The Complete Guide to Abel SDS Fly Fishing Reel

Welcome to the comprehensive guide on the Abel SDS Fly Reel! Whether you are an experienced angler or just starting, this article aims to provide a comprehensive exploration of the Abel SDS Fly Reel.

We’ll explore its features, functionality, and why it’s a go-to choice for many anglers. Join us as we break down the intricacies of this reel, offering valuable insights to enhance your fishing experience.

Short Summary

Comprehensive Exploration: Detailed breakdown of features and specifications of each Abel SDS model, aiding anglers in making informed choices.

Model-specific Insights: Specific analysis of each reel variant, highlighting unique functionalities and suitability for diverse angling needs.

Pros and Cons Analysis: Clear evaluation of the strengths and weaknesses of Abel SDS reels, providing a balanced view for potential buyers.

Confused Which Reel to Choose? Explore Our detailed Guide on How To Choose The Right Fishing Reel for Your Unique Fishing Needs.

What is Abel SDS Fly Reel?

The Abel SDS Fly Reel is a high-quality saltwater fly reel that won the “Best New Saltwater Reel” award at the 2016 ICAST/IFTD show. It combines power, reliability, and smoothness with a larger, more powerful drag system that can handle saltwater gamefish of all sizes.

This reel is made from 6061-T651 aerospace-grade aluminum, which makes it both lightweight and strong. The reel’s unique multi-disc drag system provides an industry-leading 20+ pounds of braking power and is completely sealed from the outside elements, making it perfect for fighting big fish.

The Abel SDS Fly Reel is suitable for various saltwater gamefish like billfish, bonefish, and tarpon and is available in three sizes. While this reel is designed for saltwater species, it is also great for large freshwater gamefish species like steelhead, salmon, and golden dorado.

Features of Abel SDS Fly Reel

1.   Constructed with 6061-T651 Cold Finished Machined Aluminum

The Abel SDS Fly Reel is constructed with 6061-T651 cold-finished machined aluminum, a material commonly used in aerospace applications for its exceptional strength and durability. This aluminum is used in the reel frame, spool, drag knob, and reel foot, making the SDS one of the most durable reels for saltwater fishing.

This high-grade aluminum ensures that the reel can withstand the extreme conditions of saltwater environments, making it a reliable choice for anglers looking for a durable and long-lasting fishing reel.

2.   Stainless Steel Disc Drag System

The Abel SDS Fly Reel features a powerful and efficient drag system that is designed to handle a wide range of saltwater fish, from bonefish to tarpon to GT and everything in between. The drag system of this reel is built on a 5-disc alternating sealed drag stack.

Material: The Abel SDS drag system is built on alternating carbon/stainless steel discs, dissipating drag pressure and efficiently stopping running fish. This makes this reel drag system strong, versatile, and durable.

3.   Quick Change Spool

The Abel SDS Fly Reel features a quick-change spool system that allows users to change the line on the reel easily and quickly without the need for extensive tools or complicated processes. This convenient design allows anglers to adapt to changing fishing conditions or modify their setup efficiently.

This feature is specifically helpful for anglers who frequently switch between different types of fishing or need to replace the line.

4.   User Convertible Retrieval Direction

The “user convertible retrieval direction” feature in the Abel SDS Fly Reel allows anglers to easily switch the retrieval direction of the reel from left-handed to right-handed or vice versa. If you prefer reeling with your right hand or left hand, this feature allows you to switch it around based on what feels most comfortable for you.

5.   Completely Sealed Drag System with Industry-Leading 20+ Pounds of Braking Power

The reel has a “Completely Sealed Drag System,” which means it’s fully protected from outside elements like water, sand, dirt, and other reel-destroying ingredients. This is important because it keeps the inside of the reel clean and working smoothly.

Additionally, it boasts an “Industry-Leading 20+ Pounds of Braking Power,” indicating that the drag system is powerful enough to stop a powerful fish.

6.   Durable Hand-Anodized Finish

The Abel SDS Fly Reel has a hand-anodized finish, providing exceptional protection against impacts and wear. Hand-anodizing is a process commonly used by major manufacturers due to its lightweight nature and robust resistance to environmental elements.

