Okuma Fishing Tackle http://blog.okumafishing.com Fishing Rods and Reels for Dynamic Experiences Thu, 02 Oct 2014 22:50:13 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.0.7 Okuma Azores Spinning Reels Continue to Dominate Saltwater Fisheries http://blog.okumafishing.com/2014/10/okuma-azores-spinning-reels-continue-to-dominate-saltwater-fisheries/ http://blog.okumafishing.com/2014/10/okuma-azores-spinning-reels-continue-to-dominate-saltwater-fisheries/#comments Thu, 02 Oct 2014 22:47:42 +0000 http://blog.okumafishing.com/?p=536 It’s pretty exciting as a company to begin with an idea, draft the plans and map out a road for a product’s development – all to see it come together with one outstanding result. One of these such new products from us here at Okuma, is the new Azores saltwater spinning reel line.

“We’ve really been on a terror this week with the Azores reels,” said an excited Mark Coleman, one of Okuma’s West Coast-based product testers. “We’re up to 50+ albacore on the one and 30+ on the other. The third has about 20 fish. All reels are functioning like new.  In the big scheme of things that is a lot of tuna on one reel. More than any of the others I’ve tested! Honestly this is the best saltwater spinning reel I’ve used.”

A happy group of anglers showing off the fruits of a successful albacore trip.

A happy group of anglers showing off the fruits of a successful albacore trip.

The new Azores line is our latest saltwater spinning line up here at Okuma, and boasts some exciting features that set this real apart from others.

“The Azores Z-65S is everything an angler looks for in a reel,” noted Jason Schall, another key Okuma tester based out of Charleston, SC.  “The corrosion-resistant coating and gearing, the Mechanical Stabilizing System combined with the water tight drag seal is perfect.  The rigid aluminum body and side plate give it the strong, solid, heavy-duty look and feel on the outside that it also is on the inside. I caught over 250 fish in a week on this reel, with most of them large sharks and very large redfish.  One of the redfish I caught was only 3 inches from a new IGFA length record!”

The Azores is right at home on both inshore and offshore waters.

The Azores is right at home on both inshore and offshore waters.

In Southern California, Okuma tester Capt. Bob Woodard has been putting the Azores to use on one of the best SoCal saltwater seasons in a decade. Woodard has scored numerous yellowfin tuna, yellowtail and some quality dorado on a spinning set up consisting of the Azores 65-size reel paired with a Makaira MK-C-701M spinning rod.

West Coast Okuma Capt. Bob Woodard displays a quality dorado taken on the Okuma Azores reel.

West Coast Okuma Capt. Bob Woodard displays a quality dorado taken on the Okuma Azores reel.

While the majority of fishing for yellowtail is done with conventional outfits, Carmen Macdonald and Brandon Cotton, both part of Okuma’s Marketing front, switched it up a bit while on a recent fly-in trio down to Cedros Island, BCS Mexico.

Paired with an Okuma Maikara spinning rod, the Azores makes a sweet combo for all kinds of hard fighting fish.

Paired with an Okuma Maikara spinning rod, the Azores makes a sweet combo for all kinds of hard fighting fish.

“You might see a few guys on a sportboat fishing spinning tackle for yellows, but most guys are gonna be using conventional tackle most of the time. We’d caught a good amount of the forkies on conventional tackle already, so we figured let’s mix it up and tag a few on the new Azores spinners,” said Cotton. “I tell you what, that reel is extremely strong and stable, and the drags are super smooth and powerful.”

Azores doing work in the surf on a quality striped bass.

Azores doing work in the surf on a quality striped bass.

The new Azores will be shipping to retailers starting early November. Check out more information, including a complete product video, here at www.okumafishing.com/product/view/reels/2015-new-reel-series/azores.

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Amazing Sand Eel Slug Twin Rig http://blog.okumafishing.com/2012/10/amazing-sand-eel-slug-twin-rig/ http://blog.okumafishing.com/2012/10/amazing-sand-eel-slug-twin-rig/#comments Fri, 19 Oct 2012 20:48:15 +0000 http://blog.okumafishing.com/?p=521 At the ICAST 2012 Show in Orlando, Florida we brought in a display tank to show off the amazing action of the Savage Gear Sand Eel Slug.  This tandem rig produces darting lures that faithfully swim in opposite directions of one another to create the image of a small school of bait in complete fear.

Rather than try to describe the action, have a look at the video as narrated by Mads Grossel, Savage Gear founder and lure designer: Click HERE To Watch Video of Twin Sand Eel Slugs

Since the show, the questions have poured in as to how to rig the twin rig. Here are a few basic instructions on how to get this rig ready to roll, or dance as the case may be.

There are really only three ingredients to this rig, the Sand Eel Slug, Darting Jig Head, and Leader Line. The first is the Savage Gear Sand Eel Slug.  These come in a variety of sizes.  4”, 5 ½”, 6 ½”, and 8”.

Savage Gear Sand Eel

The second, and probably the most important ingredient of this rig, are the Sand Eel Slug Darting Jig Heads.  These Darting Jig Heads come in sizes to correspond to the Sand Eel Slug that you choose.

The third item is your leader line.  You can choose whatever brand, color and pound test you’d like. The key here is to match up your line with the fish species, water clarity and conditions.  Given the versatility of this rig, you will probably find applications for line strengths from 2lb up to 25lb or more.  In any case, begin with a length of line that is approximately three feet long.  This should give you ample room for knots.

