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Event Article: 2008 ICAST Show - Las Vegas, NV


Abu Garcia and Berkley nails it with new rods and reels (Part 1)
 

Date: 7/16/08
Location: Las Vegas, NV
Admission: Buyers & Press only
Reviewer: Team TackleTour








 

Pure Fishing: Walking up to the Pure Fishing booth this year was almost like walking into a football stadium. That's how huge their combined booths were since their merge with Shakespeare, Pflueger, All-Star, Penn, and X-Tools. In part 1 of the Pure Fishing ICAST article we'll focus on Abu Garcia reels that we haven't already previewed and the all new Berkley rods.

 

Introducing the Classic Inshore

 

Ambassadeur 5500/6500 Classic Inshore: Though we have a good assortment of reels to choose from in the US, we always complain how we don't get the reels our international friends have in Europe and Asia. That's to change as Abu Garcia is bringing the Ambassadeur 5500 and 6500 Classic Inshore to the States.

 

The Classic Inshore comes in two different sizes

 

Built with an anti-distortion spool for heavy duty fishing, this reel is versatile enough for saltwater and freshwater applications. This reel was built by Swedish engineers for great durability and it shows when you pick up the product.

 

The reel looks and feels solid

 

Abu Garcia Ambassadeur Classic Inshore

Model Bearings Weight Line Cap (lbs/yds) Gear
5500 3+1 12.5 oz 14/180 5.1:1
6500 3+1 13.4 oz 14/245 5.1:1

 

Front view of the Classic Inshore

 

Other features include Abu Garcia's Carbon Matrix Drag System, oversized Duragear gears, stainless steel crank shaft, and HPCR bearings. The reel is available in two sizes and both reels come with a Power Handle and Paddle Grip Handle. MSRP is $179.99 for the 5500 and $189.99 for the 6500.

 

Introducing the 7000iC3 CT MAG. It has a knob for you to adjust your cast WHILE the cast is taking place

 

7000iC3 CT MAG HS: The Abu Garcia 7000iC3 CT MAG HS is a series casting reel for those long casts with bigger lures. This is a high speed size 7 round reel with a gear ratio of 5.3:1 and recovers 28 inches of line with each crank of the handle. The reel features the MagTrax brake system and a super-smooth Carbon Matrix Drag System. The reel also uses two HPCR bearings and one Instant Anti-Reverse bearing.

 

A large power handle

 

The 7000iC3 CT MAG weighs in at only 19.9 ounces and has a line capacity of 270 yards of 20 pound monofilament line. Additional features are a line out alarm, open top CT frame, and an oversized cranking handle. The reels will be available later this Fall and has a MSRP of $199.99.

 

Open top

 

 

Bob Hulme, our future TT Abu Garcia Support member, shows us some of the new exciting offerings

 

Rods: Bring up the topic of quality, sub $50 fishing rods and most seasoned veterans eyes will gloss over with disinterest. Add to that discussion, rods designed with a specific purpose in mind, and most will argue that the topic is not even worth debating. Berkley looks to change all of that in just a few short months with the introduction of two, performance driven, value delivered line of fishing rods. Introducing the Berkley AMP and Lightning Rod Shock series of bass fishing sticks.

 

Introducing a great value rod, the Berkley AMP

 

Berkley AMPTM: Let’s start with the Berkley AMPTM rods whose most exciting feature, aside from their $30 price point, is their unique X-PosedTM reel seat that features a winding rear split grip, and virtually no hardware in front of the rear grip save for the hood to accept and secure the front of your reel. It’s something you need to see and feel in person to relate to, and a very exciting innovation for this introductory level bass rod.

 

Here's a new reel seat we haven't seen before

 

There are 11 rods (7 spinning, 4 casting) in the AMPTM lineup that feel very light, and surprisingly crisp for their price range. These sticks may very well redefine this price point.

 

We asked the Pure Fishing staff to mount a Revo on there to see how it looks like

 

Berkley Lightningrod Shock: Taking rods built with a specific purpose in mind a step further are the new Berkley Lightningrod Shock series of rods built for use with superlines (i.e. lines with zero stretch). To accommodate the unique requirements of these zero-stretch lines, these new Shock rods feature a Strike Amplifying Tip (S.A.T.) – a blend of graphite and fiberglass to produce a slower reacting tip resulting in fewer lost fish.

 

Another new introduction, the Lightiningrod Shock

 

The handle of the Shock

 

In addition, the Aluminum Oxide guides are diamond polished to reduce friction and increase durability, and the frame on the tip top guide is rounded out towards the tip to reduce the occurrence of wind assisted loop knots at the tip of the rod – issues often associated with fishing superlines. Each of the 10 rods (6 spinning, 4 casting) rods in this lineup also feature a suspending reel seat that lifts the reel off of the blank and keeps it from dampening the rod ensuring maximum sensitivity. Berkley’s Lightning Rod Shock series of rods will retail from $49.99 to $54.99.

 

A new stunning inshore series, Cobalt Fire

 

Berkley Cobalt Fire: Last year, Jim Coble of Pure Fishing introduced us to the new Fenwick Elite Tech series of rods, a line up of sticks that promised to bring the almost forgotten brand back into the foreground of discussions surrounding quality bass sticks. This year at ICAST, we witnessed the results of Jim’s pet project over the past couple of years, Berkley’s new, Cobalt Fire series of rods designed specifically with Florida’s inshore anglers in mind.

 

It has guide rings that are flight with the frame so the guides will not pop out easily

 

Jim spent a lot of time in Florida studying the characteristics of all the more popular rods used for their inshore fishing and what made them popular. He then went to the drawing board for Berkley to design a series of inshore rods built with all these benefits in mind.

 

These rods feature light tips for use with Berkley’s Saltwater Gulp baits, with strong backbones to battle the likes of big snook and redfish. The TiBlue guides from Pac Bay are used provide a guide that will stand up to abuse with superlines and feature flanged Zirconia rings to mitigate against ring popouts. There are 10 spinning, 7 casting, 2 two-piece surf spinning, 2 two-piece surf casting, and five jigging sticks in this lineup with MSRP ranging from $79.99 to $119.99.

 

A view of the handle of the Cobalt Fire

 

Jim is the innovator behind the Cobalt Fire series

 

Conclusion: As consumers find their way through a weakened global economy, value is going to be a key factor when choosing which products to purchase for non-essential activities. For many, a two to three hundred dollar fishing rod is simply out of the question. Thanks to these new offerings by Abu Garcia and Berkley, those struggling to make ends meet yet still wanting to take the time to relax and enjoy a day out on the water with family or friends won’t have to feel like that struggle has extended into their leisure time. By redefining what one should expect from an affordable fishing rod, Berkley is making it fun and easy for everyone to enjoy their time out on the water. 
 

 

                                               


 

 

 

 

 

 
 





 

 



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