I have 3 of these reels, (the oldest is well over 20 years old) and have found the Abu Garcia 6500c3 reel to be one of the toughest baitcasters around. The early reels were made in Sweden, my latest is made in Asia somewhere but still feels as good as the originals. This is a no nonsense reel with serious stopping power that can handle all the rough stuff bouncing around in your tinny, yet still perform when needed. Simple in design and very easy to dismantle and maintain even for the novice angler. While not as smooth as some of the low profile baitcasters they have rarely let me down. Spooled with mono or braid to around 20/25lb I have found it to be a very good all round reel for bottom bashing or for landing that monster Barra.
That free spool button / line catcher makes this a terrible reel.
I have done a lot of fishing with baitcaster reels and any baitcast reel with the freespool button as a bent metal part sticking up in the air is going to be practically very annoying. Your line will constantly get trapped around this part. This is why newer designs have a low profile button. If you want to just look at a reel and never use it then this won't apply.
Perfect Salmon Fishing Reel
I have been using these reels for about 34 yrs. They are sturdy, compact, well made, easy to clean and service. One of mine has been used extensively since 1980 and with regular maintenance it still runs like like new. The type of salmon fishing we do in NZ is cast and retrieve all day, in sometimes dusty river beds, The ABUs handle it well. In all the sports I have been into, I have always bought the best gear I could find, and I definitely consider the 6500C3 to be up there with the best.
Strong, smooth,Easily serviced. Parts generally available everywhere.
Look for the older series pre 2006 and you will love them!
I own two of the 6500C3's, one being my fathers that went around Australia with him and other that I picked up for an absolute bargain at KMart a few years ago - this will be my reel when I go around Australia one day and pass down to my children also!
The older reels are far more better made and are made in Sweden unlike some of the newer models that are cheap to the touch and from what I have herd suffer from quality control and parts are hard to source.
The reels that I own are all metal and the internals are idiot proof, with brass and aluminium used throughout. The reels prior to 2006 are the pick of the bunch and the reels to chase larger species of fish with a large capacity spool and no nonsense internal gears. The 6500C3 has three bearings however that can be increased with a trip to a bearing supplier and the bushings removed and bearings installed.
Cleaning and maintaining these reels is key to longevity, as their construction can lead to corrosion due to dissimilar metals being used eg: aluminium and stainless steel. If they get extensively wet you must wash and dry them externally and internally otherwise you will get severe corrosion! I drilled a 2mm hole at the base plate of both side covers to vent any water that gains entry - in the unlikely chance it does it will drain out and the reel will be unaffected by moisture and corrosion!
The reels will take around 300 meters of mono-filament and this will be doubled or tripled with today's super-lines, so backfilling is usually the case unless you have loads of cash to splash? Their level winds can be removed if your a high speed spinner, but you will have to lay the line manually which takes time to learn - these reels won numerous awards throughout their time being long distance casting champions...
I find that these reels require regular service perhaps 6 monthly due to the nature of the materials used if used enough, if used on a boat or kayak I would suggest that you service with water resistant greases (Quicksilver 2-4-C) and perform a deep service every 2 months and do a 'spot oil' prior and after every trip to maintain their performance and valued looks.
If you buy one of these reels and its one of the older models, look after them! The newer models are made by Berkley Fishing (USA) and they are nowhere near as good or quality aligned with what ABU set out to achieve in their long history.
These reels would be best suited for lure casting or live baiting or also for jigging, for hard pulling fish like Jacks and Jewies and are capable with pulling in massive Barra and have done so for the last 40 years!
Ambassadeur = Dependable!
Solid dependable construction, Bonb proof! Great for Jacks, Jewfish, trolling and can be upgraded with more bearings and carbon drags.
They do suffer from corrosion if not looked after...
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