It should come as no surprise by now that classic reels don't perform as well as modern reels in our shootouts. In our 8-weight Reel Shootout, the Super 8 finished in the middle of the pack. But, trout is a different game. Let's see if the smaller Abel fairs better.


5-Weight Challenge Full Results


4.8 ounces - actually one of the lighter reels in the test, but still a full ounce heavier than the Litespeed.


6.52 lbs, lots for a trout reel! It took third place in our test. While we love the simplicity of Abel's cork drags, the performance beyond brute strength isn't that great.  Lots of start-up inertia keep this reel from being a top contender.






Abel reels sound great. It did not disappoint.


The Abel Super Series is equipped with a narrow spool that, unfortunately is more of a mid-arbor than the large arbor moniker would have you think. That causes it to have a fairly slow retrieval rate as well. Of course, Abel's been making this reel for a long time, so you wouldn't expect a modern sized-arbor.


Abel makes some of the best looking reels out there and they set the standard for quality machining. The range of color choices, which range from hand painted fish, to Grateful Dead emblems make these reels stand out from the crowd.


Handle: The handle is made of wood, which makes it a little more durable than plastic handles. It's a touch shorter than the best handles out there.


Drag Knob: The drag knob on the Abel is solid, but not as nice as the newer reels. It's especially difficult to move when the drag is cranked down.


Spool Change: The spool is very difficult to change and we wouldn't recommend trying this on the water in case you drop a small part.

The Drop

Above Average. The finish on the Abel is first rate. It resists scratching especially well. Unfortunately, it divoted a litte more than we'd like. No Damage.


Lifetime to the original owner + $20 fee + return shipping.


Price: $500



Other than having (relatively) more drag strength than the Super 8, the results of the Super 4N didn't change much from our last test. In fact, the 4N's massive startup inertia and slow retrieve makes it a worse trout reel than a saltwater reel where you have much heavier tippets. We won't be testing the Abel Super series again, if you're looking for a classic cork drag reel, with years and years of proven on the water performance, you don't need us to tell you a third time that you're going to be giving up some performance on the water. Just go buy it.


Like our reviews?  Get it here.


  • Exquisitely crafted, tons of customizable options
  • Made in the USA


  • Too much start-up inertia for light tippets
  • Expensive