Abel, the Super 8 and Rocketry

I have the reels I need to do the jobs I ask of them for about 95% of my angling.  Still, most of what little news emerges from the fly fishing industry is about gear… so… here’s some recent news.

Abel has revamped their workhorse bonefishing/saltwater reel, the Super 7/8 and it is now the Super 7/8N.

The Super

Now… I’ve never fished an Abel that I’m aware of.  I know there are folks that really like these reels and no doubt these cork-drag demons are tough.  I just can’t get past the price though… $700 for a Super N in a large arbor.  Compare that to the Nautilus NV ($540), the Galvan Torque ($320), Ovis’s Mirage ($425), the Opti from Loop ($560)… the only thing that is up there as company is the Tibor QC ($780 or so).

From their press release…

What do you call a fly reel that’s lighter, faster, has greater backing capacity than its predecessors and was precision engineered like something on a space mission? Answer: The Abel Super 7/8N for 2011, which essentially replaces the two longtime workhorse Super 7 and Super 8 reels.

Not only is it space-aged, but the price is astronomical as well (see the pun there?  did you see it?). I’m going to go out on a limb and say I don’t need my reels to go into space or to be designed as if they were.  Could probably knock a couple hundred off the price if they didn’t field test on the space station.

Abel is content to keep putting out products at the very, very, very top of the price range and it seems they have enough buyers to make the economics work.  Between $700 reels and $275 belt buckles (yes… belt buckles), Abel is doing nothing to support the strained relationship between Cheap and Bonefishing.

One of these won’t be holding up my jeans from Target.

Abel… your stuff is pretty.  The sticker shock is intense.

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  1. I think many fly fishing persons are convinced that for them to be successful at the sport they need the latest high tech equipment. By having the best gear they can now ignore practice casting with the wind at all angles/speed. The rod will overcome bad technique and the reel will never allow tangles, a over wrapped fly line, or a failure to bow. We have been hooked by Madison Avenue lures.

  2. Hmmm no disrespect here but no one is forcing anyone to buy Abel gear. If they think there is a market for ridiculously expensive belt buckles good luck to them. The reason bonefishing is so expensive imho is that unless you live somewhere ludicrous there is going to be a long plane trip, hotels, guides fees, ect ect. You cant hold it against Abel (or Tibor, Scott, Sage blah blah) for producing high end, durable gear and charging premium for it. To set the record straight I am a blue collar guy who could not justify spending any money on a stupid belt clip never mind Abel prices but if someone wants to so be it. If they stopped selling them it wouldn’t make it any easier for me to get out into bonefish land.

  3. I spend a very large amount of time every year pursuing bonefish in exotic and often remote locales and have had the unfortunate experience of mid-priced reels breaking down in situations where repair or replacement was not possible until I returned home. Five years ago I replaced my reels with Tibor and Islander and in my opinion, the expense has proven to be most worthwhile. These are indeed lifetime reels and will be passed on to my son when my fishing days are over. Please note however, I am not into belt buckles or money clips!

  4. Re Mr. Vince’s comments about very expensive fly fishing equipment solving many fly fishing problems,( eg bad casting) –it does

  5. Hey Rich, I knew it might prove to be an unpopular post since, really, you are right… it is up to the marketplace if $700 reels have a place, and it seems they do. There are certainly plenty of alternatives. I just keep getting the notion from Abel that you are paying more than fair market for the name and that just tweaks me. Maybe I’m wrong about that and I suppose it doesn’t matter one way or another how I feel about it. If you don’t like $700 reels, don’t buy them… easy enough really.

  6. Yeah Tony, that makes sense if you’ve been bitten by some gear problems that the top reels don’t have. They certainly are durable and will last a life-time, by all accounts. The price thing is one of my real sticking points… I just can’t seem to let it go.

  7. Good gear can make a difference at the margins… but only to a point and it is that thin bit at the margins that we end up paying for… I guess the question is “how much is that worth?” Obviously, there is a lot of room for debate on the subject.

  8. where can you get a Nautilus NV for $540??

    the website says the MSRP is $620…..


  9. Ah, I got that one wrong… on The Fly Shop site, it said $540, but that was for the 5/6… the 8/9 goes for $600, which is getting up there too.

  10. Hey Bjorn dont know if you know about these. Same league as Tibor / Abel in reliability and durability. Less bling (which makes them more attractive in my eyes) but rock solid GT stopping cork drag bomb proofness. And 560$ for the bonefish / permit size.

  11. Awesome. I was putting together a list today of reel makers that might be in the bonefish space… I counted TWENTY FIVE… make that 26… those look like some sweet reels… Shilton… I had never heard of them before… well… before right now. I like the “GT cork drag bomb proofness.” Can’t argue with that.

  12. Eduardo Otero-Cossio

    You’re getting famous Bjorn, I was surfing the web for some info and found this link… I know I’m late for the party, but I’ll throw my two cents worth.
    Abel/ Tibor/ Nautilus are all top of the line reels, I have been lucky enough to own them all, and all I can say is that you really don’t need to spend top dollar to get a reel that will work and catch plenty of fish, that being said though, sometimes paying more at first actually ends up being cheaper in the long run, plus there’s always that part of you that always wants to get the best gear (I being one). If you go on a trip of a lifetime, you don’t want to be fishing and a bearing freeze up on you, or a gear go flying into the river or ocean, even handles have been known to freeze up or fall of the spool all together, that being said, you can fish cheaper reels and catch plenty of fish, but it’s one less worry to have on your mind knowing that you’re fishing a reel that can handle anything thats at the end of your line, plus you can hand it down to your loved ones once you’re done with the “obsession”.
    One more thing, usually the top end reels are made here in the good ol USA… I try to support US made products every chance I get. (I rarely ever regret it!)

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