The C.F.O is a great reel that brings 140 years of tradition to the table. It also brings a solid amount of performance, scoring a perfect score in five categories: Craftsmanship, Spool to Frame Tolerances, Start Up Inertia, Ease of Spool Removal, and Weight. In addition to that, the C.F.O. has a very smooth drag and a fantastic metallic sound.
As a click and pawl reel, the C.F.O. doesn’t have a very strong drag, and the range of drag adjustment is also relatively narrow. Its retrieval resistance is quite high; it is nearly the opposite of a spinner type reel. Although the rosewood handle is beautiful, we wish it were larger and had more swell like the Abel handles.
The C.F.O. is a classic and sharp looking reel. Everything about it speaks of heirloom quality. This would be a great match for any classy graphite, fiberglass, or bamboo rod.
At one point the C.F.O was made in England by Hardy. Today it is fully machined by Abel in Camarillo, California from the highest quality bar-stock aluminum. The C.F.O. only comes in Slate Gray. At this point extra spools are not available but Orvis claims they will become available by 7/1/2016.
Retrieval Sound: Nice metallic click and pawl sound on retrieve
Outgoing drag sound: Similar metallic but deeper sound going out
Spin: Almost none (.5 - .85 revs)? Depending on drag setting
Counterbalance: OK, despite no counter balance weight
Spool Release: Quick and easy and the latch can’t get lost, (unless entire fixture comes off. Over a period of time dirt and grit can fill in the latch hole, making it difficult to move the latch.
Drag Knob: Good, easy to turn
Drag Detents: No detents but the drag knob is stiff so it won’t get knocked off its setting easily
Range of Drag: Good for a click and pawl reel, but weak compared to others
Max Drag: Very weak – .4 pounds
Handle: Too short and no swell, although rosewood looks nice
Narrow arbor good for Double Taper lines
Looks and sounds like a true classic
Abel grease smell and quality machining