I am looking at round baitcasters for things like northern, muskie, maybe salmon. Two high on the list right now is Shamano’s Cardiff and Abu Garcia’s Classic C4. Any suggestions?
Nice reels, expensive, but worth the money.
The Cardiff is a nice reel. The only
thing I don’t like about Shimano and its baitcasters is they change things and reels eventually become orphans, difficult to get parts for them, Daiwa is the same. I use three Abu baitcasters, a 6600D5, not a good one for what you want; a 5600c4, nice reel, great on the cast and retrieve; and a 6500c3, new to me, but I’ve matched it with an Ugly Stick 1120 big water rod and it does great for my kind of fishing…mainly cats, bought the rod and reel for big blue cats. The 6500/6600 is what I’d go with, they’ve been around for a while and, even if Abu stopped production tommorrow, you’ll be able to get parts for decades, if nothing else by scavanging old Abu’s. Just keep 'em clean and oil the worm gear after each trip.
Never had a C4 let me down
That said, I have a preference for Diawa reels. Someone mentioned a Millionaire. I’ve got a Millionaire S for surf fishing and love it. I also have a couple Diawa low-end spinning reels for kayak-fishing. The abuse of drops and splashing has not bothered them any, where it has other brands. Diawa reels seem to be good buys for the money.
You may also want to check out Bass Pro Shops Excel models. They’re easy to use and go on sale about twice a year. When they do, you can get a reliable and easy to use reel at a very reasonable price. I have been told, but have no way to confirm, that BPS Excel reels are made by Pflueger.
Still, as said above, tough to go wrong with the Abu Garcias. Time tested design that handles lots of abuse.
- Big D
Re: Round Baitcasters
Quote: “…thing I don’t like about Shimano and its baitcasters is they change things and reels eventually become orphans, difficult to get parts for them, Daiwa is the same. I use three Abu baitcasters, a 6600D5, not a good one for what you want; a 5600c4, nice reel, great on the cast and retrieve; and a 6500c3[snip]The 6500/6600 is what I’d go with, they’ve been around for a while and, even if Abu stopped production tommorrow, you’ll be able to get parts for decades, if nothing else by scavanging old Abu’s. Just keep 'em clean and oil the worm gear after each trip.”
I’m gonna have to disagree. On a model by model comparison of round baitcasters I’d say Shimano makes the least amount of changes and that ABU seems to make the most changes within models. Parts availablity (even for discontinued models), customer service and the number of authorized repair centers for Shimanos get pretty high marks from me. ABU parts availability and service isn’t bad either but I think the company lost a little “something” when they got swallowed up by the Pure Fishing/Berkeley umbrella. I’m still a big fan of the classic pre-1980 models though…
Having said that, if you’re looking for a good round baitcaster in the sub $100 range then an ABU would be my first choice. With Shimano, your higher quality models start in the $100 range (Cardiff series) and the Calcutta series would be a good benchmark for bulletproof reels that last a lifetime. I think Shimanos are way easier to service and their one piece frames are stronger/more rigid than ABUs with their older post + sideplate style of construction.
And as mentioned previously, the Daiwa Millionaire series is great too. What I don’t like about Daiwa is that they can really lag when sending out parts. Millionaires rank right up with the Calcutta in the quality department.
Someone mentioned Pfleuger–I don’t think it’s really the same company anymore. They’re just a subsidiary of Shakespeare and the reels are generic reels branded with their name by an overseas manufacturer. It’s similar to the way Bass Pro Shops OEMs their many models. Model “x” one year could be radically different than the same model the following year and parts won’t be available in the long run.
Once the warranty is up, it makes little
difference about authorized service centers, most are often a long way from where one lives anyway. I’ve found that Abu’s are easy to get serviced by reel repair shops and most of them are as good as, or even better than authorized centers. As for obtaining parts, I’ve got a early 80’s model Shimano Bantam 1000 and a Daiwa Millionaire of the same vintage I cannot get parts for. But, I can for Abu’s much older than that. Shimano just orphed the Curado reels many inshore fishermen loved, replacing it with the Citica. Those early Citicas were not good, and the new Curado is a much more expensive reel.
Nice thing about Abu Garcia bait casters is that they are ALL good.