Now to the steps involved in rigging.

  1. Choose a Sand Eel Slug and Darting Jig Head to match.
  2. Mount your Sand Eel Slug onto your Darting Jig Head.
  3. I suppose you can do this prior to mounting your Sand Eel Slut to your Darting Jig Head, but at this point, go ahead and tie your mounted rigs to your leader line.  You can use whatever knot you choose.
  4. With the lures tied to each end of the leader, you will want to tie a loop in your line about two-thirds of the way between your rigged baits so one is on a longer leader than the other.  I generally tie an overhand loop.  But a figure-8 loop, or any other the dozens of other loops out there will work as well.  The key here is to leave some distance between the rigs.  This is what keeps them from getting fouled up.
  5. By step five, you are done!  From here, you can attach this rig to your main line using a loop-to-loop connection or whatever knot you’d like.

You can cast this rig, vertical jig it, or even use it under a bobber. Practice control of the action with the rig just below the water where it’s visible.  In this manner you can quickly learn to gauge the timing and sharpness of the rod action to bring the sand eels to life.  Beginning with a longer leader provides more separation and travel of the lures when twitched and a shorter leader length tightens up both the lures and the action.

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Okuma’s Newest Bass Offerings Help Scott Martin Take Down FLW Potomac Event http://blog.okumafishing.com/2012/05/okumas-newest-bass-offerings-help-scott-martin-take-down-flw-potomac-event/ http://blog.okumafishing.com/2012/05/okumas-newest-bass-offerings-help-scott-martin-take-down-flw-potomac-event/#comments Wed, 23 May 2012 19:17:08 +0000 http://blog.okumafishing.com/?p=504 When you’ve designed, crafted and delivered rods and reels of the very highest caliber, it’s a natural extension to put them in the hands of elite professionals and have them perform on the major fishing tournament trails. With the release of Helios rods and reels, Komodo high-speed baitcast reels and completely redesigned and upgraded C3-40X rods, that’s exactly what we did.

Scott Martin has been with Okuma Fishing Tackle since November of 2011, and just 6 months into fishing the gear, his performance on the Potomac River last weekend was dubbed “unstoppable” by FLW reporters, jumping out to a massive lead, then following up for three more days to seal the victory.

Martin bested 145 top professionals, leading the tournament from day one through the finish.

Martin focused on grass throughout the Potomac River FLW event with a three pronged approach: chatterbaits, stick worms and flipping. Here’s the gear that got it done:

Chatterbaits & Stick Worms: Helios HS-262V reel on Helios HS-CM-701MH Mini Guide rod.

The lightest rod and reel combinations in the Okuma lineup, Helios models are purely tournament-driven for extreme sensitivity, minimum fatigue and all-day comfort…necessities of four day, high-pressure fishing marathons. The Helios HS-262V weighs just 6.3 ounces total. Constructed on an all-aluminum drive system, featuring an aluminum frame and right side side plate, the reel defines refined power and strength. Premium ABEC-5 bearings are stock equipment, setting free absolutely effortless casting that’s governed by an internal 7-position centrifugal cast control system. In Martin’s chatterbait & stick worm applications, the 6.2:1 gear ratio delivers precise control over every presentation.

Helios Mini Guide rods begin on a foundation of 40-Ton carbon, fast-action blanks. The HS-CH-701MH weighs just 3.7-ounces, bringing Martin’s rod and reel combination to 10-ounces total, prior to line winding. To reach the minimalist weight while retaining all the inherent power, Helios Mini Guide rods feature ALPS Mini Guides with ultra-hard Zirconium inserts. Martin fished 17-pound fluorocarbon, but the guide system is up to the task of any line type desired. ALPS Mini Guides deliver 100% confidence in strength at micro-level weight. The system improves both sensitivity and casting by maintaining a superior, close relationship between line and the rod blank. At the handle end, Helios Mini Guide rods feature an EVA split grip, delivering outstanding balance and again reducing every bit of sensitivity-robbing weight. Rated for 1/4- to 1-ounce casting weight, the 7-foot HS-CM-701MH and Helios reel are perfect choices for the applications the conditions called for.

Flipping: Komodo KDR-273V reel on Helios HS-CM-761XH.

Scott Martin, Day one Potomac River

A monster bag on day one provided a powerful lead, and continued clean execution brought the win home three days later.

At 6.5 ounces in total weight, the Komodo KDR-273V delivers speed and power by the tonnage, again in a platform driven by comfort and minimalist weight. The Komodo features a full aluminum drive system, aluminum frame and both right and left side aluminum side plates. Eleven stainless steel bearings include ABEC-5 spool bearings…just as Helios does. Key separating features of Komodo from Helios are apparent in the massive gear box. For flipping, Martin relies on Komodo for the high-speed 7.3:1 gear ratio. Commanding 31.5-inches of line with every turn of the handle, the reel extracts fish from cover and puts them in the boat with authority and conviction, backed by the strength of the aluminum drive system and full Carbonite drag system. Komodo is an angler favorite also, with models available in both right and left hand retrieve.

