Tinkering Ambassadeur 1500C to throw 1/16 oz

Use this forum to share your stuff so round up your favorite reels! Questions can still go to the Reel Talk - General Forum
Post Reply
User avatar
Ron Mc
Star Board Poster
Posts: 3387
Joined: Thu Apr 29, 2004 7:49 am
Location: downtown Bulverde, Texas
Contact:

Tinkering Ambassadeur 1500C to throw 1/16 oz

Post by Ron Mc »

I've been having so much fun with low-inertia BFS reels in my salt XUL and ML niches, where I can cast 3-g lures beyond 130',
Image
decided to work up a baitcasting combo to fish the same lures in limestone creeks for endemic Guadalupe bass - we call them Texas brook trout.
Image
Found a great ebay deal on Tailwalk Troutia 5'6" UL - before I bought this on ebay, I watched restock at both Asian Portal and Digitaka disappear in one day - both had higher prices.
Image

After perusing 1500C prices on ebay, I called Don Iovino. His prices with his good work is about the same as an ebay "field" reel. This reel came off his bench the day before I called.
Image
Don removed 1/3 oz from the LW using Avail parts, and delivered with the stock spool.
The stock spool is heavy, and the capacity is also too great for fishing 0.20 mm line, either 5-lb Maxima Ultragreen mono or 10-lb Sufix 832 braid - over 200 yds.

The mass of the stock spool needed centrifugal brake.
Casting my target 3 g, right off, the spool mass was goosey, with start-up backclash even on my lightest lure.
Adding 2 centrifugal shoes, I was able to cast to 50' reliably, which is enough to fish any creek.
Image
I swapped in an Avail spool with mag brake.
The Avail 1520 spool is only 7 g, 2 mm deep - loaded with only 40-50 yds of either mono or braid, probably 1/4 of the mass of the stock loaded spool.
Image
The internal mag brake will attach to either side - attached to the frame side, it lets you use centrifugal, as well.
When I tried this light spool with 2 centrifugal shoes and 4 magnets, it wouldn't cast the light lure more than 35'. It also took a lot of cast effort to get this distance.
I swapped sides on the mag brake, reduced it to 2 magnets, and removed the spool centrifugal and replaced it with the spacer for it that comes with the mag brake.
Note it's also a lot easier to remove the drive pancake to add or remove magnets than to disassemble the spool from the palm side.
Image

Also note with mag brake, your lightest lure needs the most mag. Casting anything heavier, the brake is already set properly.

Without centrifugal and with light mag, the result casting 3 g was 80' casts with 100% reliability.
I could throw it fast and near horizontal, or lob it up high to the same distance, and no hint of backlash.
I don't need to fish 80', but the result means low effort fishing with total cast reliability.

I did spring for the last Avail 1500C frame I could find - that was a full ounce lighter than the stock brass frame, and it lowers the reel 7.5 mm on the reel seat. The AMO version of the frames are more cost-effective and in stock.
Image

Here's my 1500C in its final form.
Inside, it has ball-bearing pinion support, alloy main shaft, outside, alloy round drag knob, Haneda Craft alloy handle, and Avail alloy trim parts.
Image
Image
Image
Image
User avatar
kyreels
Super Board Poster
Posts: 1169
Joined: Mon Feb 06, 2006 6:12 pm
Location: Louisville, Kentucky

Re: Tinkering Ambassadeur 1500C to throw 1/16 oz

Post by kyreels »

That is a tremendous rig, thanks for posting this. I am really inspired by it. Here in Kentucky, we have many small streams and this is the type of rig that would do really well for the smallmouth and Ky Spots. I have been using spinning gear, but would really like to try this with a level wind casting rig. At the ORCA National in 2022, we will be fishing Elkhorn Creek, which is the venerable bass stream that Henshall frequented. Good light weight tackle with 1/8 to 3/8 lures will do well there. I have a Shakespeare Purist ultra lite rod I would love to pair up with a Shimano Calcutta 50 or this 1500C even better.
Matt Wickham
Collector of Casting Weights, KY Reels and KY Tackle
User avatar
Ron Mc
Star Board Poster
Posts: 3387
Joined: Thu Apr 29, 2004 7:49 am
Location: downtown Bulverde, Texas
Contact:

Re: Tinkering Ambassadeur 1500C to throw 1/16 oz

Post by Ron Mc »

Matt, I've been giggling ever since I discovered low mass, low inertia baitcasters, with shallow spools for braid or UL mono.
I've honestly never had so much fun with fishing tackle.

