Originally Posted by makrel
Reading many of these forums has made me a bit paranoid about the non-sealed drag in the Abel (though it has not posed a problem for me).
I see it a little bit differently. I think the open drags of the Abel are a benefit as they are user maintainable. I have a Nautilus NV and while I like it, I started to see that the performance relies on the roller bearing inside the sealed drag unit. I have seen a few other makes that used roller bearings in a "sealed" unit rust up and fail. The nature of the failure is one doesn't know it is coming until it happens. In the case of the Abel, if the owner is willing to take the spool off and inspect the drive dogs and springs from time to time and occasionally oil the cork, there is little chance of anything ever going wrong with it.
A few people in the North East have squawked about the Abel's open porting not being good in heavy surf conditions as it is possible for the pawls to stick open due to sand getting in there resulting in a drag free reel. Even if that does happen, all one has to do is take the spool off and rinse the pawls off and your back in business. That piece of mind is the reason I will be switching the Nautilus to an Abel on my 8wt. Plus they are just so freaking nice and well made it's hard not to want one.