Spinning is carried out with rods and underslung reels. The reels range in size and power from the tiniest Ultralight type to huge pelagic-species busting popper reels beyond the scope of ABU production.
To show my passion for 7 decades of Record / ABU spinning reels please enjoy my specially commissioned tee shirt design.
If you feel you would like to wear this as a tee shirt, please contact me for a hi res printable image. (This is much like the 7 Decades, front page casting reel design) Be different and show your love of ABU to your mates.
I am collecting quite a few examples of the complete range in this spinning style of ABU fishing reel and will eventually get around to photographing and documenting and learning more about the range.
A very interesting article by my friend Hans van der Pauw from Holland covers the History UL (Ultralight fishing).
The next instalment on ABU spinning provided by Hans related directly to Ultra Light spinning
Hans has kindly proffered this article on replacement spools for some Cardinal reels which may be of interest to readers.
ABU's famous Cardinal 33 below is their contribution to this style of finesse fishing. (His article was first published in the British quarterly 'Waterlog', Spring 2013.)
ABU outsourced and produced their own fixed spool /spinning reel products from the early 50's and covered a great range of sizes that would to target medium sized fish like trout up to large sea fish like Salmon in Europe.
My most recent acquisition is the beautiful leather boxed Record 600 in mint condition. The box has been expensively crafted with wooden inserts to hold the reel and spool.
These reels ranged from outsourced reels from Zangi in Italy such as the Record 222, 225, 500, 600, 700, 888, 999 , 1000
A very early Swiss designed and assembled spinner!
Any early Record 600 reel and beautiful leather case made for ABU in Sweden before they tooled up to make in Sweden.
Other reels ranged from outsouced reels from Zangi in Italy such as the Record 222, 225, 500, 600, 700, 888, 999 , 1000, to the Swedish designed and built Cardinal 33 , to the innovative Cardinal 52/54/55/57 series, through to the Cardinal 66/77 and X series , to the Suveran and high speed models like the Cardinal 807i and the SORON ST 70 of 2009. If the Suveran had been continued to be produced beyond the 1000 to 4000 size reels right up to 12 000 capacity size reels, NO other manufacturer was have been able to compete.
One feels that there was a greater emphasis on catching large fish so the majority of these spinning reels catered for heavier lines.
Although ABU had some wonderful closed face ABUMATIC reels and 500 series reels from the late 50's , it was not until the late 60's that the Cardinal 44 (and later eXpress variation) and then in 1975 that the task specific ultralight Cardinal 33 reel was designed and produced. It has lasted to present time in various commemorative forms in area specific locations like Japan which embraced ultralight spinning.
It is worth noting that 7g and smaller spinner baits were produced from the 50's so there was no shortage of lures to utilize for this finesse fishing.
ABU rods in the early days (40's) were made of steel really unsuitable for Ultralight spinning, and it was not until 1951, ABU saw the need for lighter rods be they for fly fishing or spinning and the Asbjorn Horgard range of rods were introduced to the ABU catalogs for just 2 years in 1950/51 by which time the new technology fibreglass products had hit the market and ABU had its own offering which saw the demise of the very expensive split canes imports form AH in Norway. (see rods section)
The ABU Gothia, Scandia, Sport, Tournament, Suecia were the first offering for light fiberglass spinning rods in 1952.
One of the most enduring and desirable light spinning reels ever made by ABU was the Cardinal 33 model which was significant enough to be re-released some 2 decades later due to demand. A finely crafted, delicate and expensive reel of the 70's era , became even slightly better with the re-release. A true enduring gem of a reel for finesse fishing. Read of its specific qualities by clicking the poster sides below.
I submitted my design of the Cardinal 33 to ORCA, Old Reel Collectors of America, and it was accepted by the board as the patch for 2015
My ABU collecting friend Woffe from Germany, has kindly shared these beautiful photos of rare ABU spinning reels, including cutaway demonstration 444 and some tournament casters.
