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Thread: Suggestions for Left Handed Baitcasting reel

  1. #1
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    Default Suggestions for Left Handed Baitcasting reel

    I am new to baitcasters and would like some suggestions on a left handed reel. I am looking at either a Shimano Cardiff CDF-401A or a Abu Garcia Ambassadeur Classic C4 6601 C4. The prices are similar, but I am partial to the Shimano as that is what I have used on my spinning rods. I will be pairing this reel with an Ugly Stik Lite 8 1/2 ft 12-30 lb Heavy Rod. I will use the set-up for Kenai Reds, Kings, trolling for silvers in the salt, and for lings and rockfish. The other question that I have is should I use Power Pro 50-65lb or 25-30lb mono. Any help would be much appreciated. Thanks

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    Member Raptor_1's Avatar
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    Both are great reals and it would be hard for me to make a choice between one or the other. I use both and have had great success with both. I've had one Abu 5501 wear out on me, but returned it to the store and they gave me a brand new one. I am a left handed bait caster myself as it seemed like a logical transition from spinning gear when I started bait casting. The Abu's are great reals and tough. I use mine for all species of salmon although I also use a Shimano Bantam for pinks and silvers also. I always have a back up rod available. I spool mine up with 30# power pro and have never been snapped off by a fish. That stuff says 30 # but it takes a lot more than that to break it. I like to go a little on the lighter side with the super lines in case I snag a rock or a log. It's a lot easier to get 30# power pro unsnagged than it is 80#. You'll end up pulling the tree in before it breaks. Remember to back your reel with 10 yards of so of some heavy mono so the super line doesn't slip around the arbor. You can also use a chunck of tape to secure the power pro to the arbor if you don't use mono backing. I would say go with the power pro. You'll get a lot more line on the reel since it is a lot smaller diameter compared to mono of the same break weight. 30# power pro is comparable to the thickness of 10lb mono. Make sure when you are trolling though that you set your drag a little lighter. Power pro has absolutley no stretch to it, if you don't set your drag a little loose when a fish hits it can snap your rod. Another great thing about super lines not stretching is it greatly inproves your feel through the rod when fishing in deep water when you have a lot of line out. Mono has quite a bit of stretch when you get a lot of line out there, not to mention this stretch increases as it soaks up a little water. With the no stretch super lines, that bite is transfered directly to the rod.
    Alaska: We're all here cuz we're not all "there"

  3. #3

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    Last year I got an Ambassador 6501 left-hand, with 30# Power Pro. I really like it a lot.

    I, too, have all Shimano spinning reels but I just felt like it was more Abu's specialty, the traditional type baitcasters. I haven't used a Shimano baitcaster much, but I can't believe they're much better-there just isn't that much room to improve versus the Ambassador.

    I suspect this is situation of personal preference, no real loser.

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    Moderator AKmud's Avatar
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    I don't know much about the Abu, but I love my Ambassadeur 6501C3. I've never had any problems with it and I'm not the best at keeping my reels clean. I think it will need a clean/lube job this spring though, it was starting to squeak a little last year (a dunk in the water and it went away though.... ). It has been in service with me for about 8 years now.
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    Abu is the manufacturer of the Ambassadeur...Abu Garcia, that's what I was refering to when I said Abu...mine also take a lot of punishment and kept going. I tear mine apart each spring before the season and give them a good cleaning. A little bit of hot sause oil and it's good to go for the season. Don't use grease though on the internal parts, it gums up the gears and you won't be able to cast. I do however put a healthy dose of grease on the line pick-up gear. Best stuff I've used is Hot Sauce made by Quantum. I even use it on my guns
    Alaska: We're all here cuz we're not all "there"

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    Member Roland on the River's Avatar
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    Default Reel choice

    Really depends how much fishing "catching " you do. If this will be used a lot I suggest the Shimano. Having used both i found the Shimano drag is superior.

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    Sorry, I mis-quoted in my first post.... I meant to say I was not familiar with the Shimano. I love the Abu Garcia though.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Roland on the River View Post
    Really depends how much fishing "catching " you do. If this will be used a lot I suggest the Shimano. Having used both i found the Shimano drag is superior.
    I've caught hundreds of fish on the Ambassadeur with no problems with the drag. I will agree that the Shimano does have a marginally superior drag system, but both reels will do just fine and are very tough.
    Alaska: We're all here cuz we're not all "there"

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    When we had our place on the Kenai, I always had couple Abu 6501's for any "lefties" that visited. They always worked well and provided plenty of drag for Kings.

  10. #10

    Default Left versus right

    I don't want to hijack this thread, but since the OP is switching from spinning to baitcasting it might be relevant.

    Growing up and learning with spinning reels, I was always told the correct way to fish with a spinning outfit is with the crank on the opposite side as your dominant hand. You cast with your dominant hand (right in my case), then crank with the other (left). This way you don't have to switch the rod between hands.

    With a baitcaster, you cast and crank with your dominant hand, and switch the rod between casting/retrieving.

    I won't do this, it's just much easier the other way. I always use left-handed baitcasters, even though I'm right-handed. I much prefer it. Is anyone else doing this?

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    This is also the way I do it. It made no sense to me to cast and switch hands. It was a much easier transition in my mind.
    Alaska: We're all here cuz we're not all "there"

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    +1

    Things just seem to work better by reeling with the support hand and controlling the rod with the strong hand.
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    I've abused the c4's terribly and they have held up. Just dont buy calcuttas or you will never buy an abu again.

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    Member Larsenvega's Avatar
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    I have used my Shimano Cardiff 300A for nearly all of my salmon action, whether it be while drifting my boat on local rivers or ripping the lips off the salmon out of PWS and Seward. I keep her mounted on my trusty 8.5 Lamiglas heavy-action rod, and the two together make quite the deadly tool.