The Helios Mini Guide HS-CM-761XH is a lighter choice in flipping rods for Martin. The cover on the Potomac is not as demanding as other locations. For heavy flipping, you’ll most often find the C3-40X, C3-C-7111H in Martin’s hand. He’s dubbed it the best balanced 7’11” rod available in the market and relies on it’s longer length for increased distance and leverage. On the Helios HS-CM-761XH, features are exactly the same as the medium heavy: 40-Ton carbon blank, ALPS Mini Guides with Zirconium inserts, split EVA grips and Pac Bay MINIMA reel seats with zero fore-grip. The 7’6″ XH takes the lure ratings to 1/2- to 2-ounces, with exceptionally fast action.

For complete coverage of the FLW Potomac River event, check out FLW’s website here, FLW- Simply Unstoppable, and BassFan’s coverage here, North South Grass Combo Kept Martin On The Right Fish.

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Makaira SE Reels -Taking Live Bait to the Limit http://blog.okumafishing.com/2012/05/makaira-se-reels-taking-live-bait-to-the-limit/ http://blog.okumafishing.com/2012/05/makaira-se-reels-taking-live-bait-to-the-limit/#comments Wed, 16 May 2012 20:16:38 +0000 http://blog.okumafishing.com/?p=409 For most offshore anglers, a Makaira two-speed game reel will spend the bulk of its’ working life in a rod holder.  In tow might be an 8- to 12-inch trolling lure, maybe a skirt over a ballyhoo, perhaps a bridled skipjack.  At intervals the reel will be brought to life and engaged in a battle of wills, to which it will respond with the faithfulness of a dog and an overwhelming display of power and grace.

For the above outlined tasks, Makaira reels are constructed to far exceed the life covered by their 5-year factory warranty.  Spool bearings are protected by a 30% grease pack that allows for competent freespool, but more importantly protects the bearings. Non-spool bearings receive a 100% grease pack again placing protection of key components at a premium.  The gear ratios of the two-speeds offer versatility to take on any pelagic you might encounter from a sport boat.

The long-range fishing boats departing from San Diego, California present unique challenges to anglers. Certainly the yellowfin, wahoo and yellowtail are big, but that’s pretty basic. The larger challenges begin with the fact these fish are pursued primarily with live bait. Instead of stripping 100-feet of line to place a lure in a spread, excellence in this fishery requires clearing the boat by casting a light bait fish on 40- to 100-pound tackle.  Once in the water, the reel needs to feed line so effortlessly the bait fish swims as if it’s simply free-swimming. And the longer a strong swimming baitfish can be maintained, the more certain one can be that it will be eaten.

Makaira SE Family

From the MK30-IISEa down to the MK8-IISEa, this Makaira family has been custom designed for the live bait community.

At the moment of the strike the second challenge begins. In many cases, the boat is anchored and in virtually all cases, there is no chasing the fish with the boat. Every inch of line must be earned. The fish can be followed around the boat, but the boat is not repositioned to assist a single angler when 25 more are continuing their pursuit of a bite.

While Makaira reels have become renowned for their drag system and integrity of internal components, the long-range community, spearheaded by elite angler David Choate and reel technician Alan Tani, requested specific modifications to advance Makaira to the position of the ultimate long-range reels. The result is the Makaira SE.

Makaira SE reels are available in sizes 8, 10, 15, 20 and 30, all featuring topless (no crossbar across the top of the reel) construction. The primary modifications are straightforward, yet incredibly important to long-range anglers. The first is that the 35% grease pack on the spool bearings has been completely removed, as have the shields that protect their exterior. Instead, completely open bearings are lubricated with TSI 301 oil.

TSI 301 oil is not a petroleum-based lubricant. A pure synthetic ester, TSI 301 penetrates the pores in metal and bonding itself to the surface. Greatly reducing surface tension, the application dramatically cuts friction and reduces wear. When exceptional freespool is the difference between great reward and difficult fishing, this bearing system outperforms virtually all others. Of note is that their is no free lunch here. When bearings are opened and oiled instead of greased, they do require maintenance to maintain their peak performance. But the anglers willing to travel four days by boat to reach the world’s greatest fishing grounds do not shy away from their responsibilities to their equipment. These are detail-oriented anglers.


Click for a detail look at the Makaira SE anodizing and etched graphics.

The second modification is an oversized handle arm to deliver more torque. When you are unable to reposition the boat to the best advantage of the angler, the angler has to be able to authoritatively bear down on the fish. Makaira and Makara SE reels all incorporate powerful 17-4 stainless steel gearing and shafts that can withstand incredible stress. The longer handle arms allow anglers a significant increase in leverage and greater ability to move large fish.

The third modification applies to Makaira SE 20 and 30 sizes only. It’s a lower ratio in the low gear.  Where the standard Makaira is 1.7:1, these SE’s are 1.3:1. Again the purpose here is to increase leverage and keep the fish moving towards the boat. Very commonly, anglers will hang 150- to 300-pound yellowfin on these size reels and of absolute importance to the battle is to be able to actively gain line. The longer the fight continues, the more opportunity is that something will go wrong.

In a few final touches, Makaira SE reels feature gun smoke anodizing, an engraved tuna adorning the left side plate and all the frames have receive further machining to increase line clearance and reduce weight.

