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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)

Drag: The rated drag for this reel is 3.3 kg or roughly 6.5 lbs. We were able to test in our lab, an effective, smooth pulling drag all the way up to just over 7 lbs of pressure with both spools. Unfortunately, I was unable to hook up with any good sized spots or smallies to really give the drag a true test on the water, but I did get into some smaller fish that allowed me to get a sense of the Opus-1's drag performance. Nothing I experienced was anything short of confidence inspiring and the double bearing support results in unbelievably smooth pulls.


The refined cross cut knob of the drag adjuster

But since there were some unanswered questions and I was unable to hook into a nice sized, hard pulling fish to help answer them, I did the next best thing and asked JIP to grab hold of the end of the line while we were in the parking lot cleaning up the boat. In these manual pull drag tests, the Opus-1's drag proved smooth and reliable with an easy startup and consistent, non-studdering performance throughout. In other words, no surprises.

Capped by what Evergreen International refers to as a metal bridge. This configuration makes drag adjustments and spool changes virtually effortless.


To further our tests, I walked over to the launch area and dunked the Opus-1 underwater for a few minutes. Pulling it back out of the water, we repeated our manual pull drag tests and to my surprise, there was no change in performance. The felt drag washers of the Opus-1 are somewhat reminiscent of those in the Daiwa Pixy. Those in the Pixy have developed a reputation of becoming more or less useless once contaminated with water or oil. Something is obviously different with the material in the Opus-1's drag for at least in this short term test, there was no effect on performance with a wet drag.


The minimalist handle of the Opus-1

Ergonomics: The one real design decision I questioned on the Opus-1, ergonomically, was the metal knob. It shares a similar shape to that of the Daiwa knobs only with a bit more contour. Despite the form fitting design, I was skeptical as to the comfort this knob would offer, but I am happy to say, after several trips with the reel, I never even noticed the knob was metal - well, except after picking the reel up when it had been sitting on the deck exposed to the hot sun - ouch!

Featuring a contoured metal knob...

Other than that, the weight of the reel, though no Daiwa Exist, is very respectable and the spool is a comfortable enough distance from the rod to afford easy feathering of the spool. The drag adjustment knob is comfortable to grip, easy to turn, and amazingly painless to remove. The bail moves and holds in open position easily and securely and even the anti-reverse device is solidly implemented with a cross-cut metal knob that is easy to turn and almost indestructible as opposed to a plastic lever that can easily chip or break if the reel is dropped.

... and a trick securing design: turn the cross cut  knob clockwise to secure the handle and counterclockwise to fold it down for storage


Availability & Price: We've touched on the early popularity and availability of this reel. Since its initial run, more and more of them have been popping up for sale. It appears Evergreen International recognized the interested and extended the production run of this reel. We're uncertain as to the exact number of reels produced and whether or not Evergreen is still building them or if they've ended the run. The one thing we can say is, if you've been thinking about his reel at all - ACT NOW!


A very elegant and simple implementation of the company's logo

A look at the Opus-1's anti-reverse gnurled metal knob. Note, no plastic lever to chip or breakoff here


For now, the reel can still be found at a select few online vendors and in some places, the current price is well below initial introduction. Even so, when the entirety of the package is taken into consideration (the metal carrying case, spare spool, and dedicated toolset), the Opus-1 compares very favorably to the venerable Shimano Stella and Daiwa Exist/Steez reels. After all, spare spools for these reels sell individually for prices in excess of $100 and the specialized tool kit and aluminum attaché are non-options with those two reels.

The reel, of course, is made in Japan

The Evergreen V-Cut line roller


Warranty: As with any product purchased and shipped outside of its intended market, the Evergreen International Opus-1 comes with no warranty support at least not in North America. However, those seeking a collectible as intriguing and well performing as this are hardly concerned with such matters. It is simply the mindset of individuals out to admire and own pieces such as this that the warranty is of little concern.


Evergreen International Opus-1 Ratings (?/10)

Construction/Quality Evergreen International spared little in the creation of their first reel masterpiece 9.5
Performance Solid if not inspiring 8.5
Price Given the entirety of the package, actually, quite respectable 7
Features Really a feature laden spinning reel, but missing a water resistant, if not waterproof drag 9
Design (Ergonomics) From the attractive case to the etched spools to the contoured metal knob to the gnurled drag adjustment screw - superb 10
Application Best suited for freshwater applications and species 8

Total Score


Pluses and Minuses:

                 Plus                                    Minus

J A true collector's piece L The price, at least initially, can be a difficult barrier to overcome - IF you can find one
J Despite its collector status, a very high performing reel L Knob gets hot to the touch sitting in the sun
J Presentation of the reel is something to behold L Some may not appreciate the slight geariness feel when turning the handle
J How many high dollar reels these days come with a spare spool and tool kit? L Mz Jov and her TackleTeaser teammates are not available for delivery outside of TackleTour HQ


Mz Jov is the charter member of TackleTour's TackleTeasers who are poised to take over influence of the TT Collective. It starts with the Opus-1 ... Are you worthy?


Conclusion: When the Opus-1 was first announced, skeptics, present company included, abounded. After all, how could a company, traditionally known for rods and lures effectively enter the fishing reel segment of the market without partnering with another major manufacturer known for these products? Let's define Opus....


–noun, plural o·pus·es or, esp. for 1, 2, o·pe·ra

A creative work, especially a musical composition numbered to designate the order of a composer's works.

(source: http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/opus)


Is Evergreen International really producing the Opus-1 in house? If not, then who is the original equipment manufacturer (OEM) source? Then again, in the final equation, does it really matter? Sure it would be nice to know the manufacturing source for this intriguing little product, but when the final composition approaches masterpiece accolades what truly matters is, do you have one to covet personally? Perhaps just as important, given his composition by Evergreen International is numbered, can we expect more in the coming years? We can feel the anticipation growing already and that mad anxiety for what's here now and what may lie around the corner can only mean one thing, TackleTour's Ultimate Enthusiast Award! Bravo Evergreen International!


To see more pictures from the encounter with the Opus-1 click here to visit the TackleTour Gallery










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