Today was the day that I got to try the long awaited OKUMA Mag multiplier reel , I was joined at the shop in Walton on Naze by Richard Johnson of Svendsen Sports who presented the reel on the counter for me to have a play with. First impressions were that this was a reel that might just do the job that its intended for , maybe , just maybe OKUMA had finally come up with a reel that could hold its own against the so called big boys in the world of casting multipliers. Straight out of the box I was pleasantly surprised with its looks , robust rugged looks !! Not too robust and not too rugged , but just about right. What I mean by this is that the reel felt good , it felt solid and about the right size with a solid one piece machined aluminium frame that sits nice and low , close to the rod allowing you to get your thumb over the spool with ease giving a good grip on the spool for big casting .
Before we headed to the beach I asked Richard if I could take the reel apart , his response was “do what you like as long as you can put the thing back together” so armed with a small screwdriver I went to work , I took the reel apart from the left hand end just to see how easy it was to remove the spool for cleaning and lubricating the bearings. Four small stainless steel screws on a new reel are not a problem , but I must admit that I’d like to see quick take apart type screws rather than having to contend with small screws that could wear over a period of time.
Once I’d taken the spool out you could see the build quality , the spindle is thicker than some I have seen on other reels , I didn’t measure the diameter of the spindle but it definitely looked robust , hopefully not too robust because the extra weight and surface area causing friction etc can deflect from ultimate performance and distance , but that test was yet to come once we headed to the beach. One concern was that the left hand side of the spool looked thicker than it needed to be , so much so that I dismantled the spool even further , removing the cogg that obviously works the ratchet and a metal band that is part of the magnetic braking system. I took this apart just to have a look to see why this end of the spool was so thick making the spool look lop sided. What I decided was that this end of the spool certainly looks thicker than it really needed to be but also there’s not a lot that can be done about this at this stage , once the reel has been produced. The best I could do at this stage was to reserve judgement until I’d been to beach and given it a cast.
The spool did look bulky when sitting on my bench on its own but I must admit once it was put back into the reel it sat neatly in the frame and central within the reel itself , I just hoped that this bulky looking spool would perform well on the beach.
As this was a new reel straight out of the box the bearings were packed full of grease , which is a good thing , although normally I would clean the thick grease out of the bearings and re – oil with a thin oil to give the reel a fighting chance to prove itself as a casting reel , I didn’t because I wanted to see how it would perform straight out of the box.
I have been casting and fishing for over thirty years , designing top end beach rods and fishing matches on venues all over the UK and Ireland and know what the top anglers expect and require in a multiplier , so this test was going to be interesting.
Loaded with .32 mm mainline and a 70 lb leader it was off to the beach for some proper testing . We were greeted with a fairly stiff onshore wind , which as any caster will say is not ideal conditions for hard casting with new line and a multiplier , but it would make the testing that much more realistic. So casting into a headwind I have to say that from the very first cast I could tell that we had something good , very good. After a couple of what I call gentle flicks to settle the line down I started to increase the power and the distance was without a doubt every bit as impressive as anything I had cast with other reels , even with the magnets set on full to combat any chance of a “fluff up” after all we were down the beach to get some photos and not crack off. Once I’d got a few casts under my belt and Rick was confident with his camera and the fact that he was safe , I eased the magnets off and produced some very good casts indeed. My reservations about the weight of the spool were completely unfounded and I can honestly say that I don’t think OMUMA realise just how good this reel is.
One thing that is worth a mention is that a good friend of mine and respected caster and match angler “Mark Quirk” from the Isle of Man has been using one of these for some time now and reports pretty much the same as me , he was very impressed.
The retrieve is effortless and fast with a 6.2 :1 gear ratio and the retrieve being as smooth as the casting , the one thing that I was not too keen on was the hard plastic handle knob , I’d like to see a rubber knob instead.
My views are that if people give these reels a try they will be pleasantly surprised with the build quality and casting performance of this value for money reel. A reel for the masses , for the angler that wants the control of magnetic braking with the winching power to cope with the demands of everyday fishing situations.
All in all a great bit of kit , well worth a look for both beach and pier anglers alike.