COLUMBIA, S.C. — Len Borgström, grandson of Abu Garcia founder Carl August Borgström, famed fishing reel pioneer and former company president, died July 15. Mr. Borgström was 88.
“Len Borgström was an amazing ambassador of fishing and a wonderful gentleman who will be missed. He loved the Abu brand and was constantly giving me suggestions on how we could make better products and provide improved customer service,” said Harlan Kent, CEO of Pure Fishing, the parent company of Abu Garcia. “He loathed ‘suits’ working in the fishing industry and thought it was for avid anglers only. He was well loved by the Abu Garcia family and his colorful stories of fishing on the Mörrum River will be remembered by all of us.”
Borgström joined ABU Fishing Tackle (as it was originally known) as an international marketer in 1954. He served the company as vice president beginning in 1960 until he became president in 1970. In 1978, Borgström oversaw the merger between ABU Fishing Tackle and its U.S.-based importer, The Garcia Corporation, when the company became formally known as Abu Garcia.
“One reason for our success is that both I and my father (Göte Borgström) were very keen fishermen,” said Borgström, an ultra-avid angler, to Bassmaster in 2018. “We did not let anything out on the market unless we had tested it ourselves for at least one year. Every reel was tested by us personally before it was put on the market.”
In 2021, Abu Garcia will celebrate its 100th anniversary, celebrating Borgström’s leadership and vision while honoring his legacy in the fishing industry, which includes the launch of the revolutionary Abu Ambassadeur 5000 and a host of other sport-defining innovations. For more insights into the legacy of Borgström, his reflections on the development and launch of the fabled Abu Ambassadeur 5000 reel and a look at the history of Abu Garcia, read the 2018 Bassmaster.com story.