Okuma Avenger Review - Pros and Cons of Okuma Avenger Reels
Reviewed: Okuma Avenger
- Models cover wide range of fishing applications
- Easy to use drag switch
- Sealed in key areas of the reel
- Good max drag
- Pretty good use of the front drag range
- Excellent anti-reverse
- Smooth casting at close to mid range distances
- Very low rear drag and fine tuning
- Comes with extra graphite spool
- Not much cranking power
- Start-up inertia is more than we would like
- Some gear binding when heavy pressure is applied
The vast majority of people who will take to the waters to do a little angling are not interested in doling out several hundred dollars for a fishing reel, and we get it. The Okuma Avenger is a spinning reel that will catch fish and provide performance qualities that will not make you want to give up fishing.
While the Avenger offers decent performance at a low price and is a great spinning reel for novice anglers, a lot of reviewers are off the mark about the real function of this reel and why more advanced anglers should be interested in adding the Avenger to their fishing outfit.
In this review, we are going to take a look at some of the key features of the Okuma Avenger spinning/baitrunning reel and also discuss how these features translate to performance on the water.
If you are looking for Okuma Avenger alternatives, we've got some suggestions in the bottom of this article.
Baitrunner/ Baitfeeder Explained
There are certain fishing scenarios, specifically with live bait, where having only a front running drag makes it more difficult to set the hook on fish.
This is because some fish species will grab live bait loosely without taking the whole bait, including the hook, and run for several seconds before fully taking in its prey.
With traditional reels, unless you leave the spool open, when the fish takes the bait the drag is engaged.
The fish will feel the drag and if the hook has not been taken the fish is going to spit the bait out, or you're going to set the hook when it is not ready and lose the fish.
How baitrunners, such as the Avenger, give you an advantage in when fishing live bait for these running fish is the use of a micro rear drag.
With this setting, the spool can be closed, and you have the control over which drag, either the front or the rear, is engaged.
This setting is usually controlled by a small lever near the butt of the reel. When the rear drag is engaged, the spool is closed, but the fish can pull line from the reel with is resistance. When you are ready, a simple lever switch engages the reel drag, and you can set the hook.
This is much more efficient than trying to leave the spool open where line can be taken freely.
When trying to set the hook in this scenario, you are going to have a lot of slack line and hook sets will often miss.
Okuma Avenger Key Features
The Okuma Avenger stands out because of one specific function that this reel can perform and that is the baitfeeder/baitrunner technology which we detailed above.
For the rest of the reel, it functions as a typical, middle of the road spinning reel which is what you should expect. Here is a breakdown of Avenger's main features.
There are six models of the Okuma Avenger that cover a wide range of fishing applications. The table below outlines some of the differences in performance specs between these six models.
Overall this is a well-built reel regarding its design and handling ability.
The body and gear housing are made from a corrosion resistant graphite material as is the rotor.
The bail, spool, and handle are made from high-grade aluminum.
The front drag uses a stacked system with six Japanese oiled felt washers.
The front drag can pump out a lot of pressure and is also uses a Hydro Block water seal to prevent corrosion and increase the drags longevity. It also uses a large adjustment knob that sits on top of the spool.
The rear drag on the Avenger can be adjusted via a small knob located directly opposite of the front drag adjustment dial at the back of the reel.
This drag can be easily adjusted and has minimal drag pressure of well less than a .5lbs.
On/Off Trip Bait Feeding System
An easy to use trip lever is used on the Avenger to quickly move between front and rear drag engagement of the reel.
The gears on the Okuma Avenger are machined from brass and on initial use seem to work well and with the bearing system, provide a smooth working reel.
As you will see in our in-depth review a bit further below in this article, we do have some issues with the gear system under pressure.
As you have seen in the table, the gear ratios for the Avenger are pretty low.
Most will say this is a problem, but not necessarily given the niche this reel is intended to fill.
For live bait fishing, which baitrunners are intended for, do not need high retrieval speeds. Even with the low gear ratios, the line retrieval rates are more than enough to land fish efficiently.
The Avenger uses an S-curve oscillation system that will give you an even lay of the line throughout the height of the spool and reduces the amount of line twist often associated with spinning reels.
The RESII technology applies computer-optimized design and alignment of the rotor to give you a more balanced rotation when the reel is under pressure.
Okuma Avenger Performance
Since the biggest feature of this reel is the high-quality feature, we are going to begin our in-depth review with looking at how it performs on the water.
Once you have your bait in the water, you can easily switch the reel into rear drag setting using the trip bait lever.
