Reels | Rods | Lures | SwimbaitsBFS Lines | Terminal Tackle | Tools | Storage | Apparel | Enthusiast | Watercraft | Interviews | Events | Autopsy




Rod Review


Swimbait Rod Wars Installment #2 : Okuma Strikes With Value (continued)

Power: The discussion in power of a swimbait sticks almost seems pointless since that's really what all these sticks have in common - excessive amounts of power. Even the lightest powered swimbait sticks like the GS-C-7111MH, can easily overpower just about any bass under five pounds. The trouble with evaluating this power then, even when swimbait fishing, is catching a bass over this mark on a consistent basis can be tough. So, what do the TT editors do to test the power of these sticks?


Detail at the top of the foregrip and hook hangar


It's no secret why we launched our 2008 Super Cast Shootout in the Fall of 2007. Fall is the season striped bass make their way back into the freshwater sloughs and waterways of the California Delta and anyone who has battled these fish knows, even a small four pound striper can pack quite a wallop. They are our favorite fish to pursue when needing to test the power of a particular rod - let alone over fifteen different sticks!

The Okuma Guide Select series of swimbait rods feature IM8 graphite blanks

In order to hookup a worthy candidate with which to test our two representatives from Okuma, we tossed everything from the afore mentioned Shellcracker and lipless crankbaits to one and a half ounce spoons! Not only were we fortunate enough to hook into some mean five and six pound striper, but a couple of double digit Linesides graciously joined the party and boy, did these sticks hold their own. From setting the hook to battling and landing the fish, both the GS-C-7111MH and GS-C-711XH felt more than just respectable, they were downright confidence inspiring.

Foregrips are favored amongst most swimbait fisherman for the added point of leverage when battling monster catches


As one might expect, in the case of the GS-C-711XH, each battle with striper up to eleven pounds was never in doubt. This is one serious stick. But with the GS-C-711MH, catching a ten pound striper was really more like battling an eight or nine pound largemouth on a seven foot medium heavy bass rod. The end result still may not have been in doubt, but the battle was exciting enough to really get that adrenaline pumping through your veins!

The funky, yet very ergonomic butt end of the GS-C-7111MH


Features: Even at their very modest price point, our two Okuma Guide Select swimbait sticks came with some nice features most surprising of which is the grade of cork - very clean and virtually pit free. Additionally, each rod features a nice carbon fiber weave sleeve extending from the butt of the rod up through the foregrip to the very first guide. The split rear grip, so common now with bass rods, gives these sticks a contemporary feel while the funky, molded butt end makes you think "what's up with that?" - until you use it. The GS-C-7111MH/XH comes with a very solid set of features.


Even at roughly $100, these rods feature an attractive carbon weave from the first guide back to the butt.


Application: If swimbaits are your game, or you even think that they might be, you could do a lot worse than this series of rods. The GS-C-7111MH, in particular, receives high marks for its versatility in supporting swimbaits up to the size of the Black Dog Bait Company's Shellcracker and other, standard sized bass baits down to the ubiquitous lipless crank or even a spinnerbait. This is an excellent stick for moving baits.

The GS-C-7111XH ready for action with a Jerry Rago 8" Raptor...

From there, the GS-C-7111XH is an easy addition for the serious big bait offerings. For someone wanting a compromise between the two, we imagine the GS-C-7111H must be an excellent, all purpose, swimbait stick. In fact, the really scary thing here is you can buy each and every one of the Okuma Guide Select Swimbait Series of sticks (6 total) to cover practically all your swimbait needs and still come out even or possibly ahead of where you'd be if you went for the most expensive rod in our Rod Wars, Evergreen International's TMJC 74XXX Balista.

... and a slightly modified Calcutta 401TE


Warranty: As if the value of their Guide Select Swimbait series of rods was not enough, Okuma backs their product with a limited lifetime warranty. Assuming any of these sticks fails you under normal fishing conditions, simply ship the broken product back to Okuma, and they will send you a replacement. The only cost to you is shipping to the factory.

One last look - the GS-C-7111XH is identical to the GS-C-7111MH in appearance


Ratings: (We've re-calibrated our ratings standard for 2008 and have included a key at the bottom of the following matrix as a guide):

Okuma Guide Select GS-C-7111MH/XH Ratings (?/10)

Construction/Quality Solidly crafted, this rod exhibited a surprisingly good build quality for it's price class. It may not have all the cosmetic refinement of some of the competitors but it does make use of quality materials and components 6
Performance Quite remarkable performance that really surprised us from the very first cast 8
Price Can't be beat. In this category Okuma takes home a perfect rating. For less than some swimbaits this rod is an absolute steal 10
Features Solid guides, high grade cork, excellent warranty. Overall a very good design and spec 7
Design (Ergonomics) Very well executed, at first the rear pistol grip may take some getting used to but in hand it feels reasonably good and provides extra leverage 6.5
Application Impressive overall offering, one that borders on great. This stick can be used  for more than just swimbaits 8

Total Score

Ratings Key: 1 = terrible : 2 = poor : 3 = lacking : 4 = sub par : 5 = mediocre : 6 = fair : 7 = good : 8 = great : 9 = excellent : 10 = unbelievable!
For More Details of the updated rating system visit our explanation here

Pluses and Minuses:

                 Plus                                    Minus

J Remarkable Price L A tad tip heavy
J Solid feature set L Long rear grip takes some getting used to when working certain baits
J Powerful rods  
J Load and cast well  

Conclusion: So can a $99 rod really win over TackleTour's increasingly difficult to impress Enthusiast Tackle Editor? After all, there's no denying the incredible value and solid performance of these specialized sticks from Okuma. In fact, for anglers on a budget, or really, even those who are not but need something to help them break into the swimbait craze with minimal overhead, there's little reason to look elsewhere. Of course, we here at TackleTour have never needed much reason to continue the search, but add to that fact, this is only the beginning of our 2008 SuperCast Shootout, and you can hardly expect us to proclaim an overall winner at this point, can you?


A ten pound striped bass that closed out this particular day on the CA Delta by blasting our Black Dog Baits Shellcracker tied onto the end of our GS-C-7111MH


An important note here: don't let our new, tougher rating scheme confuse you. In the past, an overall product rating of 7.6 might not have been too favorable, but on our re-calibrated scale, the Okuma Guide Select Swimbait Series of rods falls right between "good" and "great" - pretty high praise from the hardened TT Editors crew. Lastly, one thing we can do, shootout or not, is give recognition where recognition is due. The Okuma Guide Select Swimbait series of rods wins, hands down, our Best Value Award for delivering excellent performance and features at a price point that is impossible to beat. Congrats Okuma and thank you for an incredible product offering. Next up in the Swimbait Rod Wars? A look at the exotics.











Copyright 2000-2023 TackleTour LLC All Rights Reserved.
Privacy Policy information