We graded each reel on a 1-5 scale in three areas:
1. Price
2. How the reel felt and reacted as the motorcycle sped away
3. How we like handling the reel

Then we made “judges deductions” for any beefs we had about the reels.

Suggested retail: $940 There’s no denying that Abel is the standard bearer of big game flyfishing reels. The record books speak for themselves. Along with Tibor/Pate reels, this is the M-16 of the saltwater army.
Score: 3 out of 5

How it “Met the Street”
This reel was also tested a bit above its pedigree at 55 mph. At $940, we felt that was fair. We heard a squeak at the start – not a problem lubricant cannot fix – and despite that, the reel hummed along as we hoped it would. It was actually a good run. A touch of dip on the startup, but once she started rolling (a half-second later) the Abel did all it was supposed to do. Not earthshakingly impressive, just steady. Honest.
Score: 3.5 out of 5

Functional Review
We’ll say it again, the screw to undo the spool is a pain in the butt. It’s just not a great, user-friendly, on-the-move design. Once you have yourself dialed into your Abel reel, and assuming there are no line scrambles in the spool … it’s you’re best friend. The thing is bullet-proof. As such, they’re a bit heavy. We do like the interchangeability of different spool models within the product line.
Score: **3.5 out of 5 **

Here’s an honest opinion: Abel reels rocked the world however many years ago, with their great cork-based drag systems and slick finishes. They were eons beyond anything else. But in the past several years, the parade of other companies with better mousetraps has marched past. You’re buying a great name and a tradition. But for $940 … the word “overrated” creeps into mind.
Deduction: 1

Total Score: 10 out of 15

Watch More Reel Tests:

Trout Reels Hatch 3-Plus Nautilus 5 Abel Pt. 5 Ross Evolution Orvis Battenkill Mid Arbor Scientific Anglers System 2L Model 45L Bauer JM2 Bonefish Reels Sage 3400 Nautilus 8 Bauer MX4 Orvis Battenkill Large Arbor **Big Game Reels ** Orvis Vortex (VO2) 8-11 Nautilus 12 Hatch 9-Plus Abel Super 10