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Reel Review

 

Okuma's Budget Friendly Carbon Spinning Reel, the ITX (continued)

Retrieve: I typically skip over discussions of casting ability with spinning reels these days because despite all the design innovations and tweaks manufacturers claim to make to increase distance however many percentage points, personally, with spinning gear, I just don't notice. They all cast sufficiently well in my hands. What does matter, of course is how smooth they operate - especially when fishing finesse techniques.


From the traction grip knob...


To the machine cut handle, Okuma does a nice job with the ITX's handle design

Now Okuma's ITX-2500H is not going to win any prizes in that coveted low startup inertia characteristic, nor would I expect any other $104.99 reel. Having said that, it doesn't take that much to get that handle turning and once you are turning it, this reel is surprisingly smooth.

You can feel a little resistance when off the fishing rod and playing around with the reel on its own, but in fishing conditions, gear mesh and operation is actually quite solid.


Nestled beneath the water resistant drag knob is an array of serious drag washers (3 carbon & 3 metal washers)

Drag: 2500 sized reels are a mixed bag when it comes to drag stacks. Some come with finesse tuned, felt washers, others come with a carbon stack resembling that of a casting reel. The ITX-2500H is in the latter category with a full array of 3 carbon and 3 metal (one keyed) washers protected from water infiltration by a rubber gasket on the drag knob. Performance is smooth and reliable with no stops or stutters and I'm sure a max stopping power that would easily break my 5lb fluorocarbon leader. My spinning reels are always set very light because I am invariably fishing light line techniques where a smooth, consistent drag is paramount.


Within the spool itself is a bearing - a feature more common with higher end reels

Power: Okuma equips this reel with a nice long, 57mm handle which of course equates to 114mm in casting reel specs giving you very good leverage with which to battle your catch once hooked. Another nice little touch on this reel is the presence of a back reel switch, that vanishing feature akin to the fixed gear on a track bike. Of course, I never use it, and most anglers don't anymore which is why they are disappearing off reels, but it's always nice to have one "just in case." For reinforcement, Okuma makes use of a machine cut, brass pinion gear.


Line sails off the spool effortlessly

Bail Operation: This is the feature I usually turn to on a spinning reel to determine if it'll work for me or not. When I'm in "auto" mode firing my drop shot or ned rig to imaginary spots in open water, the last thing I want to worry about is that bail closing when I turn the handle. Granted, I now close the bail by hand most of the time, but on those occasions I do turn the handle to begin my presentation, I want that bail to reliably snap closed. Okuma equips the ITX-2500H with a very springy bail that performs flawlessly in both directions. It holds open with a positive reinforcing "snap" and closes with a similar, positively reinforced action both when engaging by hand or turning the handle.


I spooled my ITX 2500H with a braid mainline topped with about 30 feet of fluorocarbon

Line Twist: The ITX-2500H is equipped with a bearing to support the roller guide to help mitigate against line twist. I didn't experience any unusual instances of twist, but we all know that outcome is inevitable with spinning gear. One way to combat this is to use braid as your mainline and tie a leader of 25 - 30 feet that you can replace every few trips. This is a strategy I've begun to use not only with spinning gear, but casting to save money when using expensive fishing line and ensure the working part of my line is fresh for each trip. The challenge with this strategy, of course, is that connection knot. I've settled, so far, on the uni to uni knot with light line (8lb leader and less), FG knot with heavier line, and hollow braid for most of my big bait setups.


The spool features a strip of rubber material in the center to prevent occurrences of phantom drag

Next Section: Design, Ergonomics, and Plenty of Value...

 

   

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