While Makaira SE reels are neither necessary and in some cases not recommended to the broader range of offshore anglers (if you do not regularly maintain your reels, the SE line up is not for you), for those seeking refined live bait performance the Makaria SE addresses the needs specific to the fishery.

Owners of standard Makaira reels that are interested in the modification can have them made at our California headquarters. The bearings and handle can be changed out for $29.99 which includes parts and labor.  On the 20 and 30 sizes, the bearings, handle and low-gear modifications can be made for $59.99 including parts and labor. Shipping charges in both cases are additional.

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Isn’t This What It’s All About? http://blog.okumafishing.com/2012/05/isnt-this-what-its-all-about/ http://blog.okumafishing.com/2012/05/isnt-this-what-its-all-about/#comments Wed, 16 May 2012 20:09:54 +0000 http://blog.okumafishing.com/?p=490 In our recent newsletter we invited subscribers to submit their fishing photos, videos, stories and experiences for the purpose of sharing with our blog readers and Facebook fans. The simple reason is that collectively we can cover far more water and uncover so many more positive aspects of this sport than any one of us can individually.  Within minutes of the newsletter send, we received our first response from D. Echols of Florida.  We can’t agree more with the title, yes, this is what it’s all about. One fishing trip and all three anglers walk away with three completely different experiences, all of which are incredibly rewarding and valuable.  Mr. Echols and Louie are fans of Avenger spinning reels and to keep the team together, we sent a fresh one down for Wyatt.

I’ve been an avid (some would say “fanatical”) fisherman since the age of three. Let’s see, minus the two years I spent in the Army, that’s over a half century. That’s plenty long enough to have gone through many of the hardships that can and do befall some of us “hard-core” anglers… things like hooks in the fingers, hooks in the feet, hooks in the back of the head, hooks in the top of the head, sinking boats, caught out in the storms, knots on the head from lead weights, a ton of cuts, stabs and bites from a variety of different fish, falling out of boats, broken rods, burned-up drags and I could go on and on. Having grown up right on the banks of the Caloosahatchee River in Southwest Florida, I’ve got so many fishing stories, and some so wild that most people don’t even believe me when I tell them. But that’s okay.

Wyatt's big bass

Your standard picture is worth a thousand words. This one seems much more valuable! Great Job Wyatt!

Fast forward quite a few years. There usually comes a time or two in one’s life when things take a drastic turn, sometimes for better, sometimes for worse. If yours hasn’t happened yet, stand by, it will. I’ve had my share of both. One of the worst was when I was diagnosed with cancer a little over two years ago and was pretty much written off by everyone except my immediate family and one fantastic doctor who ended up saving my life. But on the other end of the spectrum, one of the best times was when a little boy who I call “Louie”, came into my life. My goodness, things have definitely not been the same since. A little over ten years ago God blessed our family with this little boy and it didn’t take long for me to realize that he was a whole lot like me, especially when it came to fishing. I guess when he was about two years old and would get my fishing rods out of the garage and fish in the pool is what really gave it away. Since then I’ve made it my mission to teach Louie everything that I possibly could about fishing. Not that I’m an expert by any means, but I (like many of you) do have a lot to offer. Louie has no Dad, so I have stepped in and tried to fill that gigantic void in his life. And at this stage of my life, nothing is more satisfying than watching him grow as an angler and as a person. Learning how to deal with whatever life has to throw at him, and having that spirit of a fisherman, I believe is helping prepare him for what lies in store later on in life, just like it did for me.

Having said all of this, all of the teaching and sharing of my experience paid off for me in a big way a few weekends ago. Louie’s cousin (and best buddy) Wyatt came down from Clermont Fl., for a visit. Wyatt’s eight years old, and has a keen interest in fishing, but doesn’t get to go much. I saw how excited he got while looking at the giant bass in some of Louie’s fishing photos. We keep them in a big album there on the coffee table in the living room. I asked him if he’d ever been bass fishing. He said “yeah, a couple of times with bread, but I’ve never caught one”. Louie and I looked at each other and I could tell just what he was thinking. So right there I said, “let’s take him to Mockingbird Lake right now”! Of course I got no argument from Louie.

We loaded up in the truck and off we went. And folks, this is where it got oh so good. What a great feeling it was, to just hang back and watch Louie take Wyatt under his wing. Listening to him tell Wyatt, with all the confidence in the world, just what to do, from the bait choice, to the cast and even the retrieve. My heart swelled with pride when I heard him yell “you got one, set the hook, set the hook, keep your rod tip up high & keep that line tight”, for it was just a few years ago that I was yelling this same stuff at Louie. Thanks, at least partly to Louie’s coaching and instructions, I watched as Wyatt caught the biggest bass of his life.  And there’s no doubt in my mind, that he is now hooked, and hereafter will never be the same. And neither will Mr. Louie. Thanks Louie and way to go Wyatt! Hopefully, as Wyatt returns to Clermont and goes fishing with his buddies, he will now impart his newfound fishing savvy and will be yelling “you got one, set the hook, set the hook, keep your rod tip up high & keep that line tight” to one of his friends. I know that most of you have heard it said “take a kid fishing” many times, so I won’t say it here. But how can you read this and not come to that conclusion.  After all, isn’t this what it’s all about? Thanks for reading.

