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Reel Review

The Bear brings the Heat, Okuma's Helios Baitcaster (continued)

In 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 70 HS-CM-701MH rod which is capable of handling lures weighing -1oz. in weight. This rig is perfect for pitching plastics but also capable of pulling duty as a general purpose fishing combo.

In keeping 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 fishing

Casting: 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. 

The reel proved good for both long and short precision casts

Interestingly the sideplate is attached to the frame simply by rotating it into locking position. Ive 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?









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