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Okuma Makaira Spinning Reel Review

In this review of the Okuma Makaira reel, we will explore that amazing technology and quality that has been built into this big game spinning reel.  Okuma talks about how this reel is derived from their 4D concept which focuses on the core performance elements which make this one of the strongest reels that a serious offshore angler can own.  “It’s about Design, Drive, Drag and Durability” says Okuma’s Director of Product Development, John Bretza. “Makaira Spinning is built 100-percent from scratch. We took every component into consideration and built it from the ground up.”

Okuma made a big change in the way that they were designing and manufacturing their higher end big game reels when they decided to acquire Tiburon Technology for their engineering expertise and combined this with Okuma’s manufacturing expertise. The Okuma Makaira is a forged reel meaning that most of its components have literally gone through the forging process that compresses more of the material – in this case, aluminum into the same area by combining heat and pressure.  The end result is a much stronger aluminum that can withstand higher pressure and harsher conditions when compared to a die cast aluminum or machined aluminum.

Features/Benefits

The Okuma Makaira is so packed full of features it is hard to know where to start – but lets take a look and see what the benefits of each of these features provide.

Forged aluminum, machine cut body/sideplate – The forged aluminum provides what we believe to be the strongest material and hence the strongest body currently on the market for a big game spinning reel.  When the Okuma engineers went to the drawing board, they wanted to build the strongest reel on the market and they understood that the body is the foundation of the reel.  Once the aluminum is forged, it is then machine cut to provide a level of precision that is only found in the highest quality components on the market today.

The forges aluminum body provides consistent strength and durability that can only be obtained by forging vs cutting.

Forged stainless steel main gear  –  By using the forged aluminum in the main gear construction, Okuma is able to deliver the ultimate power and strength in the gearing system that will withstand consistent ongoing use for many years.  The gearing is what really sets this reel apart from the competition regardless of price.  When you compare the Okuma Makaira to other reel in this category, you will see that they typically have gears that are made of bronze, aluminum or stainless steel that are machine cut. Currently, there is not another reel in the market that uses forges aluminum that is then machine cut for the gearing.  The main gear is then complimented by a precision machine cut 17-4 grade stainless steel pinion gear which is an extremely hard material.

Dual Anti-Reverse – The Okuma Makaira is designed with a dual anti-reverse system built from German stainless steel and a one way roller bearing that provides maximum strength.  This is then backed up with a ratchet that is mounted on the back side of the main gear.

Forged aluminum, machine cut Cyclonic Flow rotor. – What this does is promotes airflow in a cyclonic or circular motion that promotes the air drying of the reel while retrieval is underway.

Handle – When ordering the Makaira, you need to decide if you want to have a right or left hand retrieve.  While most reels will allow you to easily reverse the handle from left to right, the Okuma Makaira has a different handle for left and right hand retrieve.  While at first this might seem like a pain in the you know what, it is all part of the attention to detail that this reel is known for.  Okuma decided not to sacrifice strength for convenience, as it would be necessary to have a smaller diameter of one of the threads to make just one handle.  If you are in a situation where you need both a right and a left hand retrieve, all you have to do is order a second handle.

Spool and Shaft – The Makaira reel uses an oversized 17-4 grade stainless steel spool shaft that reduces flex from the huge machined aluminum 2-toned anodized spools that incorporate the LCS lip design.

DFD: Dual Force Drag System – One of the things that places the Okuma Makaira in a class all by itself is the dual force drag system that can deliver up to 66 lbs of drag in over 60 specific settings by the drag dial on the top of the spool.  Okuma has created a unique drag system that works much like a conventional lever drag reel which allows anglers to pre-set their drag based on their target species or required drag output. While the precision adjustment has 20 different reference numbers for anglers, it actually featured 60-individual setting for precision fine tuning of the drag.

The Okuma Makaira spinning reel DFD comprises a wet Carbonite drag system featuring Cal’s drag grease for low start up inertia and extreme heat protection.  Okuma engineers have designed a drag system that utilizes the complete surface area of both sides of the spool.  This in turn allows full contact with the carbon washers all the way out to the edges which produces the maximum efficiency and the ability to produce unparalleled drag outputs.

Hydro Sealed Body – The Okuma Makaira is designed from the ground up to withstand the harsh conditions of saltwater fishing on a consistent basis.  The engineers have used 23 individual oil retaining O rings and gaskets to create a reel that is watertight and impervious to salt.  The entire interior is sealed and protected which means that this reel will last you for many years without having to break it down and rebuild it.

CRC: Corrosion-resistant coating process – Every reel is put through what is called the CRC or Corrosion Resistant Coating process that gives both the internal and external components of the reel a bonded coating of Corrosion-X HD.  Corrosion-X is designed specifically to provide maximum protection against moisture intrusion which we all know results in rust and corrosion.  Corrosion-X is not a layer – it actually penetrates the metals surface to bond with the metal and protect.

 

 

The Okuma Makaira spinning reel comes in two flavors: the 20,000 which has a very large line capacity of 490 yards of 65 lbs mono capacity and the 30,000 for the extra large gamefish that require a very large line capacity that peaks out at 700 yards of 80 lbs mono. You will notice in the chart below that you need to order the reel specifically in a right hand or a left hand model as the handles are not reversible.

For those of you who want all the details I have provided the chart below.

MODELGEAR RATIOBEARINGSWEIGHT (OZ.)LINE RETRIEVEMAX DRAG PRESSUREMONO LINE CAP (yd./lb.)BRAID LINE CAP (yd./lb.)
STANDARDSPEEDSPINNINGREELS
MK-20000LS5.8:19HPB + 1RB32.551.6"66-lbs580/20
430/25
330/30
490/65
400/80
MK-30000LS5.8:19HPB + 1RB36.765.7"66-lbs490/40
360/50
300/60
700/80
570/100
HIGHSPEEDSPINNINGREELS
MK-20000RS5.8:19HPB + 1RB32.551.6"66-lbs580/20
430/25
330/30
490/65
400/80
MK-30000RS5.8:19HPB + 1RB36.765.7"66-lbs490/40
360/50
300/60
700/80
570/100

Pros

  • Phenomenal forged stainless steel quality
  • 60 levels of drag up to 66 lbs.
  • Cyclonic flow rotor
  • Hydro sealed body and DFD system
  • 5 year warranty

Cons

It is very hard to find anything that I do not like about this reel other that it has a steep price point.

Alternatives

If you are in the market for a big game spinning reel, then I would say that you should also take a look at the Penn Torque II Spinning Reel. The Penn Torque II is a great alternative, but I still don’t feel that it is of the same quality and durability as the Okuma Makaira.  The Penn’s drag is not as much coming in at only 60 lbs on the largest model, the TRQII9500S, and has a line capacity that falls 210 yards short of the Makaira 30000.

Another reel you might want to look at would be the Daiwa Saltiga Salwater Spinning Reel.  Like the Okuma Makaira, Daiwa has developed their own sealing system for the reel which they call the Magseal.  The Daiwa Saltiga is a slightly smaller reel in both drag and line capacity but is another extremely high quality reel that comes out of Japan.

In Conclusion

If you are looking to add a phenomenal big game spinning reel to your arsenal of fishing equipment, then I can highly recommend the Okuma Makaira.  Regardless of the species of big game fish you are going for, you are sure to feel confident in your ability to land the big one when you have this beautiful reel between your catch.  From the solid forged aluminum body, rotors and gearing system, to the 23 seals that keep your reel safe from the elements.  This is a reel that you will be able to pass on down to the next generation.

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