Now, I have to admit that I go back a bit, to the ‘glory days’ of pre-commercial river match fishing… and the joys of using a closed-face reel.
These were all the rage for trotting a stick float or a waggler but, having tried pretty much all of them through the years, it has to be said that not all were as good as they could have been!
The model that suited me and my fishing back then was the Abu 506M (pictured far left), and it was an unsophisticated joy to use. I treasured it, and still have it, so when I was asked to help with testing the 506 MkII (left), I was more than a little enthusiastic.
Designed to improve upon the best-selling Abu 706 closed-face reel launched in 2010, I honestly believe that this reel is now better than the very best, then and now.
If you want to cast a pellet waggler a long way for carp, or haul chub or barbel in on a feeder, then this is entirely the wrong reel to choose. However, if you want to put a stick float down a flowing-water swim with ease, and be in instant contact with the fish on the strike, then you really should look at the 506 MkII. It’ll also put a small waggler out on a stillwater too, and is brilliant when it’s windy, with chenille edgings making it almost impossible for line to get behind the drilled and ventilated spool.
The reel’s striking good looks update the original 506’s distinctive appearance, and while they don’t improve its performance it’s nice to look good on the bank!
Put around 50 metres of 0.16mm diameter line on one of the shallow spools – you’ll get much better performance, with less bedding in, than if you load it to the brim – attach the reel to a light match rod and sit on a smoothly flowing river swim. Press the positive and improved push-button release on the front of the reel and swing the float gently in. As it travels along in the current the line peels off the spool smoothly, then the orange tip buries, your finger traps the line against the housing and, with a turn of the handle, you’re in contact with the fish.
The improved gearing and ceramic-coated line pin make winding smooth and effortless, and if the fish wants to take line the Syncro drag is easy and efficient, although the optional anti-reverse provides the ability to back wind.
If you’ve never fished with a closed-face reel, or you thought their days were gone, think again. Supplied with a padded reel case and three spare spools, this reel raises the bar.