½ to 5oz
Fuji Alconite Concept
The Okuma Guide Select model GS-C-761MH came out in the spring of 2006. This Medium Heavy 7’6” rod is the third addition to Okuma’s popular line of Guide Select swimbait rods and features an IM8 Graphite blank, cork grips, Fuji reelseat and 9 Fuji Alconite Concept guides plus the tip top. These rods retail for approximately $89.
When Okuma released their H and XH swimbait rods they offered fishermen a serious swimbait rod designed to throw the big heavy baits. Unlike some other rod manufacturers who rate their rod actions as H and XH when the rods can’t really handle the heavy baits, Okuma’s ratings on those rods were accurate. The tradeoff there was that Okuma wasn’t offering anything for the guys who want to fish the 5-7” baits and some of the hanging hook hardbaits that fish better on a softer rod. With the release of the MH, Okuma rounds out their swimbait rod lineup with a solid offering for these types and styles of baits.
The action of the MH is a smooth continuous taper with no specific point on the rod where it closes off. The butt section is stiff but not nearly as stiff as the H and XH models where the rod almost completely stops flexing a foot or so above the handle. The MH responds and recovers quickly and does not have any whip or wobble to it. I’ve spooled this rod with 17, 20, and 25lb test and it feels well matched with any of these line tests. The rod is rated down to 12lb test but I can’t see using anything less than 15 on this rod.
With the growing number of small swimbaits on the market, there are a broad range of lures that come to mind when I think about what matches up well with this rod. Okuma rates the rod for 1/2oz to 5oz lures and I feel like that is a very accurate rating. The type of baits that come to mind immediately are 6-8” hardbaits like Monster Jack, AC plug, or MS Slammer , 4-7” leadhead style swimbait like Fish Trap, Big Hammer, AA, etc, any of the popular bluegill imitators like Mattlures, Bettencourt and Rago, and small rodents like the Rago, Bettencourt and 22nd Century Nezumaa, etc. This rod also has excellent saltwater crossover possibilities for you So-Cal anglers who like to fish the plastic inshore in addition to hitting the lakes. If you looking for an inshore rod for fishing 4-5” plastic, definitely check this one out.
With a retail price at around $89, the Okuma Guide Select swimbait rods are still clearly the leader in price to performance ratio in swimbait rods. I looked carefully at the craftsmanship on my MH while these rods are by no means cosmetically perfect, I see definitely improvement over my H and XH models. Don’t expect beautiful cork handles or precision perfect wraps and epoxy, but expect that your rod will stand up and fish when you need it to. My experience with the Okuma rods over 1+ years of heavy use is that they hold up to abuse well and the MH should be no exception.
There are two things of minor annoyance with the Okuma MH. The first one that bugs me is the hook keeper. Every so often when fishing you’ll have slack in the line and the line will loop and catch around the wire keeper. Even if this only happens 1 in 5000 casts, that is one time too many for me to risk losing a fish because of it. I also found that when I did use the keeper while transporting the rod, a little slack would get in the line and the lure would come loose. When I’m kickboating with my rods behind my head in their holder it’s not cool to get whacked by a free swinging lure. Add to this the scratching you can get on the blank from the barb of the hook and I just feel like the hook keeper is more of a hindrance than a help.
The other thing I noticed with the MH is that with lures that have a lot of surface area but don’t weigh much (wood hardbaits for example) the rod doesn’t cast very well. I think this stems from the fact that the rod doesn’t have any whip to it. It just doesn’t load up enough on a relatively light bait to cast it well. If you put a 1oz leadhead with a swimbait tail on the rod and cast, it will load up and fire it off just fine but baits like 7” Monster Jack or 9” MS Slammer don’t cast well on this rod even on lighter line.
Overall the Okuma MH is a solid performer, a workhorse type rod that will fit nicely for the growing legions of mainstream swimbait chuckers looking for a reasonably priced rod that will get the job done with small swimbaits.