Below is an early model Sportex 450 made in Germany for ABU
I would like to buy one of these Sportex 400, 450 or 500, or more likely have one bequeathed to the realsreels.com collection some day.
One of the prettiest ABU Spinning reels has to be the below Red and black ABU 333 in more detail here. ABU badge engineered identical ABU 333 made for Allen and Holm in special yellow and black. Thanks to Lars for his contribution here.
Uffe Edefur informs me that the red version is very much
more common by a factor of 10:1 He has just sourced me the rarer
Yellow and Black ABU 333 example below.
My example below....small rub on reel seat.
An example of the ABU 333 which was never for sale in this form is the very beautiful highly polished silver bell version. Worth 2 images I think!
I have also learned about the Zebco Connection with ABU and now due to Clinton Beeler's interest and generosity, have quite an understanding and appreciation of these ABU badge engineered models sold in USA. This arrangement really spearheaded ABU into USA spinning reel market, following on the successful Ambassadeur models.
|They were identical in every respect except for some reel colours, adhesive stickers, metal badges, packaging and a few names changes in the manuals.|
Beautiful black and white studies from Zebco are to be found here:
1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, were for a long period the ultimate spinning reel in the ABU stable. Their rugged construction and worm gear drive ensured their long popularity.
Presently I have about 65 different ABU spinning reel models.
They were replaced in the 90's with what was to be called the Morrom Spinning reel (see prototype box which never reached market!) but eventually become known as the Suveran. A very sophisticated and complicated reel, I have appreciated Alan Hawk's contribution as to its superb fishing performance and acceptance in the marketplace. Check out their prices at auction.
These reels are featured on a special page which depicts the Suverian and Morrum reels as being originally targeting the 90's Japanese market, but now of course they are very highly sought after throughout the world for both their collectable and fishing characteristics.
This Suveran series of spiinung reels and the Morrum Casting reels are what I call the Market Orientated Builds ie primarily aimed at the Japanese Domestic Market.
They can be read about here on this link.
Fully licenced and approved by ABU, for US commemorative market is this American Classic IV which is somewhat a misnomer to my mind when is is really Swedeish design.
The very rare and high speed Cardinal 44 Xpress is rarely seen in this condition as it was very popular with fishermen more so than collectors.
Two examples of my Cardinal 40 (there are also a model 70) showing difference with the dealer clear side plate.
Examples of two of my favourite Cardinals ( 52 and 57) from the late 70's are shown below along with the 157
These first released ABU Cardinals were models 52, 54, 55 and 57 along with 152, 154, 155, 157 .
Little known fact ++++
However it was "toyed with" to release them in a different colour for the huge USA market.
Here we see possibly the only remaining Cardinal 55 powder - coated at the Orkelljunga plant in a test colour. The colour choice was dispensed with in favour of the existing black models. The lime test colour reel was to be destroyed by the crushing machine at the Multo AB factory which was acquired by ABU in 1972.
Wayne, 1972 ABU bought the Multo factory in Orkelljunga.We
had originally planned to add to the rod factory on the
western side of the Morrum River. At that time Facit in
Svangsta was still active and we had difficulties finding
additional workers. After considering other alternatives (as
described in my book), we decided to buy the Orkeljunga
factory. See page 179 – 181. We installed the very
finest painting equipment (World first Electrostatic Powder
coating technique) with virtually no waste. The Cardinal
reels were painted this way. Re painting of lures like HI-LO
and others, that was still done at the main factory as long
as the lures were made in Sweden.
(up to 1981)
Fond regards! Len
Fortunately for me, a friend of my friend Uffe, decided this lovely reel could not be wasted, instead, 36 years its story would emerge and be shared .
story of this 55 is a little interesting I guess. When ABU
bought Garcia 1980 they started to put the label ABUGARCIA
on reels and other gear. This was probably one of the first
labels made for this purpose. At ABU Multo fabriken in
Örkelljunga they tried out new colours on this reel to
improve sales over there. This was one test colour.
