The Abel Super 7-8n – First look

I recently heard from Abel. I had met a couple guys at the Pleasanton show and they followed up, wondering if I’d be interested in getting my hands on an Abel for my upcoming Grand Bahama trip.


The Super 7/8n

The Super 7/8n

I have never fished an Abel. I know people who love them (like, really love them). They are certainly well established as a premier reel maker. As you may know, I think the reel is pretty important. So, it seemed like a good idea to actually fish one. To be clear, this is a loaner. They didn’t give it to me, they loaned it to me, and after I fish it, I’m going to pay the postage to send it back. The reel is more expensive than I’m likely (or known) to go for. The retail price is a cool $700… not a budget guy’s kind of value buy.

First impressions.

The reel is solid. One thing I noticed right away was how narrow it was (0.85″). I asked the Facebook page about this. Eddie says this is good… he says “Benefit, It helps keep the line from piling up and helps with the speed of retrieve.” That’s what they say at the factory too. The “n” in Super 7/8n stands for “narrow.” The idea is that the line piles up faster as you reel.

Out of the box the Super 7/8n is Right Hand retrieve. I know some folks are RH retrieve, but do you? I don’t. I am LH retrieve, which seems more common to me. So, I had to make the switch. It was a little comical looking at the directions, as there were a lot of them. After getting some good stick from the guys on Facebook for complaining about this, I went ahead and made the switch. There are a few steps involved, but it is doable. Took about 7 minutes… not bad.

I got to talk on the phone to the folks at Abel and they said that up to their Super 6, they ship the reels as LH retrieve, but they find most of their buyers do RH retrieve when it comes to the Super 7/8 or higher. Turns out if you are a trout guy, or coming from a trout background, you reel with your off hand. If you are born into the salt, you reel with your dominant hand. Clearly, a lot of my readers are like me… coming from the low-sodium stuff, as the tally on Facebook was 27 to 5, for non-dominant hand reeling.

So, now the reel is ready. I have the backing on and I’m just waiting for the RIO Bonefish Quickshooter line that is on its way. I’m looking forward to taking the Bentley of fly reels out on the waters of Grand Bahama.

Looking forward to hearing this reel scream.

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  1. I reel with my right hand. I have been doing that since I started fly fishing in 1968. I have been doing it so long that it feels really awkward to reel with my left hand. If you are right handed, reeling with your left hand makes a lot of sense. Then you can play the fish with your strong hand. I tease left hand reelers because it is a newer trend and perhaps I envy them. Have fun with the Abel. I have never used one but I hear they are awesome.

  2. Yeah, I reel that way because I grew up reeling that way. I found it interesting that the majority of their buyers switch what hand they reel with in the jump from the 6 to the 7/8. I wonder if there is an age demographic thing at play there too. The reel is pretty. It is a damn fine piece of gear. The price is still a not-minor issue, but I can understand why people love them.

  3. I think the left/right reeling hand is for sure an age thing. All the older guys I know (like me) reel right handed.

  4. Steve Lengfellner

    I’m right-handed and in my fifties. I started out young on fresh-water ponds and creeks with spin fishing gear reeling left-handed and when I started fly-fishing kept that convention. I even use left-handed bait casting reels. To each his own, but confidence and familiarity will land more fish…

  5. Yeah… I can understand the case for reeling right, but I kind of feel like being confident is key and I’m confident in my LH retrieve, so I’m not going to change it.

  6. Interesting. I reel left handed with my spinning rod no problem, but when I try to do it with my fly rod I feel disabled. I agree about sticking with what works for you. You don’t want to have to think too much when a big fish is peeling line off your reel.

  7. Nah, don’t stick with what works. Go for the dominant hand every time. Don’t care how much practice you’ve got reeling off-hand, you’ll still be “pedaling squares”, as my cyclist friend puts it. I’ve seen many, many anglers forced to make the switch (because their cranky guide made them) and the difference in speed of their retrieve was amazing. Keeping up w/ a big bonefish running back at you w/ your off-hand is always going to be tougher.

    Now here I would usually add something like, “Just my 2 cents.” or “IMHO.” But, that would be lying. So, I’ll just say I don’t actually care that much what other folks do when they fish. If they want to reel with their goofy-foot, that’s just fine. They’re free to do as they like and it doesn’t affect me one bit. However, they’re still wrong. 😉

  8. That made me laugh.

  9. Good! Then it was taken as intended.

  10. Abels are really nice. I fished with 3s, 3Ns, and 4Ns for 17 years, but just sold them all on ebay this year for bigger arbor, lighter reels. Aging has taken a toll on my body, and weight and ease of retrieve have become much more important to me. I’ve gone with Lamson Litespeed 3x and 3.5x reels for the 7 and 8 weight bonefish rods, and Nautilus NV 10/11s with various spools for the bigger rods. I am very happy to have made the switch. These reels, and the new Helios2 Orvis rods that they are paired with, have reduced each rod/reel weight by 50%. No lie. If you’re fishing older, small arbor reels and older rods, and your shoulders/elbows/wrists are suffering, consider upgrading. I have no financial interest in any of these brands, and I’m sure others are just as light and powerful. Oh, and I’ve learned to cast the stiffer/faster rods. Get Lefty’s newest DVD, and you can cast any rod and line further, with less effort and strain on your body. Well worth it. particularly over the long haul.

    Oh, and I’m a lefty caster, reel RHW.

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