Custom Bluegill Fish Graphic on an Abel Creek Reel!!! Attention warmwater finatics..
A few months back I decided to try to get Abel reels to design a custom bluegill fish graphic. Being from Central Illinois, bluegill happen to be my most targeted species with the fly rod. Bluegill present an excellent fly fishing opportunity as they have small mouths and aggressively target small terrestrials, midges and the like. We don't have too many fly fisherman in central IL, so when I'm out slaying bluegill left and right with my fly rod, I usually attract some attention. It's a great opportunity for introducing folks to the sport of fly fishing.
I've always been attracted to Abel's high quality reels and especially the aesthetic appeal of their custom fish graphic designs. I thought having a custom bluegill fish graphic would be an excellent way to boldly flaunt that my preferred fly fishing species is what many have dubbed the strongest freshwater fish pound for pound!
My initial thoughts were to develop the fish graphic around Abel's lightest reel, the TR Light. Now that I own both the Abel TR light and the Abel Creek LA I, I am of the opinion that the optimal reel for this fish graphic is the Creek LA I instead of the TR Light. While the TR Light is a sweet little reel, I think the LA I is the more versatile reel for the following reasons:
I think the TR Light at 3.1 oz. gains about .5 oz after adding the requisite backing (60 to 90 yds.) which makes the weight differences between the two reels negligible (the Abel Creek LA I weighs 3.8 oz). And I can get away with very little to no backing on my Abel Creek LA I since I rarely ever need my backing and the arbor is large enough that I don't worry about line coiling.
Plus the TR Light is fairly limited in that it could really only hold a full 1wt. (maybe a full 2wt.) or possibly a 1/2 DT 3wt. line. Whereas, the Abel Creek LA I has the potential for holding a full 1wt., 2wt., 3wt., or even a 4wt. line with little to no backing. In general, I think the Creek series is a tad more popular than the TR series. I know I really enjoy the narrower profile and larger diameter for quick line pickup and not having to consciously guide my line onto the spool for "evenness". So my idea has shifted to develop the Custom Bluegill Graphic around the Abel Creek LA I.
My initial efforts to get Abel to develop a custom bluegill fish graphic did not pan out; however I was recently able to pass along my ideas to the guys at Stillwater Fly Shop when they were following up with me about how I liked the Abel TR light that I recently purchased from them. (See the review of the TR Light here: viewtopic.php?f=68&t=6020&view=unread#unread )
Given that Stillwater Fly Shop is the #1 Abel dealer, these guys have some serious pull within the Abel company. They frequently work very closely with Abel and they were instrumental in developing the recent "Bull Trout" fish graphic. The guys at Stillwater were very eager to get this project moving forward and they seemed very optimistic that we could get Abel to develop a bluegill fish graphic!
I'm super stoked about this. PLEASE chime in if you are interested in seeing or possibly getting one of these reels. I'm also interested in getting further opinions or good bluegill photos to potentially use in our efforts to design this graphic. My idea was to do something very tropical that really shows off the bright oranges, yellows, blues and greens. I'm under the impression that once we get the details worked out, Stillwater Fly Shop is going to get a small batch of these reels that will be available for sale. My name is first on the list. I will continue to add any further updates here as we continue developing this graphic!
MORE TO COME......
P.S. Here's one of the photos I have submitted to be considered for the graphic....
Last edited by sagebass; 02-23-2012 at 07:23 PM.