Okuma Makaira Review – Thrust Bearings & Dual Force Drag

The Okuma Makaira began with a vision described using four powerful words: Design, Drive, Drag, and Durability. Okuma set out to change the standards of deep sea reel design by concentrating on performance against the most powerful pelagic species. Scroll on down for full disclosure and find out if the Makaira lives up to its hype.

The Okuma Makaira Offshore Reel

Okuma Makaira
Special Edition Model

Product: The Okuma Makaira series offshore baitcasting reel.

Overall Ranking: 95 out of 100.

Price: High Range.

Owner: Okuma Fishing Tackle Corp.

Website: Okumafishing.com.

Intro To The Okuma Makaira Offshore Reel

Known for its brilliance in offshore fishing, Okuma worked in tandem with Tiburon Engineering to create the Makaira. Several new patented features evolved as a result of this union helping to deliver a baitcaster worthy of large sharks, full grown tuna, and sailfish.

The care in part selection and sheer amount of “packed in” features offer anglers a competitive edge against species that often “win the fight”. A Carbonite Dual Force Drag system and patented Thrust Bearings provide examples of two such features sitting atop a plentiful list.

Okuma Makaira Models, Specs, And Features

Reel Models

Okuma manufactures the Makaira in two different releases. The standard Makaira and the Makaira SEa (special edition) which can both be purchased by anglers in 7 models that range in size from 10-130. Makaira models are as follows from smallest to largest:

• MK-10II     • MK-15II     • MK16-II     • MK-20II

• MK-30II     • MK-50II     • MK-130II

 

Okuma MakairaOkuma also offers the Makaira SEa Special Edition reel making it available to fishermen in the same sizes and models as the standard Makaira. The regular model and the special edition can easily be identified by the gold color of the Makaira and the gun smoke appearance of the Makaira SEa.

The gold colored Makaira has an attractive Marlin etched on the sideplate while the gun smoke SEa sideplate outlines a striking yellowfin tuna. The special edition model goes by the exact same model numbers but has the noted SEa ending.

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Reel Specifications

Makaira specifications cover a lot of distance which gives fishermen a wide spectrum of target species. Starting with the smallest MK10-II, anglers get a spool capable of holding 460 yards of 15 pound monofilament line. The largest MK180-II can spool an impressive 400 yards of 80 pound test.

Okuma MakairaOkuma Makaira gear ratios make for power more than speed though smaller models crank noticeably faster. Keep in mind that all Makaira models come two speed equipped with low and high gear ratio’s. The MK10-II cranks at 4.7:1 in high gear and 2.1:1 in low while the largest MK180-II claims 2.2:1 and 1.2:1 ratios.

Makaira reels sit heavier in the hand than many saltwater baitcasters. They start at 26.1 ounces in the lightest 10 model and move up to 167 ounces in the largest 180 reel. The lever drag offers incredible resistance and max drag ratings in two different positions. The strike setting allows fish to run tired at which time the full setting can be employed to finish the battle.

Key Features

There’s a long list of technological features which makes the extra weight of the Makaira understandable. The Okuma Makaira has features built into every function of the reel making it an offshore powerhouse. Take a look at these rod bending technologies:

6061-T6 Aluminum

Okuma MakairaThe highest grade aircraft aluminum chosen for strength and durability make the frame and sideplates of the Makaira. A patented coating covers all open surfaces and adds an anti corrosive property to each reel.

Helical Cut Gears

Okuma’s patented Helical cutting process fine tunes gear meshing resulting in increased torquing power. Meshed gears of this quality provide a smoother reeling motion and help turn the handle when fish put their heads down.

Two Speed System

Okuma MakairaEvery Makaira reel in both the standard and special edition models come 2 speed equipped. Gear ratios change between models so be sure to check exact specifications to match your needs.

Spool Pin System

No more struggling when securing line to the spool. The Okuma Makaira puts an easy tie pin on the spool which facilitates attachment or braided line.

Carbonite Dual Force Drag System

Okuma MakairaIncredible slowing power (drags are never meant to stop fish) with precise drag settings give fishermen added advantage during tough battles. The lever sets into either strike or full position and the dual drag uses Cal’s universal grease for constant lubrication. A cam knob beside the handle adjusts the strength of the lever drag.

Custom Design Thrust Bearings

Okuma MakairaFighting powerful fish on heavy drag settings puts a beating on offshore reels and brings out their weaknesses. Heavy force placed on a reel can bind the gears or push the spool into the frame. Thrust bearings serve to alleviate this pressure enabling better performance during pivotal moments of extreme fishing bouts.

