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Rod Review

The Big, Beefy, EVX 861XH Rod from Okuma


Date: 4/11/15
Tackle Type: Rod
Manufacturer: Okuma
Reviewer: Cal

Total Score: 7.23 - EDITOR'S CHOICE AWARD!

In November of 2013, we had the pleasure of joining Okuma and Savage Gear on a trip to Lake Ouachita, Arkansas in search of trophy sized striped bass. Naturally, they provided all the tackle and all we really had to do was show up. Events like this give us a chance to really dig down deep into a manufacturer's product because it's all we're able to use. This could be good or bad for the manufacturer and in Okuma's case, it was all good. They've really made long strides in upping the quality and fishability of their product.

Our introduction to Okuma's EVX rod series came at Lake Ouachita in Arkansas with the assistance of Captain Ron Waymack.

Even so, as long as I've been aware of their product, one area where they have always done well is with swimbait rods. Remember their Guide Select series reviewed back in 2007? They're still made and are really good swimbait rods especially for their price point. On that trip to Lake Ouachita, Arkansas we were introduced to a another series of rods built for a different species, but every bit as capable, if not more so for fishing today's oversized big baits. Here's our look at Okuma's Musky series EVX-C-861XH-Ta.


Okuma EVX-C-861XH-Ta Specifications

Material IM8
Length 8'-6"
Line Wt. 50-100lbs
Lure Wt. 4-12 oz
Pieces 1 (telescopic)
Guides 9 + tip (ALPS SS frames w/ Zirconium inserts - welded, tungsten carbide tip)
Rear Handle Length 15.75"
Power Rating Extra-Heavy
Taper Fast
Rod Weight 10 oz
Origin Made in China
MSRP $135.99


Introducing the EVX-C-861XH-Ta (EVX 861XH) from Okuma.


Quality/Construction: Okuma's EVX-C-861XH-Ta (EVX 861XH) is an eight foot, six inch (8'-6") telescopic casting rod designed for Musky. It's big, it's beefy, and probably not tournament legal, but that's not our concern. We're here talking about a stick for oversized big baits. The rod's blank is finished with a satin black paint job. The cork on the rod's grip is good quality but with a fair amount of filler. Epoxy work around the guide wraps is good and the fully extended rod is straight and guide alignment is very good.


Quality Ratings for Okuma EVX-C-861XH-Ta

Finish (1-5)
Grip (1-5)
Epoxy (1-5)
Blank (1-2)
Guides (1-2)
Rating (= Tot/Pos * 10)

Performance: I paired this rod up with two different 300 sized reels from Okuma - the Citrix 364L and the Komodo 364L. Both were spooled with 30 to 40 pound Sunline Supernatural nylon monofilament.

Rigged and ready to go with glide bait extraordinaire, the Deps SlideSwimmer 250.

Casting: This stick is rated from four to twelve ounces (4-12) ounces in lure weight and really, there were only two baits I have thrown and continue to throw on this stick - Deps 250 sized SlideSwimmer, and Roman Made's Mother swimbait. The EVX 861XH handles the Deps SlideSwimmer 250 like Megabass's Elseil Evoluzion handles the company's Vision 110 jerkbait - almost as if the two were made for each other. Matched with a 300 sized reel, the leverage you can attain with this stick for casting that bait is just unreal.

The EVX 861XH is designed for Musky.

Even more impressive, however, is how easily this stick handles the Roman Made Mother. I fished that bait on a number of sticks, but never for very long because it was so cumbersome to cast with rods that were pretty much underpowered for that bait. The EVX 861XH loads extremely well with the Mother and launches that bait with very little difficulty as well.

This is a beefy stick featuring double footed guides all the way up to the tip top.

Sensitivity: Built on a good quality blank but with such heavy components and an oversized foregrip, the EVX 861XH is pretty average when it comes to sensitivity. But keep in mind this stick wasn't built for fishing jigs. It's built for fishing big baits in pursuit of big fish that are not very subtle with their takes - musky. Sensitivity is just not a priority for this rod.

You want power? The 861XH has plenty to spare.

Power: What is a priority is power and this stick can hang with the best of them. In fact, if you look at its RoD chart below, you'll see it stacks up very favorably with our Heavy Hitter average from our 2008 Swimbait Rod Wars.

Fig 1 : The chart above illustrates the deflection characteristics of our Okuma EVX-C-861XH-Ta against our 2008 Swimbait Rod War averages

Throw into the equation, this rod's added length, and you can imagine the additional leverage it provides when battling fish bold enough to hit your super-sized baits. Biggest, angriest fish I was able to manage was a 14lb Arkansas striped bass, and it didn't really stand much of a chance.

Performance Ratings for Okuma EVX-C-861XH-Ta

Pitch (1-5)
Cast (1-5)
Sensitivity (1-5)
Hook Set (1-5)
Control (1-5)
Rating (= Tot/Pos * 10)

The EVX 861XH cork is of fair grade, but contains a lot of filler.

Next Section: Ability to cast big baits at a low price









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