Custom Bluegill Fish Graphic on an Abel Creek Reel!!! Attention warmwater finatics..

Discussion in 'Warm Water Species' started by sagebass, Feb 23, 2012.

  1. 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......

    Colt

    P.S. Here's one of the photos I have submitted to be considered for the graphic....

    [​IMG]
     
  2. Custom Bluegill Fish Graphic on an Abel Creek Reel!!! Attention warmwater finati

    Cool man !! I have them in the pond in my back yard. I love them !!!!
     
  3. Custom Bluegill Fish Graphic on an Abel Creek Reel!!! Attention warmwater finati

    I caught my first two bluegill a couple weeks ago while in Hawai'i and I will honestly say they are hard fighting little fish. I was using a 5wt while targeting schoolie Peacocks and the Bluegill were a fun bi-catch for sure. Aggressive, feisty, and plentiful, they would be a great starter fish to introduce urban anglers to either a complete obsession, or for a quick 'lunch-break' outing from the office.
    Let me know how your adventure goes!
     
  4. Custom Bluegill Fish Graphic on an Abel Creek Reel!!! Attention warmwater finati

    Great thread and a great idea. I have to say that at my age, I doubt that I will be buying any
    more rods and reels, but for you youngsters, it is a great idea.

    I address my comments to the blue gill. You are correct in your assessment of them. They are
    scrappy little fish and I personally believe that pound for pound, one of the most aggressive.
    Growing up in Southern Illinois and having family ties there, I have fished a Lake in the
    south end of the State. It is a great little blue gill lake. Can think of nothing better than sitting
    in the boat with my cousin and catching blue gill. It does get hot down there though. :D

    Good luck to you in your quest. I think the little Blue Gill deserve their own gear.
     
  5. Custom Bluegill Fish Graphic on an Abel Creek Reel!!! Attention warmwater finati

    Upton O: Your right. I'm admittedly using the term "bluegill" very loosely to encompass all sorts of bream/sunfish/bluegill/pumpkinseeds/etc. I'm not sure which graphic Abel will settle on yet, so I'm gathering photos of whatever I can.

    A member on another forum submitted this pretty cool closeup of a pumpkinseed:

    [​IMG]

    I thought that it was pretty cool looking.....almost "tropical"!
     
  6. Custom Bluegill Fish Graphic on an Abel Creek Reel!!! Attention warmwater finati

    What a beautiful photo. Great stuff.
     
  7. Custom Bluegill Fish Graphic on an Abel Creek Reel!!! Attention warmwater finati

    I was a graduate student in fisheries at Auburn and spent many an hour stocking ponds to produce really big bluegills (half pound or larger). I hate to say this but we'd use worms or crickets and a fly rod to catch them, they were really great little fish even meat fishing like we were. My thesis research was using hybrid sunfish (green sunfish/redear sunfish cross) in stocking ponds with and without largemouth bass. That hybrid turned out to be a piranha sunfish, just a voracious, aggressive little bastard. Anyway, I fished for "bream" (pronounced "brim") all over the south and enjoyed them both on the rod and in the fryer. Toledo Bend reservoir on the Louisiana-Texas border had the largest lake bluegills I ever found, we could filet them they were that big.

    I love sunfish, especially bluegills, I imagine they would be brutal on a fly weight fly rod, fishing for them on their spawning beds with a rubber body spider . Good thread.
     
  8. Custom Bluegill Fish Graphic on an Abel Creek Reel!!! Attention warmwater finati


    I intend to try that with my 2 wt this summer. Not sure of where they will be found in
    numbers but I intend to look. I was planning on trying some wet flies other than poppers.
    A few drys too, if that will take them. Looks like great fun. I would guess the east side of
    the mountains would be a better bet, but I will try a few lakes on this side.
     
  9. Custom Bluegill Fish Graphic on an Abel Creek Reel!!! Attention warmwater finati

    I'm an Abel whore that loves to bluegill fish. If they do this I'll be ordering a Creek 2 LA with the graphic.
     
  10. Custom Bluegill Fish Graphic on an Abel Creek Reel!!! Attention warmwater finati

    I vote for that one. It would make an awesome pattern. Gotta love the close ups and beautiful colors
     
  11. Custom Bluegill Fish Graphic on an Abel Creek Reel!!! Attention warmwater finati

    I'm glad I'm not the only one who enjoys catching bluegill on a fly. I fish Lake Sara, just 1 hr south of Champaign with my Redington Ct 3wt set up and it's a blast. Bluegill are a blast to catch on it. I just ordered my Abel Creek for the Sage 389-3 LL. Heading up to the Driftless Area in a couple weeks to test it out. Love the idea with the bluegill graphic!
     
  12. Custom Bluegill Fish Graphic on an Abel Creek Reel!!! Attention warmwater finati

    So it looks like this project is underway! Beau, at Stillwater Fly Shop, contacted me this weekend to confirm that Abel reels agreed to work with us in developing the bluegill fish graphic! We have already put together some ideas for a prototype design, and Abel and Stillwater Fly Shop seem to think that we should have something sometime this summer.

    Chris Barclay is chronicling the process here: http://breambum.blogspot.com/2012/03/abel-reels-custom-bluegill-graphic.html

    Also, watch for future updates on The Fiberglass Manifesto as Cameron has been extremely helpful in getting this project underway!

    As more developments are made Chris, Cameron and I will continue to update everyone!

    Colt
     

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