Archive for February, 2012

Savage Gear 2012

Monday, February 27th, 2012

The Future Is Savage, at least when it comes to supreme lure actions. For those unfamiliar with the brand, Savage Gear is the brainchild of Mads Grosell, a detail-oriented engineer 100% consumed by fish and fishing. With paper and pencil, Grosell has scribed, then constructed the ultimate baitfish actions in Savage Gear hard and soft 4PLay lures.  For pike, musky, halibut, bass and a host of inshore species, Grosell plays with predatory instinct with the full control of a puppet master.

The Savage 4Play is a complete line of hard and soft baits with extensive available sizes and diving characteristics.

Developed and retailed in Europe, Okuma Fishing Tackle has brought Savage Gear to the United States.  Our selection is concise, focusing on the most unique and productive of the selection, but be assured, there’s more to come.

For now, enjoy the 4Play lineup in all its custom configurations, the Larvae, Cutbait Herring and incredibly versatile Sandeels.

Check out the Savage Gear 2012 USA catalog here:  Savage Gear USA 2012 Catalog

See the footage of Savage Gear 4Play lure actions here:  Savage 4Play Video

Citrix Rods and Reels-Uncensored

Thursday, February 16th, 2012
When you want an honest answer, it’s sometimes difficult to find the right person to ask. When Citrix rods and reels were introduced for 2011, our Pro-Staffers were ecstatic, they’d tested and had input in the development of the products. But we wanted to find out how top recreational anglers felt. The guys without the relationships, buddy deals and swag that goes along with some of the touring pros. We turned to the group at ultimatebass.com for some no-holds-barred third-party input.
This group is made up of the guys on the water next to you. They work Monday-Friday so they can fish on Saturday. When laying down the bucks for gear, every decision is a serious one. Ron Fogelson and a few others stepped up to put Citrix rods and reels through their paces. What follows is Ron’s review. For depth, thoughtfulness and thoroughness, we wish all reviews were this well done. And if you’re wondering, yes, we’ve made a few in-line changes based upon the information received.

Written by Ron Fogelson
Tuesday, 26 July 2011 05:00
Back on February 23, 2011 I received two packages from Okuma Fishing Tackle as stated in my first article regarding this set up “Okuma Fishing Rod/Reel first impression”. The rod and reel were packaged very well with extra care to ensure both the rod tip and butt were protected with reinforcement inside a solid shipping tube. The Citrix Low profile 7.3-1 high speed reel was in its original reel box and placed in a second shipping box and packed just as secure. Both arrived safe, without damage and shipping was quick.

My preliminary point of view was the reel wanted to roll slightly to the right as I held it in my left hand. Please keep in mind that I’m left handed so with the natural position of the reel rolling to some extent to the right I’d hoped I could flip without having the line tangle in the reel handle as it sometimes does with other reels. Also, the rod was rated by Okuma as Medium Heavy for line 10 to 20 lbs and lure weight of ¼ to 1 ounce so the first thing I did was rig it for punching. This was a mistake as the action of the rod and tip speed proved “at least for me” that this was not the ideal application for this combo. Although it was more than able to handle the load and size of the ¾ ounce weight casting I found while flipping or pitching with any bait above about one ½ ounce caused the tip to slingshot my lure skyward.

