Friday, 19 December 2008

Tackle Review: Okuma Aventa Pro Centre Pin Reel

I do believe that an opinion of a major item of tackle such as a reel cannot be formed in any less than six months of hard and continuous usage. I also believe that a reel is a piece of tackle that should be able to survive a lot of misuse and still fare well
. All the reels I have ever owned have never been cared for, and the ones that stand out as being the best are those that really didn't mind. There are only two reels in all my years that I rate that highly - the Mitchell 300, and the ABU 6500. Now, I bought the Okuma Aventa Pro back in July, and I know that July is only 5 months ago, but I feel that this reel has already earned its right to be talked about.

I bought it because it was cheap. Compared to the others on show, all with frankly astronomical price tags, it seemed to be on offer at a price that suggested that in its manufacture, corners, that would later expose themselves, had to have been cut. I also bought it because it is very attractive, with a modern design appearance and contemporary feel, quite unlike the old fashioned appearance of its more expensive and long established contemporaries. But I bought it mostly, because I wanted a solid and dependable entry level tool that would see me through my first months of centre pin fishing, and then I would get a better one.

I am pleased to announce that he reel has passed my first acid test, since I have not cleaned it once since I bought it and it has seen much muck, slime, dust, groundbait, vegetation, and all of these both in the dry and the wet, and it has never complained. The spool turns as freely now as when it was shiny new, nothing has broken, fallen off, disintegrated or perished. It has been slung around on the bank, thrown over barbed wire fences, stashed in a quiver, dropped in the water, trodden on and maltreated in a hundred other various ways, and it still comes back for more. It is tough, built to last, it's shockproof and I do believe, Jeff Hatt proof.

Its performance is perfect for my needs. I have never owned any other pin so I cannot compare it, but I'll wager that it competes very well with any and all of them. When trotting it does exactly what is required of it, the line peeling off the spool under the demand of a light float ambling downstream. Playing fish is delightful, and I must say that anyone who has never experienced the joy of holding a powerful fish in a strong current with a pin, simply has not lived the full fishing life. As for casting...

Well, casting with any pin is matter of angler skill. They all can cast, that is to say that they can all supply line on demand, and copious amounts of it, but only if the angler can master the tricky casts that are required to do so. I use two casts. The Wallis cast and the revolution cast, both of which depend upon a freely revolving spool. I can get a lead over thirty yards with the Wallis and fifty or so with the revolution, and this without really pushing things. So the reel can cast, and cast as far as I will ever need on British rivers. If I wanted to cast further then I would buy a pin with the lightest possible spool, and this is probably not that reel, but I'm not entertaining the idea of entering tournament centre pin casting competitions ( if indeed, such a thing exists?)

What else is there to say?

Well, the ratchet is set about right - it sounds really good when a satisfyingly strong fish rips line off the spool in a headlong rush for freedom. It can be used as a baitrunner too, just set it on a rest and let the fish do the rest. The crucial thumb control is easy and precise on the rim of the smooth spool. It comes apart easily, with no fiddly bits to lose. The wooden handles are nice. Oh, and did I forget to mention its value for money? Well consider this. If you are considering dabbling around in the high art of centre pin fishing, and you don't like it at all, then sell the reel on at 3/4 of the price you paid, and those in the know will bite your arm off.

The Mitchell 300, the ABU 6500 and now perhaps, the Okuma Aventa.

Now, you will have your rated reels, and they will be different models, perhaps by different manufacturers. But, I'll bet they all have the same things in common, and they will be as follows ~

They all combine excellent looks, performance, durability, feel, dependability, lack of pretense, and also a certain charm, with a price that commands attention. But into the bargain they all have this one absolutely crucial quality ~

You would not venture out, into the wilds of nature, without it.

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