    There are quite a few things I absolutely love about the Cardiff, but here are a few off the top of my head. First, the super-stopper Shimano bearings give no slack whatsoever when a fish strikes, improving the hookset dramatically. Second, the VBS (variable brake system) is the best I've ever used. It utilizes a magnetic brake via a small thumb wheel right next to the drag, and makes quick adjustments of the spool-rate super easy. This is very important when switching between jigging a quick-sinking crippled herring to pitching a light vibrax, all while getting the max distance or speed out of each cast or drop. I have found that using the VBS correctly has eliminated the chance of the dreaded "birds nest" that can easily suck 15-20 minutes out of a great fishing trip. The third and last note I will mention is the Cardiff's awesome performance in salt water. I have used mine for a couple seasons now, and with very minor maintenance, it is going to last me for many more. Only two things are necessary to keep her running smooth and strong. The thumb screws on the side provide easy access to apply the Shimano oil, and I give it a fresh water dunk after each trip out.

    Good luck with your choice, and if you have any further questions about the Cardiff, shoot me a PM!

  15. #15

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    I bought two Abu's about 6 or 8 years ago, I think they are a 5500 with anti-backlash and a 6500 without the antibacklash. They are both great reels, but that stupid anti-backlash thing is the worst thing going. I think it actually caused more backlashes when I tried to use it, then the dang thing broke after a couple years and I had to hold the plastic device in place with duct tape. Sucked. Other than that, they have treated me well and I don't do anything to maintain them except wipe the mud/slime/sand off of them and put new line on.

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    I gotta ask. Why do people prefer bait casters over spinning reels. My first reel at about age 8 was a bait caster. It was a horrible thing. Much more time spent fixing birds nests than fishing. Then Dad let me use his Mitchell 300, I was hooked. No more bird nests and I could spend my time fishing instead of fixing. So I've been using spinning gear and fly rigs for 50 years. Because a couple of my friends use nothing but bait casters and swear they are the best ever I bought a Garcia Abu bait caster and rod 3 or 4 years ago. I don't use it much because I'd rather fish than fix line snarls. If your gonna use a bait caster, then a left hand reel for a right hand person only makes sense. So for you dedicated baitcasters,what do you consider the advantages.

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    Spinning tackle works great if that is what you are used to and prefer to use! Baitcasting rigs are generally used for heavier tackle set ups due to their rugged design and gearing (if you spend the money on a decent one). Spinning rigs can get snarled up to if you don't take a few precautions. If throwing baits that have parts that rotate around the axis of the line (vibrax) it can twist your line up and you'll get some nasty birds nests. To avoid this you can tie in a good quality ball bearing swivel or on occasion, let out all of your line down current and the action of the water acting on the line will untwist it. Line capacity and reel size can also be an issue. Spinning reels can get rather large and bulky when you start getting up there in size and line capacity. Baitcasters will hold more line than a similar sized spinning reel. The arbor on a baitcaster is a lot smaller than the spool of a spinning reel and you can pack a lot of line on there. Especially if you use braided lines with their smaller diameters. With a little bit of practice bait casting is as simple as spin casting. Settin the brakes right and keeping your thumb ready to stop the spool dead if yu sense a backlash coming on is essential. You"ll still get the occasional snarl, but it quickly becomes second nature. Good luck!
    Alaska: We're all here cuz we're not all "there"

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    I have an Abu C3, Shimano Calcutta and a Cardiff. I like the Shimano reels better for hand/thumb ergonomics. The Shimanos have more bearings and are better for casting and drag. I have my C3 for a back-up. It works ok, but the other reels cast way better. You get what you pay for. When you get the calcutta high end models (about $300) you have priority service from Shimano with no charge for repairs. Guaranteed 3 working days turn around. I had my reels back in less than 2 weeks. I seem to break one a year fishing for Kings on the Nushagak, Kenai and Deshka. Two years in a row I hooked into nearly 100 Kings (not hard to do on the Nush). No reel is going to take that kind of abuse. Shimano had my reels back to me nice and spiffy for with only one weekend of using my spare.

    My buddies all use Abu reels. 4 bearings and up. They have brought in some HOGS and fish the heck out of them. I can usually out cast them with my Shimano reels using the same G3 rod and a vibrax or mag wort. They too have sent theirs in for repairs. They did not have any hassles, but the reels were out of the fishing rotation for the season. It took about a month to get them back.

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    To answer your question on lines. 30# P-line CXXX has never let me down. It is stronger than my rod for sure. I fish the Kenai with it using 60# leaders and have brought in 50+ pounders. I watched by buddy bring in a 50 pounder in Sheep creek backward using Pline (everyone was well behind him case it broke off). If I am going to cast a bunch, and am not worried about fish over 30#, I use 25# P-LINE. It is hard to make leaders out of it though, I tend to use maxima 40# line for that if not on the Kenai.

    DO NOT USE BRAIDED LINES on baitcasters until you are VERY confident in casting them. Braided lines will back lash horribly and you will have to cut the line out of the reel. No kidding, don't do it. The braided lines also do not stretch. That is good for hook sets, but can be tough on terminal tackle if a fish surges. The stretch of monofilament can be a great help in keeping your gear in the fish's mouth.

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    Daved, I agree with you on bird nesting super lines. If you're not good at casting or you're not quick with your thumb to stop a backlash when you sense one developing, you'll have a hell of a mess and nearly impossible to fix with out cutting away a lot of line. Otherwise I prefer it to mono or flouro any day of the week. I tie in a length of 40lb maxima as a shock leader though for the other reasons you mentioned.
    Alaska: We're all here cuz we're not all "there"

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