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The Bass Federation-A Model Of Success http://blog.okumafishing.com/2012/04/the-bass-federation-a-model-of-success/ http://blog.okumafishing.com/2012/04/the-bass-federation-a-model-of-success/#comments Tue, 17 Apr 2012 17:01:38 +0000 http://blog.okumafishing.com/?p=447 Youth, Conservation, Fishing, the foundation principles of The Bass Federation. If there are three better concepts to build an organization around, we have yet to see it. Okuma believes heavily in the Federation model.  It’s important. And because of that we sponsor the State Federations of Florida, Rhode Island, Arkansas, Virginia, Tennessee, Utah, Northeast Mississippi and Idaho. These groups don’t ask for much, and return far more to the sport than they ever take from it. We’re very proud to be involved and appreciative of the feedback we receive, from photos to product feedback on rods and reels like Komodo, Citrix, Krios, Helios, EVx and more.

bass federation

Since 1968, the independent state bass Federations have worked together to support the grassroots growth of fishing and the growth of the entire sport fishing/outdoors industry in their states.

If you’re an avid bass angler, there’s little doubt that you’re already familiar with The Bass Federation. If your new to the sport, or simply haven’t connected with an organization, the following outline, provided by the Tennessee Bass Federation, provides a lot to look forward to.

The Bass Federation

TBF is a 100% member owned company; it’s owned, controlled and governed by its members through their home state federations like the Tennessee Bass Federation. The “federation,” TBF, is the oldest and largest organized grassroots fishing organization in America, the only member owned national fishing organization. Our sole purpose is to support our core values, which we have held for more than 40 years; youth, conservation and fishing.

TBF is made up of individuals and groups that believe in the organization and its future as a way a life, not just a company, but a “family.”  As a family, TBF’s members step up as club leaders, officers and presidents all over the country, without these volunteers TBF could never be successful. Unlike other companies, TBF’s national office line is always open, and there’s never, never an automated response. The TBF family takes care of its family.

Tennessee Jr. Bass Federation Championship

A great bunch of kids involved in the sport thanks to an exceptional group of adults. There will never be "an ap" for this.

TBF’s sponsor partners make the federation unique in the industry, as well as, successful long-term. They offer federation members and their clubs an array of member benefits and opportunities. TBF’s sponsors partners make it possible for TBF to pay back 100% of membership dues to member programs, which include industry leading insurance coverage, a host of No–Entry Fee events, a TBF member-only online store, individual member discounts, falling price auctions, tons of special offers, and massive support of their youth, conservation, state team, and state federations. Taking advantage of one or more benefits can save any member more money than their yearly dues costs to belong to BOTH TBF and FLW Outdoors, plus so much more.

Speaking of tournament opportunities, on a national average a TBF member pays less than $200 a year in total TBF member dues and entry fees to fish through their state, to the divisional, the Federation National Championship, the BFL All-American and the Forrest Wood Cup. You cannot fish for less anywhere…. on any circuit, much less one that offers berths in the biggest events in the business. It really does pay to belong to TBF.

Tennessee Bass Federations State Team

There's a lot more to the Tennessee Bass Federation than competitive tournaments and Okuma is very proud to have their state team wearing our jerseys.

Though being a TBF member is a bargain unequaled in the industry, TBF is about so much more. The federation is youth, conservation and fishing, not just tournaments. It is about the next generation, conserving our natural resources, fighting for clean water, as well as, saving money and qualifying to advance. All those things are important to the federation but they do not define what the federation is. The fun and camaraderie and the family-feel is what TBF is all about. Fishing for fun and bragging rights with life-long federation friends, and protecting the future of fishing and the rights to fish with our kids and grandkids is why TBF has grown and has continued to grow all these years. Family and fishing is why TBF exists; it exists 100% for its members and to support the things, the sport, they love. And like its members, TBF will continue to support the sport of fishing for decades to come.

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Introducing Okuma T480 Aluminum and Raw II Spinning Reels http://blog.okumafishing.com/2012/04/introducing-t480-aluminum-and-raw-ii-spinning-reels/ http://blog.okumafishing.com/2012/04/introducing-t480-aluminum-and-raw-ii-spinning-reels/#comments Tue, 17 Apr 2012 16:47:24 +0000 http://blog.okumafishing.com/?p=389 At Okuma Fishing Tackle, over-and-above the conventional tackle, the baitcast reels and the rods, more people know us for spinning reels than any other product. Spinning reels are our roots as a manufacturer, having brought tremendous advancements to anglers, including Elliptical Oscillation and Dual Force Drag, and having made top-end features and technologies more accessible than ever before.

Corrosion of standard aluminum reel frame after 240 hours

This is a standard, unfinished baitcast frame after 240 hours (10 days) of continuous, alternating salt spray and air. Notice the very serious white oxide compound taking hold.

In high-stress fisheries like saltwater, salmon & steelhead, stripers and big cats, aluminum reel bodies are a fact of life. Within these fisheries, more and more anglers are fishing braided Spectra fiber fishing lines. These fibers do not stretch like Nylon monofilaments, and instead of cushioning stress, they transfer it directly to the rod and reel. Stronger and more rigid than graphite reel bodies, aluminum resists flexing under these loads to maintain the alignment of internal components over the long term.

New T480 Aluminum at 240 hours of saltwater testing

New T480 aluminum, uncoated, at the same 240 hour mark as the baitcast reel frame.

