When our friends from Abel told us they were dropping “VAYA” a new reel in their arsenal of badassery, we were so excited we decided to pack our bags and head to Montrose Colorado to see this thing in person…
We had also been hearing rumors about a new Mayfly Headquarters – so we were excited for the chance to see this building in person. For those of you who don’t know, Abel reels and Ross reels are both manufactured under the same roof in Montrose, CO USA. Walking into this state of the art facility, I was seriously impressed with the size and efficiency of the operation.
An entire building dedicated to making the best reels on the planet. Walking around the factory and watching employees hard at work makes you really understand the power of USA made products. These reels are giving hard-working US individuals actual jobs, and they all greeted us with big smiles.
When Mayfly bought this land they secured a large stretch of the legendary Uncompahgre river, which was quickly donated back to the town in an effort to conserve the river and turn it into a fly only catch and release section of water. On top of being a throws distance away from the River, the Mayfly team also has a killer little bass pond directly outside. We had a chance to throw a few casts with a fellow employee!
As we made our way around the office we eventually sat down with Jeff Patterson a true veteran with Abel Reels and an integral member of the Mayfly team. We had a chance to ask Jeff some questions about the VAYA!
Flylords: We know you have this new reel coming to the market. What’s it called? And why are you excited about it?
Jeff: It’s called Abel VAYA. VAYA is Spanish for go, as in go fishing, go outside, go on an adventure. This is the reel for it. It covers everything from freshwater to light saltwater. So it’s our go-to reel.
Flylords: How long have you been working on this design and when is it going to be available for people to buy?
Jeff: We’ve been working on it for quite some time. Well over a year. The concept goes back even further than that. It will be shipping August of this year for the first time.
Flylords: What makes the reel unique compared to the other Abels’ line up?
Jeff: It’s a completely new look for Abel reels. It doesn’t really look like anything that we’ve made in the past. However, if you see it in the case you might say, “Is that an Abel?” Because there are some similarities that the rest of our products have. Besides the same amount of details that go into the anodizing, the polishing, the aesthetics, and the material itself. There are no corners cut on this reel to get to a certain price point. It’s just something different for us and maybe a little larger arbor than we’ve had in the past.
Flylords: What weight is the reel going to be available in, and what are the different patterns and colors that you can purchase it in?
Jeff: We’re launching this reel with three different sizes. We’re doing a four-five, a five-six, and a seven-eight. On these models, all three actually have a different set of milled fly patterns on the inside. So the four-five is appropriate for a hopper dropper type rig. So that’s what we put on the inside of these. The five-six gets a little bit bigger. So we’re going more like a hopper streamer type of setup. And then when you start getting into the seven-eight you’re hitting the light saltwater world, so we’re doing a streamer and a Gotcha fly for bonefish.
Flylords: I know the price point’s going to be a little bit lower than some of the other Abel line up. Can you just tell us a little bit about what was the thought process behind that?
Jeff: It’s going to sell for $495.00 in standard black. It’s a drag system reel for under $500.00 from Abel, which is different for us. Like I said, it’s not something that we cut corners for. It’s a little bit less expensive for us to produce and therefore we could make it that way for our consumers. It’s a proven drag system with the five stacks of carbon fluoropolymer and stainless steel. It’s very durable and not a lot of moving parts inside of it. A really, really cool sound on the incoming click as well as the outgoing drag. It’s just a very smooth, cool-sounding reel.
Flylords: I know you just moved into a new facility here in Montrose. Is this the first brand-new product that you’re producing in this facility and are you excited about that?
Jeff: Yeah, but it goes back to the previous facility that we were working on this with, I guess technically this is the first new launch from our new building here at Colorado Outdoors in Montrose!
Flylords: Why are you excited about this place (The Mayfly HQ) and how do you think it’s going to affect your brands here?
Jeff: The building here at Colorado Outdoors is just a beautiful place. It’s a setting designed for our production. From the very beginning, it’s for the flow of our own production line. But even bigger than that, it’s a very eco-friendly building. It’s on a beautiful setting, sitting on a pond, looking at the Uncompahgre River.
Our team can go out and fish at lunchtime, come back and not miss a beat. Not to mention what we’re doing with all of Colorado Outdoors, restoring the Uncompahgre River, we already donated it back to the city of Montrose and designating it an artificial flies only catch and release section. It’s something that you would want to see as an angler.
Flylords: Is there anything else you want to add?
Jeff: We talked a little bit about what’s in the drag and the outgoing click – it sounds and feels incredible. You almost have to pick it up to understand. It’s like a Rolex or something. The other thing is the drag system – which is designed so the lower end of the drag has tons of adjustment, a really wide range. So from zero to three pounds, there’s just tons of drag adjustment in there. But it still ramps up to have 10 pounds of drag. I mean, it still is great for those bonefish and that kind of thing, but where it’s primarily going to be used we don’t use a lot of poundage, and you will have lots of the adjustment in there.
Be sure to check out the Reel at your local fly shop later this month to really get a first hand feel for this new piece and check it out online here. Full specs listed below:
- Partially-ported frame for the perfect balance of weight, sound, and visual appeal
- Different sets of milled fly pattern silhouettes on interior of each frame relevant to the size of the reel
- 5-disc alternating carbon/stainless steel drag stack
- Large arbor for faster retrieve and reduced line memory
- Quick-change spool design with proven O-ring release
- Available in sizes 4/5, 5/6, 7/8
- User convertible retrieval system
- Made in USA
Our friend Ken Tenaka also dropped a pretty great review we wanted to link to: