Swedish Record Ambassadeur – 1954

Swedish Record Ambassadeur 5000 ad from June 1954. From The Fisherman magazine.

Swedish Record Ambassadeur 5000 ad from June 1954. From The Fisherman magazine.

About a year ago we posted a piece regarding an old Ambasadeur 5000/6000 ad from 1955 and the fact that Garcia wasn’t mentioned anywhere. I contacted Bill Sonnett, who sent me the ad in the first place, and asked him what the deal was and who exactly was Julian A. Wesseler. He sent me to one of the ABU experts of the world, Fred Ribb, who explained to me that although Garcia was given the first shot at representing ABU in the U.S. in 1954, they balked at the chance and Julian Wesseler became the first rep in the states.

Well, tonight as I was reading through a stack of early 1950s The Fisherman magazines, I found not only an early ad but an actual write-up by Art Hutt on the new Swedish Ambassadeur. [Read more…]

Book Review – Deconstructing Old Ads

Deconstructing Old Ads by William T. Sonnett.

Deconstructing Old Ads by William T. Sonnett.

Historical book reviews have become a staple here at the Bass Fishing Archives. For the most part, we look at out-of-print books that have had significant impact on the sport. Books like Billy Westmorland’s Them Ole Brown Fish, Lunkers Love Nightcrawlers, Lucas on Bass, etc.

Another thing we post a lot here are old ads. Reason being: old ads give one a snapshot back to the day. While we’ve concentrated primarily on the history of competitive bass fishing and the ads that supported that portion of the industry, Bill Sonnett has been writing a column for the Fishing For History website for years covering ads from the dawn of bass fishing. [Read more…]

The Swedish Ambassadeur

A 1955 Ambassadeur ad from Field and Stream. The ad shows the first company who began importing ABU reels into the United States, Julian A. Wesseler.

A 1955 Ambassadeur ad from Field and Stream. The ad shows the first company who began importing ABU reels into the United States, Julian A. Wesseler.

Here’s an interesting ad I received from bass historian Bill Sonnett a couple months ago. The ad is from 1955 and was placed in a 1955 Field and Stream magazine. What makes the ad interesting is it’s debuting the new Swedish Ambassadeur level wind reel – models 5000 and 6000 – and nowhere in the ad is there any mention of Garcia.

This confused me a bit so I sent off an email to Bill and asked if he knew why there was no mention of Garcia and who Julian A. Wesseler was. Bill directed me to a gentleman who he said, “Has forgotten more about ABU than you and I will ever know combined.”

That man is Fred Ribb. [Read more…]

It’s All About the Skirts

1975 Daiwa 2500C ad. The first skirted-spool spinning reel.

1975 Daiwa 2500C ad. The first skirted-spool spinning reel.

Although by 1975 the miniskirt had been replaced by the ever-famous polyester bell-bottoms, Japanese tackle manufacturer Daiwa was ready to introduce its new skirt concept to the masses. Not as sexy as the miniskirt to some, the avid angler saw the skirted spool as a thing of beauty – and a solution to the never-ending problem of line slipping behind the spool.

The Daiwa 2500C is the reel that put the company on the map in the U.S. and maybe the world. Despite the fact that many anglers were still swearing by and using the Zebco Cardinal and Garcia Mitchel series reels, the skirted spool was such a game changer that even the most dedicated Swedish and French supporters started to look towards Japan for the solution to their problems. By the early 80s, Daiwa would have a hearty market share while ABU and Mitchell were retooling to make their own versions of new skirted-spool reel. [Read more…]

High-Speed – It’s all Relative

1973 ABU/Garcia ad for the ABU 5000. This was arguably the most popular reel ever made by any reel company. Note the small double handle. By the mid-70s, most anglers took this handle off and replaced it with a Gator Grip or BPS double handle.

1973 ABU/Garcia ad for the ABU 5000. This was arguably the most popular reel ever made by any reel company. Note the small double handle. By the mid-70s, most anglers took this handle off and replaced it with a Gator Grip or BPS double handle.

We’ve previously covered the Swedish reel manufacturer ABU with respect to their Cardinal series of reels marketed by Zebco in the late 60s through 80s. We’ve aso talked about their ever-famous 5000 series reels here a bit. But these ads I recently ran across really tell a lot about where we’ve come from and what anglers dealt with early in this bassin’ game.

