For the last 20 years, I’ve kept an Okuma spinning reel or three in my arsenal. I bought my first Okuma at an Academy Sports around 1999 because it was the first spinning reel I had seen that advertised 10 ball bearings. I picked it up for about $50 and liked it so much I went back and bought another after I got paid again. Though I’ve had Okumas in my spinning reel lineup for that long, I also hadn’t bought a new one in more than five years. I was perusing the FishUSA site recently and saw the new Epixor XT from Okuma and I got that itch again. Will it be as good as the others? How will it hold up? Is it worth the money?
It’s no secret to me that Okuma has had a couple of misses over the years. They did a rapid expansion of baitcasters a little over five years ago and it quickly shrank back to a few offerings. Sometimes you have to stick with what you really know and that’s spinning reels. The evolution of the Epixor look has changed pretty dramatically since 2000 as well. The question remains, is it better or just more futuristic-looking?
About the Okuma Epixor XT
Featuring groundbreaking Torsion Control Armour (TCA) technology, the Okuma Epixor XT High-Speed Spinning Reels provide a stronger, more durable reel construction for maximum stability by eliminating reel stem twisting and keeping the gears properly aligned when under heavy loads. They also feature a corrosion-resistant graphite body and rotor that is perfect for anglers who explore both fresh and saltwater environments. Precision machine-cut brass gears and a 7+1 stainless steel bearing drive system ensure the super-smooth operation and effortless casts as well.
Another key element of the Okuma Epixor XT High-Speed Spinning Reels is their multi-disc, Japanese oiled felt drag washers that deliver buttery-smooth drag, even when fighting the most aggressive game species with a heavy-duty line. A slow oscillation system also improves line lay and distribution across the spool. Available in high-speed gear ratios that pick up more line than conventional spinning reels for every turn of the handle, the Okuma Epixor XT High-Speed Spinning Reels offer feature-packed performance at a price that can’t be beaten.
- TCA: Torsion Control Armor reduces twisting
- Multi-disc, Japanese oiled felt drag washers
- Stainless steel bearings
- Quick-Set anti-reverse bearing
- A precision, machine-cut brass pinion gear
- Slow oscillation system for improved line lay
- Corrosion-resistant graphite body and rotor
- CFR: Cyclonic Flow Rotor technology
- C-40X Carbon Fibre Technology
- Rigid metal handle design for strength
- Machined aluminum, 2-tone anodized spool with LCS lip
- Heavy-duty solid aluminum bail wire
- RESII: Computer balanced Rotor Equalizing System
- 1-K woven carbon fiber drag knob
Okuma Epixor XT : The Good
The first thing that caught my attention was the Epixor XT price. You can buy one (depending on size) for $65-$85. At that price you also get a reel that is freshwater AND saltwater capable. Most reels in that category start at $99 and go up. The other thing I noticed when I was catching fish was how smooth the drag was. I loaded it up with 20 pound Power Pro and an FC Sniper leader. Paired with a medium rod and fishing finesse in the grass, I needed a good drag and the Epixor XT delivered.
Having the higher gear to retrieve baits quicker and catch up on a fish charging at me was a big plus for me as well. Several times I’d have a bass try to race under my kayak and the XT allowed me to gain back the slack quickly and keep pressure.
The heavy duty bail is something the second generation of Epixors went to and it’s a good move. The heavy duty size keeps accidental drops from bending the bail out of whack. Once the bail loses it’s shape it can get a lope in the retrieve and it becomes very annoying. This was a Gen 1 issue that I was glad to see corrected a while back.
I tested the reel on a medium action G.Loomis e6X as well as an Okuma Citrix 4 piece travel rod. The line came off the spool equally as easy even with the different guide sizes. It’s rather efficient and didn’t present any issues with wind knots in both of the outings I spent with it (both in wind).
Okuma Epixor XT : Points of Improvement
I’m not a huge fan of foam grips though I know many are. I’d love to see this offered with a rubberized grip option. And full disclosure, the foam wasn’t my thing when they introduced it on the Trio reels several years ago. It feels a little bit small and for live bait anglers or catfish anglers, the foam is going to house some funk that’s not easily cleanable.
I’d also like to see a faster drag system developed. The top of spool drag system can take a few cranks to get it up and down which is time you may not have during a fight. Maybe a different gear spacing would allow me to go from free spooling to lock down in fewer turns.
Final Thoughts on the Okuma Epixor XT
I picked the Epixor XT up for $65 at FishUSA brand new with no sales or coupons. I could buy three of these for the price of one Shimano Stradic and while I love my Stradics, if I were outfitting a bunch of new gear, the Okuma Epixor XT is the more affordable choice without giving up a ton of performance. I’m glad I took a chance on the Epixor XT and glad to know that Okuma is still making great spinning reels at a very affordable price point.