Today’s TSP Amazon Item of the day is the Okuma Avenger ABF Bait Feeder Reel. Just two years ago I had never even heard of Okuma Reels. A friend named Jeff was at our fall event and had two he bartered with on the barter blanket. Another friend and I both acquired one of them.
These reels are amazing and for the price they are flatly fing amazing! I have used 200 dollar reels that were no smoother than these are. As many of you know I am a huge fan of Mitchell Reels and I highly recommend the Mitchell 300 for lighter set ups. Well after two years I have now standardized on the Okumas. My family history with Mitchell goes back 20 years before I was born, so this is no small thing. To be clear I still love Mitchell reels but Okuma has just built a better product in this price point.
The first one I got was the ABF65 and it is a substantial reel, designed for larger fish like small to medium sharks in the surf or really big catfish. I have this one teamed up with a custom made rod by Black Pelican Rods. It is now my go to for sharks and big fish on Texas surf trips.
The feature I really and I mean really love on this reel is called the “bait feeder drag”. What this allows you to do is use a second drag setting for the reel when your bait is out. You can set this very light, your line all stays nice on the reel but when a fish takes the bait the line feeds out as it begins its run. Simply turning the reel a half turn engages your standard drag and the fight is on.
Many bait casting reels have settings similar to this, but this was the first spin caster to have this feature. There are quite a few others now but Okuma to my knowledge was the first to do it.
The Avenger ABF series comes in quite a few sizes, they are outlined in this table.
Since starting out with the ABF65 I have purchased multiple ABF30s and two ABF20s. To me the sort of perfect all around reel is the ABF30. On my trips to Florida I hate taking and odd case to check a long surf rod so I rely on a 4 piece rod by Browning called the Safari Rod. Unfortunately it is not longer available. In any even this rod fits in a case that goes in my standard roller suit case. The ABF30 is that everyday reel that isn’t over kill on a 1/2 pound pan fish and yet I have landed large mackerel, catfish, snook and sea trout on it. I have in fact landed fish well over 20 lbs on this reel and not felt out gunned at all.
That said if you want a reel for bigger fish, the ABF65 is amazing. It also comes with a second spool so that you can have a second one all ready to go. So if big fish are in your future check out the ABF65 and you could do a lot worse than pairing it up with a Ugly Stick Big Water Series 1100 9 foot rod if a custom rod is out of your budget. For all around fishing check out the ABF30 and for those light action set ups the ABF20 is a beautiful option. I have not used the ABF40, ABF50 or the ABF90 but based on my experience with the other three models, I have no doubt they will be excellent reels as well.
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