Okuma Solterra SLX Review: Powerful Options In Lever Drag Reels

Okuma Solterra SLX reels bring over many of the same features that make the Makaira series such a success. Features such as Thrust Force Bearings and Double Dog Silent Anti Reverse add immediate value and amplify the reels. Protective armor on the outside and powerful systems inside make Solterra SLX reels worth a closer look. The line up also offers plenty of options for different setups. You’ll find small open face reels with high-speed gears as well as standard single-speed models. The Okuma Solterra SLX series also offers smaller level wind reels in addition to heftier two-speed options.

Okuma Solterra SLX Reels

Okuma Solterra SLX Two-Speed Lever Drag Reel
The Okuma Solterra SLX Two-Speed Lever Drag Reel

Product: Okuma Solterra SLX Lever Drag Reels. Includes High Speed, Single Speed, Two Speed, & Level Wind Models.

Overall Ranking: 86 out of 100.

Price: Mid to Lower Mid Range.

Company/Owner: Okuma Fishing Tackle Corp.

Website: OkumaFishing.com.

Introduction To Okuma Solterra SLX Reels

Welcome to a series with a huge range of options for saltwater anglers. With small inshore 10-15 size models to larger offshore choices, Okuma Solterra SLX Reels cover a wide variety of uses. The series breaks down into four distinct categories, each suggestive of a different style of fishing.

Okuma Solterra SLX Reel Logo

Two small open top frame models, size 10 & 15, fish high-speed gearing at a ratio of 6.0:1. Single and two-speed models feature closed tops with a cross-bar and harness lugs. Select reel sizes in 20, 30, or the wide spool 50. Finally, 3 level wind reels close out the series with size offerings of 10, 15, and 20.

Features of the Okuma Solterra SLX draw upon proven company technologies. The addition of extra-sturdy frames and full protection from saltwater harm results in reels both durable and effective on the ocean. At a price most reasonable within the realm of saltwater reels, it’s tough to not take a closer look at Solterra SLX reels.

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Okuma Solterra SLX Reel Models, Specs, & Features

Models

Solterra SLX High-Speed Models

• SLX-10CS     • SLX-15CS

Okuma Solterra SLX Level Wind Models

• SLX-10L     • SLX-15L     • SLX-20L

Solterra SLX Single-Speed Models

• SLX-20     • SLX-30     • SLX-50W

Okuma Solterra SLX Two-Speed Models

• SLX-20II     • SLX-30II     • SLX-50WII

Specifications

Okuma Solterra SLX High-Speed Reel Specs

Okuma Solterra SLX High Speed Reel
Okuma Solterra SLX-10CS High-Speed Reel

The Okuma Solterra SLX collection offers two open top high-speed reels in sizes 10 & 15. They don’t come with the top crossbar or the harness lugs you see on the two-speed models. The fastest reels in the series, both have gear ratios of 6.0:1. Like the other Solterra SLX models, the high-speed reels use 5 bearings and 2 thrust bearings. They also employ an anti-reverse bearing in addition to the double dog anti-reverse system.

Of the two models, the 10 is the lightest and weighs 23.3 ounces. It offers a maximum drag capacity at full lever setting of 22 lbs. Set the lever to strike and get 15 pounds of drag. The size 15 model weighs just a little more at 24.6 ounces and offers exactly the same drag capacity as the size 10 reel.

Okuma Solterra SLX reels rate for monofilament line and offers length vs diameter measurements as most reels do. The size 10 model is suitable for mono of 15, 20, and up to 25 lb test. That gives an angler length choices of 380 yards, 290, or 230 yards respectively. Moving up in size to the 15 model does provide better line capacity. It holds 20, 25, or 30 lb mono test at 420, 340, and 280 yards respectively.

Level-Wind Reel Specs

Okuma Solterra Level Wind Reel
Okuma Solterra SLX-10L Level-Wind Reel

The main feature and most obvious difference in these three models is the level-wind mechanism. This feature guides the line back onto the spool evenly as you retrieve, but it’s not always favorable in larger size reels. Okuma seems to think this through and only offers it in size 10, 15, and 20 models. The size 10 and 15 models are a tad lighter than the high-speed Solterra reels, and weigh in at 21 and 22.7 ounces. The larger size 20 model jumps up to a weight of 36.5 ounces.

