carbon Matrix drag system applies constant pressure for smooth operation

Casting: Though freespooling tests didnít produce the longest amount of time weíve seen in a reel because of the non-disengaging levelwind, we were impressed by the reel's excellent casting ability. With our 1/2oz test plugs and the lines specified in the above table we were able to achieve respectable distances that averaged about 90-100 feet using the Airrus Spectra AFT rod with the handle extension mounted. With each cast the line flew off the spool effortlessly and under control complements of the engaged levelwind and centrifugal brake system. On the water we tossed plugs, irons, swimbaits, and minnow lures and the same results were achieved as in our earlier controlled casting tests.

The Record is among the longest casting Ambassedeurs ever made and far better than the C3 reels we have tested in the past. The bearing supported levelwind helps lay line evenly so that it flows off the spool smoothly. The lightweight vented spool starts up quickly and consistently, and when it comes to overall smoothness the Record has all the Ambassadeur predecessors beat.

Cast testing the Record. The casts are smooth and well controlled with the centrifugal brakes

Retrieving: We really liked the retrieve on the Abu Record. Each turn of the handle was smooth as we retrieved our lures from the water or when taking on fish thanks to the six bearing system. This reel has a gear ratio of 5.3:1 that provided plenty of power to battle a 20 pound salmon, as well as serious winching power to bring up heavy lingcod, Cabezones, and other large rockfishes from 80-100 feet below. The gearing is held together under very tight tolerances, and all master gearing is Swedish cut. The result is what I describe as a "connected feel" over the reel, with every crank translating cleanly into efficient line recovery.

You wonít find many plastic parts on this well built reel


Drag: We tested the drag in our lab for power, consistency, and smoothness. When cranked all the way down we were able to produce a potent 13.5 pounds of drag pressure! Thatís more than enough and in the field we were able to quickly turn the head of the large lingcods before they even had a chance to tuck back into holes when the drag was buckled down. This is a serious amount of drag pressure, matching many of the Shimano reels like the Calcutta B and TE reels which deliver between 8 and 17lbs of counter pressure.


Your thumb will surely find this firm rubber pad welcoming when palming the reel


Next Section: Drag contd', Ergonomics, and Ratings









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