OKUMA V System 200 Baitcaster

THE V System 200 low profile baitcaster is a recent release from Okuma. I’ve been using this reel for the past four months in a variety of local and overseas fishing locations and applications. At home, I’ve used the reel for natives and flathead, while overseas I put it up against a famed Malaysian freshwater fighting fish, the giant snakehead, and then in Canada for some of the local trout species. At home and for my Canadian trip I had it spooled with 14lb braid whilst 20lb braid was the line choice for Malaysia.  Here’s my report…

I always start my reports with product cosmetics or how it looks. This is because looks are often the main thing that sells  a product. The pearlescent finish with gold and gun-metal grey trimming gives the V System 200 a classy appearance. Otherwise, apart from the colour scheme, as far as low profiles baitcasters go, it isn’t much different from the rest of the market.

From a value for money perspective, the VS 200 has a few things that really add to its value. For starters, few baitcasters at all, let alone in this price range, come with a spare spool. This reel comes with a standard spool as well as what Okuma term the Inertia Free spool. This large arbor, ported spool is designed to reduce reel weight and allow maximum spool velocity translating to more efficient casting.

From an engineering point of view, the first thing to note is the one-piece aluminium frame, referred to as Alumlite Construction by Okuma. The die cast, one-piece frame means the frame can withstand greater pressure while still keeping the overall reel weight down.  This can be important these days given the weight braid anglers are using on such small reels. Secondly, the reel has nine of the Okuma HPB (High Performance Bearings) which are constructed of high grade stainless steel balls and casing. This bearing system provides smooth operation and high level of corrosion resistance. There are a few final engineering features worth noting. The quickset anti-reverse system provides a nice tight feel to the gearing while the quick access port to the reel’s casting control allows for quick macro adjustments.

Out on the water, I have to confess to being pretty rough on the reel. It copped plenty of knocks and bangs and even ended up in  the drink (freshwater) on a couple of occasions. I cast a wide large of lures types and weights from large heavy spoons and spinnerbaits to small, light minnows.  

I have caught several great fish on the VS 200 and found the drag system on this reel, as with all the Okuma reels I have used, to be excellent. The Carbolite drag system is designed to shed heat and friction quickly and maintain smooth line release. That’s the sales pitch but from an on the water perspective, this drag means that it works smoothly and consistently in a wide range of conditions. I personally used the reel in the extreme tropical heat of Malaysia then only few weeks later in the cold climate of northern Canada and found the drag to be very satisfactory. Totally submerging in freshwater several times didn’t affect the drag at all.

The Carbolite system is also intended to provide a wide range of drag pressures.  While I did find the drag range to be pretty good the top end was a fair way off lock up. As a result, I did find the need to use my thumbs to apply extra pressure on the powerful Malaysian snakehead. In any case, it is certainly smooth.

The casting control system is pretty standard. Six centrifugal adjustable break blocks set the parameters for centrifugal control of  the spool whilst a micro adjustment dial on the side casing applies pressure to the end of the spool spindle.

We spent a bit of time experimenting with break blocks and lure weights and eventually found that a combination of the Inertia Free large arbor spool, 14lb braid and lures as light as a Tilsan Bass, whilst not free of backlashes, was certainly able to cast light lures freely. With a more casting friendly lure, the reel could throw it a very long way.

The Quick Release Access Port gives you immediate access to the brake block system so that changes in lures requiring a change in cast control were very simple and efficient. However, I did find that on several occasions I had inadvertently unlocked the casing. While the side plate didn’t dislodge, I thought the lock was in an awkward position for anglers who palm their reels when retrieving.

As I always seem to say when finishing an Okuma review, these reels offer a technically sound product at a reasonable price. The VS 200 is no different.

Contact: Freetime on (02) 9780 8200; By Patrick Brennan

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