07 December, 2012

Product Review Abel Spey Reel

I've got most of a Fall season chasing chrome on my Abel Spey reel, so I thought a review was warranted.

This reel was added to my quiver out of a desire to go a little retro with a classic click-and-pawl reel. While I've had some great reels with traditional drag, I just like the direct connection to the fish you're fighting with a clicker. Plus, there's just a look and feel of these old school line winders that's unique and super-cool.

What I like best about the Abel offering is how they've managed to elegantly update the classic reel with modern materials and machining methods. Anywhere you look this thing is built like a tank - from the burly reel foot to the industrial-strength clickers. They've clearly advanced the state of the click-pawl art to the level of Abel's traditional reels. This thing's a brute.

My two-handed swinging rods are a classic Scott ARC1287/3 spey and a Scott L2h 1168/4 switch. Both have a very traditional look that melds very well with the Abel Spey, in particular the unsanded blank of the L2h. Naturally my reel is classsic black and unported. I suppose if I had one of the "spaceship" sticks like a Sage TCX "death star" or  an ECHO TR I might feel the need to explore Abel's myriad of custom colors and finishes. But on my sticks, I think they'd just look completely ridiculous.

Even the mechanics of the drag (such as it may be) system have evolved. The Abel feature two clickers that can be configured for left- or right-hand retrieve, as well as a "maximum drag" setting. Switching is as simple as rotating one or both of the burly clickers. I've been running mine on maximum drag with no complaints.

Abel offers spey reels in three sizes - Spey, Switch, and the new smaller Classic configuration. One of these should easily balance almost any two-handed rod less than 14'. If you're in the market for a well-built, stylish click-pawl spey reel, I strongly recommend giving Abel a look!


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