Monday, 11 November 2013

Reel Review...Okuma Coronado Baitrunner Reel

Above is the reel I bought for my Thailand fishing trip. It's a heavy-quality looking real with a "Baitrunner" feature (which Okuma calls "Baitfeeder" for copyright reasons). I actually bought two, the 55a that you see here and its much bigger brother the CD80a. It's worth noting that the 55a is still a pretty big reel which given its size should have been able to handle what I've thrown at it so far.

Now, here is the reel I SHOULD have bought for the trip:

This really is a true "Baitrunner" and it's made by Shimano. Since coming to Thailand for our four month fishing adventure I've spoken to quite a few people who swear by these reels.

Until today I though I was doing OK with my Okuma Coronado 55a but that all changed when something snapped inside the reel as a fish took the bait and rendered it (the reel) useless. It completely locked up and the fish snapped the line.

The reel hadn't been used all that much, probably only for 7 days of fishing in total. I've been using the bigger Okuma Coronado CD80a a lot more. Unfortunately it probably has the same internals (perhaps a bit better built, I hope) than its smaller brother but I honestly don't fancy its chances of being a lifetime reel.

I tried to open the broken reel so that I could have a good swear when I inevitable discovered that I couldn't fix it and it clearly needs someone with more brains and a LOT more time and tools than I have to spare. I failed to get it open. I know that Baitrunners/Baitfeeder style reels are not easy to work on. I'm in Thailand, I've got better things to do than spend hours fiddling with a duff reel. So, I had a good swear at the intact but useless reel anyway.,

 Bottom line, if you're looking for the best reel for fishing for the big ones in Thailand don't be cheap like I was. Spend the extra money and buy the Shimano. Bruce Dale, owner of Teak Tree Lake (and several hundred monster fish too) says he has had his for YEARS with no problems. They're part of the tackle he supplies to his guests. Bruce has FIVE official world record fish species to his name so I'm going to go out on a limb here and call him an expert.

My Okuma lasted for just a few fishing sessions. Tomorrow I'm off to one of the tackle shops in Chiang Mai to buy a Shimano Baitrunner. It's going to cost me about 30% more than I would have paid on Amazon. Lesson learned!


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