The price of the Abel is stunning. What about the Orvis Battenkill Mid-arbor ($120-130), Orvis Battenkill Large Arbor ($240), Elkhorn's MA-3 ($240), the Ross Momentum ($445), or the Billy Pate Salmon AR ($490)? I have used the Orvis Mid-Arbor for 3 years of Steelhead fishing and have never had a problem. I own 2 of the Elkhorn T series and they are excellent, so I would not hesitate to recommend the MA series. The Ross and the Pate come highly recommended from my local fly shop. Your friend could buy 5 of the Orvis and just toss them if they burn up. Hope this helps.
To Miss Nancy - she hated fishing, but loved a fisherman.