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Reel Review

A sophisticated new Ambassadeur "Record" reel courtesy of Abu Garcia (continued)

For smoothness we adjusted the drag setting throughout its ranges and tested it for good start up and consistent and constant pressure as line came off the spool. The Abu Garcia Carbon Matrix drag system provided the characteristics that we look for in a quality drag system. When fighting Salmon with this reel we tuned the drag at 9lbs to allow the fish to run and tire themselves out. What we found was that the Record's "Carbon Matrix" drag was very smooth, and we didn't experience any reel "shudder" at all. Furthermore, when the fish ran the levelwind remained engaged and moved left and right assisting the line to prevent it from coming off the spool at great angles that could cause the loss of a big fish. In no situation were we dejected with the dragís performance and never had any fear of losing fish as the fishing line was always under full control of the admirable Abu drag system.

Each turn of the handle translate into quick and power retrieves and well padded components provides good ergonomics


Ergonomics: For the largest size Record I was surprised that it still fared well in the ergonomics category. I was able to comfortably jig for eight hours straight, palming the reel without getting hand cramps or any sort of discomfort. All the places where you might put your fingers are well padded. The handle knobs are oversized and made of firm rubber for easy gripping all day. The thumb bar is also made of a firm rubber thatís comfortable to rest on, and we exercised it to the extremes when engaging and disengaging while vertically jigging for rockcod. Also for anglers who like to palm reels the Record provides a rubber pad on top of the reel, perfectly placed for added comfort while fishing this exciting round reel.

When casting most reels you need to physically press down on the clutch button to depress it and put the reel in freespool mode. On the Record the clutch doesn't actually slide down like a Shimano or Daiwa reel, instead it flips down and back up on a hinge. This well padded button is among the easiest and coolest clutches we have ever tested, and allows for very quick activation of freespool in preparation of each cast. In terms of overall ergonomics the Record gets high marks.


The RCN60 makes a great jigging reel and is powerful enough to turn the head of larger rockfish


Applications: The Abu Garcia Record comes in three sizes that will appeal to anglers who fish for anything from bass to inshore saltwater species. The smallest size, RCN40, which holds 105 yards of 10 pound test is great for freshwater anglers targeting bass and other smaller species. Itís also the right size for saltwater anglers fishing along the coast for rockcod or the flats for sea trout and snook. Then thereís the RCN50 that holds 135 yards of 12 pound test. The largest size, the one we tested is also just as multi-talented as the others and able to handle salmon, stripers, and sizeable rockfish in our region. The Record was designed with genuine Swedish components to withstand the toughest freshwater and saltwater applications.


A solid gear train provides plenty of power to haul up rockfish from the bottom

Maintenance: Abu Garcia reels have always been among the easiest to do both regular and annual maintenance on, thanks to their straightforward design. Abu Garcia recommends a light freshwater spray, a wipe down, and then basic lubrication of points after each use. Oil and instructions come with the reel which show you the key areas to lubricate. We found the instructions clear, and maintaining the Record after each use was quick and hassle-free.

The Record is among the easiest reels to maintain

Though the maintenance instructions did say light spray, we intentionally applied a strong force of spray directed at the reel. Then we opened it up to see how well the reel was sealed. During the inspection we did notice a few drops of water inside the Record due to our intentional forceful spray, but concluded that if the reel is rinsed normally by Anglers no water would have entered critical areas.


Abu Garcia Ambassadeur Record Reel Ratings (?/10)


The Record is built solid with corrosion resistant components. The reel has nearly zero plastic components. The reel feels solid from the inside out


Cast, retrieve, drag all performed well during our field tests and its superior performance makes it capable of targeting multiple species of freshwater and saltwater fish


A well built reel with a competitive price point. This reel does cost more than the other Ambassadeur reels, but it does offer a lot more refinement


This reel comes with many features that give it good overall performance such as the Sensi-Brakes spool bearings, centrifugal breaking system, and the Carbon Matrix drags

Design (Ergonomics)

This reel feels like many other round baitcast reel but with some added comfort features. We love the padding and ergonomic clutch


Abu Garcia designed this reel to be fishable in both freshwater and saltwater with three different sizes to cover most species


Total Score


Pluses and Minuses:

                 Plus                                    Minus

J Well built, closer to Morrum feel L Chassis can allow water to enter if blasted
J Non disengaging levelwind  
J Smooth drag system  
J Good caster  
J Reasonable price  

 The Record is probably the best reel weíve seen introduced by Abu Garcia since the Morrum and a worthy winner of our Editors Choice Award. This round baitcast reel is built to be the flagship of the Ambassadeur line up, and thanks to a new level of civility this reel looks and feels like it has what it takes to bridge the gap between the Ambassadeur series and the Morrums. The chassis construction is very sound, sporting quality components that resist corrosion and are designed from robust materials to help battle some of the hardest hitting fish. This multi-talented reel is capable of handling both freshwater and saltwater game, is exceptionally easy to maintain, and is priced to compete. Abu fans rejoice, this is a reel that goes back to the roots of what made Abu so great in the first place. Quality Swedish design, first rate materials, a high level of performance and refinement, all at a reasonable price. We, along with the angling community, are very happy to see the return of the Record, a fine Swedish made reel with a rich pedigree, and the quality to put the series into the history books again. The Record is sure to please Abu fans, and help convert anglers that might not yet have considered the brand. If you haven't looked at Abu before the Record is certainly a good place to start.











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