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Enthusiast Reel Review

Move Over BaitMonkey, There's a New Agent In Town and She Has Something to Behold: Evergreen International's Opus-1 (continued)

Impressions Cont'd: Carry that thought over to the second soft pouch in the Opus-1's case and we find a touch almost forgotten in today's exclusive, high end spinning reels - a spare spool! The Opus-1 comes with two spools: A shallow version for light line, finesse applications; and a deep version for standard applications. The overall size of the reel can be likened to a 2000 to 2500 series reel from Shimano or Daiwa, so it's a good general purpose freshwater reel.


A closer look at the Opus-1's packaging

The Opus-1 comes complete with both a shallow and deep spool option

Before taking the reel out for some time on the water, we took a look at the drag assembly to investigate the makeup of this relatively light 6.5 pound rated drag. What we found, in both the shallow and deep spools of this reel was an assembly of two keyed metal washers and one felt washer. There seem to be no provisions in this reel to guard against water intrusion into the drag stack - one of the few oversights we found in this reel. Maybe their felt of choice mitigates against this eventuality. We'll have to find out on the water.

The drag washers for the standard, deep spool

And that of the shallow spool

Back on the positive side of things, we found on the spindle supporting the spool, an assembly of two plastic bushings together with two bearings no doubt intended to deliver ultra-smooth spinning performance during drag play. We've seen upgrades available for existing reels where the existing plastic bushing is replaced by a bearing, but this is the first implementation this editor, at least, has seen of this particular combination of support elements.

The shallow spool's felt washer (left) is slightly thicker than its deep spool counterpart (right) - neither seem to have protection from water intrusion

The Opus-1's spool is supported by an assembly of two plastic bushings together with two bearings to deliver ultra-smooth spinning performance during drag play


The Field Tests: But enough with the stories, sidelights, mechanics, and Mz Jov's teasings, it's time to spool up this bad boy of a reel and see what all the engineering and design has delivered. Being mindful of the potential conflict, I matched the Opus-1 with my Megabass F3-610DG Aaron Martens Limited - the only rod in my arsenal that came close to matching the styling cues of this black and silver reel. Fortunately, when I matched these two products from rival companies up with each other, no catastrophic failures ensued.


Complete test rig for Evergreen International Opus-1 Field Tests

Reel Evergreen International Opus-1
Rod Megabass F3-610DGS Aaron Martens Limited
Line 4lb Yozuri Hybrid Clear (170yds on the shallow spool)
13lb Sunline Defier (100yds on the standard spool)

Off to the water we go

I fished the Opus-1 on several trips this past spring in pursuit of spotted and smallmouth bass in some of the clear water reservoirs we have here in Northern California. The goal was to get into some aggressive, hard fighting fish and test the reel's performance in these light line situations.

Matched with the F3-610DGS from company rival Megabass

Evergreen and Megabass may be rivals, but these two components match almost perfectly. Mz Jov certainly approved.

Casting: I've yet to meet a spinning reel whose casting capabilities I did not like. Line flowed off the spool of the Opus-1 clean and easy. I found nothing extraordinary nor lacking in its performance in this regard. Feathering of the spool was easy to perform and the bail moved back and stayed out of the way during a cast rather effortlessly.

The hex screw heads add to the retro-contemporary look of the Opus-1

Line capacity statistics are not just printed, but etched onto the spool


Retrieve: Turn the handle of the reel over nice and easy after a cast and the internal trip flips the bail over very effectively with a rather quiet click. Minimal effort is required to trip the bail. Of course, if you trip your bail manually before beginning your retrieve, all this is moot. The Opus-1 does demonstrate a bit of that machined gearing feel found in some of the uber-high end, heavy duty saltwater reels when you turn the handle but it is not enough to where it is bothersome. Quite the contrary, the slight bit of "geariness" in the Opus-1 connotes power and precision in a similar fashion as a Van Staal offering.


The Opus-1 performs as expected during casts...

... with line flowing effortlessly off the spool.


Next Section: Drag & the Rundown









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