I was really interested to fish the Abel Super 7/8n on the trip to the Bahamas. Clearly, it is one of the best fly reels in the game. There are passionate fans of this reel and this brand. I had manhandled a few Abels at shows, asked some questions and snapped some pictures, but I had never fished one. So, when Abel got in touch and asked if I’d be interested in a loaner, I jumped at the chance.
Let me just be clear on one point here… I would likely never buy this reel because I’m a cheap SOB and this is more of an investment than I’m willing to make. The reel retails for $700, and gets more expensive from there if you add some of the fantastic art they can put on it. The bonefish graphic will run you another $200.
Pretty. And $900
So, getting past the price thing, I talked to a few people who love their Abels and here are some of the thoughts about why an Abel might actually be worth it.
- The reel is pretty much bulletproof.
- Cork drag is silky smooth and everything you’d expect in a quality cork drag.
- Most of the reel is readily accessible. That means if something breaks, you can fix it. If your sealed drag stops working, you are hosed. If your Abel stops working, you can open it up, take it apart and put it back together.
- It is a reel you are going to have for a decade or two.
The reel fished well. I can’t say landing 6 bonefish is a real test of what the reel can and cannot do, but I can now understand a little bit more about what it is, what it offers and why people love them. My largest fish of the trip was about 6 pounds and a 6 pound bonefish can really put some excitement in your day. This reel sang the praises of that bone… a good sound. It is not a silent reel. There in an inbound and outbound click. If you are taking in or giving out line, there will be some reel music.
Nothing broke. The drag performed flawlessly. I wish I had more fish on it, but that was the trip I was on.
I was a little surprised when I first got the reel to see that it was right hand retrieve. Turns out most of their customers for the 6 and lower reel left, but at the 7/8 level and above, people reel right. Seems if you are a born saltwater guy, you reel with your dominant hand. If you are a trout guy who eventually fishes the salt, you reel with your off/line hand. I fit into the latter group and the odds are fair to good you do too.
The process to change over the reel was a little bit daunting, but when I actually did it, it ended up taking about 7-10 minutes. Pretty easy. Having everything exposed makes it easy and is the reason the reel is easy to repair in the field. I didn’t need to do any repairs, obviously.
The reel was nice… really nice. I wish it wasn’t $700-900, but then I also wish airfare to the Bahamas was $59. I like that the reel is made here in California and at some point I may go down and check out the factory. They tell me if I saw what was involved in making the reels I’d understand the price. I’m actually not very likely to understand the price, or to pay it, but if you want to pay the cost, you will certainly end up with a reel you’ll fish for the rest of your life and be happy with.