Fishing Reels photo

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Sometimes you see a piece of gear, and know you were meant to fish it. That “match made in heaven” phenomenon happened to me recently when I got wind of the new series of Abel limited edition reels, which are individually hand-painted with the Grateful Dead’s iconic “Steal Your Face” logo. Abel has an agreement with Warner Music Group which allows them to produce 250 of these on its Super Series and Classic Series model reels. The Grateful Dead reels are available for a premium of $300 over standard pricing, but these things will stand out on the water, and maintain their value down the road.

I wasn’t a hard-core Dead Head, though I did see a number of shows back in the day. (There are other reasons why I now do wacky things like chase tarpon with tenkara rods, catch mako sharks with flies, and tie reels to motorcycles to test them out).

For the record, I won’t be tying this reel to a motorcycle. But I won’t be babying it and leaving it in its case either. This one will be fished. I already ordered a 6N Super Series (it’s easier to apologize to the wife than ask permission), which I plan to pair with a new Scott Radian 6-weight to create the supreme rig for stalking river carp, or hoofing streamers at trout. I have to give this setup a name, surely from a Grateful Dead song. “Bertha?” “Sugaree?” “Cassidy?”


There are a number of pretty reel finishes out there, and I’m sure there are other iconic logos that would match up will with a fly reel (can you suggest any?), but this is the one I’ve been waiting for. For information regarding the availability of various sizes and models of Grateful Dead reels, contact Abel at, or call them at 805-484-8789. Given the number of Dead Heads out there who like casting flies (a good many, especially guides), I expect these will sell out quickly.