When the aeronautics industry took a slight nosedive in the 1980s, the founder of Abel Reels –an aeronautics engineer--decided to pursue another engineering and design passion, fly reels. For over 30 years, Abel has continued developing and designing the best fly reels on the market, and in true fashion, they have set the bar once again with their brand new Abel Rove.
Over the past couple of weeks, Tanner Smith and Ivan Orsic, the iconic Trouts Fly Fishing duo, had a chance to play around with the new Abel Rove. From tossing streamers from a drift boat, to wading waist deep in Colorado tailwaters, both Tanner and Ivan put the Rove through its paces and caught a few fish along the way. And when it was all said and done, their response was resoundingly positive. However, is that any surprise? It is an Abel, after all.
But what exactly makes the Abel Rove unique, and why is the Rove worth considering in 2022? We cover that in the review of the brand new Abel Rove below.
Abel’s latest fly fishing reel is one of this year's most anticipated fly reels, and for a good reason. Built from the ground up, the ROVE is a fully machined fly reel designed to be fished anywhere around the world. The new ROVE can do everything from swinging wet flies in the PNW, tossing terrestrial flies along a grassy bank, to casting to laid up tarpon. This reel is genuinely meant to ROVE along with the angler.
Sticking to its aeronautic heritage, Abel decided to machine both the fly reel frame and spool out of aircraft-grade 6061 aluminum. Historically, 6061 aluminum has been used in many applications such as high-end electronics, boats, and various industrial appliances. The benefits of using 6061 in a fly reel are that the material works exceptionally well during the manufacturing process, is highly corrosion-resistant when finished, and is surprisingly lightweight yet durable when the angler holds it in their hand.
Machined with 7075 aluminum, the drag plate of the Abel Rove features more drag pressure than was previously possible in other fly reels. This aluminum alloy (7075) is often found in high-performing industrial products; such as the wings and fuselages of aircraft, rock climbing gear, and bicycles. Known for its comparable strength to steel and high corrosion resistance, 7075 Aluminum is a perfect material choice for the next generation of Abel's historic high-end drag systems.
In terms of physical reel design, the Abel Rove sports a half ported and half solid reel frame for longevity and durability. This combination is coincidentally the perfect blend of audible sound and visual appeal. The Rove comes equipped with a high capacity arbor as well. By designing a fly reel with a high capacity large arbor, anglers benefit from increased line retrieval rates, and more backing to be spooled onto the reel. Since this fly reel was designed with roving the world in mind, the engineers at Abel decided to use a cork drag system with double click pawls. Using a natural material like cork is a superior option for this reel because cork has zero start up inertia. This is incredibly effective for protecting light tippets on small streams or when a predatory fish violently takes the fly.
The Abel Rove is a perfect combination of the old Abel Super Series and Abel Vaya; two tried and true Abel Fly Reels. The modern upgrades found in the Abel Rove feature a seamless design that allows for some fantastic custom laser-etched artwork purchase options.
Above everything else, the engineering team at Abel wanted to give anglers a highly durable fly reel that can withstand just about any fly fishing situation an angler can imagine. When the target species takes an angler beyond the services of the local lodge or fly shop, the Abel Rove Fly Reel features a field-serviceable design that allows fly anglers to make reel repairs wherever their trips take them.
The Abel Rove can genuinely accompany any angler anywhere their travels take them and has already found itself as the Best Fly Reel of 2022 by Fly Fisherman Magazine. However, let us see what Tanner has to say about the new Abel Rove.