Review – Okuma Helios Tournament Class Series (TCS) Rod and ReelReview – Okuma Helios Tournament Class Series (TCS) Rod and Reel Does the Mat Daddy rod live up to the hype? What about the TCS reel? We tell you the results of our tests inside!
By Mike Goodson
I had the opportunity of putting an Okuma TCS rod and reel through their paces. Knowing that I would soon be heading for Toledo Bend, located on the Texas/Louisiana border, I chose to evaluate the Okuma TCS Helios Mat Daddy, coupled with the Okuma Helios TCS HTC-266V reel.
Toledo Bend is famous for its abundant stick-ups, and hydrilla mats so thick that they seem to prevent nothing less than a tugboat from getting through. I couldn’t think of a better place to test the Mat Daddy. The rod, a TCS-C-7111H, designed by Scott Martin, is a beautiful piece of work to look at. The lower one-third of it is gloss black, but it changes to a cobalt blue color along the upper two-thirds of the rod. Matched with the TCS reel, also in black and blue, it’s a great piece of eye candy.
We fished for four days with little success. A cold front moved in and the water temperature dropped by about five degrees. This moved the fish into deep water. Nevertheless, I wanted to give the Okuma rod and reel the opportunity of catching a few fish out of the slop. I confess that I am relatively new to the art of flipping and pitching, so initially I had trouble adapting to a 7’ 11” heavy action rod, with a near 14” long split-grip at the butt.
I had the reel spooled with about fifty yards of 50-pound TUF-Line HeviCore braid, and a one-ounce Siebert jig adorned with a Rage Tail craw trailer. After about an hour of practice, not a little of which was spent removing overruns, I found that I could hit my target with relative ease. I came to the realization that the long split-grip gave me more leverage when tossing the lure.
The rod was very sensitive, comparing favorably with rods costing considerably more than the MSRP of $180 for this rod. Couple the sensitivity of the rod with it having more than enough backbone to haul a 4.5-pound bass through all of that grass and you’ve got yourself a winner.
The reel performed flawlessly, which is what one would expect from a reel in the $200 price range. I did not have the opportunity to test the braking system. Because I was flipping, I turned the brakes off and loosened up on the cast control knob, which I’m sure contributed significantly to my overruns. The drag system worked well, even when I had it cranked all the way down.
In conclusion, I give the Okuma Helios TCS rod and reel high marks. Okuma has now become part of my permanent arsenal.
Here is what Okuma says about the Helios TCS rods and reels.
“Constructed from the finest ultra-responsive 40-ton carbon fiber blanks, Helios mini guide rods unleash incredible sensitivity and power from completed rods that begin at just 3.6-ounces of total weight. Zero foregrip, custom machined aluminum reel threads with Fuji hood, sculpted EVA grips and the ALPS mini guide system complete these premier performers. On the water, it's the balance, refined actions that you'll love.
The included Fuji moveable hook keeper allows for placement best suited to the technique and bait being fished.
Helios Casting Rods
- 40- Ton carbon, ultra sensitive blank construction
- Rods starting in the 3.6 oz range
- Designed with ALPS Mini Guide System
- Ultra hard Zirconium inserts for braided line
- Zero foregrip design for improved balance and weight reduction
- Machined aluminum reel seat thread with Fuji hood
- Durable, lightweight Pac Bay MINIMA reel seat and trigger
- Split grip butt design for reduced weight and improved balance
- Comfortable EVA rear grips
- Fuji moveable hook keeper for precise keeper placement
- Helios rods are backed by a limited lifetime warranty
Helios TCS reels are designed with blue and matte black cosmetics to match up with Okuma’s new TCS rod series designed by Scott Martin.
Helios TCS reels feature:
- ALC: Rigid die-cast aluminum frame and side-plates
- CRC: Corrosion-Resistant Coating process
- A6061-T6 machined aluminum, anodized spool
- Heavy duty, aluminum gears and shafts
- Multi-disc carbonite drag system
- Micro-click drag star for precise drag settings
- 8BB+1RB stainless steel bearing drive system
- Precision Japanese ABEC-5 spool bearings
- Quick-Set anti-reverse roller bearing
- New light weight 7-position Velocity Control System
- Ergonomic handle design allows cranking closer to body
- Lightweight at only 6.3 oz.
- Zirconium line guide inserts for use with braided line
- Available in 6.6:1, 7.3:1 and 8.1:1 gear ratios
- Available in right hand retrieve
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