Pros: Very smooth, quality built, great reel!
Cons: Not sleek looking, or low-profile.
The Abu Garcia C4 series of freshwater baitcasting reels are the best baitcasting reel you can buy for under $100. This is a no-nonsense quality fishing reel. I own five C4's and have never had a problem with them. The C4 model is the high speed version of the classic round Ambassadeur reel. The gear ratio of this reel is 6.3 to 1. This means that for every 1 rotation of the handle that the fisherman turns, the spool will turn 6.3 times. This is nice when you are throwing a lure like a spinnerbait, crankbait or buzzbait because you don't have to turn the reel as much as you would with a lower ratio reel. It The C4 will recover 30 inches of line for every rotation of the handle. This allows the fisherman to get the lure back in the strike zone very quickly. It has 4 stainless steel ball bearings to ensure smoothness and fishability. The gears are made from pure brass which last a lot longer than the plastic gears in cheaper reels. It is the standard of quality that I hold other reels up to. The drag system on these reels are great. I have not seen any numbers on how many pounds of pressure it will withhold but when I tighten mine up all the way on my jig rods for hook sets, it never budges. That is one nice thing about the drag system is that it is very easy to change pressure while fighting a fish because it is built into the handle with what they call a star drag handle. You can control it with your thumb without ever taking your hand off the reel. You don't even have to stop reeling in the fish to adjust the drag.
Why I bought this reel:
There are a couple of reasons why I purchased the Abu Garcia C4 reels. When I was just a young pup and beginning to fish, my father took me out as much as possible. He started me out with spinning reel outfits only. This was a great move for both of us. If he started me out with a baitcaster he would have ended up digging many, many, rats-nests out of the spool from backlashes. I wouldn't have been able to catch as many fish if my reel wasn't working properly, or if I wasn't able to work it properly. Everyone knows the attention span of young pups and knows that if they aren't catching fish they aren't having fun. So at the time the right reel for me to use was the spinning reel. While my Father used both baitcasters and spinning reels, I could only dream and hope that someday I could use one too. They are not a reel for beginners and take a higher amount of skill then spinning reels.
When I got older it was time to test out the Old Man's baitcasters. of course, the only reels the old man used were the Abu Garcia Ambassadeurs, which was lucky for me to step right into a quality reel. It took a little while to master it, and a bunch of backlashes later and I had it down enough to outfit myself with some baitcasting reels. Naturally I chose the Ambassadeurs from Abu Garcia. I had other choices from other great companies, and I had other choices even from Abu Garcia of purchasing a low profile, sleeker, reel, but I went with the old classic. I have pretty large hands so the larger round reel fits in them nicer than the smaller low-profile baitcasters.
These reels take very little maintenance. Included in the box with the reel at purchase is a small tube of grease and oil. The gears require a small amount of grease and the bar and spool requires oil at the end or beginning of the season. I like to open mine up before the season, make sure they are clean and add a little bit of oil and grease to ensure they are working smooth and properly. This is just a small amount of work that will go a long way after and before a million casts.
Backlashes happen when the spool is emptying line faster than the lure is flying or pulling the line from the spool. The spool continues to unwind during the cast but the line isn't coming out of the rods guides fast enough and you end up with a mess inside of your reel. It happens most often when a fisherman casts a light lure into a gust of wind. It even happens to the Pro fishermen too. You can minimize the amount of backlashes you get by adjusting your magnets to the weight of the lure you are using. The way I have always done this is to tighten the magnets up, push the release button with the lure hanging down from the tip about a foot, and slowly loosen the magnet until the lure falls on its own, this is usually the correct adjustment for the magnets. A great way to avoid serious backlashes is to cast a lure out as far as you can, strip off an extra 20 feet or so of line and put a piece of tape around the spool so if you ever do get a backlash it will only go that far. The higher quality reel you buy, the least amount of backlashes you will get. Buy a smooth quality reel like the Ambassadeur C4 and you will see what I mean.
The C4 series comes in three different sizes, 4600C4, 5600C4, and 6600C4. The 5600 and 6600 sizes also are made in left-hand retrieve. The 4600 model weighs 9.3 ounces and will hold 170 yards of 10 pound test line. It is the smallest of the C4 series. I recommend this size for use with smaller and lighter lures. Try to match up the size of the reel with the size of the lures you are using. The 5600 model weighs 10.6 ounces and will hold 205 yards of 12 pound test line. This is the size I like the most. It is great for Spinnerbaits and Crankbaits. The 6600 is the biggest model of this reel. It weighs 11.3 ounces and will hold 245 yards of 14 pound test. I recommend this model for trolling and not much casting. I traded mine back in for the 5600 after finding it too large for casting all day.
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