For Life: The Abu Garcia Story

For Life The Abu Garcia StoryIf you dig around here at Catfish Edge you’ll quickly learn I’m a huge fan of Abu Garcia fishing reels.

They’re the only fishing reels I own and I own a lot of them. I have a full arsenal of 5500C3 reels I use for channel catfish and an even bigger set of 6500C3 reels I use for blue catfish and flathead catfish. I’ve got a handful of 7000 reels also that I bust out for some monster flathead and alligator gar from time to time.

I rely on the 5500C3 and 6500C3 fishing reels as my “go to” fishing reels for my catfish guide service and have for over a decade.

Abu Garcia round reels are also without question the most popular reels among catfish anglers (covered in the Ultimate List of Catfishing Tips).

I get some grief now and then from people about mu support of Abu Garcia reels and have been accused more than once of being a “fanboy”.

I explain my fondness for the reels like this.

If you want an inexpensive fishing reel or are looking for a deal then buy something else.

If you’re only going to use a fishing reel a few times a year then buy something else.

If you are going to fish often, you want a fishing reel that is durable, well built, works well when you need it to and will last a lifetime then buy an Abu Garcia reel.

They’re the reels I recommend to others because I know they are quality fishing reels, they’re reasonably priced and they’re built to last. If you buy an Abu Garcia classic round reel and make a reasonable effort to take care of it with semi-frequent cleanings it will last you a lifetime.

This quality that lasts a lifetime is much of the reason Abu Garcia has a huge base of loyal customers. There are families that have been using these reels for generations as they are passed on to family members.

The Abu Garcia round reels have been apart of my fishing as long as I can remember and some of my earliest memories of fishing include the use of these reels, many of which are still in my family today.

Over the years i’ve worked with Abu Garcia a few times doing some field testing and providing feedback on some items, most recently this was on the BCX fishing reels.

Filming “For Life” The Abu Garcia Story

For Life Abu Garcia Chad FergusonIn late 2012 the Abu Garcia staff contacted me and asked me to participate in a documentary they were filming called “For Life”, the Abu Garcia fishing reel story.

They gave me very few details on the project before they came out to film other than the fact that they were putting together a short film.

In February 2013 I met the Abu Garcia team and camera guy at Eagle Mountain Lake and they filled me in on more of the details of their project and gave me a sneak peek of some new products and the “backstory” behind the film and why they were putting it together.

The film was released at the 2013 iCast show. iCast is the big trade show for the fishing industry where all of the manufacturers debut new projects.

We spent most of the afternoon sitting around with the camera guy filming interviews about fishing for catfish and my history of using the Abu reels, as well as what they have meant to me in my years of fishing.

Then we hit the water to film some action video catching some blue catfish. We made quick work of catching some nice blue catfish, the first fish was hooked within minutes, a nice fat blue catfish that immediately surfaced when it was hooked in deep water and stayed on the surface the entire time it was being landed.

The documentary walks through the history of the fishing reels and company origin with a mix of stories from end users (like myself) and what these reels mean to them. There are some great stories that are testament to the durability of this product.

When you you learn the history behind the company and how a watch maker began the company, designing the first reel you gain some true appreciation for the history behind this product and exactly why it “just works”.

If you are looking for the latest “fad” these classic series round bait cast reels are not going to fit the bill. If you are looking for a workhorse reel that will last a lifetime and is capable of handling any catfish you throw at it, then you should definitely check them out.

If you just want to see the catfish piece of this video you can jump to the 28 minute mark and the 31 minute mark.

I love the quote at the beginning of the film:

“The best thing about fishing is whether your a garbage collector or an executive, on the river they are equals. Nobody cares what profession you have. It’s the guy with the biggest catch who is the superior.”

For more videos check out our catfishing videos section.

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For Life: The Abu Garcia Story

The Abu Garcia "For Life" Documentary is an inside look at the history behind the Abu Garcia baitcast fishing reels, the Abu Garcia Ambassadeur

Summer Channel Catfish Techniques


  1. Calvin Mabry says

    I’m a lifelong flathead fisherman and have been using ABU reels for over forty years. They are the best catfish reels available in my opinion. The video on the history of their company was very informative. Thank you for sharing it with me.

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