Aluminum’s weakness? Corrosion. Though aluminum is better than steel, aluminum can corrode over time. Of course, anodizing, paints and Okuma’s CRC (Corrosion Resistant Coating process) in concert with regular cleanings and maintenance can stave off corrosion. But what if you could multiply the corrosion resistance of base materials? Aluminum is aluminum, right? Wrong. There are tons of aluminum alloys, with more in development each day.

New T480 aluminum after a full 20 days of testing

New T480, unfinished, after a full 20 days, 480 hours of alternating salt spray and air testing. Both the 2nd casting and 299th casting show minimal corrosion, if any. Of course, in actual reels this aluminum is anodized and painted to protect it even further.

Okuma T480 aluminum alloy, showcased in new Raw II spinning reels, just may eliminate corrosion for the modern angler.

T480 derives its name from testing conducted in concert with materials suppliers. It stands for Timeline 480 Hours. In testing, raw, uncoated T480 aluminum was subjected to a continuous 480 hours (20 days) of alternating saturated saltwater spray and air. This process greatly accelerates the effects of corrosion by providing the perfect environment for it to take hold. Within the 480 hour timeline, the process leaves standard aluminum alloys deeply pitted, severely enough that you’d probably be shopping for a new reel. T480 on the other hand, is virtually untouched.

In the actual reel construction process, T480 is hardly raw. Frame parts are anodized, then painted, then treated throughout with the Okuma CRC process (a penetrating coating of Corrosion X HD). Only then are the products assembled. Which leads to Raw-II spinning reels.

Raw-II spinning reels were developed to revolutionize mid-range saltwater spinning reels by delivering the most powerful and corrosion-resistant reels in their class. Raw-II frames, side plates and rotors are all constructed of T480 aluminum, delivering a full metal jacket. Priced competitively to reels that utilize standard aluminum frames, graphite side plates and graphite rotors, Raw-II reels showcase power and long-term durability in the saltwater environment.

Raw II Size 80

In the larger sizes, Raw II utilizes a plate aluminum handle arm and oversized EVA knob for absolute confidence and control when bearing down on the largest fish.

With a powerful foundation, Raw-II’s drag system applies the full strength of the reel to battle with large fish. Featuring Okuma’s first greased all-Carbonite Dual Force Drag in a spinning reel, the Raw-II 80 can turn out up to an amazing 50-pounds of liquid smooth drag. The Carbonite drag washers do not compress over time, and therefore a consistent range of drag pressure remains available over the life of the washers.

The Raw-II spinning reel family includes 30, 40, 55, 65 and 80 sizes. Seven HPB stainless steel bearings provide fluid mechanics while Okuma High Density gearing keeps Raw-II’s footing secure under the most extreme pressures. Sizes 30 and 40 are outfitted with custom carbon fiber handle arms to minimize weight, while the 55, 65 and 80 sizes feature heavy-duty aluminum plate handles. Click here to view the complete Raw II family.

Casting, jigging or pitching live baits, Raw-II spinning reels deliver a complete package that addresses not only the fish and techniques used to catch them, but the harsh nature of the environment that these epic battles will take place.

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Dead Eye Rods Put The Crosshair On Walleye http://blog.okumafishing.com/2012/04/dead-eye-rods-put-the-crosshair-on-walleye/ http://blog.okumafishing.com/2012/04/dead-eye-rods-put-the-crosshair-on-walleye/#comments Wed, 04 Apr 2012 22:50:25 +0000 http://blog.okumafishing.com/?p=400 Walleye anglers have precious few choices in rods developed specifically for their techniques and fisheries. Sure, many make due with bass rods or salmon rods, but all too often, these choices compromise the specifics of rod actions that make a given model the most balanced, efficient and effective rod for its intended purpose. Years in development, new Dead Eye walleye rods deliver 24 models, each featuring a technique-specific combination of materials, action and components to achieve the very highest level of performance.

Dead Eye rods include jig rods, slip bobber rods, crank bait rods, dead stick rods, lead core rods, planer board rods and all-purpose baitcast rod and Slow Death rods. As the foundation of walleye fishing, the jig rods offer the most extensive selection. Below is a quick introduction, followed by a model-by-model breakdown of applications.

Dead Eye Rod

Dead Eye rods feature five handle configurations, with all blanks being richly colored.

Dead Eye spinning jig rods are in 6-1/2- and 7-foot lengths, constructed with moderate/moderate fast and fast actions. The blanks are all IM8 graphite for superior responsiveness and extremely light weight that provides all-day fishability. The balance here is to provide exceptional sensitivity, yet retain a very nice progressive action to protect light lines and assure fish make it to the hand. The most popular models are available in both one and two-piece construction offering a tournament style rod, or one that’s more easily stored and transported for the destination angler. Cork split grips further reduce weight and ALPS gun smoke stainless steel guide frames with Zirconium inserts complete the ultimate fishing tools.

Dead Eye Spinning Handle

The most prominent models in the Dead Eye family are the spinning rods, each featuring custom split grips for reduced weight and improved balance.

Dead Eye slip bobber models are 7-1/2-feet in length, increasing casting distance and the speed at which line is picked-up within a sweeping hookset. Materials and construction features mirror the jig rods.

