I am always looking for a new reel to field test.
Last season I field tested the Abu Garcia 5600 C4.
The reel turned out to be a disappointment.
After only 3 weeks of hard work, the reel became a
"screamer" and took on the characteristics of an old
style coffee grinder.
year a friend of mine brought the Ambassador Beast to my
attention. After looking at it, I decided that it had all of the
ear marks of another disappointing product from Abu Garcia.
Sure, it has a pretty fish picture on the side plate and the
write up makes all the usual promotional claims. A closer look,
however, shows that, unlike recent products, this reel has
returned to a free spool plunger design from the 1990's and
abandoned the thumb bar.
Why is this important? Aside from the fact that the thumb bar
makes for easier casting, the thumb plunger mechanism has a
history of failure…not to mention being a menace to your thumb.
The major problem with the family of reels is its longevity.
That is to say that the reel (those manufactured in the 1990's)
has a useable life of perhaps two years. A particular
annoyance is the propensity of the reels to exhibit a "free spool"
failure with heavy use.
The failure is directly related to the
plunger mechanism used to 'arm' the free spool for casting. The illustration shown here
will provide you some perspective. The spring arrowed in red is the key to the whole
mechanism. When the free spool plunger is depressed, this spring is stretched placing
tension on the internal mechanism. When you turn your reel handle to begin your retrieve,
this spring contracts placing the free spool plunger in its original position. Without
this spring, the free spool plunger will not 'pop up' when you begin your retrieve.
Unfortunately, this spring is made of very cheap material. The persistent amount of
expansion & contraction of the spring results in fatigue of the material. Heavy use
will result in failure of the free spool mechanism usually at the most inopportune time.
It is unlikely that Abu Garcia has re-engineered the thumb
plunger mechanism to resolve the problem. It is more likely that
they are re-cycling an old design to cut costs and then