Additionally, this finish allows for the hand-painting of all reels, offering a variety of color schemes to suit angler preferences.

7.   Larger Arbor Size

The Abel SDS Fly Reel features a large arbor design that enhances line pickup and enables anglers to fight the largest fish in saltwater. Most contemporary fly reels are crafted with a large arbor design, allowing anglers to pick up as much line as possible with little effort.

8.   Backing

The Abel SDS Fly Reel offers ample room for backing, allowing anglers to load a significant amount of backing for handling hard-running fish. This feature provides the flexibility and capacity needed to manage powerful fish in saltwater environments.

9.   Handl Types

The reel offers two distinct handle types: aluminum and wood. This means you have the flexibility to choose the handle that suits your personal preference.

Pros and Cons of Abel SDS Fly Reel


  • Big Drag
  • Great Look
  • Customizable Design
  • Durable Construction


  • Some users have mentioned that the reel is heavy.
  • Pricey, with excellent options
  • Some customers suggest that the spool needed some improvements.

What This Reel is Best For?

The Abel SDS Fly Reel is best suited for the following types of fishing:

Saltwater fishing: The reel’s sealed drag system, durable construction, and powerful drag make it an excellent choice for saltwater fishing, where anglers often encounter large and powerful fish species.

Game fishing: The reel’s versatility and powerful drag system allow it to handle a broad range of gamefish, making it suitable for various game fishing scenarios.

Fly fishing for large fish: The reel’s large arbor design and powerful drag system enable anglers to fight and land large fish efficiently in saltwater environments.

Overall Customization: Whether you are a seasoned angler or a beginner, the Abel SDS Fly Reel provides a lot of features that can be customized to match your unique fishing style and needs.

From the drag system to the handle type, this reel provides options for anglers to create a setup that best suits their preferences.

Specification Of Each Abel SDS Fly Reel Model

ModelWeightCapacityDiameterArbor SizeLine WeightWidthColor
7/89.07 oz.WF8/240yds/20lb99mm/3.9inLarge7, 827mmMultiple
9/109.48 oz.WF10/250yds/20lb106mm/4.2inLarge9, 1030mmMultiple
11/129.95 oz.WF12/250yds/30lb114mm/4.5inLarge11, 1230mmMultiple

FAQs: Abel SDS Fly Reel Model

Q: Is the Abel SDS Fly Reel suitable for beginners?

A: Yes, the reel’s features and customization options make it suitable for both seasoned and beginner anglers. It provides a user-friendly experience while offering advanced features for experienced users.

Q: What makes the Abel SDS Fly Reel best suited for saltwater fishing?

A: The reel’s sealed drag system, durable construction, and powerful drag make it an excellent choice for handling large and powerful saltwater fish species. The completely sealed drag system ensures reliability even in challenging saltwater conditions.

Q: How do I maintain and clean my Abel SDS Fly Reel?

A: To maintain the optimal performance of your Abel SDS Fly Reel, follow the manufacturer’s guidelines for cleaning and maintenance. This may include instructions on how to clean the reel, lubricate moving parts, and store the reel in a protective case when not in use.

Q: What is the best reel size for me?

A: The choice of reel size depends on the type of fishing, the size of the fish you target, and the conditions you fish in. The Abel SDS Fly Reel is available in three sizes, so consider the specific requirements of your fishing situation and personal preferences when selecting the appropriate reel size.

Q: Is the Abel SDS Fly Reel suitable for freshwater fishing?

A: While designed for saltwater species, the reel is also effective for large freshwater gamefish like steelhead, salmon, and golden dorado.


In conclusion, the Abel SDS Fly Reel is a high-quality saltwater fly reel that offers exceptional durability, versatility, and customization options for anglers seeking a reliable and customizable reel for saltwater and large freshwater gamefish. Its unique features, such as the sealed drag system, durable construction, and customizable handle types, make it a popular choice among anglers.

The reel’s large arbor design, powerful and smooth drag system, and ample backing capacity make it suitable for various fishing scenarios, including saltwater fishing, game fishing, and fly fishing for large fish.

Overall, the Abel SDS Fly Reel is a reliable and versatile pick for anglers of all skill levels, delivering a range of features that can be customized to match their unique fishing style and needs.

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