The crankbait and the all-purpose baitcast rods complete the IM8 graphite selection. The crankbait rod delivers the same split grip comfort as the spinning rods, with the addition of a trigger grip. The all-purpose baitcast rod offers a traditional full cork rear grip that’s more compatible with rod holders.

Dead Eye bottom bouncers, Slow Death and dead stick models are constructed upon carbon composite blanks. With lengths up to 10-1/2-feet in length, the materials maintains the necessary durability in the rod blank, but dramatically reduces blank diameter and weight in comparison to fiberglass construction. The result is a graphite feel, with the durability of glass. Shrink tube handles operate flawlessly in rod holders, are extremely durable and are far easier to clean than cork grips. Triangular EVA fore-grips provide a confident grip. Gun smoke stainless steel guide frames with polished titanium oxide inserts complete the rods.

Dead Eye Troll Rod

Trolling models feature shrink tube rear grips for durability and triangular EVA fore grips for a secure hold.

The two Slow Death rods are built to fish the technique surrounding Mustad’s trademarked Slow Death hook. The parabolic action of these models allow fish to achieve a firm hold of the bait, before the rod butt sets the hook. A great overview of the Slow Death hook and technique is available here:  Slow Death Video

Lead core and board rods are built for toughness. Glass fiber blanks take the punishment of heavy applications while slow and moderate actions provide a smooth application of resistance to striking fish that assures ample time is allowed for the fish to achieve a solid hold of the bait prior to the rod fully loading and setting the hook. Shrink tube handles are again for the rod holders and long-wearing durability. Models include telescopic handles for easier storage in standard rod lockers.

Because each water body is different and often approached with different techniques, rod lengths and powers, we’ve outlined each Dead Eye walleye rod to assist in helping to choose amongst the selection. Of course, there’s plenty of latitude available for personal preference…

You can view the individual specification of each model on the website here:  Dead Eye Product Page


DE-S-661-MLFT Jigging 4-10
Shorter 6’6″ length and highly responsive fast action of the DE-S-661-MLFT make it ideal for pitching and vertical jigging with jigs, live bait and/or soft plastics where precise control over the presentation and incredible sensitivity pay major dividends in landed fish.  Medium-Light power is designed for still waters where lighter weight baits are the norm.  Fish it with 4- to 8-pound mono or 6- to 14-pound braid with a fluorocarbon leader for exceptional performance on even the most highly pressured fish.

DE-S-701-MLFT Jigging 4-10
A full 7’ in length with highly responsive fast action, the DE-S-701-MLFT is ideal for pitching light jigs or delivering slip sinker and slip bobber presentations where its’ length aids in casting distance and a fast line pick-up on the strike.  Powered for still waters, the action is perfectly balanced to fish 4- to 8-pound mono or 6- to14-pound braid with a fluorocarbon leader.

DE-S-701MFT Jigging 6-12
Combining a fast action and medium power the DE-S-701MFT is perfect for casting small crankbaits and blade baits, along with spoon jigging applications.  Rated for 6- to 12-pound line, 8- to 10-pound mono or 14-pound braid is ideal, creating a rod that will excel within a number of techniques.

DE-S-662ML Jigging/Cranking, 2-piece
The 6’6” length and medium/light action of the DES-S-662ML creates an exceptional rod for pitching and vertical jigging with light jigs, presenting live bait and working soft plastics where exceptional control over the presentation is rewarded with strikes. The rod’s two-piece construction travels conveniently on fly-in trips or in smaller vehicles.

DE-S-661ML Jigging/Cranking
The 6’6” length and medium/light action of the DES-S-662ML delivers an exceptional rod for pitching and vertical jigging with light jigs, presenting live bait and working soft plastics where exceptional control over the presentation is rewarded with strikes.  A one-piece build delivers tournament-level responsiveness.

DE-S-662M Jigging/Cranking 6-12
A step up in power from the DE-S-662-ML, the DE-S-662M is a highly versatile rod that’s ideal for vertical jigging in rivers where larger jigs are essential to cutting through current, as well as fishing a variety of live baits and plastics. The two piece design travels and stores conveniently, requiring only a minimum of space.

DE-S-661M Jigging/Cranking 6-12
A step up in power from the DE-S-661-ML, the DE-S-661M is a highly versatile rod that’s ideal for vertical jigging in rivers where larger jigs are essential to cutting through current, as well as fishing a variety of live baits and plastics. A one-piece build delivers tournament-level accuracy to the action of the rod.

DE-S-701ML Jigging/Cranking 4-10
A full 7’ in length with highly responsive fast action, the DE-S-701-MLFT is ideal for pitching light jigs or delivering slip sinker and slip bobber presentations where its’ length aids in casting distance and a fast line pick-up on the strike.  Powered for still waters, the action is perfectly balanced to fish 4- to 8-pound mono or 6- to 14-pound braid with a fluorocarbon leader.

DE-S-701ML Jigging/Cranking 6-12
This highly versatile 7’ rod features a fast action and highly capable medium/light power.  A great single rod choice for fishing a variety of jigs, slip sinker rigs and blade baits, it’s one-piece design is a rod you’ll count on in nearly every fishing environment.

DE-S-702M Jigging/Cranking 6-12, 2-piece
Just like the DE-S-701M, this highly versatile 7’ rod features a fast action and highly-capable medium/light power.  A great single rod choice for fishing a wide variety of jigs, slip sinker rigs and blade baits, the DE-S-702M is constructed in two-pieces for easy travel and storage.