Author Ron Fogelson

It is sometimes difficult to compare rods as the blank/bait specific action/price point/materials and building technique all vary from company to company. It is of my opinion the citrix rod is on par than say a like type crucial rod, yet I found it lighter and better balanced than the same. Whereas Okuma’s ratting is of a Medium Heavy if I put it head to head with a crucial I’d have to match it more to a Medium crank bait rod yet it is still $40.00 less and has proven to hold its own in strength and durability and has the back bone to keep and retain control of fish bigger than you might expect when holding the rod for the first time. I’d like to praise Okuma for the aluminum reel seat threads, it is a great feature, but I’ve found that unless you snug them down quite hard the large threads tend to back off; letting the reel feel loose. Again I think the aluminum reel seat threads are way above par but would recommend they opt for a thinner tighter thread pattern.
The trigger in my humble opinion is about one half inch to far back on the rod. With the compact design of the reel, I find that the combo is difficult to hold over the course of a full day of fishing. I’m able to fit both my middle and ring finger in front of the rod trigger while with other rods only my middle finger is resting on the trigger. Also, the trigger when I first got my hands on this rod were very smooth where the two sections were joined together and stated so in my initial review. However, having to crank down on the aluminum reel seat so much to ensure it stopped backing off I’ve found a gap to be forming. It appears as the trigger has separated a bit but to risk sounding like a broken record on the subject I believe retooling the threads to a smaller tighter pattern will fix both issues.
The use of EVA foam is in contention from angler to angler. I normally prefer cork but that is based on my preference and that, over the years, I’ve found EVA to vary so much from rod to rod. Some times it’s way too soft and the sun makes it crumble over a short time. Or, it is so firm that it’s just too hard to keep a confident grip on the rod while in use. For me, the Citrix EVA foam was very comfortable, firm and has a tacky kind of feel; however, I found it a tad short for my liking and it tapers in at an abrupt rate so with bigger hands it feels like part of the grip is missing.
I remain impressed by the sensitivity of the rod and for a light weight blank it has the back bone to put good fish in the boat. I have found that it is an all around rod at home with top waters like a spook/PopR/chug bug as well as moving baits like a swim jig/rattle traps/vibrashocks/square bill crank baits and spinner baits along with light 1/4oz and under rigged soft plastics and for me excels as my wacky rigged flick shake or weightless fluke rod.
As far as the Citrix reel, I found and still believe that, for a high speed application, I’d buy this reel before I picked up another Curado. I’m not saying I believe the Citrix is that much better, rather I no longer believe the Curado is worth the additional price just for a high speed reel. The reel was and remains smooth as can be the handles are large and comfortable if not a little to firm for my taste. I am fond of the swept in drag star because I’ve found that while palming the reel “left hand” I’m able to reach under the rod and reel with my middle finger to engage the reel out of free spool to be ready for the hook set while pitching or flipping wacky rigged a Hatch Match Stick “Stick Bait” without having to let go of the line and use the handle to do so. I do like the big paddle style grips on the reel handle. However, I wish there was a little more flexibility to the material or were made with a tacky texture. In the heat of the day, or when my hands get wet lipping a fish or in the rain, they are a little bit slippery.
The Citrix reel is a lot of fun to use, it casts very well, and I’ve not had a single issue with its performance. It remains as smooth today as it first did back in February. The drag is strong and even when fighting a larger fish and has handled the surges at the boat with ease. I had some slight worries as the handle and star drag stick out a bit farther from the frame than other reels that I use. However, with the handle and star drag being swept back to the reel, I’m pleased that I can still (while holding the reel in my left hand) engage the reel with my middle finger by turning the drag star or handle as soon as the bait hits the water; without having to take my right hand off the line to do so.
The external centrifugal brake design is a fantastic option, very easy to set up and adjust on the fly with changing weather conditions or baits adjustments and is a highlight of this reel. The brakes are adjusted with a dial like with magnetic brake reels but uses the External adjustable centrifugal cast control system. Giving you get the speed and ease of adjustment of magnetics with the strength and time proven reliability of centrifugal brakes.
Over all, I believe that both the rod and reel are a good buy at the $119.00 price point. You are getting a quality rod and reel, that fishes as good as it looks for a reasonable amount of money. If you would like to upgrade or are a seasoned angler and want to add a combo to your line up without breaking the bank, Okuma, might have what you are looking for. I know full well I was picky on the few things I brought up, but when I do a review I’m equally as brutal with the products as I am with any praise if any are warranted because I’m very hard on my equipment and understand the difficulties we all face when looking to part with our hard earned money on the slew of fishing gear, tackle & accessories on the market. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend the rod, reel or the pair as a combo to add to your line up because I believe Okuma understands the meaning of value.
See You on the water.
Ronald Fogelson
Ultimatebass.com Administrator

Captain Todd Mansur and the Boardroom

Tuesday, February 7th, 2012

Captain Todd Mansur operates the 65′ Hatteras sportfisher, The Boardroom. Fishing the elite-level offshore tournaments on the Pacific side of North and Central America, Mansur’s travels have him on the water every fishable day during tournament season. A key product tester of Okuma reels and rods, few have access to the strength of fisheries, for the duration, that Mansur’s tournament crew has. On the way to the 2011 Bisbee’s Black and Blue Marlin Tournament, Mansur kept some notes on both the fisheries encountered and the gear used that we thought we’d share with you…

Cedros Island Yellowtail

One of many Cedros Island yellowtail on a Cortez, Makaira rod combo.

