ABU Garcia 1973 – The Casting Reels

ABU Garcia Fishing Annual 1973. ABU Garcia 5000-series reels.

Garcia Fishing Annual 1973. ABU Garcia 5000-series reels.

Last week I posted a set of ads from the 1973 Garcia Fishing Annual regarding the Mitchell series reels. I did this mainly to stay true to a promise I’d made back when I posted a story about the Zebco Cardinal series reels, in which I received a plethora of emails from the Mitchell camp. Well, there’s no doubt there were the Cardinal supporters, the Mitchell supporters and even the Shakespeare supporters because I’ve been deluged with email since last week with comments.  You’d think old rivalries would end with time? Maybe I should consult the Hatfields and McCoys.

Well today I decided to post something from that same 1973 Garcia catalog that shouldn’t spark such a feisty dialog – the ABU Garcia 5000-series reels offered that year. Really, back then there wasn’t much else in casting reels that could compete – especially if you consider the number of these reels that are not only still around, but still functioning.

ABU Garcia Fishing Annual 1973. ABU Garcia C-series reels.

Garcia Fishing Annual 1973. ABU Garcia C-series reels.

First we’ll start out with the bushing-series reels, the 5000s. Unknown to me was the fact that there was three models of the 5000 – the 5000, the 5000A and the 5000B. I assumed there was a 5000B but thought the 5000 was the A-version. Evidently I was wrong. From the catalog, you see the straight 5000 was a standard-capacity reel (it had a non-removable spool arbor) and a standard two-paddle handle. The A-version was the same reel except the spool didn’t have an arbor, therefore giving it a higher line capacity. The B-series reel was also high capacity but with a counter-balanced heavy-duty handle.

Also listed in this series of reels was the 6000, which had the exact same sideplates as the 5000, 5000A and 5000B but had a wider, higher-capacity spool. This reel, along with the 5000B, also had that awful clicker.

What surprised me about this series was Garcia’s inclusion of the 1750-series reel with the 5000 series. It doesn’t seem to fit but I guess they had to classify it somewhere.

Garcia Fishing Annual 1973. ABU Garcia 5500C series reels.

Garcia Fishing Annual 1973. ABU Garcia 5500C series reels.

Next on the list was the 5000C-series reels. These reels were the bearing series of the ABU brand at the time, where the others were all brass bushing reels. These reels cast further and stood up a lot longer than the standard 5000 series reels ever could think of. Also in this series of reels was the newly introduced, backwards, 5001C – the first contemporary left-handed casting reel made. Then, for those who had an extra bit of income, you could get the gold-plated 5000DL.

The next ad in the Annual was for the new-for-1973 high-speed, 5:1 gear ratio 5500-series reels. They were the same reels as the 5000C series except for the new gears. Offered in both the 5000 size and 6000 size, these reels only came with counter-balanced, single-paddle handles. The first thing any hip bass angler did was take off the stock handle and place a Gator Grip on it. What I found missing in this catalog was the 5000D, direct drive reel. Maybe that was to be introduced later.

There you have it, the cast of ABU Garcia casting reels for 1973. It’s hard to argue what an impact these reels had on our sport – that is until some guy named Childre came out with a crazy looking reel a couple of years later.

  • I’m pretty sure that the 5000D didn’t come out until around ’75 or maybe even ’76. I loved the D, and had a couple of them. Then I switched to the 4600 series when the narrow spool versions came out. Could be wrong, but I think by that time, all the new models were 5 to 1 ratio.

    • Rich, I didn’t think it was that late but I guess that makes sense. It was a great reel as long as you had the drag adjusted right. 😉 I hurt my hand on a buddy of mines and never fished one again. On the Left Coast the 1500Cs and 2500Cs were really popular but they didn’t come out for a few more years – at least in the US.