DE-S-701M Jigging/Cranking 6-12
A great general purpose jig pitching rod suitable for fishing heavier jigs, rigs and blade baits, the DE-S-701M delivers exceptional casting distance.  Its’ medium power is at home on still waters as well as moving rivers where defeating currents with heavier baits is a necessity.  Consider 10-pound mono or 14 pound braid as the perfect line for this rod, moving lighter or heavier as conditions demand.  One-piece design delivers tournament-level performance for the most demanding anglers.


DE-S-762M Slip Bobber/Cranking 6-12, 2-piece
At 7’6” in length the DE-S-761M makes an ideal slip bobber rod where long casts, easy line mending and fast sweeping hooksets are rewarded. Additionally, this rod doubles as a perfect rod for casting crankbaits, paddle style swimbaits, larger jigs, blade baits and jigging spoons…any application where its’ longer length can play a role in angler success.  Two-piece construction travels and stores easily.

DE-S-761M Slip Bobber/Cranking 6-12
At 7’6” in length the DE-S-761M makes an ideal slip bobber rod where long casts, easy line mending and fast sweeping hooksets are rewarded. Additionally, this rod doubles as a perfect rod for casting crankbaits, paddle style swimbaits, larger jigs, blade baits and jigging spoons…any application where its’ longer length can play a role in angler success.  One-piece construction delivers tournament-level feel for the most demanding anglers.


Ideal for casting diving crankbaits and working paddle style swimbaits, the DE-C-701M is one of two casting rods in the Dead Eye series for anglers utilizing heavier presentations with baitcast reels. Split grip handle design minimizes weight while maximizing maneuverability.

With a moderate action and 8-17 pound line rating this all-purpose baitcast rod features a full cork grip for use as both a casting rod and an effective trolling rod to serve multiple purposes as conditions demand. One-piece construction with telescopic handle is easily stored and always at the ready.


DE-CBR-710M-T… At 7’10” in length, the DE-CBR-710M-T is ideal for fishing ½- to 3-ounce bottom bouncers with crawler harnesses and/or single hook minnow or leech rigs. The telescopic design makes it easy to stow this rod even in smaller boats.

At a full 8’6” in length, this longer version of the DE-CBR-710M-T is ideal for fishing 1/2 to 3 ounce bottom bouncers with crawler harnesses and/or single hook minnow or leech rigs in situations where the widest trolling spread is desired. The telescopic design makes it easy to stow this rod even in smaller boats.


DE-CDS-861M-T Slow Death/Dead Stick 6-15
Designed to complement the Mustad Slow Death hook and presentation style perfectly, the slow action of the DE-CDS-861M-T allows fish to achieve a solid hold of the bait prior to feeling any resistance from the rod. Its power and action are also ideal for dragging split shot rigs and small jigs.  In dead stick applications, this rod is designed to fish a second line while the angler is casting another presentation such as a jig or crankbait.

DE-CSD-10622M Slow Death/ Dead Stick
Designed to perfectly complement the Mustad Slow Death hook design and fishing technique, the DE-CSD-10622M delivers a long and soft action rod ideal for this subtle presentation.  In pressured fishing environments, this more stealthy approach catches walleye when other more traditional methods fail.


DE-C-762ML, 2-piece
At 7’6” in length and featuring a slow action with light power, the DE-C-762ML delivers a great general purpose two piece trolling rod suitable for fishing small crankbaits, spoons and spinners in combination with in-line planer boards.

At 8’6” in length and rated for 10- to 20-pound line, this moderate action rod is the “go to” trolling rod for fishing in-line planer boards in open water. The telescopic design makes this rod a dream to stow even in smaller boats.

DE-C-1002M, 2-piece
A full 10-feet in length, the DE-C1102M is for anglers who prefer a slightly longer and more forgiving open water trolling rod. A fantastic choice for fishing crankbaits, spoons and spinners with in-line boards, two-piece construction brings this rod down to a comfortable size for travel and storage.


DE-LC-762M Lead Core
At 7’6” in length featuring a beautifully moderate action, the DE-LC-762M is the perfect trolling rod for fishing crankbaits and spinner rigs in rivers using lead core line to structure troll.


The light tip of the DE-CBB-701ML stands out as ideal for detecting strikes when trolling with big board systems. An exceptional choice for trolling crankbaits, spoons and spinner rigs.

A longer and slightly lighter version of the DE-CBB-701ML, the light tip of the DE-CBB-761L stands out as ideal for detecting strikes when trolling with big board systems. An exceptional choice for trolling crankbaits, spoons and spinner rigs.

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Savage Gear 2012 http://blog.okumafishing.com/2012/02/savage-gear-2012/ http://blog.okumafishing.com/2012/02/savage-gear-2012/#comments Mon, 27 Feb 2012 18:45:58 +0000 http://blog.okumafishing.com/?p=432 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

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Citrix Rods and Reels-Uncensored http://blog.okumafishing.com/2012/02/citrix-rods-and-reels-uncensored/ http://blog.okumafishing.com/2012/02/citrix-rods-and-reels-uncensored/#comments Thu, 16 Feb 2012 21:21:12 +0000 http://blog.okumafishing.com/?p=339 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
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