Though the level-wind models don’t have the high-speed gearing, they still provide decent retrieve. Both the 10 & 15 models have a gear ratio of 4.2:1, while the larger size 20 reel drops to 3.5:1. Drag capacities of the size 10 & 15 models match the high-speed reels with a full stop of 22 lbs and strike of 15. The size 20 Okuma Solterra SLX Level-Wind Reel offers the most drag with the full stopping power of 33 pounds and a strike resistance of 26 pounds.

Line capacities of the size 10 & 15 Solterra level-wind reels match exactly to those of the high-speed models above. The size 20 level-wind model is a heavier option and gives the ability to hold mono line starting at 25-pound test. You’ll wrap 530 yards of mono with the 25 lb test, 440 yards with 30 lb test, or 370 yards with 40 lb mono.

Note: The size 10 & 15 level-wind models keep the anti-reverse bearing while the size 20 reel drops its use.

Single Speed Specs

Okuma Solterra Lever Drag Reel
Okuma Solterra SLX-30 Lever Drag Reel

Anglers have three models to choose from within the Okuma Solterra SLX single-speed lineup. Their sizes begin on the small end with the SLX-20, move up to size 30 and top out in the 50W (wide spool) reel. All reels in the Solterra SLX single and two-speed lineups feature a closed frame, as well as the top cross-bar with harness lugs. These are 5 bearing reels plus the two thrust bearings and do not feature the anti-reverse bearing.

Stepping up in size from the lighter high-speed and level-wind Solterra models, the single-speed reels also gain some weight. The size 20 sits at 34.7 ounces while the 30 weighs 35.9 oz. Move up to the heaviest Solterra SLX-50W and expect more weight at 52.5 ounces. Gear ratios on the single-speed reels are standard at 3.5:1 on the size 20 & 30 models, and 3.1:1 on the SLX-50W.

Drag capacity on the lighter 20 & 30 models is the same with full resistance of 33 pounds and a strike setting of 26 pounds. The largest size 50W single-speed Solterra gives more drag. Its strike setting offers 32 pounds of resistance and you get 40 pounds at full.

As for line capacity, size 20 & 30 models both recommend mono between 25 and 40 pounds but have different size spools. The SLX-20 will give between 370-530 yards of mono line while the SLX-30 jumps to 490-700 yards. Go with the heaviest SLX-50W and fill it with mono between 50-100 pound test. You’ll get an estimated 640-310 yards of line depending on the test you choose.

Two Speed Specifications

Okuma Solterra Two Speed Reel
Okuma Solterra SLX-20II Two-Speed Reel

Okuma Solterra SLX two-speed reels mirror the single-speed models in many ways. All reels offer the closed frame with the cross-bar and harness lugs. Their sizes match with the 20, 30 and 50W models as do their line capacity specifications. Interestingly enough, the drag capacities of Solterra SLX single and two-speed models are also exactly the same.

The big difference that shows is most obviously the two-speed gearing, but it doesn’t result in reels that are too much heavier. There’s only a small increase in weight from the single to two-speed models as you see beginning with the SLX-20II which is 35 oz. Size 30II and 50WII also show just a slight weight increase at 35.9 and 53.3 ounces.

In high gear, the size 20 & 30 two-speed Okuma Solterra SLX reels are actually faster than their single-speed counterparts. They have a ratio of 3.8:1 vs the 3.5:1 of the single-speed models. Drop them into low gear and they offer a ratio of 1.7:1. With the largest 50WII Solterra SLX reel, you’ll get a high gear ratio of 3.1:1 and drop down to 1.3:1 when you so desire.

Main Features Of Okuma Solterra SLX Reels

Corrosion Resistant Durable Frame

All Okuma Solterra SLX reels begin with quality graphite machined into a durable frame. The resulting design offers top stress tolerances and extreme resistance against saltwater elements.

Stainless Steel Gears & Shafts

Stainless Steel GearingFor strength and durability in harsh saltwater environments, nothing stands up like stainless steel. The Okuma Solterra SLX series puts it to good use in the main and pinion gears and shafts.

Side Plate Reinforcement Rings

As an extra measure of durability and performance against the stresses incurred by powerful gamefish, Solterra SLX reels include side plate rings. These rings are stainless steel and act as support inside the side plates.

Forged Aluminum Spool w/ Line Indicators

Spools on Okuma Solterra SLX reels are forged aluminum and they include line indicator rings. A sturdy design and quality aluminum provide durability and the indicator rings tell an angler where their line is at all times.

