Okuma has been making some serious waves in the fishing industry lately, leaping from relative obscurity to respected brand in short order. Part of their rapid climb up the ladder has been a series of innovative and fresh ideas, none more so than the Okuma Trio series.
We’ll admit, the Trio series looks cool – kinda like a Stealth fighter – is priced right (around $75) and boasts a laundry list of interesting features… but how does it fare out in the real world? We aimed to find out!
The main two features of the reel are what Okuma calls “Crossover Body Design” and “Crossover Spool Design.” Beginning with the former, instead of the single side-plate design for the body you see on most reels, Okuma uses a stamped aluminum stem with two graphite side plates. The idea here is that stamped aluminum is stronger than the die-cast stuff, so there is less chance for the gear and shaft housing to flex, keeping everything in alignment. The graphite side plates help reduce the overall weight.
According to Okuma, the Trio spool construction utilizes a multi-piece construction, housing the drag system in an Aluminum Drag Chamber for added stability and smoothness, while utilizing a lightweight graphite housing for weight reduction and distinctive styling.
The reel also features what the manufacturer calls its Dual Force Drag (DFD) system built with multi-disc Japanese-oiled felt drag washers on top of the spool and a carbon fiber drag washer on the bottom. This DFD system provides tension on the spool from both the top and the bottom – which they say makes the system smoother and better at dissipating heat. The Trio also has a Hydro Block watertight drag seal.
The Trio’s Hybrid rotor is made of stamped aluminum and graphite, which they say, also helps keep the flexing down – which especially important when using braid or pulling on big fish… both of which we did a lot of during the tests.
One other thing that was immediately appealing about the Trio was the heavy duty, solid aluminum, anodized bail wire, which looked burly as hell.
Other important features include the Trio’s Corrosion Resistant Coating Process, Corrosion Resistant, High Density Gearing, rigid forged aluminum handle and computer-balanced Rotor Equalizing System (RESII).
We used the Trio 30, which has:
- 9 stainless steel ball bearings + 1 roller bearing
- 5.0:1 gear ratio (there’s a high speed, 6.2:1 ratio model available too)
- 25″ Line retrieve per crank
- Line capacity: 200/6; 160/8 and 110/10
- Price: Around $75
On the Water Test
I started using this reel last fall while drifting roe for big fall Chinook salmon. Normally, I’d never use a reel this small for kings, but in the interest of this test, I took it out for a little roughhousing to see how it would hold up. Well, we caught around 15 or 20 kings on the Trio 30 (spooled up with 30lb. braid) and were very impressed with the drag system.
The reel were subjected to extreme pressure from kings that took long and steady runs and braided line and it held up well without showing any signs of wear and tear. I also had some clients drop it on the deck and the heavy gauge bail hung tough.
Satisfied with the Trio’s performance with the kings, I then took it on a steelhead fishing mission to see how it would handle the lightning quick runs of coastal rainbows. This time, however, it was spooled up with 10-pound mono.
The reel casted beautifully but its super smooth drag was what really shined when I hooked several chrome dandies. The fresh from the salt steeies were hot and could burn 30-40 yards of line in an instant. Because the water was clear, I was using 8-pound leader and the buttery drag kept me from having any breakoff issues.
On that trip, I dropped my entire rig into the water as I was helping a buddy land a fish. The Hydro Block drag seal seemed to do its job because I never had any changes in the drag’s smoothness the rest of the trip. In fact, I totally forgot the reel even went in the drink until now.
I’ve only used the reel now for about 6 months so I can’t vouch for its longevity, though between the kings and steelies, I’ve probably put it through more pain and suffering than most size 30 reels should see in a lifetime. I can say that I had a couple favorite reels with me on my latest trip and, subconsciously, I kept grabbing the Trio every morning, which, to me speaks volumes about how the reel felt in my hand and how it performed. You know how it is… a clunker quickly gets put on the bench.
But for me, it really comes down to the drag. I’m sure a Stella or Steez or any of those other $500 reels probably has a nicer drag system, but I’ve never had a reel with as smooth a drag as the Trio… including some in the $200 range. The word that kept popping into my head when a big king or steelie was ripping line was “luxurious,” which is an odd word for a reel drag but that’s just how it felt.
Overall, I feel the Trio performed like a reel that should cost at least twice as much. I really can’t complain about it other than the fact that I wish it had a wider spool with more line capacity. With those steelies and the mono, I felt like I didn’t have a lot of room to mess around if a fish decided to make a serious run. Also, it’s kinda of a bummer that it doesn’t come with a spare spool. Other than that, I’ve been extremely satisfied so far.
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