TCS-C-701MH and Helios TCS Reel ReviewTCS-C-701MH and Helios TCS Reel Review How does this rod and reel combo compare to other brands in this price point? We tell you in this review!
By Jeff Howell
For the past couple weeks, I have used a rod and reel designed by Scott Martin for Okuma Fishing Products. The lineup is called the Scott Martin Tournament Concept Series and the specific rod and reel I have been using are the TCS-C-701MH and a Helios TCS 6.6:1 reel. The rod is rated medium heavy/moderate fast and is listed as a “Martin APC” (all-purpose crank). The specs are as follows: 3/16-¾ oz. and 8-20lb line. I used 12-pound copolymer line and lures from the lightest of the recommended lure ratings (3/16 oz.) to a little above the ratings (7/8 oz.).
This rod really shines when fishing with ½-ounce lipless and squarebill crankbaits. I had never used a moderate fast rod before this. After fishing with this setup I now understand why these are made. When you want to throw a lipless crank, whether in open water or ripping it out of grass, you want a rod capable of helping your presentation, while also helping you to keep the fish buttoned up. How many of you have used a medium or medium heavy/fast rod and lost fish with a squarebill or lipless crankbait? I know I have.
I always blamed this on not getting a good hookset, or the fish not fully committing to the bite. I think the failure was due to neither scenario. Rather, it was due to the rod I was using. This rod solves the issue.
It has enough backbone to set the hook, yet a little extra parabolic action to help keep the fish buttoned up when using a bait that has treble hooks. I can see this rod doubling as an effective jerkbait rod as well as a topwater rod.
The rod features EVA split grips and a foregrip. This gives the 7-foot rod a nice balance. The foregrip is unique. It threads down to hold the reel in the reel seat which reduces the chance of gumming up or stripping out the threads. The reel seat is a customized C-40X carbon design which further reduces the weight of this 4.6 ounce rod.
The ALPS stainless guide frames house a hard aluminum oxide guide insert good for use with all types of fishing lines including braid. The intermediate sized guides themselves are smaller than traditional guides, to help reduce weight, yet are not the size of micro guides, which sometimes cause problems when using braided lines with leaders. The Tournament Concept rods are also backed by Okuma's limited lifetime warranty.
The reel is the Scott Martin designed Helios TCS 6.6:1 reel. At 6.3 ounces, it complements the rod into a less than 11 ounce combo. Now that is light! They achieve these lightweight specs by using quality aluminum in the frame, sideplates, spool, gears and shafts. The drag system is a multi-disc carbonite drag system with a micro-click drag star for precise drag setting adjustments.
Aesthetically they match perfectly with the flat black and blue colors matching to a tee, and the reel has the CRC: Corrosion-Resistant Coating process to help protect the finish. I found the 6.6:1 ratio reel with about 28.5” inches per turn (IPT), to be a good choice of speed for the cranks I was throwing. The reel is also available in 7.3:1 with 31.5” IPT and a super fast 8.1:1 with 35” IPT for topwater and any other technique you want super fast line pick up!
So, if you are looking for a nice combo at a good price point to throw shallow diving cranks and lipless cranks as well as jerkbaits and topwaters, I recommend you check these out. Compared to other brands in this price point, I think you will be hard pressed to find a lighter combo out there. So if fatigue is something you struggle with, or something you anticipate struggling with, look no further!
Grow your fishing skills and improve your angling effectiveness.
Subscribe to the free weekly BassResource newsletter.