Multi-Disc Carbonite Drag System

Carbonite Drag WashersOkuma Solterra Reel design includes their multi-disc carbonite drag system. The system features a layer of carbon discs and uses Cal’s Drag Grease to provide constant lubrication. The result is consistent drag pressure across the range of settings with almost no wear over long periods of time.

Five Stainless Steel Shielded Bearings

All Okuma Solterra Reel models use 5 shielded stainless steel ball bearings. Again the use of stainless steel is important to ward off corrosion. The shields cover the bearing housing so that grit and grime can’t enter and break down the balls.

Two Thrust Bearings For Easy Grinding

For those saltwater anglers that appreciate some help while reeling up heavy loads, thrust bearings do the trick. Okuma claims that thrust bearings reduce force against the handle by up to 50%, making it much easier to turn when the battle is on.

Silent Double Dog Anti-Reverse

While only some models use an anti-reverse bearing, all Okuma Solterra SLX Reels use a double dog silent system. Instead of a one-way roller bearing, the dual dog system uses ratchet-like teeth to catch in one direction only.

Ratcheting Lever Drag

Lever drags on Soterra models move position and click like a ratchet as they do so. Anglers can feel the precision of the lever as they move it to the resistance setting they desire.

Additional Features On Select Models

Dual Anti-Reverse 

Okuma Solterra SLX high-speed models come with dual anti-reverse systems, as do the size 10 & 15 level-wind models. This means they have they double dog anti-reverse systems that come with all models. They also include the reinforcement of an anti-reverse bearing.

Stainless Steel Body Armor

Okuma designs what they call Body Armor into all Solterra SLX 20-50 models. This includes only the single and two-speed reel models. If there was any frame twist under heavy pressure before the addition of Body Armor, there sure isn’t afterward.

Ergo Grip Knob Or T-Bar Handle

Ergo Grip Knob
Ergo Grip Knob

Anglers will find an Ergo Grip Knob at the end of the handle on all Solterra SLX models with the exception of size 50W. A move up to the heaviest SLX-50W or SLX-50WII makes the change over to a T-bar style grip instead of the Ergo Grip knob.

Level-Wind & Low Profile Clicker

All Okuma Solterra SLX Reels come with a low-profile clicker. Set it to sound off while trolling or in the set position. The level-wind models feature the line guide mechanism with a wide mouth. It is made up of stainless steel with Titanium plating to reduce line friction.

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Pros & Cons Of Okuma Solterra SLX Reels

Pros

Probably the most pleasing aspect anglers will discover about Okuma Solterra SLX Reels is their mid-range prices. For reels that boast such a large number of attractive features, what Okuma asks is a bargain indeed.

It goes without saying it too loud that the Solterra SLX series has a decent variety of options. It’s nice to see the high-speed reels in offshore models, though they are only in the smaller sizes. Level-wind options are also fine for inshore fishing and do help with line control on lighter gear.

Cons




Though the Solterra SLX series offers durability in materials, it does have a lot of moving systems. That definitely adds up to more parts inside of the reel which require maintenance. It also means there are more systems that can potentially become troublesome. The series offers incredible value at the asking price, but this usually means it will suffer some amount in craftsmanship.

The fact that the reel frames consist of graphite material is always a concern among anglers, as it should be. Graphite simply won’t stand the ultimate test of time that aluminum frames will live up to. That doesn’t mean that graphite frames suffer incredibly in performance, especially when measures like steel reinforcement rings and body armor exist.

Best Fishing Style To Accompany Okuma Solterra SLX Reels

Tuna Fish In MotionPerfect for saltwater applications whether it’s fly-lining live bait for offshore tuna or casting inshore swimbaits. The addition of the high-speed models allows for fun lighter line fishing on the vertical jig or surface where fast action is required. Then, of course, there are the two-speed reels which are perfect for times the bigger size species come into range of the offshore fleet.

Okuma Customer & Reel Support

Okuma customer care is among the best in the business. All products may be registered on their website. In the case of reel failure and to begin the warranty process, submit your ticket to the Okuma Service Center. From there the repair process begins with centers available around the world.

Last Thoughts On Okuma Solterra SLX Reels

Overall Ranking: 86 out of 100 offshore anglers approve of Okuma Solterra SLX Reels

With a wide range of saltwater applications and plenty of powerful features, Okuma Solterra Reels offer high value. Anglers can put them far above reels like the Penn Warfare, and even Diawa Seagate models have a tough time comparing. The graphite frames are always a point of concern with offshore reels, but they sure drive the asking price down.

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