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Reel Review

The best Okuma spinning reel yet, the technologically advanced VSystem (continued)

Ergonomics: While we have to address the overall weight, it is hard to deny that the VS reel does feel very sound. The absence of cheap plastic components is noticeable, and aluminum abounds on this reel. The aluminum handle matches the equally attractive machined spool. The actual grip of reel is more ergonomic than knobs found on previous generation Okuma reels, and provides a firm yet tacky surface that does not feel slick even when wet.


The inside portion of the drag and balanced aluminum rotor

Larger versions of the VS reel feature a full sized “Ergo Grip” that is designed to rest comfortably in the entire palm of your hand. The anti-reverse switch on the VS is mounted underneath the reel directly behind the aluminum rotor. The switch is tiny and stealth’s nicely into the reel making it difficult to accidentally switch to free mode. Once you get used to reaching under the reel flicking the switch on demand can be done in a split second.


The ergonomic grip on the VS is both functional and comfortable

The single nicest ergonomic component found on the VS is the quick handle lock. This exceptional design features a spring loaded collar that locks the handle into place. Simply pull back on the neck collar and the handle folds down for storage during transport or during the off season. The collar and the handle itself are both ported for weight reduction. To put it simply this feature is just downright “cool,” and wonderful for anglers that enjoy traveling.

The very attractive forged aluminum handle


Applications: The VS is a tremendous workhorse reel, and the VS-20 we tested is perfect for anything from backwater trout to striped bass. The reel has a small footprint, yet boasts the gearing and drag capabilities necessary for larger species. The all aluminum construction makes this one very durable reel. So durable that it can actually be used for light inshore applications as well.


Pull back on the one-touch collar

Price & Warranty: The VS-20 retails for 149.99, which is an exceptional price for a reel of this caliber. The VS is built better than the majority of spinning reels, sports more advanced features, and comes with a ton of extras including the protective carry bag and duplicate high end spool. The average warranty for any fishing reel is a single year. Okuma is confident that this is one reel that will hold up season after season, and the VS bucks that trend in a big way with the inclusion of an unprecedented 5 year warranty.

With the spring loaded collar down the handle folds neatly for transport and storage



Okuma VS-20 Ratings (?/10)


The VS is built tough, and uses all quality alloys throughout its construction. There is no plastic here, and Okuma even throws in a nice storage bag and duplicate spare spool!


A solid performer. It casts reasonably well, retrieves smoothly and while the retrieve is not frictionless it does feel powerful. The drag on this reel is fantastic


A very good price for a 10 bearing all metal reel. Priced in the mainstream range this reel is a good deal when you consider the features and performance the Cardinal offers


The team at Okuma got it right when it comes to features. The dual drag, breakdown handle, balanced rotor are all very welcome additions in this feature rich reel

Design (Ergonomics)

When it comes to ergonomics the only thing holding the VS back is its total weight. The operation of this reel is excellent and the breakdown handle is exceptional


The VS-20 is a great reel for a wide range of freshwater fishing. Though smaller than most bass reels the VS-20 can even handle stripers due to the quality dual drag and robust gearing. The all aluminum construction and quality bearings even make it saltwater capable


Total Score


Pluses and Minuses:

                 Plus                                    Minus

J Quality all aluminum construction L Heavier than some similar classed reels
J Powerful, very good line lay  L Smooth but not frictionless retrieve
J Excellent dual drag  
J Duplicate spare spool included  
J Breakdown handle rocks!  
J Great price for total package  

Conclusion: Stylish, technologically advanced, powerful, reliable, and aggressively priced….all characteristics of the Okuma VS-20. If you haven’t fished Okuma spinning reels before, the VS series will have you wondering why you haven’t done so earlier. This is the best Okuma we have seen yet, and it is a significant improvement from the already very respectable Metaloid we tested seasons ago. The look and feel of the reel are all premium, and the only areas that you can possibly nitpick are the lack of an extremely fluid feel and a slightly above average weight. We gladly trade the added weight for the all aluminum construction, and other numerous well thought out features surprised us. These included the counter balanced rotor, and inclusion of an identical high quality aluminum spool. The elliptical gear system may not feel frictionless but it proved to be very powerful. Connecting anglers to that solid gearing is the “oh so sweet” one touch handle which is the best breakdown design we have seen yet. The VS reel is a premium reel at a mainstream price, and I recommend this reel to anyone looking for a quality spinning reel that can address a wide range of freshwater species. The total package is an attractive one, and Okuma deserves a “Best Value” Award for the combination of quality and sheer bang for the buck value the VS-20 showcases.










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