Okuma Azores Reels Getting Serious Workout in Australia

Here at Okuma USA, we get reports from all over, but here’s a good one with some great photos from our Okuma agents in Australia:

I have been really impressed with the Okuma Azores 55 reel I have been using over the last 3 months.  I took it out fishing with me for over 60 days during this period.  I caught 112 fish on it, mainly kingfish and bluefin tuna, some over 20kg in weight.  I didn’t service it or oil the drag and it stood up to a good bit of a beating.  When I added it up, the reel would have caught over a ton of fish during this period, which is pretty good for a reel that retails for under $200!  I enjoyed using it  and the quick change handle from left to right and the removal of the anti-reverse switch are both great improvements.  I’m sure these reels will represent value for money.


 Scott Gray

Locating and Catching Monster Blue Catfish

by Capt. Scott Manning

Each Spring, I get tons of calls, emails and messages from social media from people wanting to catch a monster blue catfish. It seems to be on everyone’s “bucket list” of big fish. Blue catfish fishing continues to increase in nationwide popularity because of high numbers of fish to be caught and the opprotunity to catch a true monster.

Each year; catfish tournaments like the Cabela’s King Kat and the Monsters on the Ohio attract thousands of anglers all across the US. Blue catfish in the 100-lb. range are popping up all over the US; especially in the Tennessee, James and Mississippi River basins.

Capt. Scott Manning hoists up a giant blue cat

Blue catfish favor water temperatures between 68 and 82 degrees, but they can also thrive in cooler waters. Most waterways in the US hold large numbers of blue catfish with the James, Tennessee, Mississippi, Arkansas and Missouri Rivers holding the true giants.

Finding and catching blue catfish is as simple as locating the food source such as gizzard shad and skip jack herring. Once you do this, you’re able to narrow down specific areas to look for like structure, river bends, drop-offs, ledges and current seams. Big catfish eat and eat a lot; so if your not locating massive schools of bait fish move on. My motto is “Find the Birds – Find the Bait – Find the Fish.”

A team effort help land this big blue

Big blue catfish like current and will be located in and around structure, curves in the river, deeper holes, scour holes and eddies close to shore out of the main current. Blue catfish are extremely opportunistic and will use these river features as ambush spots. They’ll feed on live bait and/or cut bait. There are anglers that swear by the effective use of store baits such as chicken livers, Ivory soap or beef hearts that might tempt you, but nothing works consistently better than freshly caught bait. I use gizzard shad and skip jack herring, and on ocassion live bluegill. Gizzard shad can usually be located in warm water coves out of the main waterway and skip jack are often caught below dams on crappie tackle. Make sure whatever bait you use is legal in your state or region. Blue catfish will investigate anything with a strong odor and fresher bait is always better.

Blue catfish can be caught almost anytime of the year. As water temperatures start to increase into the high 50’s and 60’s the bite will increase. Springtime is an excellent time to target big blue catfish all the way up to the spawn in mid-to-late June when the water temperature reaches 70 to 75 degrees. The the post spawn in mid-August all the way through the fall is an excellent time as well.

Stout tackle is a must for these big fish. I use Okuma Battle Cat rods and Okuma Solterra reels spooled with 40-lb. or 50-lb. monofilament line. I use a simple carolina rig with a 6- to 8-oz. bank sinker and an 80-lb. mono leader. My hook of choice is usually an 8/0 circle hook or a 10/0 Octopus hook. I change hooks and leader line often to ensure a realible rig when that big fish strikes. It’s the little things from your bait to the knots on your terminal tackle that add up to big results with big blue catfish. Be ready because you never know when your going to hook that fish of a lifetime.

The most important thing is just get out there, fish and be safe on the water. Always wear your PFD when or around heavy current and let someone know where your going to be on the water.

Check out this video of a big blue being landed on the Tennessee: Tennessee River Monsters


Okuma’s Mark Lassagne Drags Home New Triton/Mercury Boat with Win

Mark’s 35lbs of bass helped spur the California team to a 1st place finish at the BASS Western Divisional on Clear Lake.

Mark’s main technique was fishing spawning coves looking for fish moving up in grass and then ripping vibrating baits through the grass provoking a reaction strike.

“The bite was tough where you needed to land every single bite making your equipment the most important part of the equation,” Lassagne said.  Using the Okuma 7’ 11” TCS Power Crank coupled with 8.1:1 Helios Reel and 15-lb. fluorocarbon line, Mark was able to land 7 of the 8 bites, which is pretty darn good using treble hooked baits.

The 7’11” Power Crank coupled with the Helios 8.1:1 reel is the perfect combination rod for yo-yoing vibrating baits, you can cast this set up a mile, the rod has the perfect tip action and a backbone to get the big ones hooked up and in the boat.  Many pros lock their drag down because they don’t trust the reel – not the case with the Helios. Mark would set the drag pretty tight and let the big ones strip line just enough so they wouldn’t pull out the hooks, the Helios smooth drag was key to landing more bites.