All reels was destroyed after this test, at least almost all
of them. This is maybe the only one that survived the
I put this photo of the reel out on the Arjon...site on FB. There is some interest from collectors coming in, asking if it's for sale. I told them it was for sale before I bought it! :-) "
! (on behalf of ABU
Upon visiting Uffes friend when I was in Sweden, I ended up the fortunate recipient of many items from ABU of the 70s , rods, reels, parts, memorabilia and not the least infomation from Multofabriken factory Örkelljunga.
I am told one other test colour was made in grey which I am seeking to locate. It is interesting that this time Black was chosen and not red like Gote Borgstrom chose for the initial Record Ambassadeur.
Watch this space in coming months, to see these reels materialise into complete reels from original parts as they would have if they had moved from the decision making process to full production line atthe ABU Multofabriken factory in Örkelljunga
My first was a
Cardinal Series Model 57.
The only problem experienced was the "exploding" of a spool due
largely to my storing it in a hot garden shed with a tightly
loaded spool of monofilament, which expanded with consequent
shattering. Thanks Uffe for replacement spool. Third party
companies now produce an alloy spool preventing this hot
climate, heavily fished reels.
Also, the Cardinal 55 was made as a Saleman's model also to show the inner working of the reel.
Many other Cardinals were given clear side-plates and used by dealers to display the inner workings of the reel.
Here we see Martin Stone's clear side-plated Cardinal 44 (for which I supplied the clear sideplate)
The advertizing from Tight Lines in 1977
High Speed models
New image from 1978, the Cardinal 7
The Japanese made Cardinal 4 from 1984 was a popular spiining reel and I consider myself lucky to have found this unused example.
I have since collected many more (to date about 95)
including a Record
700, pictured here as well as a Record 444 and an ABU
333, ABU Record 444, Cardinal 40, 60, 70 and a Cardinal 33, 44,
66, 77 from friends in Europe. I am told the basic helical
/worn gear design is brilliant and never wears out providing
normal care is taken with its servicing. I have also added the
Record 222 green, Record 222 black, Record 225, Record 888,
Record 999 and Record 1000 reels made under licence by Zangi for
A.B.Urfabriken. See manual pages below.
Alan Hawk draws a long bow and
state uneqivocally in his
review that the
Suveran design by ABU in the early 90's was
the peak of ABU design and in his mind the best spinning reel
ever designed bar none. More recently, his later
of the Soron
series has tried to reach these same lofty heights at at much
reduced cost to the consumer. Clever engineering offshore in
I bought 3 of these Soron 60 for myself and 2 fishing mates, 2 still going well after hard fishing but the one which caught the 50 kg Giant Trevally failed after a few more outings. Bailarm buggared up, pulled out and no parts available, so it a parts reel only now, ie a throwaway.
Look forward soon to his review of the Classic Cardinal 7 in the USA Zebco guise.
However on a much better note, the Revo series of spinning reels, despite having some plastic inside have proved to be very reliable reels. I was involved in testing the unmarked looking (like a secret car test with no badging!)of the Revo STX 40 model.
On the strength of this I bought the
following Revo Inshore reels and heartily recommend them. Meant for
fresh water but taking the strain of salt water OK after a year or two.
Back to some vintage history.........
Manual pages from various Record ABU 1958 Spinning reels
are found below, courtesy of Jonas Eliasson of Sweden email@example.com
Thanks in no particular order, Morgan, Peter, Uffe , Wolfgang as well as Marco, Ben and Clinton.
One particular spinning reel that I have enjoyed adding to my collection is the ABU Cardinal 33 CDL
If you have any others listed below, that are unneeded or doubles in your collection and are available for a reasonable fee, I would be very pleased to hear from you.
Any Red Allen and Hohn spinning reel, an early Record 450, 500, any cutaway ABU Spinning reel, a "wedding cake" Tournament casting ABU spinning reel, or Tournament casting rod/reel combo are all wanted.