The Bear brings the Heat, Okuma's Helios Baitcaster
The Helios Series is comprised of a single offering, a 6.2:1 retrieve ratio
right handed reel. This reel is capable of pulling in 26.8 inches of line per
handle turn and is designed to be a multi-purpose baitcaster with a higher
emphasis on refinement, making it an attractive option for finesse fishing.
To access the
cast controls press down on the sideplate
In the field I didn’t find
the Helios all that much smoother than the Serrano but noticeably more refined.
Anglers will feel more connected to the bait with extremely tight tolerances and
the use of both an aluminum frame and handle side sideplate anglers will find
that winding power translates very well through this small framed reel. At Clear
Lake when fishing alongside the tule pockets I found hooksets were immediate
thanks to the reel’s outstanding anti-reverse roller bearing. The Helios
exhibits almost no backplay in the handle at all, even less so than many
competing reels at the same or even higher price points.
dial enables more brakes to deploy
In the lab our Helios test reel delivered 13.4lbs of drag pressure, which is
close to published specification of 14lbs., and is over 2lbs more than what we
observed with the Serrano. At the Delta we caught a number of decent fish in the
4-5lb class while pitching plastics in our “Creature Fever” tests. One of the
things that really impressed me with the Helios was the upgraded Carbonite drag
multi-disc drag system which sandwiches carbon based washers between stainless
steel washers. This system delivers superb stopping power but is also very
smooth. Line flows out of the reel consistently and even with strong surges from
fish the system never shudders.
sideplate is made out of graphite
The range of adjustment
delivered by utilizing multiple washers of different materials is also
impressive. I was able to make very fine adjustments with the clicking drag star
and it takes only 5 rotations of the drag star to go from completely free to
full lockdown pressure, so when fighting fish anglers need only extend their
index finger and push downwards to increase pressure roughly 15-20% instantly,
or use their thumb to make the same reduction of pressure.
delivers a very connected feel
I was concerned that the aluminum gearing and drive shaft would not hold up to
heavy plastics fishing which requires lots of starts and stops delivering a
great deal of torque to the master gearing. After nearly a season of use we
opened the reel up and examined the gearing and shaft and found that it has
indeed held up.
clicks, the spool tension knob does now
The gear teeth have
maintained the edges and the gearing continues to mesh well. During our testing
the Helios has landed bass up to 7lbs. and continues to perform well in all
respects. Later this year we plan to really stress this reel by seeing if the
aluminum gears can hold up to the power of Amazon Peacocks. For anglers that
primarily pursue largemouth the reel’s aluminum gearing delivers a surprisingly
good balance of both light overall weight and power.
The center of
the reel features a lighter color
To protect the Helios
Okuma has applied their corrosion resistant coating (CRC) process which adds an
extra layer of protection from the elements. The reel is capable of pulling
light duty inshore work and the key components like the spool are machined out
of A6061-T6 aluminum and anodized, which not only makes the reel more attractive
but also helps prevent corrosion. The carbon fiber handle also adds a sporty
look to the reel but functions well delivering rigidity and the ability to stand
up to the most brackish or saltwater conditions.
access to the spool is generous
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