We spotted a hugely insightful post on the official Okuma Blog with regards to the forthcoming release of the excellent Andros 511 reel we recently sighted at the Tackle & Guns Trade Show. This post has confirmed some of findings we highlighted in our recent preview and released a lot more.
Okuma have confirmed that the Andros is a brand new reel design from concept to completion. It accepts that with modern, thin diameter braided lines, big game reels no longer need to be as big as the fish they catch. Okuma set out to create a top notch reel, capable of taming some of the world's fastest pelagics in the smallest form possible - increasing angler comfort, sport and fun. To quote Okuma, "Andros houses a ton of ambition to take on larger challenges with a smaller reel than ever before possible".
It's confirmed that the Andros frame is precision machined from a single piece of bar stock aluminium, maximising strength. The design of this frame is at the centre of Okuma's initiative to maximise line capacity in such a small reel size. The reel foot is an integral part of the frame support, maximising line capacity inside the frame, in addition to lowering the spool centre on the rod, increasing both comfort and control.
Okuma is bold enough to pick holes in the design of their competitors' reels. "Competitive reels utilize a reel foot that’s separate from frame elements. Within this design both the frame and reel foot require independent structure to deliver strength. The result is that the main frame sits elevated over the reel foot, which introduces wobble under high stress and necessitates a reduction in spool diameter in order to maintain a compact overall size." Regardless of whether you agree that the other manufactures have all got it wrong, you have to applaud Okuma for this forward thinking and fresh approach to design.
Here in the UK we don't tend to think too much about line retrieval rates in our boat reels. However when targetting fast pelagics and fishing faster techniques like speed-jigging, the rate at which line is actually drawn back onto the reel is vitally important to some. The roomier design of the Okuma Andros and its increased spool size has the effect of creating a loaded spool with a larger than average diametre - Okuma quotes up to 30% more line retrieved per turn of the handle compared to similar reels. Whether you're in high or low gear, that'll be an important stat to some.
We highlighted the feature of the single screw dis-assembly as a time saving feature but the blog highlights another benefit. It draws attention to multiple screw designs that multiply the chances of electrolysis taking place between the different metals in place. On screw point, one area to maintain against corrosion. As they put it, "long-term thinking".
More information on the Andros' internal parts has also been released. The drive shaft, spool shaft, main gear and pinion gear are all cut from high-grade, 17-4 stainless steel which is reassuring. The gears are helical cut - meaning cut at an angle - giving a smoother drive train and less wear over time.
Reel bearings are another point of innovation and fresh thinking in the Andros 511. Okuma have incorporated 6 EZO bearings from Sapporro Precision Incorporated of Japan. The 2 spool bearings are ABEC 5 rated for ultimate free-spool performance. Then there's a radical change in how the bearings are prepared. In line with other top-flight reels Okuma have made the decision to pack 'open' bearings with grease. While this may not give the best experience in the prospective customer's hand at the shop counter, it will give the best long term performance while fishing, and confirms Okuma's commitment to a hardy, long-life fishing reel. It's a brave move but refreshing to see. It might need some sales assistance at the point of sale to explain any added resistance through the handle that the added grease may cause. Of course if your angling style requires ultimate smoothness the grease can easily be swapped out for oil - you'll just need to increase the regularity of maintenance (as you would with any reel).
In summary, the more we find out about this new reel from Okuma, the more we think they've hit a home run. On paper the reel is awesome and the design is fresh and full of innovation. All that remains now is to see how the attractive Andros fairs out at sea, but looking at the amount of focus Okuma have given to its longevity we're not expecting any problems.
For more information visit : http://blog.okumafishing.com/2010/11/introducing-the-andros-5ii-multi-disciplined-two-speed/