Pinnacle Optimus XT / Perfecta DHC5-701CAMH Combo Revew
By Scott Brown
About a month ago I obtained a Pinnacle Optimus XT and Perfecta DHC5-701CAMH Combo. Right out of the box I could see that this set-up was not your 'run-of-the-mill' combo. Once I strapped the XT to the Perfecta it was obvious that it was on a different level. The first thing I noticed was that it balanced out well, something that is not common to find when split-grip rods are involved. A typical split grip combo tends to be tip-heavy. Not this one. This set-up balanced out about 1-inch in front of the reel. It feels great in hand. I immediately loaded the reel with 12-pound Berkley Fluorocarbon.
On the water, the XT/Perfecta really shines. The Optimus XT is easy to dial in whether you’re throwing a small jig or a heavy Carolina Rig. In my opinion, the drag system is what separates a good reel from a bad reel. Clearly, this is a good reel.
My second trip out with it I noticed some shad were jumping, so I moved over to the area in hopes that I could hook up. Well, I got all I asked for and more. I threw a 1/2 oz swimbait to where the shad had been jumping and let it sink for a couple of seconds. On about the third crank with the Optimus the Perfecta loaded up nicely and I set the hook. Almost immediately the drag was humming. The fish was way too strong to be a largemouth and it was making a run going deeper as it stripped drag. I knew right then what it was and I also knew that the drag was going to get a workout. After about 5 minutes of give-and-take, I finally saw what was trying to break my arm as well as my rod and reel. Yep, a striper. A 14-pound striper.
I got the fish in the boat and thought to myself that the Optimus/Perfecta combo did a great job. The rod had plenty of backbone to handle a fish of that size and strength, and just enough give to keep my line from breaking. It was a nice balance. The drag, as I spoke about before, was butter smooth each time it started up, which is very important. If that drag has any catch or hesitation at all while starting up, I don’t land that fish. That goes for any fish that is big enough to strip drag, not just a striper. A 4-pound largemouth can snap your line if your drag isn't up to par. The Optimus XT drag system is up to par.
Besides its good looks, another thing that attracted me to the Optimus XT was the Quick Flip button. On my third trip out with this set-up, I used the Quick Flip pretty much all day, flippin' and pitchin' a jig around docks and isolated cover. It worked like a charm and really comes in handy in these situations. It not only helps you out, it keeps you from wearing out your thumb bar release by having to repeatedly push it every 15 seconds to make a cast. And like all Quick Flip buttons, it locks the spool when released in case something grabs your bait before you can manually turn the handle and get prepared for the hookset. Just let off the Quick Flip and you're ready to drop the hammer when needed. Until that day I had forgotten how nice it was to have the Quick Flip button because none of my current reels have them.
The Perfecta DHC5 rod is a beast. I fished everything with this rod. Swimbaits, finesse jigs, football jigs, a Carolina Rig, etc....and this rod is a HUGE value for the money. It easily competes with a lot of the higher end/high dollar rods that I own and is very light and sensitive. Even the slightest bite creates a vibe on this rod. It's simple, to the point and meant for serious business. The Alconite guides are a nice touch, as is the Fuji blank thru reel seat. It's got a fast taper and plenty of strength to get a bass turned in the right direction. It really is an excellent stick all the way around.
From what I can tell, Pinnacle has done a fantastic job with their Tournament Class reels and Perfecta DHC5 rods. Congratulations to Pinnacle for putting out excellent equipment without the huge price tags. That's really important these days. I see more Pinnacle gear in my future, for sure.