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Rod Review

 

Okuma Nomad Express – Freedom for Big Bait Anglers (continued)

Casting: The minute you put these rods together you realize these are true swimbait rods, as they exhibit a very strong backbone to help cast big baits. Both rods are lighter than you might expect in weight but give nothing up in terms of launching capability. The heavy rod is rated from 1-4oz. and the extra heavy is rated from 2-8oz., so between the two you have just about every big bait you can imagine covered. I found that the lighter rod was the better handling between the two, and is the one that I would recommend for most anglers as you are likely traveling with smaller swimbaits. The extra heavy rod, while capable of a wider range of baits, is definitely better suited for the upper range and if you are the type of giant hunter that doesn’t mind swinging for the fences for that one quality bite.


The handles are made of cork and the rods feature a split grip design

Both rods casted well, and didn’t feel like they were four piece rods with a near seamless transition between sections. While the European spigot design is often stronger than a tip over butt design when implemented poorly can cause rods to be overly stiff or feel dead when cast. This is not the case with either of these Nomad rods, and they feel more like one piece rods in most applications.


Okuma NTxs-C-7114H : 14.5" Rear Handle : 11+tip Guides (Aluminum Oxide) : Made in China : Fast Taper : Heavy Power : 1-4 oz: 12-25 lb

 

Okuma NTxs-C-7114XH : 14.5" Rear Handle : 11+tip Guides (Aluminum Oxide) : Made in China : Fast Taper : Heavy Power : 2-8 oz: 15-30 lb

 

Lab Results for Okuma Nomad Travel Rods

Model

Avg RoD (2-48oz)
Taper
Measured Weight (oz)
Balance Point (inches)
Balancing Torque (ftlbs)
Okuma NTXS-C-7114H
1.17
Fast
8.8
11
0.58
Okuma NTXS-C-7114XH
0.92
Fast
9.3
11
0.58
Finesse SB Rod Avg
1.46
--
6.45
7.8
--
All Purpose SB Rod Avg
1.18
--
8.49
6.68
0.26
Heavy Hitters SB Rod Avg
0.84
--
8.03
11.63
0.53

Many multi-piece spigot ferrule rods actually start out as one, or two piece, designs that are engineered to exhibit an intended action, then converted to multi-piece travel rods. Tip over butt rods often feel a little stiffer in the upper section because of the nature of the diameters required to secure the connections. In the case of these rods Okuma’s use of spigot ferrules enabled them to create a multi-piece rod with smaller sections, and yet the combined sections are able to load quickly without feeling overly stiff.


Connections between sections are made with a reliable spigot ferrule design versus a tip over butt configuration

I also felt that any extra stiffness really would not be as noticeable in either of these two rods simply due to the nature of their intended application, where sending and retrieving big baits requires a robust blank design to begin with. A much lower power rod, for finesse fishing for example, would not benefit from this design nearly as much, as well as the weight penalty that comes with utilizing spigot joints.


These rods feature ergonomically shaped handles and after fishing with them for extended periods you start forgetting that these are four piece rods

Retrieve: Whether I was working a big bait on the surface or slow retrieving a fast sinking swimbait the Nomad rods handled well. The rod tip on both rods is responsive enough that I found working glidebaits was easy, and when a fish blew up on the baits the rods also loaded up quickly and confidently. As I found during casting I also observed that the heavy rod was the better handling rod, and it felt more responsive in just about every retrieve application. The Nomad Xpress rods handle like one piece rods, but not to the point where you will completely forget that they are multi-piece sticks. It is only during battles with larger fish that I noticed that the transition between the tip and butt section was a little less seamless than single pieced rods when aggressively trying to bring fish towards the boat.


A hook hanger is positioned behind the grip, a placement that still isn't my favorite in terms of ease of use or safety, but it works

Sensitivity: Multi-piece rods sometimes lack some of the sensitivity of single piece rods as there can be loss of transmission between the sections. Spigot ferrule joints like those found on these rods are simply tapered carbon inserts that are glued into the butt sections, this is also why these rods weigh a bit more. The Nomad rods exhibit a secure connection between sections that is over three inches long between blanks and helps transmit vibration, and overall I found that the rods exhibited decent sensitivity for the application.


The reel seat doesn't offer a blank through design but it is solid and reliable

The rods do not have a blank through reel seat design and while the reel seat was comfortable enough I did feel like it deadened the vibration a bit, prioritizing strength and durability over sensitivity. In most swimbait situations the bites are not subtle, and even though this is not the most sensitive big bait rod, it is certainly sensitive enough to be effective for the application in which it is designed for.


A look at the connection between the handle and first rod section

Next Section: Freedom for big bait anglers...

 

 

   

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