from what i've gathered from testimonials of real world use, the higher quality in the manufacturing process, proven-design, quality of material, reputation/longevity of the company and it's attention to details and most importantly, the reliability of the reel in big fish situations is what sets abels (and the few others in that category) apart from other MUCH less-expensive reels.
don't let the high price force you into believing you NEED reels of this caliber but if you can afford it, i would imagine the reel would last a very long time, long enough to hand it down to others once you've left this world.
since i do not have reels of this caliber (sticking to $250 and under, and even then, bought used when talking about the higher priced onces i own), i am purely speculating from what i've read.
The company is run and the reels designed by the same folks as when Steve and Gina Abel owned it. The Madoff connection is a a group of investors and people are still innocent till proven guilty of something. Abels are top flight reels and for an angler pursuing large strong fish, particularly in the salt, these reels are a lifetime investment.
I will take the Hyundai over the Mercedes. Something about having a reliable vehicle.
The reason their reels are so expensive is the same reason their clippers are $50 or even $100 with a pattern on them. It is simply because people will pay it.
There's another aspect to this.
Porsches and Ferraris and Nikon D4s and Abel reels will do things that lesser brands or models just won't do.
The question then becomes "Is it worth it to pay for one of those? Will I be able to drive my Ferrari to the max that it can do? Do I really need a camera that can take 10 frames/second, all day, every day?"
This of course ignores the "But I can afford it, and I want it" aspect.
Porches and Ferrari are surely spectacular super luxury items. A D4 may well be a necessity if you were a professional sports photog, though a bit heavy and cumbersome to take astream. If, however, you are a bonefisher expending the bucks to travel to the Bahamas for example, then you NEED a reel reliable and maintainable in any environment, with a perfect aspect ratio, salt and marle proof, powerful and quadrupole redundant drag (2 dogs with 2 springs each when one will do) designed and intended to provide 2 lifetimes of reliable and pleasurable high performance use...then you really only have a very small number of reels to choose from and Abel, which offers more fine tunable selection and options than also excellent Tibor may well be a necessity. Yes, I am fishing several very good sealed drag reels bonefishing but I would never venture to a destination without bringing a cork, draw-bar reel too. If something were to go awry with a sealed drag, unlikely as that may be, you can do nothing about it in the field. An Abel can be field striped with no tools other than a dime to loosen the lock nut.
I don't really think you can say anything negative about the quality of any high end fly reels made today, more or less it comes down to personal preference.
The Abel Super 5N I bought a few months ago from Dave @ Caster's Fly Shop is one of "if not the nicest" fly reel I have ever owned. Sure there is a little bit more maintenance that goes with this type of reel in comparison to some of the sealed carbon fiber drag reels out there today, but that does not bother me. The craftsmanship in this reel is astonishing in every aspect. Not my first cork drag, but my first Abel "other than the C&P Abel Creek I have had for years" and I am sort of bummed I waited so many years to buy one now.
I have read statements from reel manufacturers that carbon fiber is in reality better than cork in every aspect, I am sure this is somewhat due to the fact if someone forgets to loosen their drag after every use, it can make the drag surface uneven and obviously hurts the start up and "smoothness" of the drag. Even though this is at no fault of the reel manufacturer, it's going to leave a bad taste in someones mouth after they just dropped major coin on a reel. That is where I feel a lot of the negative comments come from regarding cork drags.
There may be some advantages to carbon fiber vs. cork, but I have never heard of anyone who was hooked up to a fish say, they lost a fish due to a failed cork drag system. I have never felt I was under-gunned with any of the current drag systems on the market, so to me it all boils down to what you like and are willing to spend.
I doubt you will be unsatisfied with the quality of an Abel reel or anything they make for that matter.
---------- Post added at 08:56 PM ---------- Previous post was at 08:43 PM ----------
Just realized how old the original post was, talk about dredging up an old post LOL
__________________ "They say you forget your troubles on a trout stream, but that's not quite it. What happens is that you begin to see where your troubles fit into the grand scheme of things, and suddenly they're just not such a big deal anymore." ~ John Gierach