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Reel Review

The Bear brings the Heat, Okuma's Helios Baitcaster


Date: 5/20/11
Tackle type: Reels
Manufacturer: Okuma
Reviewer: Zander

Total Score: 8.58 - GREAT

The low profile baitcasting market continues to heat up with quality offerings coming from new upstarts to challenge the old guard. Okuma continues to introduce higher end offerings and the Helios is now the flagship within the company’s freshwater baitcasting line. Making use of a familiar profile the Helios ups the ante for Okuma yet again with improved performance, refinement and lighter ergonomics.


Okuma Helios LP Casting Reel Specifications

Line Capacity (lb/yds) 10/160, 12/130, 14/95
Gear Ratio 6.2:1
Line retrieve per crank 26.8 inches
Weight 6.3 oz
Bearings 8BB, 1RB
Additional Features ALC: Rigid diecast aluminum frame, CRC: Corrosion Resistant Coating process, Aluminum right side plate, A6061-T6 machined aluminum, anodized spool, Multi-disc Carbonite drag system, Micro-click drag star for precise drag settings, Precision Japanese ABEC-5 spool bearings, Quick-Set anti-reverse roller bearing, 6-position Velocity Control System, Easy change left side plate access port, Zirconium line guide insert, 3-year warranty
Origin Manufactured in Korea
MSRP $219.99

Okuma's new flagship freshwater baitcaster, the Helios, looks familiar

Just over a decade ago Okuma was just starting to make a name for itself by branching out from building reels for other brands and creating a line of branded reels of their own. They started with what they knew best, spinning and saltwater conventional reels, and proceeded to offer a lineup that delivered plenty of features and performance, and at very reasonable prices. It wasn’t long before the company started having aspirations of competing in the low-profile baitcaster market as well and introduced their V System Series. These reels continued to deliver plenty of value but lacked the refinement of competing offerings and were large to palm and quite heavy at 9.5oz. each.

That is because it shares the same basic profile as the Serrano

Over the years Okuma refined their offering and created what we believe was a major leap forward with the introduction of the Serrano baitcaster. This recognizable reel features a striking lime green finish and much smaller profile than their previous reels, upgraded internals with a 10BB+1RB count and a weight of only 7.2oz.   

Taking a closer look at what makes the Helios so light

The Serrano received praise from anglers and media for the reel’s quality ergonomics and reasonable $169 dollar price point. The biggest gripe was that the reel was not available in a left hand retrieve. Enter the Helios, a new reel introduced at last year’s ICAST 2011 show which clearly leverages the Serrano’s basic profile. Some anglers will notice that this is not the first Okuma reel to bear the “Helios” name as the company utilizes the same moniker for their lightweight fly reel series. 

The reel makes use of hardened aluminum gearing

Okuma most likely named the reel series “Helios” as a play on the element helium which is known for being extremely lightweight. The name also is the personification of the sun in Greek mythology, a Titan that drove the chariot in the heavens each day, bringing both the light and heat of the sun to the earth. In stark contrast the Okuma Helios features a stealthy dark black and grey two-tone finish and while this new reel has the same basic form factor as the Serrano it is made much more aggressive looking with a carbon fiber handle that is swept towards the body of the reel.

Even the drag star is ported

When we first played with the new reel at the ICAST 2011 show we observed how light the reel felt in hand as well as how smooth the reel felt when cranking. Though sharing the same profile as the Serrano the Helios weighs in at only 6.3oz., which is nearly an ounce lighter than the older Serrano.

The multi-disc Carbonite drag system opened up

Next Section: Spooled up and ready to go









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