Abel Big Game - Spey Pages
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post #1 of 8 (permalink) Old 09-20-2019, 08:28 PM Thread Starter
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Anyone use the Abel big game in their rods? I’ve been looking at some used ones for my Spey 7wt Mod. Been using Rods reels only. I wanted to put an Abel on the rod since Ross doesn’t make any reels for Spey.
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post #2 of 8 (permalink) Old 09-24-2019, 10:53 PM
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Very well built classic reels. Highly reliable but arguably there is better technology available today. I have one that I bought for tarpon and have yet to use. Very smooth cork drag but freeze up might be an issue?
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post #3 of 8 (permalink) Old 09-25-2019, 04:39 PM
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I think the big 4 and 4.5" 12wt reels were used as spey reels years back.
I have a 3N which I use as a 5/6 weight spey reel.
There were the Momentum and Momentum LT reels from Ross which made very good spey reels and could still probably be picked up in tackle stores at goid prices.
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post #4 of 8 (permalink) Old 10-14-2019, 11:55 AM
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I have the 4.5 N that I use on a 13'6" 7wt, it pairs nicely. The only thing I wish it has was an out-going check as I like the audible sound of a fish taking off on a run, but the drag is incredibly smooth and it's a nice looking reel.
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post #5 of 8 (permalink) Old 10-15-2019, 03:09 PM
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Abel Big Game reels are arguably the Cadillacs of draw-bar cork drag reels. Earlier models had issues with the ratchet catch, but the newer ones are better. The larger ones are pretty hefty and balance well with most spey rods. My complaint to Abel is that they should make a full-cage Big Game-style reel. I am leaning toward full cage reels because I have found my running line coming off the back of several of my open cage reels on occasion. The only way that is possible is slipping past the bottom post while stripping out running line. Sure, tighter tolerances between the bottom post and the spool rim channel would solve the problem and you would think that the higher-priced and promoted reels would have such tight tolerances and high quality control, but this has happened to me while using some pretty pricey reels (Ross Gunnison 5). And the lower weight provided by open-frame reels is generally not a benefit to casting two-handers. While also an open cage design, I'd take the Abel Big Game over the Ross in a heartbeat. BTW - Ross used to make a full-cage reel with the Gunnison drag system called the Saltwater. Nice reels. Hard to find.
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post #6 of 8 (permalink) Old 10-31-2019, 09:37 PM
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I use both the BG4 and BG3 for my spey needs. The BG3 is the one I like most for my winter switch rod and other two handers. I like the quiet nature of these reels because they don’t draw attention. I do have a beautiful BG4 that I’d be willing to part with if you get serious about things.

Please donít low-hole me and pull my pig.
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post #7 of 8 (permalink) Old 10-31-2019, 10:53 PM
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Originally Posted by Rossflyguy View Post
Anyone use the Abel big game in their rods? Iíve been looking at some used ones for my Spey 7wt Mod. Been using Rods reels only. I wanted to put an Abel on the rod since Ross doesnít make any reels for Spey.
Ross Animas Spey reels?

Sorry, I have no experience with Abel reels though Iíve heard all good things. Just surprised at you comment about Ross not making any ďSpeyĒ reels
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post #8 of 8 (permalink) Old 11-01-2019, 09:29 AM
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Abel Big Game reels are a perfect match for spey fishing. I have been using the Abel Big Game #3 (~10 oz.) on my Meiser 13' 6/7/8 Highlander Classic for about 10 years without any problems. The Abel Big Game #4 (~12 oz.) balances my 14' Meiser 8 weight Highlander Classic perfectly. Also, I use the #4 with my 15' and 16' 8 weight Highlander Classics. Both reels have the weight to balance the rods and the volume to hold sufficient backing. All approximate weights are listed without backing. The spools should be full sized and not large arbor to allow enough volume for backing. Each reel has a 'Stop a sub' cork draw bar drag that has been flawless. It is an open drag that I have used for winter steel heading without any problems.

As McSquidly said, the Abel reels are not great howlers on outgoing line. The early Big Game models did not have any outgoing click. The later models added an outgoing click, but it is not loud. This has never been a problem with me.

The Abel Classic Spey is another good choice, but it does not have the cork draw bar drag system. You have to palm the rim for a drag. The Abel Spey is lighter (~9 oz.), but seems to work fine on my 13' Meiser 6/7/8 Highlander Classic.

If you have any questions or want more information, feel free to contact me and I will be glad to respond.


That was not a bad cast. I was just casting to the nearby fish.
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