Here’s a treat for the ABU Garcia fans out there. The Garcia Fishing Tackle Annual 1960. Printed by the Garcia Corporation on a yearly basis, this annual was more than a method in which to showcase their gear. Garcia hired the top writers of the day to pen articles on everything from ultra-light freshwater fishing to the heaviest of saltwater big game fishing. Writers such as Stan Fagerstrom, Homer Circle, Tom McNally, Vlad Evanoff, and Erwin Bauer were some of the famous anglers who graced the pages of the annual with their prose. All that and the latest tackle to boot. Who could ask for more.
I’ve been wanting to post these annuals for some time in their entirety but hadn’t received the proper permission. At this year’s Bassmaster Classic, I made it a point to get ahold of someone at Pure Fishing who could lead me in that direction. As luck would have it, I talked with Senior Vice President of Marketing, Jon Schlosser, and he gave me permission to reprint any and all of the annuals I have. It’s going to be a busy time here as I have nearly every Annual from 1960 through 1979.
So, let’s move on with the Garcia Fishing Tackle Annual 1960.
This Annual is long at 80 pages not counting the cover. The inside cover is a welcome to this year’s Annual and what you might expect to see inside. The first page contains the Table of Contents of the book. This year’s Annual is formatted a little differently than some of the others I have. In this issue there are a couple of pages of products and then an article by one of the writers that features the products you just saw on the preceding pages. Sometimes that order was reversed. Pretty smart marketing I must add.
It’s obvious that Garcia Corporation had the writers on staff, and that was verified to me by my dear friend Stan Fagerstrom in the past. But reading the articles, there never appeared to be a hard sell of the equipment. It was just good solid information.
The first 22 pages of the Annual was dedicated to their spinning reels of the day. The Mitchell 300, 301 and 350 started off the book, followed by the 302, 302MP saltwater models. Then on page 12 you get into the light freshwater reels, the 314 and 304. This is followed up with the intermediate reel, the 306.
In between each section of reels were articles by Joseph D. Bates, Angelo DeSimone, Tom McNally, Vlad Evanoff, and Ray Ovington. Then on Page 22, I was struck by something I didn’t know. Garcia Corporation sold a spinning reel manufactured by ABU at the time. The Garcia ABU Spinning Reel.
This made me scratch my head for a few minutes. Garcia at the time was essentially a jobber for both ABU and Mitchell, ABU being produced by A.B. Urfabriken in Sweden and Mitchell by Carpano & Pons in France. I always thought that Garcia Corp had some sort of agreement with each company not to sell competing reels, and this may have been the case as this reel doesn’t appear in the 1962 Annual I have. I’d like to know the back story if anyone knows how this went down.
Anyway, looking at the Garcia ABU Spinning reel you see shades of the ABU Cardinal reel in the design. The two-tone color, the push-button spool, the flat handle knob, and the rear drag are all hallmarks of the Cardinal series of reel to come shortly after. I’d really like to see one of these reels in person.
The next section of the Annual, pages 24 through 31, concentrates on bass fishing and the ABU casting reels. It starts off with an article titled, Lover of Bigmouth, penned by Stan Fagerstrom. By 1960, Stan had been fishing the ABU 5000 for five years. He was one of the first anglers in the U.S. to have the reels and used them not only for his fishing but his casting demonstrations throughout the country. I read the article word for word. It’s classic Fagerstrom with his 1940s style of writing.
Pages 26 and 27 feature the 5000, 5000A and 6000 reels. Priced at $45 for the 5000 series and $47.50 for the 6000, these reels were quite spendy for the day. In fact, in today’s money the 5000 series reels would set you back $439.50. That’s the cost of a high-dollar Shimano these days and I’ve actually seen some 1970s ABU go for much more than that on the auction sites. Who would have known the cost of those reels would keep up or surpass inflation.
Page 30 is another interesting page. Garcia is touting their Fine Diameter Braided line. They don’t discuss what the line is made of, but they do say that it has low stretch and worked well on spinning reels. Braid wasn’t invented in the 1990s folks.
The following page features two more reels I would love to see at some point. The Garcia ABU 2100 and 2300 Bait and Tournament Casting Reels. These reels look awesome and by the prices they’re going for on eBay, they’re definitely collectors. You know the reels were for the serious competition caster as ABU offered a “hand-balanced and technically perfect” magnesium spool for an extra $10. There are two of these reels on eBay right now. One is going for nearly $400 and the other for $3,000.
Page 34 starts the rod section of the Annual. The intro page discusses the components put into each rod starting with the Thermotex fiberglass. I’m not sure how this glass compares to S- or E-glass, which have been around since the 70s and 80s. Their rods came with either agate guides or their chromed stainless-steel guides. Handles were constructed out of top-grade specie cork and reel seats were precision machined and finished either in chrome or anodized.
The middle of the catalog, Page 40, was reserved for the ABU-Matic spincast reels as well as an order form. I won’t go into any detail here as spincast reels, although important in many a child’s life learning to fish, are self-explanatory. If you’re interested in reading more about them, you can view these pages below in the gallery.
The rest of the Annual contains a host of other products that Garcia either manufactured themselves or had the rights to sell. Lures, all types of line, jewelry, rod building components, reel repair and reel accessories, extra spools, and complete fishing kits. The kits are really cool to look at because they literally offered everything a new angler would need. I’d have loved to have received one of these kits as a gift back in the day.
As stated above, I have been given permission by Pure Fishing to scan and post each of the Annuals I have in their entirety. In the coming weeks I’ll be posting the 1962 version of this Annual as I am missing the 1961 issue. If someone knows of one, please let me know.
Below in the gallery is the entire catalog for you to check out. Click on the first image and scroll through it at your own pace. We hope you’ve enjoyed this look back into the history of ABU Garcia.
I would also like to thank Jon Schlosser and Pure Fishing for allowing us to publish these historic documents.