The drag settings of the rear drag can be easily adjusted with adjustment knob, and when the rear drag is engaged, you get a nice audible clicking as line is pulled from the spool.
This also gives you an idea of how much resistance is being applied, and you can quickly adjust if needed.
The front drag can be engaged quickly by either flipping the trip bait lever or by turning the handle as you would close the bail on typical spinning reels.
The quick switch along with a fantastic anti-reverse system on the Avenger allows instant hook setting power.
The casting performance with this reel is much better than most anglers will initially expect.
Depending on the model size you can throw extremely light to 1-2oz lures accurately. You can get some decent long range casting, but your accuracy falls, and you increase the chances of wind knots and tangles in the spool.
The gear ratios on these reels are pretty low, but the line retrieval speeds are not too bad because of the wide spools that are used. You can spool a very decent amount of line of high test with no problem.
Retrieval is smooth, and we like the six stainless steel ball bearings and gears for the most part, though you do begin to feel some resistance and start to see the performance go down when more pressure is applied to the reel.
You can still land fish efficiently, but if you have ever used a high quality reel, you will feel the difference in this reels ability to put our power.
The graphite body doesn’t seem to be able to funnel a lot of the power into the gear system or provide a body that keeps the gears aligned properly.
The max drag on these reels is more than enough to put the brakes on just about any fish within the reels capacity to handle.
The front drag uses the six felt washers, and they do really well in applying constant pressure through much of the front drag range. You will find that the drag becomes jerky in the high end of the spectrum.
The start up inertia on the front drag is also more than most anglers would like, especially in the upper ranges of the front drag pressure.
Because of this, it is critical that you have the front drag set lower when utilizing the rear drag.
If you have it set high while using the baitrunning feature, you are more likely to break the line at the hook when switching to the front drag to set the hook.
Overall the reel handles well on the water.
We like the look, though there are tradeoffs with using a full graphite body, as we discussed previously. The aluminum handle and spool give you a little extra power though we would like to see better grip designs on the lower models.
You will constantly find reviewers calling this reel lightweight, but its average compared to other baitrunners and even as heavy or heavier than most traditional spinning reels due to the extra parts needed for the rear drag.
It balances well with the appropriately sized rods and is not going to be overly fatiguing, but it's a stretch calling it lightweight.
These reels work well surf fishing as the baitrunning feature is excellent for lots of species caught in surf fishing.
While the body is corrosion resistant graphite it also has a sealed drag, there are parts of the reel susceptible to salt water, so it is critical that you use proper maintenance of the reel to keep it working properly.
Who should use it?
Given the price, there is really no restriction on what type of angler would be willing to pay for this reel.
Whether you are a fishing addict, a casual angler, or someone looking to get into the sport, this reel is not going to set you back, and you won't have to hide the purchase from your wife.
Now regarding performance, the experienced angler might not be satisfied with some of its performance qualities on the water after using other reels.
What it’s going to come down to is if the baitfeeding feature is something you are interested in trying out.
As for fishing application, the most obvious use is going to be in live bait situations where a low gear ratio doesn't hinder fishing performance.
Species such as carp, catfish, or most fish caught in the surf like to run with their bait before fully eating it so this baitrunner would be helpful in those situations.
The Avenger is not limited to these fish species or live bait fishing.
They are more than capable of handling any species you would normally use a spinning reel for and are fine with very finesse fishing tactics although the baitfeeding feature will be unnecessary for these situations.
Okuma Avenger Alternatives
The name of this reel captures perfectly the nature of its performance. Power, high-quality construction and smooth casting are just one of the perks, to name a few. Narrow spool makes it easy for the angler to cast very far without any hassle - who wouldn't like that?
Though this model is fairly pricier than Okuma Avenger, you can bet you'll get a sturdy reel that will last for lifetime.
Similarly to the previous reel, this one also carries a catchy name. Shimano reels are not to be taken lightly though - these are reels that are made to endure even the toughest conditions and same goes for this high-end reel.
Though it can be a bit pricey, 13 bearings, lightweight reel and 0 backlash make it all up to you in the end. Besides durable construction, the reel has a gorgeous golden look. It's one dashing model for sure!
The President spinning reel is the cheapest of the bunch but that doesn't mean it couldn't outperform the rest.
The model features 10-bearing system (corrosion resistant by the way), lightweight graphite construction, braid-ready spool and smooth drag that guarantees consistent drag pressure. Small, light and powerful - these 3 words summarize this reel perfectly!