Re: Abel Reels
Carbon composits, Delrin and other plastics along with stainless steel or other interfaces can make excellent drag systems. They too should be backed off to "zero" when stored. Many stacked or hub type drag mechanisms employ a one-way bearing to actuate the drag and convert retrieve direction. These needle bearings can be expensive, more durable units or off-the-shelf cheap Chinese bits in lesser reels. One-way bearings, first introduced to fly reels by the brilliant Ari't Hart and now commonplace, are not bullet proof and are easily damaged.
Draw-bar reels like Abel, Tibor and Islander have the drag surface mounted on a geared plate actuated by "dogs", spring loaded pawls the prevent counter-rotation by locking into the geared edge of the drag plate. With two dogs with two springs each there is 4X redundancy for a part that has very low failier rate to begin with (ANYTHING can fail). This draw-bar with cork drag surface originated with the Fin Nor and Seamaster, Florida-built, big game fly reels in the 1950's and has evolved and been refined into today's Abel Super, Narrow Spool models. In all fairness, these are a bit over the top for trout fishing...don't misunderstand, a 5N is a delightful thing...but they really come into their own when bonefish, stripped bass and on up through tarpon and school tuna are being targeted. The minimal maintenance such reels require, and they must be lubricated and the cork treated periodically with neatsfoot oil, is easy and appropriate care for a fine piece of equipment.
Incidentally, there have been at least two (that I am aware of) draw-bar reels employing a carbon instead of a cork drag surface, Italy's Alutecnos (as an option) and England's Hardy Zane. Neither of these fine reels dented enthusiasm for cork, however.