Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Gear Review : Okuma Citrix Baitcaster





Back in April , I received word that I had won a gear review opportunity over at The Outdoor Blogger Network . I was excited , because I'm the type of guy who never wins anything. Never. I was even more excited when I found out it was an Okuma Citrix baitcaster. Joe from OBN mentioned in the original post that these higher end Okuma reels were top notch and I have to say I agree after getting my hands on one. Like many people , I made the false assumption that Okuma mainly manufactured entry level reels that were a bargain because of their low price. I was wrong.

First some specs.

The Okuma Citrix Baitcaster features the following :


  • ALC: Rigid diecast aluminum frame
  • A6061-T6 machined aluminum, anodized V-shaped spool
  • Multi-disc composite drag system
  • 7BB+1RB bearing drive system
  • Micro-click drag star for precise drag settings
  • External adjustable centrifugal cast control system
  • Quick-Set anti-reverse roller bearing
  • Graphite side plates on both sides
  • Easy change palm side plate access port
  • Ergonomic handle design allows cranking closer to body
  • Zirconium line guide inserts for use with braided line
  • Available gear ratios: 7.3:1 and 5.4:1
  • 7.3:1 gear ratio available in left hand retrieve


MSRP for this reel is $119.00 , which isn't bad at all considering the features.

First impression : Like any kid with a new toy , I was ready to get busy with this reel as soon as it got here. I tore open the packaging and started going over the reel with a fine tooth comb. One of the first things I noticed was that the clicker in the star drag seemed to be of a higher quality than several of my other high end reels. It's louder and just feels sturdier in my opinion. The centrifugal cast control system was a bit of a shock. It's externally adjustable , like the older magnetic brakes , with settings for 0 , 3 , 6 and 9 brakes. This makes getting the reel dialed in easy and I have to say it's an improvement over other centrifugal braking systems I've used before. This reel is super smooth due to the 7 + 1 bearing system and the anti reverse seems to work flawlessly. The only thing that concerned me at first was the narrow spool (more on that later).

I paired this reel with a 7' MH casting rod from one of my favorite manufacturers and spooled it with 50 lb. Power Pro braided line. I see a lot of use as a Bucktail Rod for Striped Bass in this combo's future and also a few trips to throw lures to bass.

Casting : After I had it on the rod and full of line , it was time to test it out. I tied a 1 ounce egg sinker to the line and started playing with the free spool knob. It's a little sensitive due to the precision manufacturing , but I got it adjusted with a few tiny turns. I started with the 6 brake setting , but found it to be way too much. With the centrifugal brake set on 3 , I let it rip. Perfect casts every time. My longest was probably close to 75 or 80 yards and I'm confident I could get to 100 with a longer rod. Of course this was with a sinker only , by a professional driver on a closed course , but you get the idea. This reel casts like a dream. The only problem I encountered was with the centrifugal brake. I wish it had more settings to allow you to adjust in smaller increments. No brakes was a disaster , while 3 left me feeling like it was cutting into my distance.

The centrifugal braking system on this reel is ideal for anyone new to casting reels. My neighbor's 17 year old son was kind enough to help me with testing this reel. He was new to casting reels , but with a couple of minutes of instruction and the brakes set to 9 he started cranking out a few good casts and was ready to back the brakes down to 6 after about 10 minutes. He tossed out a few 40-50 yard casts with it set at 6 , but had a backlash at 3. Another reason to want smaller increments in the cast control department.

On the water : I used this reel during a recent tournament here on my home water and I am impressed. The excellent casting , paired with a quick retrieve and a smooth drag make this reel an excellent choice for anyone looking for a small casting reel. It handled fish nicely and seems like it will hold up to the abuse I put my gear through without any problems. The drag is smooth , almost to a fault. While adjusting the drag , it would feel like it was set just right , but I found myself tightening it down a little when I had fish on. No big deal. This reel certainly has a place in my arsenal from now on and in my opinion holds it's own against some of my more expensive reels.

Final thoughts : I'm truly impressed with this reel. I honestly didn't have high expectations because of my inexperience with Okuma reels. This reel is comparable to a lot of more expensive reels from better known manufacturers. I'm sure it will be a welcome addition to many anglers' tackle. The pricing is very competitive considering the features and overall functionality of this reel.

If I could change anything , it would be the spool. It's narrow and I have big hands , so I was a little concerned. It wasn't a problem , but I would be more comfortable with a wider spool and it would bump up the line capacity. It's still a great reel for the price and it will definitely make me look at Okuma reels more closely before my next purchase.

You can find out more about this reel and other great Okuma products HERE.

My thanks to Okuma Fishing and the OBN for this great gear review opportunity!

Disclaimer : I received this reel free of charge to use and review for Okuma through my affiliation with the Outdoor Blogger Network. I received no other compensation for this and the review above is my honest opinion.

Have a great week!

2 comments:

  1. Pretty looking reel there Josh. I saw you mentioned loading it with 50lb Power Pro. Do you happen to have an estimate as to how much you got on there?? Did it take the whole 150yd filler spool??

    I'd think 30 would be a very nice match on there as well. Looks like a sweet reel for a nice price

    Thanks for your review :-)

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thanks for stopping by Captain! I'd say it held about 120 yards of the line. The 30 would work better in my opinion , but I just threw what I had laying around on it.

    Definitely check out some of the newer Okumas next time you are in the market for a new reel. I'm certainly impressed with this one :)

    ReplyDelete

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