Closed Faced Reels

Rod & Annette

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So after spending seemingly far too many years chasing big fish, more and more of my angling lately is has been on Rivers fishing for anything that bites with float tackle. I'm getting fairly proficient with a Speedia and Youngs Centrepin but now intrigued by closed faced reels. I have no experience of them whatsoever. I understand they offer benefits during windy weather when trotting. Are they still a worthwhile addition or should I stick to pins and fixed spool. Also what models should I consider? Many thanks.
 

Ray Roberts

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Abu 506's,I dont know what the new model is like but at around £63 not overly expensive....

Not overly reliable either I would personally plumb for a good second hand model. I have a 507mk2 which I bought a couple of years ago and it’s the most unreliable reel I have ever had the misfortune to own. It has gone wrong three times, twice under guarantee and most recently it needed a new rotor mechanism which at thirty quid is almost half the cost of the reel. It’s only been used about six times. There are a couple of Abu Facebook sites that specialise in closed face reels I will try to find a link. The earlier gold max reel are also one to avoid.


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silvers

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Safest bet is a first generation (made in Sweden) ABU ... 501, 506, 506m, 507 (or 508 for the lefties).
The problem is whether you’ll get one in good order on the second hand market ... given that they are a minimum of 35 years old now! I bought five 507s about ten years ago ... and only one is a dud.
I do like them, but the retrieve rate is a bit slow now for me (Match fishing, time is money).
 

silvers

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Absolutely agree Alan ... The answer is to skip the tackle across the surface rather than under the water!

actually the problem is when you’re catching more than two or three yards down the peg!!
 

Keith M

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I have had an Abu 506 since the late 1970s and even though I’ve only ever loaded 50mtrs of line onto it; I usually suffered from my line bedding in whenever I’d hooked and played a decent sized fish on it; and had to do a dummy cast to unbed the line afterwards; which is why I don’t like using closed face reels nowerdays.

Keith
 

bracket

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Being a Nottingham man, I was brought up on the centre pin reel. However in the 1970's I switched to an ABU 506 for trotting the Trent after silver fish, and have used close faced reels exclusively ever since. We did a lot of modifications to the ABU 506's to get them to preform as we wanted back then, but it was worth it. I later tried Diawa 125m CF reels, and they are very good, although now discontinued. Diawa will still service them and provide spares. I have had three well worn 125m reels serviced recently and they came back "as new". They are going for a fortune on ebay. Six months ago I bought a new ABU 506 for around £60 and have had no problem with the performance, being mindful that they are not suitable for constant Big Fish fishing. It has to be said that the engineering quality of the new ABU 506's bares no comparison to the original Swedish ABU's. I doubt they will match the durability of my 1970s reels, which are still going strong today. Having match fished the Trent exclusively in it heyday I can honestly say the only match angler I ever saw using a centre pin was Dave Thomas from Leeds. Everyone else used closed face reels or Mitchell Matches. I am competent with both centre pin and CF reels. As far as I am concerned, I can do everything with a CF reel I can do with a centre pin. The centre pin aficionados would have you believe differently, that's their opinion. Reel selection is a personal and subjective choice at the best of times. My views, for what they are worth. Pete.
 

whitty

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Watched Clive Bransons blog at the end
at the presentation a certain Alex Graham(Silvers)appears and collects his cash,first time ive seen you in years mate👍
 
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Steve King

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Closed face reels have their uses. Trotting being one example, but a a centrepin is better as others have said already.

I dislike modern closed face reels! In my experience they tangle easily or break down all too quickly! I used a Contact 4000 reel for 15 or so years and only stopped using it when the main gear cracked!

I currently have a couple of Abu 505 reels purchased from the bay of thieves. I mainly use them for waggler fishing with pellet for carp. They are quick and easy to use. Many people don’t like the drag system and remove the anti reverse drag preferring to backwind.
 

GT56

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Closed face reels certainly not everyone's taste and unfortunately the only way to see if one would suit you and your type of fishing is probably by trying one and you might have to persevere along the way. However, if you can use a centre pin I'm positive a closed face reel won't be a problem. If you'll find a suitable reel in a tackle shop is questionable, unless there's a Diawa 125m gathering dust somewhere.
 

sam vimes

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I started my fishing with an Abu 505. I then bought 507 Mk2 Goldmaxes in the early 90s. I've barely used any of them in this century. Once in a blue moon, I get them out and put them away again. Even more rarely, I get nostalgic enough to actually use one. Modern reality never quite lives up to the misty eyed nostalgia. Over time I tend to forget the amount of bedding in, line behind the spool and occasional sticking of the bail mechanism that happens, though I'm sure that lack of practice with them doesn't help.

The one thing I never mastered with closed faced reels was the way that those really proficient in their use feed line with their left hand. I suspect that may have something to do with the pace of the water I generally fish. I simply can't keep up and maintain a smooth trot. In this respect, a centrepin is far easier to use and it leaves the left hand free to loose feed. Plenty of the local river match anglers are still using closed face reels, but they are usually fishing slower sections of the rivers or dragging bottom with wagglers.

If I could get a new closed face reel that was well made, light (around 225g or less), reliable and free of the foibles of many CF reels, I'd buy one. I'm not convinced that I'd use it more than my pins or standard fixed spool reels though.
 

whitty

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On a slightly different tack,I too had an ABU 505,I used to fish Parliament Hill Fields ponds when I was 16/17,a mate lived above a shop his dad was manager of in Swains Lane,and I used to go by train from Luton,then the 214 bus from Kentish Town to Swains Lane with my kit and stay the weekend,anyway,I had the 505 and a Mitchell 308,one particular session I opted for the 308 and I had a Milbro cantilever box in which both reels sat,well,i had noticed three kids hanging around us and whilst I was unhooking a perch one of them made a lunge,then scampered off,with my mate hot on his heels,anyway,when I looked in the box my 505 was gone,I was gutted and made my mind up to get another one,which I believe cost £7 odd,which when I earned £5 9s 6d was a princely sum,anyway the following week I turned up in the same swim set up with my newbie reel,I saw a glint in the weed in about 18inches of water,I leant down and brushed the weed away and there was my old 505,the kid had dropped it when he was rumbled,lucky bugger eh???
 
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