4 Stainless Steel + 1 Anti Reverse Bearing System

Okuma Makaira reel design includes 4 ABEC-5 stainless steel bearings. These bearings meet specifications accepted by the Annual Bearing Engineering Committee who developed the rating system. Each bearing features a rubber seal which greatly increases their lifespan by keeping harmful grit out.

T-Bar Handle

Okuma MakairaA sturdy aluminum handle ends with a rubber grip T-Bar which spins on a graphite insert roller. The T-Bar lays across an angler’s entire hand providing a natural grasp as opposed to the eagle claw grip forced by knob type handles.

Ratcheting Clicker System, Drain Holes, & Screw Ports

All Makaira reels feature a heavy duty clicker which ratchets for precise tension control. Strategically placed drain holes prevent water from overstaying its welcome which adds another anti corrosive element to the reel. Specially designed screw ports protect the hardware and prevent the build up of grime.

Machined Aluminum Thumb Rest, Reel Foot, & Clamp

Okuma MakairaA well placed thumb rest on the lower crossbar improves reel grip while fishing and gives that opposable digit a place to go. A hard anodized aluminum reel foot and clamp provide faithful attachment to your favorite offshore stick.

The Makaira Special Edition Models

The special edition models match the standard version Makaira reels in features but come with a few additions:

Okuma Makaira

Better Free Spool

Open spool bearings added to the SEa increase spool speed up to 2 1/2 times of the standard Makaira. These extra spool bearings come lubricated with TSI-301 oil.

Lower Low Speed Ratio

Drop into low gear with the special edition model and get even more grinding power. The gears on the special edition model turn at a lower ratio than the standard Makaira.

Physical Appearance

Okuma switches from gold to gunsmoke in the special edition model and changes the sideplate etching. Material remains the same though special edition models do come with longer handles than the standard model.

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Pros And Cons Of The Okuma Makaira

Pros

There’s not much I can say that hasn’t already been revealed by the feature descriptions. The Makaira baitcaster brings exactly those four words seen by Okuma’s original vision.

Okuma MakairaDesign – The design team put the Makaira down on paper first. Tiburon engineering pitched in coordinating ideas into possibilities. Countless hours of preparation went into the Makaira before manufacturing began.

Drive – Helical cut gears mesh perfectly and help turn strong stainless steel shafts while thrust bearings disperse heavy force. Makaira drive train forces fish to come along proving Okuma hit their mark.

Drag – The carbonite dual drag system brakes like a charm but the controls round out the entire system. Fine tuning capabilities allow fishermen to take advantage of the drag’s full potential.

Durability – The Makaira baitcaster lasts for the long run with parts and design that support endurance. Not a single reel system goes without strong anti corrosive measures making the Makaira a lifetime product.

Cons




Reels get heavy after hours of use on the ocean and the Makaira isn’t built light. Match the Okuma Makaira MK-30II with the Shimano Trinidad TN30A and you see what I mean. The Makaira weighs 30 ounces while the Trinidad weighs 20.5 ounces. They are different reels but what a huge difference.

Makaira reels aren’t made to be fast and low gear ratio makes it hard to get action from surface iron. The Makaira will cast ok though it’s definitely not a strength.

What Fishing Purpose Is The Makaira Best Suited For?

Okuma MakairaOffshore anglers’s using live or chunk bait for the largest pelagic species would do well to consider the Makaira. Another proper use for larger Makaira models would be on the stern as a troll reel. Pick up a Marlin or Wahoo on the search and drop the Makaira into low gear to finish the fight.

Reel Support

Any questions about the reel are gladly fielded by Okuma through their website. No other reel I’ve heard of offers a 5 year warranty which shows Okuma’s dedication and commitment to the Makaira.

Finishing Thoughts

The Okuma Makaira beast of a baitcaster slams down the locker on the most powerful ocean species. Make short work of Thresher Shark, Swordfish, or trophy Yellowfin Tuna with a reel made to do it. The weight, low speed, and price must be considered but I believe the Okuma Makaira offers top value when put to the proper use. If you’ve used the Makaira or have an opinion on it I’d love to hear. Leave a comment below.

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2 Comments

  1. Blaine Lake

    You really compared the weight of a Mak 30 with a Trinidad 30? Being that the Trini is a much smaller reel no one should be surprised. By the way, the extra heft serves an important purpose; when fish are ripping out drag they create a significant amount of heat and the heftier reels dissipate the heat.

    1. Hey Blaine. The comparison of weight isn’t for anglers like yourself that are familiar with offshore reels. It’s to give beginners some perspective of the size difference. Being that this isn’t a store where you can see the difference, I thought it might be helpful to point out. Great info on the heat dissipation. Thanks. Geoff.

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