The Bear brings the Heat, Okuma's Helios Baitcaster
the lab we took the Helios apart to see just how Okuma was able to achieve this
lightweight design. The answer starts with the carbon fiber handle, porting on
metal components and the use of an aluminum shaft and gearing. The deployment of
aluminum versus brass gearing definitely reduces weight, but does it do so at
the expense of durability? We headed to the real world tests to find out.
The spool is
also ported and anodized
Real World Tests:
Inspired by the green highlights we spooled the reel up with Sunline Shooter
Metan Green Fluorocarbon which looked right at home on the shallow spool. To
test this reel we paired the Okuma Helios 7’0” HS-CM-701MH rod which is capable
of handling lures weighing ¼-1oz. in weight. This rig is perfect for pitching
plastics but also capable of pulling duty as a general purpose fishing combo.
with the green highlights we spool up with Sunline Shooter Green
The entire rig weighs in
at only 10.1oz. (just a little bit more than what an Okuma VS reel weighed by
itself) which felt extremely light in hand thanks to good overall balance when
paired with this micro-guided rod. We fished this combo at the California Delta,
Lake San Luis and Clear Lake targeting and employed a number of techniques
ranging from drop shot fishing to pitching Texas rigged plastics.
Ready to go
The Helios casts lightweight lures well and exhibited a very consistent and
predictable nature. This reel also does a good job launching heavier reaction
baits and I was able to cast both ripbaits and deep diving crankbaits very far
once the cast control system was dialed back.
Paired with a
Helios rod this rig weighs just a little over what the original Okuma VS reels
weighed by themselves. Okuma has come a long way indeed in this category
The Helios makes use of 6
pin centrifugal cast control system which is adjusted by rotating the control
dial which is hidden under the non-handle sideplate. The system performs
beautifully and my only gripe is that to access the system anglers need to
remove the sideplate and it does not remain connected via a pinion so it has to
be held separately in hand when making adjustments. This makes adjustments in
the field take a little longer and anglers always have to be just a little more
careful not to drop the sideplate.
proved good for both long and short precision casts
sideplate is attached to the frame simply by rotating it into locking position.
I’ve seen some other reels that are attached with a physical quick release and
will move slightly when the reel is palmed. Though the Helios sideplate has no
locking mechanism the sideplate did not exhibit any movement at all.
The reel and
rod match up perfectly
Next Section: How well do we mesh?