I'm fishing 1000 size Daiwas with 5- and 8-g spools, unshielded low-inertia spool bearings, and X-braid, both inshore and bass fishing. My raciest Daiwa shown at top will cast 2 g to 130'.
Especially with the long, shore-fishing light game rod, it's like surf casting in miniature.

Don Iovino is the original Mr. Finesse. And of course I remember fishing weightless rigs on Ambassadeur 6000 using spiral cast 40 years ago. With a low-inertia reel, though, you don't need a fancy cast - all your normal casts work with UL lures.

The Japanese have been tuning the small Ambassadeurs for stream trout fishing for about a decade. Avail and Valleyhill make the lightened LW parts, BB worm gear, and BB idler gear. The best Ambassadeur spools are made by Avail, AMO (Momo) have copied those.
Roro and Ray's Studio make the spools for newer LP baitcasters.
In Japan, Jun Sonada is the equivalent of Don, and Japan Tackle website is a good place to read articles and shop for these parts.
Rorolure.com certainly has the best prices on quality micro bearings.
Hedgehog studio is a good resource, and the place to check for parts Japan Tackle may be OOS.
If you check the Tuning Spools page, Avail makes a 7-g spool and matching mag brake for your Calcutta, that's also capable of casting 1/16 oz.
Image

If you already have the 1500C or 2500C, start reading and buy parts.
If you don't have the reel, contact Don Iovino and see what's coming off his bench. Note up front, the reels Don lists under Classic Ambassadeurs are long-sold - those are really there for show and tell.
Image

Matt, after you scope it out, if you have questions, send me a pm - I've been through a few iterations on a few reels.
Next, I'm tackling a 4600C3 - it's a lot easier starting point than getting your hands on the small Ambassadeurs.
AMO Store on Ali Express has the 4600 microcast spool.
Shellbelly
Advanced Board Poster
Posts: 246
Joined: Thu May 20, 2021 2:21 pm

Re: Tinkering Ambassadeur 1500C to throw 1/16 oz

Post by Shellbelly »

not to derail but I used to fish Onion creek, Cypress creek, the San Gabriels, and many other little Hill Country gems. Your Guadalupe bass pic and the background remind me of Onion creek near the Salt Lick. We used to fish the Onion Creek subdivision until somebody started whacking golf balls at us from their back porch. LOTS of Guadalupe in there.
User avatar
Ron Mc
Star Board Poster
Posts: 3387
Joined: Thu Apr 29, 2004 7:49 am
Location: downtown Bulverde, Texas
Contact:

Re: Tinkering Ambassadeur 1500C to throw 1/16 oz

Post by Ron Mc »

Shellbely, Long Ago I fished Onion Creek (late '70s).
Through the 80s and into the 90s, the San Gabriel was MY river.
Where Spicewood Park is now on Bull Creek, long before that, I met the landowner on horseback, and had her permission to fish her property. I successfully stalked a 10-lb bass in the impoundment there, and released a green sunfish 2-inches longer than the state record.

My OP bass photo is in the Guadalupe North Fork, about 200 yds above the confluence.
Here's the South Fork pouring in, and an unfortunate smallmouth hybrid.
Image

The confluence of the Guadalupe forks is a cypress tunnel with perpetual shade
Image
Cibolo Creek above where it disappears into the aquifer to re-emerge in the coastal plain
Image
Shellbelly
Advanced Board Poster
Posts: 246
Joined: Thu May 20, 2021 2:21 pm

Re: Tinkering Ambassadeur 1500C to throw 1/16 oz

Post by Shellbelly »

Absolutely gorgeous territory. We lived Just off Spicewood Springs for a while and loved the setting. Sadly, the developments adversely affected the area and forever changed the watershed. water demand Bedding perch were just a short walk away from us in the early 80's. I'll miss the Hill Country but salt is my home from birth and back into it I have to go.
User avatar
Ron Mc
Star Board Poster
Posts: 3387
Joined: Thu Apr 29, 2004 7:49 am
Location: downtown Bulverde, Texas
Contact:

Re: Tinkering Ambassadeur 1500C to throw 1/16 oz

Post by Ron Mc »

The hill country is not what it was just 10 drought-free years ago - we're running out of groundwater, and our first desal plant is stuck in court. The population of Texas has doubled since 1980. more soapbox here


But on topic, I'm working on a Royal Express (4500) currently, and have AMO spool in transit.
I don't expect it to cast like my ZPI Alcance or raced Daiwas, but I'm going to have fun with it.
Paul Roberts
Super Board Poster
Posts: 845
Joined: Mon Dec 14, 2020 1:35 pm

Re: Tinkering Ambassadeur 1500C to throw 1/16 oz

Post by Paul Roberts »

Neat to see such reel work, Ron. (I’ve been at the other end lately, trying to get an old 1930s steel spooled thing to cast an oz).