I have an Ambassadeur Six Star on a Penn Long Beach 3356C Medium/Light Action 5’6" rod and an Ambassadeur 6500C4 High Speed on a St.Croix Premier/PC70MF 7’ Medium Power Fast Action SC Graphite rod.
I use both for fishing from my kayak. The reels get a lot of abuse, and are always wet with salt water. I rise them off with fresh water, take them in to be professionally cleaned and oiled once a year, and have not had any problems.
Big fan of the C4
I really like the Abu c4. Ive used other reels in the past but always go back to the Abu. I have gotten rid of all the others and now have 7 Abu’s that I always use. I don’t see myself changing anytime soon.
I’d stay away from the D5 series. May
be good for tossing bait 1/2 oz or better, but its difficult to set the cast control for larger weights. Also, the center thumb bar will stick when casting and you have to manually push it up to engage the reel. Sand and grit gets in between the thumbar and the reel housing, causing it to bind.
The nice thing about the 6500 and
Cardiff is either will work on a short boat type rod or a long one meant for casting distances from the bank. My 6500c3 is on a 7 ft big water ugly stick, medium heavy casting rod. Lots of backbone for hefting catfish out of heavy cover.
I have 3 6500C’s purchased in 1971 at about a half weeks pay each. Still fish them, never been to a service center. I am anal about reel maintinence after fishin in salt water. I have changed the drags and up dated the drag material a few times myself.
These reels to date have caught sails, tuna, cobia, all manner and size of snapper and jacks. Not to mention…well maybe I will…sharks, red and black drum, bass, hybred, stripped and lm’s. More, I just can’t remember!
Money well spent! If I could just keep a few good rods more than a couple of years.
> I have 3 6500C’s purchased in 1971 at about a half
weeks pay each. Still fish them, never been to a
Yea, those pre-1980 Ambassadeurs are great. I still fish a 1977 5500C, though these days it’s relegated to near shore/light tackle saltwater duty rather than bass’n. I rebuilt it with a new gearset, carbon fiber drags and ABEC 7 grade ceramic bearings. It zings! There are other upgrades available like nitrided line guides and bearing supported worm gears for the levelwind but I don’t think I’ll go that far. It’s almost like customizing an M1911…
Go with the Abu Garcia. I’ve fished shimano & Abu alike, I’ve found that the Abu is the better performer & typically better priced. While I’ve never fished for muskie I have fished for a number of salt water species that I would say are just as much a challenge. you wont be disappointed with the quality of these reels.
I use Abu's but if you dont need the level wind, check out the Avet SX. Made in the PRK (Peoples Republik of Kalifornia). About $175 with free delivery most places.
Pflueger reels are actually very good reels. Pflueger makes some of the best low profile baitcasters for the money. Comparing feature to feature the Pfluegers match head to head with the Shimano reels at a much lower price. I have a President and a Trion and both work very well.
Check out their webstite if you want to know more.
The President holds ujp well in salt and
is a great casting reel from what others say. But, many seem to have trouble with the Trion. Of course, it does help to wash the salt off after use and oil them every now and then.
baitcasting skill - I don’t have it.
I envy you all. Or rather, I’m in awe.
A few years ago I picked up a baitcasting reel and attempted to learn how to do this. I read books. I went into my yard (I had a big yard at that time) and practiced for hours and hours with a dumby load, a plastic weight as well as various weights of sinkers, trying to get the hang of it.
When I would go fishing I could get perhaps a dozen decent casts off before the fishing gods noticed me (they have always deemed me not worthy of catching anything better than discarded boots) and then WHAM! (may have been more of a whooosh) my reel is snarled by a tangled mess of line which I spend the next 30 minutes trying to untangle and eventually cut.
I’m fairly new to kayaking though do plan on attempting to fish off my yak in the future but I think I’ll pick up a spinning reel for it. I think I’ve still got years of practice and frustration on the shore with my bait-caster before I decide to bring it out with me in the kayak.
Shimano Stradic shoud work well for you.
Not the cheapest spinner around, but smooth with Shimano quality, designed for saltwater.
Just picked up a Prodigy from Cabelas $99.00. I practiced with it and never got a backlash. It has adjustable magnetic backlash controls and works better than any reel I have tried.