There was a time not so long ago when it seemed that any angler worth his salt ¬ from top matchmen to cutting-edge carpers ¬ possessed an Abu Garcia Cardinal reel.
After a spell in the doldrums, the iconic manufacturer has now moved to reclaim lost ground by improving and expanding its range of models available to the UK market for 2011.
The company’s new portfolio of fixed spool and freespool reels caters for the needs of match, specimen and carp anglers alike, and combines solid build quality with all the add-on features the modern-day angler has become accustomed to, including infinite anti-reverse, bombproof bail-arm systems, multiple bearings and spare spools as standard.
There are more than 30 different models in the 100, 200, 300, 400 and 500 series of reels, all of which are available as both front and rear drag.
This week, Angling Times put one reel from each series through its paces, and was mightily impressed with the findings. Make no mistake, Abu Garcia is back!
Cardinal C504i SDH
More compact front drag version of the C506i, with a 5.1:1 ratio and seven bearings. Comes with a shallow braid spool and deeper spare spool. Great all-round speci reel or match feeder workhorse. RRP£89.99
Cardinal 104i Front Drag Match Version
Front drag match reel with great aesthetics. Powerful 5.1:1 retrieve, two shallow aluminium spools, plus a deeper graphite spool. Great all round float and feeder reel. RRP£49.99
Front Drag Double-handled front drag model. Weighing almost 400g and with a capacity of 250m of 12lb line, would make a great specimen, predator or even carp reel. Comes with a spare graphite spool. RRP£47.99
Cardinal 304i Rear Drag
All-round match and pleasure fishing reel boasting classy gun metal and silver livery. Has six bearings, a single handle, weighs just over 300g and features quick-release push button spools. RRP£55.99
Cardinal 404i Match
The most expensive of Abu’s dedicated match reels. Has eight bearings, weighs 342g, has a retrieve ratio of 5.1:1 and comes supplied with two shallow aluminium match spools, plus a deeper graphite spare spool. RRP£75.99
Cardinal 55 Free Runner
Freespool reel with 12 bearings, a carbon matrix drag system, front drag plus micro-adjustable freespool rear drag. Comes with two long taper aluminium spools taking 200m of 15lb line. RRP£72.99