When I picked up the reels from Okuma at this years NEC, this was my first good look at the Epix range from Okuma. I was taken aback by the outlandish appearance of this reel. The Epix is visually impressive and demonstrates the new era of concept design of the modern reel coming from the young designers in the Okuma stable.
Gone has the black dull appearance of the reel that is the norm for all U.K. anglers. These reels have all the style and looks of a modern high tech gizmo that will take the UK angler into infinity and beyond. The Epix features a polished mirror finish and characteristics that are Okuma's trademark, enhancing their attention to detail and high-tech format. The two main design features of the reel that we found implemented the Okuma Epix was the drilled aluminium spool, which also sported a titanium lip, and the sleek machined aluminium handle that extends to a soft new Okuma style knob.
The best way to describe the way the reel felt was "soft," with its graceful curved lines and high tech finish. The Epix certainly looks the part. “Feel the Power” in bold print on the box should be changed to "Come with us and leave your Earth behind"!
Many anglers in the UK that have not heard of Okuma are surprised to discover that it is the largest spinning reel manufacturer in the world. Okuma has a long history of "Original Equipment Manufacturer" (OEM) manufacturing, and in recent years has stepped up to become a major player with the introduction of their branded products.
Okuma are well known today for a complete range of products including reels, rods and accessories to cater for the U.K. angling styles. Key to Okuma's success is their focus on the design and development of strong product with a keen eye on value for money.
The 5 Okuma Reels given to me for testing comprised of:
Genic GE 30 6 Bearings, Epix ER 30 8 Bearings, Epix EB 30 Live Bait System, Epix EB 40 Live bait System and the Metaloid Mr 30 - just five reels from the Okuma Range. The Okuma Range of reels design and construction is the Okuma trademark with some very unique design features. Innovative corrosion resistant high modulus graphite frame. Yes graphite! I had trouble coming to terms with this feature and just couldn't believe this reel was graphite, with a reinforced layer of gloss, and aluminium plating. The Epix looks are deceptive - like an all metal construction.
I have been field-testing the Epix Range and put the reels through the usual tests. Cast and retrieve of the spinning reels the usual etc. It was no surprise that the Epix Range runs silky smooth. The design feature of between 6 and 10 ball bearings and one infinite reverse roller bearing, which works quite well. I experienced absolutely no back play in the reel. In addition, the bail return on the Epix and Metaloid reels is quick and accurate requiring surprisingly little pressure due to a well made spring loaded internal bail trip. There was very little if any spool wobble and line is reeled back onto the spool evenly. The MR30 Okuma features 5.0:1 ratio, which was perfect for spinners and plastics.
When it comes to reels, the look, feel and running are one of the top selling points.
The look doesn't really affect the fishing, but anglers certainly want a reel that is aesthetically pleasing when paying a reasonable amount of hard-earned cash for it. The feel, however, is very important when it comes to fishing. Any reel that feels odd in your hand is also going to lead to an awkward casting motion. The Okuma Epix has a wonderful design, which fits very comfortably and easily into the hand. The reel grips are also very form fitting which leads to a very easy reeling motion. All of this lead to a very smooth feel and design which puts the fun back into fishing.
One main problem with many of today's fixed spool reels the Rod to Reel balance, the distance between the rod handle and the lip of the spool of the reel relationship. Often, the balance is out of sync, or things do not quite feel right. Comfort is the key - this makes fishing a pleasure. Okuma seem to have overcome this problem and the reels, therefore, are comfortable to use. The line lay on the spools is excellent, which makes all types of fishing a pleasure.
I have a good selection of fixed spool reels with front or rear drags and found many of them to be lacking some refinement in this department with a jerky uneven clutch tending to be the norm. Again, Okuma have smoothed out most of the faults in this department.
My Verdict: - I put the smaller of the Okuma reels the Genic and Epix ER 30 on test. For me the Genic has proved to be a little powerhouse. Testing over the last few months on my water, I found this reel, coupled with a 17ft power Carp rod, a near perfect match and it has preformed to perfection, handling Carp to 12lb on 6lb line and size 14 hooks. The line lay under strain is perfect and the clutch faultless. The Epix ER 30 has been used for some light spinning for Pike and, at present, is under review as a feeder reel. It is, again, an outstanding reel. Okuma have produced a real winning range of reels - "Feel the power " with the Epix Range of reels. The whole range echoes the very mission of Okuma...to produce top-notch products without the inflated prices. At a price range the UK angler will accept and the incredible value that offers any angler the opportunity to fish with a high performance reel.
While some may find the Okuma Epix design flashy, others will no doubt love the Epix range's premium look and feel. In any event the range offers an outstanding balance, feel of innovative features and performance at an amazing price.
"Okuma feel the power - come with us and leave your Earth behind",
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