Product Review: Okuma Longitude
Abby Reeling in the Longitude
I have meant to write this review for a while, but other stories just seemed to step up and be more prevalent. I was going through some threads on the Panhandle Surf Fishing group on Facebook and saw several members asking about gear for surf fishing. I saw many names of rod manufacturers on here, but one that was missing was this chunk of a rod. I understood why it was left off in the darkness (we will talk about that shortly) amongst the other names, but I digress. Let's dive in!
The Okuma Longitude LC-S-1202H-1 is a 12' Heavy Power Fast Action surf rod. Okuma describes it as: "Featuring graphite composite blanks, stainless steel double-foot guides with aluminum oxide inserts, Okuma Longitude surf fishing rods deliver a lot of fishing rod for their very modest cost. Lengths from 9- to 12-feet focus on spinning models to serve the greatest number of anglers with easy-handling performance. Traditional cork tape grips with EVA cushions above and below the reel seat complete these competent tools that are sure to please." Its features include Sensitive graphite composite blanks, aluminum oxide guide inserts, double footed guide frames on all models, stainless steel hooded reel seat, custom non-slip cork wrapped handles, soft-touch EVA cushions above and below the handle, and durable pac bay rubber butt caps.” Ok, got all that now? Good; moving on.
The rod itself is a heavy beast. Ringing in at 30.6 oz (just under 2 lbs) for the rod alone, it is definitely on the heavier side of the spectrum. Once you put a reel on there, it can get a bit cumbersome. With that weight, though, comes some extra strength. This rod can handle just about anything in the surf (minus some massive shark, which I have yet to catch and test with this rod). I have mine paired with one Penn Battle 3 DX 6000 spooled with 30lbs J-Braid, and the other is paired with the Daiwa Crosscast (Long cast) reel with 30lbs Power Pro Super Slick braid. Both of these reels match up on the rod very well and provide smooth action while casting and reeling in.
Longitudes weight: Left w/ Battle 3 DX (3lbs 4 oz) Right w/ Daiwa Crosscast (3 lbs 3 oz)
The cork grip is not as bad as I was expecting. It has held up to a solid six months beating without losing any chunks or falling apart like other rods I have used. It has a bit of a sponge-like feeling, so you can grip it a little better, which is nice as it gives a little when gripping and ripping. When it fails (as all cork eventually does), I will likely switch to shrink-wrap as I prefer that grip now and the longevity it offers.
The stainless steel reel seat is fine. I have noticed that mine is starting to discolor a little. It holds both the Penn and the Daiwa with no issues. I believe you could put a larger reel on there (if you wanted to), and it would hold onto it just fine. I have not noticed any slippage in the backstop lock nut or the seat body. I never realized how many times I would check on this after one of my previous rods seemed to have that thing slipping.
One component I have expected to fail on me is the guides. So many times, I've heard of anglers finding their guides cracked or needing to be replaced after an incident, and this rod I have yet to have it (knock on wood). Both of these rods I have taken on several road trips while attached to the top of my car in the "ski rack," where they are subjected to 75 mph wind, heavy movement, and road bugs. Not to mention me fishing and being occasionally clumsy. Yet, both rods have held up with no issues. They have proved to be smooth and work very well.
Ok, enough about the pretty stuff. Let's get into the part that we want to know about, and that's the action. This rod is my long caster for when I need to get it way out there. With the Battle 3 DX, I routinely throw it 120-130 yards max cast. With the Daiwa LC, I get a little more and go about 130-140 max cast. The reason I love the long-distance availability with these is that the fish in our region play in all the zones. Close in, on the bar, over the bar, and in the deeper trough. With the 12' rod, I can reach all of that. "You can throw a long rod short, but you can't throw a short rod long" is what Noel Kuhn said once. That has stuck out to me so much in the past couple of months.
Reeling in fish has yet to be an issue. The only thing that gets a bit on the complaint side is the weight of the rod. I take mine out of the spike, reel in while keeping the rod lower (almost like pointing at the horizon and no higher than 45 degrees up). I picked up this from one of the Facebook live fishing seminars that I was unable to attend. The butt-end of the rod has a comfortable ball on it that fits comfortably on my thigh and moves very well around, so while fighting that bigger fish, you're not going to get as much fatigue from that point of the rod. So far, I have caught Pompano, Whiting, Catfish, Bonnethead Shark, Spanish Mackerel, and Black Drum on this rod with no issues. The advantage has been all me on each fight with this rod.
I have yet to find this rod in stores, but I have been told it is available in some. This one I picked up on Amazon after my fishing buddy Jeremiah, of JK Surf Fishing, purchased one and let me throw it. One thing I will warn you about is that Amazon does not ship this rod protected one bit. Mine came in a box with some paper wrapping, so it was free to be banged about as it went through the USPS. When I received it, it was damaged, unfortunately. When I called Okuma about getting it fixed under warranty, the representative told me to deal directly with Amazon. Now, that part irked me. Granted, Amazon took great care of me like they always did and sent a replacement for the damaged one, but Okuma's response didn't give me the feeling that they would work with me later on if there were a problem with the rod. Maybe I'm wrong. Okuma, your response?
In summary, I like this rod even with the weight being the only detractor I have on it. When I am going out surf fishing, it's guaranteed that it is coming out with me as the first rod I grab. The price point is great, the action is solid, and it gets my bait out to the longer distances that I want. If you're in the market for a starter rod that is stiff and solid, the Okuma Longitude 12' is a good option, in my opinion.
Do you have one of these rods? Tell me about your experience and thoughts of it in the comments section here or on the thread you found this on. Thanks for coming by and reading today! If you'd like to request something to be investigated or written about, please send me an email to firstname.lastname@example.org, and I will get on it. Thanks again, now go forth and do good things!