Love the Guadalupe’s. And beautiful waters.
ORCA 2020, 2021, 2022, 2023, 2024
User avatar
Ron Mc
Star Board Poster
Posts: 3387
Joined: Thu Apr 29, 2004 7:49 am
Location: downtown Bulverde, Texas
Contact:

Re: Tinkering Ambassadeur 1500C to throw 1/16 oz

Post by Ron Mc »

Thanks Paul, it was fun to cast in the shape Don delivered it with the stock spool.
But I had to reach back to remember how to cast an Ambassadeur with a heavy spool and centrifugal brake.

The Avail spool swap was like turning the lights on, completely eliminating the need for centrifugal up to the 7-g rating of the rod (1/4 oz for Tommy).
Of course it doesn't cast the distance, but now it casts light lures as reliably as my Steez with Roro spool.
Image
Here are the type 3-5-g crankbaits I'll be fishing with the stream combo - I also fish these in tide passes to imitate winter glass minnows on the Steez and long Yamaga Blanks light game rod.
Image
User avatar
Midway Tommy D
Star Board Poster
Posts: 3159
Joined: Sun Jan 20, 2013 11:23 pm
Location: Eastern NE

Re: Tinkering Ambassadeur 1500C to throw 1/16 oz

Post by Midway Tommy D »

You Da Man, Ron! :D Thanks! 8)
Love those Open Face Spinning Reels! (Especially ABU & ABU/Zebco)

Tom DeLong, NE
ORCA Member - 2027
User avatar
Ron Mc
Star Board Poster
Posts: 3387
Joined: Thu Apr 29, 2004 7:49 am
Location: downtown Bulverde, Texas
Contact:

Re: Tinkering Ambassadeur 1500C to throw 1/16 oz

Post by Ron Mc »

My BR friend redmeandistortion alerted me to new 2500CI IAR right-side plates routinely stocked on e-replacement parts for $47.
It seems Abu is still building these as replacement parts, and restocks them every month or so after my friend and I buy the one or two they deliver.

I've always hated A/R dogs, and much prefer Instant Anti-Reverse gained by a one-way roller-bearing.
On 1500C, the non-IAR allows the drive to back up 1/4 handle turn before the A/R dog snags it.
Image

So I snagged my 2500CI R/S plate, and set out to convert my 1500C to 1500CI.
In addition to the right-side roller-bearing side plate, it requires a new brake plate, new main shaft, new click wheel, and A/R sleeve on the main shaft.
Avail has taken this conversion to next-level with alloy brake plate, alloy main shaft, and alloy click wheel with integral A/R sleeve.
Using these parts sheds more than an ounce from the little reel.
Look Ma, no dog
Image
odd, the Avail IAR brake plate still has the post for the A/R dog.
The greatest difference is the main shaft and main shaft spindle are 6 mm longer.
The IAR click wheel is also slightly thinner.

The finished weight of the reel is under 6 oz, comparable to a new low-profile BFS Air.
Avail also offers 6.1 gears, and Valleyhill offers 7.0 gears, but I still prefer my stock 4.7 gears with the short Haneda Craft handle.
Image

I'll also add the conversion completely removes friction and inertia from the drive mechanism.
Winding the 1500C non-IAR feels like you're lifting a brick, and unnatural on the little reel.
That feeling is completely gone in the CI conversion, and it now turns the drive with a wisp - a needed level of slick.
User avatar
Ron Mc
Star Board Poster
Posts: 3387
Joined: Thu Apr 29, 2004 7:49 am
Location: downtown Bulverde, Texas
Contact:

Re: Tinkering Ambassadeur 1500C to throw 1/16 oz

Post by Ron Mc »

kyreels wrote: Sat Sep 11, 2021 2:19 pm That is a tremendous rig, thanks for posting this. I am really inspired by it. Here in Kentucky, we have many small streams and this is the type of rig that would do really well for the smallmouth and Ky Spots. I have been using spinning gear, but would really like to try this with a level wind casting rig. At the ORCA National in 2022, we will be fishing Elkhorn Creek, which is the venerable bass stream that Henshall frequented. Good light weight tackle with 1/8 to 3/8 lures will do well there. I have a Shakespeare Purist ultra lite rod I would love to pair up with a Shimano Calcutta 50 or this 1500C even better.
Hi Matt,
Last weekend, made a BR Other Species post on Salt Finesse lure boxes that was more of an article.
Looking over my finesse lure photos, a couple to share - limestone creek finesse lure box, that includes micro plugs, spoons and spinners - nothing over 1/8 oz here. The smallest diving plug is 1.5 g, and my raced Ambassadeur fishes it fine.
The shortest on bottom is a "heavy" bottom-bouncing plug.
Image

