Okuma Guide Select GS-761H and GS-761H Swimbait Rod
Author: Rob Belloni
15-30 and 15 to 40
1-5oz and 2-8oz
Fuji Alconite Concept
Okuma introduced their swimbait rods in mid-2004. These are 7'6" blanks with the Alconite Concept guides, Fuji reel seat, and a rather interesting rear grip that exposes about 8" of the blank between cork sections. The rods are very heavy action and have a reinforced butt section which Okuma calls Evo Graph on the first 3 feet or so of the rod. It's basically a wrapper over the blank to give the butt section extra rigidity and strength.
Most of the Okuma product line is priced to appeal to the mass market, and these rods are no exception. They retail for $89 which is a pretty sweet price for the rod you get. On a price to performance ratio, I don't think you're going to beat it right now on the market.
Unlike some other so called swimbait rods that are just worm or jig rods re-wrapped and re-marked as swimbait rods, these blanks were designed from the ground up to actually throw a big swimbait. These rods are stiff! The GS-C-761H is a very heavy duty rod, and the GS-C-761XH is bordering on being a broomstick. These are rods for heavy rubber and big wood, not for smaller lighter baits. Another bait this rod will work well with is the regular Mission Fish with its huge G-Mag hook. If you swing for fences with these rods, you'll rip the fish about 10 feet in the right direction. They have serious backbone.
The exposed rear grip is kind of interesting. I like it a lot on my Castaway flipping stick, but am somewhat ambiguous on a casting rod. The only real purpose I can see for it is to lighten the rod up. With the rod tucked under your arm, you might get a little more feel, but it's questionable. I do like the round butt end because you can sort of palm it while you cast. Being able to grip the rod there helps makes up for the fact that the rod is only 7'6".
Like a lot of big bait rods, this rod will work out nicely in the ocean. I broke it in on some bass fishing with 5" Big Hammers on the GS-C-761H and it kicks their butt pretty good. And since ocean fish don't jump, you don't have to worry about tearing out the hooks.
So I'm really not kidding about how stiff the rod is. I would not recommend it for the small to medium hardbaits with two hanging hooks because it's the kind of action that can tear the hooks out too easily. You could throw a 9" wood bait on the GS-C-761H and it would be OK, but I still don't think it's ideal.
If you're wondering what the catch is for an $89 rod, the only real catch I can see is the cosmetics. I checked out 4 rods, two of each model. There were some spots where a little glue had gotten into the feet of the guides, and the little hook keeper on one was crooked. Personally, I could do without the hook keeper so I just broke it off and filed it, but whatever, its cosmetics. Just don't think that for $89 you're going to get a perfectly finished beautiful rod. This is function over form.