Customisation King: Abel Rove Fly Reel Review

Leonard Schoenberger

The realm of fly fishing is often defined by the precision and innovation embedded in the gear.

The Abel Rove stands as a testament to this ethos and raises the level of customisation options to new heights. Here’s why the Rove is your chance to fish a premium fly reel that most certainly no other fisherman around you will fish in the exact same style.

Note: Some of the links in this article are affiliate links. If you click on one of them and end up purchasing a product we earn a small commission at no extra cost for you. We only recommend products we believe in ourselves and would recommend to our friends and family. Learn more here.

Specs and Features: Options, Options, Options

Abel Rove Fly Reel with streamers on beach
We took the Rove (in size 7/9 – pictured above) out for some saltwater fishing. Photo: Leonard Schoenberger


Sizes available: #4 all the way to #12

Drag System: Cork

Caged frame design

Convertible from left to right hand retrieve

Made in the USA

Endless customisation options

Price: Starting at $745

Build Quality: Masterful Craftsmanship

Abel Rove Fly Reel double handed rod
The Abel Rove works well on a double handed setup for salmon or steelhead. Photo: Leonard Schoenberger

Abel is renowned for its uncompromising commitment to craftsmanship, and the Rove Fly Reel exemplifies this dedication. The reel’s build quality is exceptional, with every component engineered to withstand the rigors of fly fishing. The moment you take that reel out of the box you’ll understand it is designed to withstand harsh fishing environments such as saltwater scenarios or salmon fishing on rocky riverbanks where you can’t pay too much attention to not getting a scratch on your reel.

Another aspect I realised quickly was the fact that this is not a lightweight reel. For my two weight setup on a salmon rod (see below) I actually like the added weight to balance the rod nicely. I always prefer sturdiness over lightweight when I have to choose. We got the Abel Rove in a standard color but there are vast options to customise the reel to your liking. I am pretty sure, you’ll hardly find someone else fishing the same reel when you go for one of the custom options.

Size and Weight: A Balancing Act

Abel Rove Fly Reel double handed rod
Fishing for Atlantic Salmon with the Rove 7/9 weight on a double handed rod. Photo: Leonard Schoenberger

The Abel Rove comes in a variety of sizes, catering to the diverse needs of fly anglers. Whether you’re pursuing delicate trout in a mountain stream or targeting powerful saltwater species on the flats, the range of sizes ensures that there’s a Rove reel suitable for your preferred fishing scenario.

If you’re on the hunt for a trout reel, I’d recommend the 4/6 if you mainly fish smaller creeks and streams. You can also consider the 5/7 weight which will be a good option for coastal cutthroat or sea trout fishing or even for a lighter double-handed fly rod, for example on smaller steelhead rivers.

Upwards, there’s no limit as the biggest reel in the Rove series is a 11/12 that can handle the toughest saltwater predators you’ll catch on a fly rod such as GT, Tarpon and Permit.

Design: A Visual and Functional Marvel

Abel Rove Fly Reel closeup
The Abel Rove fly reel features a clean, sturdy look and a cork disc drag. Photo: Leonard Schoenberger

In the world of fly fishing, aesthetics matter, and the Abel Rove does not disappoint. Its sleek design, intricate machining, and anodized finish make it a visual marvel on any fly rod. Beyond its visual appeal, the design incorporates functionality, with a large arbor ensuring quick line retrieval.

In charge of the breaking power is a cork drag system that provides steady and powerful pressure when a fish is running. I used it on a double-handed rod for some salmon fishing in Norway and it did an excellent job on multiple occasions. The startup-inertia is basically not perceptible (which is key in salmon fishing for example.). In the salt as well, I like the cork drag since it’s not prone to failure and will work for years (with a little care).

Cork drag on the Abel Rove fly reel
The cork drag system on the inside of the Abel Rove. Photo: Leonard Schoenberger

Fishing Scenarios: Where the Rove Shines

Trout Streams: The smaller versions of the Rove are a nice option for a sturdy workhorse for all kinds of trout fishing. Like I said before, depending on your trout preferences, go for the smaller 4/6 or the bigger 5/7 version.

Abel Rove Fly Reel on sandy beach
The harsh environment of the saltwater is absolutely no problem for the Rove. Photo: Leonard Schoenberger

Saltwater Scenarios: The corrosion-resistant materials and powerful drag system make the Rove a reliable companion for saltwater flats, where the stakes are high. You can size up all the way to a #12 for strong predators.

Steelhead Rivers: The larger sizes of the Rove reel are well-suited for tackling steelhead in rivers, providing the strength required for these tenacious fighters. Same goes for salmon like I said, since the Rove makes for an excellent double-handed reel.

Salmon fishing with the Abel Rove fly reel
Salmon fishing with the Abel Rove fly reel. Photo: Leonard Schoenberger

Pros and Cons: Weighing the Considerations


Exceptional build quality for long-lasting performance.

Reliable cork drag system for precise control.

Endless customisation options to create your “unique” fly reel

Diverse size options for various fishing scenarios.


This is quite a heavy reel. Hence if you’re looking for a lightweight option, the Rove is not the ideal choice.

The only thing that’s not premium about this reel is the protective case

Conclusion: Elevating the Fly Fishing Experience

Abel Rove Fly Reel on fly rod roof rack

In conclusion, the Abel Rove Fly Reel emerges as a stellar choice for anglers who demand precision, durability, and aesthetic excellence from their fly fishing gear. Whether you’re navigating a trout stream, stalking bonefish on saltwater flats, or challenging steelhead in a river, the Rove’s innovative features and meticulous craftsmanship elevate your fishing experience. Yes, the Rove doesn’t come cheap (with prices starting at $ 745 for the standard 4/6 version but the return is a reliable and high-performing reel (that’s been made in the USA) that will last you for years or even decades.




Frequently Asked Questions: Abel Rove Fly Reel

How does the Rove handle larger fish species?

The larger sizes of the Rove are specifically designed to handle powerful fish, making it suitable for pursuing larger species like tarpon and steelhead.

Is the drag system easily adjustable?

Absolutely. The Rove features a user-friendly drag adjustment system, allowing anglers to make quick changes to match fishing conditions.

Can I use the Abel Rove in saltwater environments?

Yes, the Rove’s corrosion-resistant materials and sealed drag system make it suitable for saltwater fly fishing.

Can the Rove accommodate different line weights?

Yes, the Rove is available in various sizes, each designed to accommodate different line weights, providing versatility for different fishing scenarios.