But what I really wanted to show you is this inline spinner made to keel a single hook up, and bottom bounce.
Image
Bait Finesse Empire keeps an onshore cache of JDM finesse tackle, along with USM finesse tackle - lures, lines - and ideas - a good place to look online.
They carry the Mukai Max spinner that has a split ring, allowing you to swap the single hook for a woolly booger, either from your tying vise, or here, a Vanfook pre-tied booger on size 8 hook.
They also carry the Smith split-ring tweezers that allow you to work on split rings down to #0.
(Ott magnifier and lamp is really helpful for this)
Image
Paul Roberts
Super Board Poster
Posts: 845
Joined: Mon Dec 14, 2020 1:35 pm

Re: Tinkering Ambassadeur 1500C to throw 1/16 oz

Post by Paul Roberts »

Hey Ron, why are Ambassadeurs so often used as the platform to modify for BFS use?
ORCA 2020, 2021, 2022, 2023, 2024
User avatar
Ron Mc
Star Board Poster
Posts: 3387
Joined: Thu Apr 29, 2004 7:49 am
Location: downtown Bulverde, Texas
Contact:

Re: Tinkering Ambassadeur 1500C to throw 1/16 oz

Post by Ron Mc »

Paul Roberts wrote: Sun Jan 29, 2023 3:35 am Hey Ron, why are Ambassadeurs so often used as the platform to modify for BFS use?
Paul, sorry I'm so late on this - I've had a busy year.
Had a total Firefox-update crash on my Windows 7 computer, and worked my way back around to Chrome.
(My old truck was finished with transmission slipping 3rd at 250,380 mi, and had to get in that market)

The first trout BFS reels were modified mini Ambassadeurs, 1500C and 2500C - simply, the parts were made for them.
These were followed with the same parts made for mid-frame Ambassadeurs and bass-BFS.
The timing was c. 2000-2010, with a series of books (Japanese) from Hiroyuki Motoyama, beginning with stream trout, and moving to bank/shore fishing for bass. He coined the term BFS (bait finesse system) in print.
The System in BFS, btw, is the combination of lightweight shallow spool, low inertia spool bearings, and threadline.

It's also worth noting, 10 years before all that, Don Iovino was finesse-fishing his mini Ambassadeurs in tournaments - while he didn't have the custom parts, he tuned his reels to fish light weights on 5-lb Maxima by polishing spindles and bushings in the LW.

The very simple answer to your question is these reels are jewels to work on.
With the size of the parts, they're easy to handle, and the reel function is intuitive.

Here's the fastest reel I've ever built, a '78 Zero-mod 4500C (same as '77 final mod).
The reason it's the fastest, it accepts IXA 1033 double spool bearings, which spin the inner race with the spool. The middle race and outer balls only spin casting heavy weights or with big drive loads (outer race pinned in frame).
Image
Image
Image
Image
Image
Image
Paul Roberts
Super Board Poster
Posts: 845
Joined: Mon Dec 14, 2020 1:35 pm

Re: Tinkering Ambassadeur 1500C to throw 1/16 oz

Post by Paul Roberts »

Thanks, Ron.Sorry to hear of the troubles. Got a few of those here too. Seems perpetual lately.

Pretty darn cool what the Japanese have done with reels. Doubt I’ll get in very deep, beyond polishing and lubing. But you never know what tangled paths I might wind up on. :)

Oh yes… here’s a lap full of bass caught a couple weeks ago on a polished UltraMag’s maiden voyage.

Found the reel in a thrift store for 6 bucks. Might be my smoothest casting reel.
ORCA 2020, 2021, 2022, 2023, 2024
User avatar
Ron Mc
Star Board Poster
Posts: 3387
Joined: Thu Apr 29, 2004 7:49 am
Location: downtown Bulverde, Texas
Contact:

Re: Tinkering Ambassadeur 1500C to throw 1/16 oz

Post by Ron Mc »

Not exactly troubles when you get a new fishing truck with rubber floors.
(haven't enjoyed a vehicle this much since '84 Alfa GTV6 - in fact, 3.3-l DOHC V6 reminds me of the little 2.5-l hemi)
Image

Thanks for the post, that's a great bucketmouth.
Post Reply