Abu Garcia Reels & Fishing History

Part III of our series where we look back to popular fishing tackle brands and find out how they got started and what lead them to success. This time we are going to take a look at Abu Garcia Reels past.  Previous articles we have written have been about Shimano and Penn.

I can confident to say that Abu Garcia reels may have one of the most interesting founding stories. Their road to the tackle market top has not been easy. This story does not involve usual American success that could have been predicted pretty much right when the company started out. Far from that.

I would say that in many ways hardships and obstacles themselves  are what gave Abu Garcia reels the needed push to becoming what they are today. Ready to dive deeper into this story? I certainly am, so here we go.

abu garcia reels for life

Swedish Crafting Company

So Abu Garcia was founded far away from America in Sweden by Carl August Borgström. Borgström was quite experienced craftsman thanks to his years spent in the Halda watchmaking factory, which was the company he ended up buying and renaming to the AB Urfabriken company. It first started out by producing pocket watches, telephone timers and taxi meters.

Soon, Carl died and in 1939 his son Göte Borgström took the company over. Göte had a choice: either to keep producing clocks and watches or, being a fishing enthusiast, he could start making fishing reels.

Maybe the most influential factor for deciding to move forward with making fishing reels was a simple fact. After World War II, there was no longer a big demand for watches and taxi meters. After this decision, the company name was changed to ABU.

So 1941 the first Abu Garcia reels named ABU Record was released. The firm did not attract much attention and media until the Ambassadeur baitcasting reel was introduced. It became a very well-known reel for its precision engineering and quality processes that were used in in its manufacturing.

Launching the Ambassadeur was the beginning of Abu Garcia fishing reels world-wide success and even nowadays the Ambassadeur is available in tackle shops.

ABU ambassador abu garcia reels

In 1950 Abu started to expand to USA through fishing equipment distribution and selling to a company named Garcia.

In 1955 company officially announced the first Abu Garcia spinning reel called ABU 444, which reinforced the company market position because now it had more variety of reels to offer.

Finally, when ABU acquired the Garcia distribution and reselling firm, based in USA, the company was officially named Abu Garcia.

Modern Abu Garcia Reels Tackle

Now Abu Garcia reels top of the line products carry the name Revo which stands as revolutionary. In todays world, their most well-known fishing reels are the Revo series of low profile baitcasters that continue to get lighter and more compact each year. For spinning reels, the Revo Premier still has its place even in the professional bass anglers hands.

Maybe the most distinctive change the company has done in past decade is the choice of putting a bit more focus on fishing rods instead of being solely a reel focused brand. Some examples are fishing rods like Vendetta and Vengeance.

Of course AG has stayed true to it’s most popular and the critical part of their successes journey-The Abu Garcia Ambassadeur. Every baitcaster still maintains the old fashioned round-look instead of the newer low profile one that is part of the same Ambassadeur product line.

However, the old Abu Garcia Reels still hold their worth even today. There are many specialized collectors out there who still go crazy over some of the earliest ABU fishing reels.

Ending Thoughts

Abu Garcia reels journey could be titled as the most engaging and interesting one for a many anglers. The company born in Sweden as a crafting company was transformed with continuous and relentless work from multiple generations into something so dominating and time-proven in the fishing world.

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