Review: Guide Select A Series Swimbait Rod and Citrix 350P ReelReview: Guide Select A Series Swimbait Rod and Citrix 350P Reel A review of the Okuma Guide Select "A" Series swimbait rod and Citrix 350P reel. Discover if they live up to the claims.
By Clayton Westgate
This past year I got my first taste of what Okuma has to offer in rods and reels with the TCS rod and Cerros reel. I was excited to get the chance to try another rod and reel from their lineup. I was even more pleased to learn it would be the highly touted Guide Select "A" Series swimbait rod with a Citrix 350P reel.
The specific rod I chose was the 7' 11" H/MF which will sling baits 1-6 ounces on 15- to 30-pound test and won't wear you out at 7.6 ounces. Along with not wearing you out, it doesn't break the bank at $124.99 msrp. It comes equipped with Fuji K-Concept guides and Fuji Alconite inserts to handle braid if I so choose.
The reel weighs in at 11 ounces, so it's not a lightweight. In exchange though, it holds a whopping 230 yards of 14lb test, with an incredible 25 pounds of drag. It also carries a much lighter price tag than most swimbait reels at $169.99.
I was immediately impressed with the rod. I'm a simple guy, this looked like a simple rod that was built to do its job, not to be flashy. Black with black wraps trimmed in white/silver, it looks nice and clean. I was unaware they had changed from cork to EVA on these rods, but I was happy to see that. I prefer EVA over cork, so that was a nice surprise. The rod feels like it has plenty of backbone, but it’s no pool cue.
The reel is flat black with a nice orange trim. Simply put, it looks sharp. The power handle on this thing is huge, a little too big for my liking but I figured I'd get use to it. Seeing a low profile reel with a bait clicker was different too. It was located well though, so I wasn't worried about hitting it during a retrieve or cast. Not sure I'll ever used that feature, but it's nice to have just in case since I do a fair amount of chasing catfish and the occasional stripers or muskie. The reel is large, but not to the point of being awkward.
I got to spend very little on the water time with this combo, and none of it was productive due to heavy rains making our lakes very muddy and swimbaits very ineffective. I mainly threw a Dep's 175 Slide Swimmer, Savage Gear 6" 3D line thru bluegill, or Savage Gear Slide Swimmer 180 in my time that I did get to fish with it and it handled the baits easily. The rod loads nice and evenly and allowed me to cast accurately. The reel cast the bait with little effort, but there is a distinct whine during the cast (something like an older Abu round reel), and I occasionally missed the power handle to start my retrieve. I felt I could fish those larger baits with ease with this combo as it made casting and retrieving 2- to 4-ounce baits a breeze. I had one strike on the 3D bluegill but it failed to hook up so I did not have a chance to fight and land a fish on the combo.
All told, I was impressed and enjoyed fishing with this combo. I think I will end up switching the handle out on the reel so it will be better suited for continuous casting and retrieving, but that was the only real obstacle I encountered while using this rod and reel as the rest of my time using it was great. If you're in the market for a rod and/or reel to fling big baits around, I highly suggest giving these two a look.
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