The year is 1973 and nearly every hard-core bass angler is using the reels ABU made. Yeah, there were a few using reels made by Shakespeare and Pflueger (Lew Childre wouldn’t debut his BB1 Speed Spool for another couple years) but the vast majority were using the 5000 series of reels produced by ABU and marketed by Garcia. [Read more…]

Flippin’: A Concept. Not Just a Technique – Part Two

Dee Thomas congratulates Gary Klein on his first Bassmaster win at Lake Powell in 1979. Klein won the event flipping. Photo Bass Master Magazine July/August, 1979 Issue.

This is part two of a three-part series on the concept of flipping and the effect it had on the sport. In this installment, we talked with Gary Klein and Basil Bacon about their involvement with the early years of the technique. Click to read Part One and Part Three.

 

In part one of this piece, Dave Myers talked about the three factors that came together to form the concept of Flippin’. He also talked about how an angler could thoroughly pick apart a shoreline in half the time it’d take an angler using conventional methods.

For part two, I had the pleasure of interviewing two other anglers who took the ground rules developed by Thomas and added considerably to its foundation. Gary Klein and Basil Bacon both played pivotal roles in the progression of flipping and the way anglers approach shallow targets today

These two anglers not only helped flipping progress, they helped design new equipment, terminal tackle and baits to increase the effectiveness of the technique. [Read more…]

The Reel of the Decade – Maybe Longer

Zebco/ABU Cardinal 4 circa 1971.

I think we can all come to an agreement with this one. Without a doubt, the Zebco/ABU Cardinal 4 (and 3) was the best spinning reel of its time. They may not have been the number-one selling reel, they cost more than an ordinary spinner at the time, but they were bomb-proof – pun intended.

The reels, manufactured by ABU Sweden and sold by Zebco, became available to the U.S. market in roughly the 1969 time frame and by 1971, Zebco was in an all-out marketing war with Garcia and their French-made Mitchell. By the mid 70s the reel had become the most widely sought-after spinning reel in the country. [Read more…]

Featuring the First Palming Plate and a Disengaging Level-Wind

Lew’s Speed Spool ad from 1977

If you saw the title phrase in a magazine reel advertisement today, you’d more than likely say, “So?” But, if you were reading that advertisement in say, 1976, you’d not only be intrigued but pumped by the fact that the company had taken steps to increase your casting distance and make the reel more ergonomic (I don’t even think the study of ergonomics was around in 1976) for the angler.

Up until the mid-70s, casting reels were heavy, featured the spool-tension knob on the sideplate opposing the handle (I could have said left sideplate but I wanted to respect you wrong-handed casters) and some, like the Ambassadeur 5000, didn’t even have bearings but brass bushings. At that time, the popular baitcasting manufacturers were Ambassadeur (ABU-Garcia), Diawa (the Millionaire series), Shakespeare and Pflueger with the most popular, in terms ruggedness and castability, being the first mentioned. [Read more…]

The Tackle of the 1971 Bass Master Classic

Bobby Murray hoists a stringer from the 1971 Bass Master Classic. Photo Bass Master Magazine Jan/Feb 1972 Issue.

Being somewhat of a tackle buff, I found it very intriguing when I read about the tackle that Bobby Murray used and swore by at the time of the 1971 Bass Master Classic. While doing my research for the 1971 Season at a Glance series, I was reading about that year’s Classic and Bob Cobb had actually pinned down Bobby Murray to ask him his tackle preferences. For those of you who started bass fishing post 1990 the tackle may seem odd and crazy. But for those of you who actually fished in this era, this review will bring back some memories – some good and others that’ll make you scratch your head in bewilderment, how did we get away with that gear?

So, without further adieu, here’s what Murray considered his top gear of the time (1). [Read more…]

Gearin’ Up

Lew’s Speed Spool Gear Kit. Circa 1974

Today’s bass anglers take a lot for granted. One example is retrieve ratios for the reels we use. Any reel we buy today generally has a number of different retrieve ratios available from a “slow” 5:1 to the “high-speed” 7:1. But what about the days when we were stuck with retrieve ratios that barely reached 4:1? For example, in the day, the ABU 5000 (the old red one folks) was state-of-the-art. It featured two brass bushings (not bearings), a free-spool mechanism (not a knuckle buster), and a hefty 3.75:1 gear ratio!

[Read more…]