Abel x Ball and Buck

Back in 2016, Abel and Ball & Buck collaborated on some fly fishing gear. The special edition products included three Abel fly reels, the zinger, nipper, and pliers and all still appear to be available on their site.

It should come as no surprise that we’re particularly fond of the special edition Classic fly reel. It’s based on Abel’s Classic model (of the Classic series) — the smaller, 3.3″ click / pawl sibling to the Spey and Switch models in the series. It was originally introduced back in 2012-2013, before Abel set up shop in Colorado.

Note: We’ll update this post when we hear back from Abel and Ball & Buck for a “Meet the makers” section.

The Sound

With no ports to be found, the sound is a definitely deeper and louder than you’ll find on a ported reel.

The noise the reel makes is something close to a 80’s era two-stroke moped with a gaping hole in the muffler. A real head-turner, that popping squeal, and I’ve strategically used the action of pulling line off the reel to divert fellow anglers’ attention so I can poach their runs. Only the ones I know will pitch in for the bar tab, of course.

Michael Gracie, A year with click and pawl: The Abel Classic

The Design

The Abel Classic is a tank. The full-frame, un-ported design has a matte black finish that’s elevated with 12 engraved stripes on the frame and the Ball and Buck logo on the drag adjustment knob. It’s just enough to make it stand out without looking flashy. The reel foot also gets “ABEL X BALL AND BUCK SPECIAL EDITION”.

We noticed the spool diameter is slightly larger than the frame (see how it leans slightly above), making it a touch easier to apply pressure to the spool edge.

A total of 21 parts. Simple, solid, and will outlast you, your kids, prob their kids, etc.

Under the hood

The click / pawl design features a dual leaf-spring design that’s adjustable via the center dial on the frame. Turning the dial causes the spring slider in the center to go up / down, applying different levels of pressure to the spring and pawl. Above, we’re set up for LH retrieve. Below, how it looks for RH and max drag.

How to buy

At the time of posting, this reel was available here on the Ball and Buck site for $498.

According to the Abel specs page, the reel was listed fo $495 when it first came out. Abel no longer has the Classic in stock. It may be possible to find through your local Abel dealer or 3rd party sites.