Pinnacle OP30 Spinning Reel and DHC5M-701SPML RodPinnacle OP30 Spinning Reel and DHC5M-701SPML Rod
By Mike Goodson
For the last several days I have been field-testing the rod and reel combination described above. My initial impressions of the combo were mixed. Both the rod and reel were real pieces of eye candy. Not surprisingly, the reel had the most ‘bling,’ with porting and carbon-fiber trim around the circumference of the spool.
Perhaps my greatest surprise was the “exploded” drawing of the reel that was included in the box. It measures 10” by 14.” For those of us who like to maintain their own reels, the drawing is a godsend compared to the seemingly postage-stamp drawings provided by other manufacturers.
The rod, with its new Fuji Alconite Model K micro-guides, all twelve of them, was a beauty to behold also. I especially liked the split grips. The cork was first-class, with no pits or blemishes.
The OP30 Spinning Reel
When I removed the reel from the box, I have to confess that I was disappointed with its weight. For a reel composed of carbon fiber in its frame, rotor, and spool, I would have expected it to be much lighter. Instead, it weighs just under ten ounces. In comparison, the Pflueger President, a reel selling for roughly one-third of the price of the OP30, contains two additional bearings, yet weighs in at just over eight ounces. Further, my “hand tuned” reel felt very sluggish when cranked; as if it were over greased. This sluggishness decreased with use, confirming my suspicions.
So how did the reel perform while on the water? Very well. As stated above, the reel initially felt a little sluggish, but its performance improved with use. It was spooled with eight-pound Seaguar InvizX, sprayed with copious amounts of KVD Line & Lure Conditioner. Casting and retrieve were extremely smooth, with no discernible wobble in the rotor or crank. The braking system was also extremely smooth, although I confess I had it set to slip at something around four pounds, as I was trout fishing. I had no opportunity to crank the brakes all the way down to determine how they would work under those circumstances. One neat feature is that the brakes are protected by a rubber seal, which precludes any moisture or debris intrusion. All in all, I was very pleased with the reel, but I had only one day to put it through its paces. I had planned on submitting this write-up after a longer-term test, but a catastrophic event, described below, has precluded me from doing so.
The DHC5M-701SPML Rod
What can I say about that rod? It’s a sweetheart. Although Pinnacle rates it as a Medium Light, it’s every bit a Medium. No matter, its sensitivity is excellent for a rod in that price range, perhaps because of the twelve micro-guides. Also, perhaps because of the twelve micro-guides, it can throw a quarter-ounce lure a seemingly country mile. My fishing buddies were amazed by the distance I could get with that combo. Unfortunately, I did not find that the new Model K guides had any significant impact on the reduction of rod tangle, contrary to what was advertised.
With one exception I was thoroughly pleased with the rod, and would highly recommend it. The exception is that the “knob” (you know, that threaded sleeve thingy) that is used to seat the reel onto the rod is located at the rear of the reel seat. I thought it would be uncomfortable while fishing, but it wasn’t in the least. Unfortunately, I am left-handed, and the location of the knob at the rear of the reel-seat is a handicap for me. Every time I cast, my movements unscrew that knob a little bit. It’s not the first rod that I have owned that has that problem, so I have become accustomed to re-tightening from time to time. In this case I was remiss. At the end of the day, as I was carrying my rods back to the cabin, my brand new OP30 fell out of is seat onto the parking lot. Not two minutes later, as I reached the cabin, I noticed that the reel was missing. I rushed back along my path, but to my dismay, my brand new OP30 reel had been crushed by an SUV.
I would have loved to have had a long term test of the OP30, but such was not the case. My observations are based on only one day of use, so take what I say with the proverbial “grain of salt.” The OP30 is a very nice reel, but there are other reels on the market that, at least in the short term, will perform equally as well at a significantly lower price. However, Pinnacle's use of corrosion proof carbon fiber construction, sealed bearings, and a sealed braking system should guarantee a much longer life-span than that of its lower priced competitors.
The rod is well worth the money, and I highly recommend it. I especially like the micro-guides, although it can be somewhat cumbersome to thread line through twelve of them. It is unfortunate that there is no industry-wide rating system for the “Action” rating of rods, e.g. heavy, medium, light. Having tried their Medium Light rod on my last trout fishing trip, I look forward to trying their Light action on my next trip.
Many of you may remember my review of the Pinnacle Optimus OP30 spinning reel. I fished with the reel for just one day before it fell off my rod and was crushed by an SUV. To make a long story short Pinnacle graciously replaced the reel so I could continue my evaluation. Evaluate it I did!
I was surprised at how smooth the replacement reel felt. It was not overly greased like the first reel. This one handled as though it was hand-tuned, as advertised by Pinnacle.
Shortly after receiving the reel, I departed for a trip to Mexico with hopes of landing the bass of a lifetime. Three Bass Pro Shops medium-heavy XPS Extreme 3-piece rods made the trip. One was a spinning rod, and I had it paired with the OP-30. The reel was spooled with 50-pound TUF-Line Supercast braid, coupled with Seaguar InvizX 20-pound flourocarbon as a leader.
I figured if the Pinnacle OP-30 reel can fish well with 50-pound braid it can hold up to most anything a bucketmouth angler can throw its way.
This served as my soft plastics set up for the entire week. The reel held up like a much better than I expected. The brakes did a superb job even when the rod was bent in half. Knowing I was fishing for large bass, I had them cranked all the way down. The brakes never flinched when I hooked up with a 9-pound bass.
I caught over 50 bass on that trip, and they fought like freight trains. I have no hesitations recommending the Pinnacle OP-30. It was up to the task.
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