This year in southern California was a challenge for every level of fisherman but just below our border, there was a terrific fishery brewing due to the currents and conditions that we have been missing. Our trip really started when we reached Cedros Island. With all of our inshore gear ready, we approached knowing that the Yellowtail fishing was on fire. We knew this was going to be our chance to fish some Okuma tackle that we had been admiring all season but hadn’t really been able to use much due to slow fishing in our local waters. In the arsenal of tackle to be used were the Cedros star drag 10 and the Cedros lever drag 10, along with the Cortez star drag 10 and one of my favorites, the Andros 5II. As we all know jigging and live bait fishing yellowtail is not only fun, but with fish weighing up to 40-pounds they can put inshore reels to a test. And test they did. Not one of the reels showed any signs of fatigue. We were fishing all these reels with Tuf-Line 65lb. braided line to 30lb. mono top shot. This combo was perfect for this application. The rods we were using were the Cedros jigging rods for the Cedros reels, Makaira rods for the Cortez reels and the awesome Cedros inshore rods on the Andros reel.

Magdalena Bay was holding quality wahoo on the troll.

I have to tell you guys, everyone on this trip has years of fishing experience. Aside from talking about how great the fishing was they couldn’t stop talking about how awesome the reels preformed. After a day of putting our tackle to the test, as well as our arms and backs, we started south for Mag Bay. Knowing that we would be seeing a great Dorado fishery down in Mag, we were very excited. Along with the Dorado we hoped to catch Wahoo as well and this meant it was time to get out some trolling gear. We paired up two Cavalla 30ll with the new Makaira 50lb. trolling rods and two Titus 30ll with the same and put out the Wahoo lures and some small Pakula Marlin lures. We thought this would be a great combo and it was. As soon as there was enough light we were hooked up. Dorado everywhere, again putting the inshore tackle to the test without failure. Throughout the day we released over fifty Dorado and boated three nice Wahoo. We really loved the action of the Makaira trolling rods they were beefy enough to pull hard, but still had great action to give the angler a thrill. Nice roller guides as well.

Grouper off Mag Bay

This Andros set up is spooled with 60lb. mono to 65lb. braid we went 4 for 10 on the groupers. We never stopped the big ones, even when I put 100lb. on the Cedros lever drag 10."

As we continued to fish Mag Bay each day was great. What a fishery.

There were days that we really put Okuma to the test.

This Andros set up is spooled with 60lb. mono to 65lb. braid we went 4 for 10 on the groupers. We never stopped the big ones, even when I put 100lb. on the Cedros lever drag 10. This was great. We really put the pressure on these fish to keep them out of the structure and again the tackle was bulletproof. At the end of the day it was like we just took the reels out of the box.

With fishing like this for over a week in Mag Bay we headed south to Cabo San Lucas to start pre fishing For the Bisbee Black and Blue Marlin Tournament.

The tuna bite at El Banco was solid, along with the black marlin that would have been nice to have off Cabo instead of PV.

Well guys this is the only sad part of this story. There were really no fish to catch. After 4 days off pre-fishing we couldn’t come up with a good strategy. There was just no fish biting so we just decided to fish lures and cover ground. After the three-day tournament all we had to show for was a sailfish release and an empty wallet. So off to Puerto Vallarta we went, hoping that we would get over the really sore fishing in Cabo. We did, however, get to show off the beautiful Makaira 80-ll. They drew lots of attention and I hope to get a chance soon to put them to the full test that I know they can live up to. As we approached PV, our hopes were high before even checking in to port we fished the first day at what is called El Banco. Thinking that maybe live bait fishing with small skipjack tuna would give us a chance at a large tuna we put out the 30ll Cavalla’s and the 30ll Titus. A 30-ll Makaira would be ideal. Anyway we were right, live bait fishing skipjack worked but it wasn’t a tuna on the line after 2 hours and 45 minutes. We had a 320lb. black marlin to leader. I know that these reels aren’t in the making any more, but they worked great and still work great after that test of strength. I’ll get you picks of that fish I haven’t put them into my computer as of yet. After that we knew we were going to enjoy the next couple of weeks here. The target here was tuna and tuna we found on most days. It was the gyro’s that got us located on tuna either under Dolphin or bird schools. We caught fish every day. With fish being picky some days we had to fish much lighter line than we wanted, so Okuma engineering really got put to the test. Here is one of the amazing fish we caught.

This was caught on a Makaira 10-ll with 100lb Tuf-Line braid to 130lb fluorocarbon leader with a #8 circle hook. There has never been a reel that I have been more proud, to have and to fish, with than the Makaira. WOW! I have made a great career as a fisherman and have fished every type of reel on the market and I will gladly argue anyone that says that Okuma is anything but superior to other reels. You guys have definitely done it right.

My many thanks to all of the Okuma staff!

Captain Todd Mansur