Analysis and Results
Okuma advertises its Ceymar series as budget-friendly spinning reels whose performance outpaces their price.
Sometimes seen as “Shimano killers,” the Ceymar lineup is supposed to be so good that it can compete with reels costing twice, even three times, as much. Pflueger’s President is clearly in Okuma’s sites, but do they have what it takes to unseat this better-known rival?
Well, we thoroughly reviewed the Okuma Ceymar Spinning reel and we have all the answers. Let's dive in!
The heart of any good reel is an excellent drag system, and long-time readers of our reviews will know this is the first place we look when running a new product through its paces.
Your drag does more than help you fight fish, though on larger models, this is a critical job. Used on large reels to help tire your quarry on a fast run, the more important work a drag does is to provide protection for your line against sudden strain and shock.
Set properly to about 1/3rd of your line’s test strength, your drag should release smoothly under pressure, preventing any sudden stress to your line and knots.
The Ceymar lineup is equipped with a felt oil drag system, a common design that uses felt discs to create direct pressure on the spool. While not as durable as carbon fiber over the long haul, it’s a cost-cutting measure that’s in no way short on performance.
Indeed, fans of Pflueger’s President series are running the same tech.
On the water, the Ceymar’s drag is excellent, providing smooth release with no line-endangering starts and stops. That’s true even on the little 1000, and that says a lot about Okuma’s commitment to quality.
Maximum drag settings are well matched to the size of these reels, especially when you consider that the 1000 is closer to everyone else’s 500. Expect industry standard numbers from these workhorses.
Should you choose to spool braided line, you’ll find the drag is prepared for the extra test strength, though you’ll be up near the max should you run the heaviest braid each reel is rated for.
Okuma opted to match the gear ratio of the Ceymar series to their relative size, offering three categories. The 10, 20, 30, and 40 run a 5.0:1 gear ratio, yielding 22.6, 24, 26.6, and 30.9 inches per turn, respectively.
Head-to-head with the President, you’ll find these reels are a bit faster, especially in the smaller sizes.
The larger Ceymars - the 55 and 65 - offer a 4.5:1 and 4.8:1 gear ratio, respectively. That lets them pick up line pretty quickly at 32 inches per turn on the 55 and 37.6 inches per turn on the 65.
Now, to keep this in perspective, that’s not anywhere near close to the amazing Penn Slammer III - but then, neither is the price!
For anglers who can't throw down the cash for the premium-priced Penn, however, these are respectable numbers that should let you keep up with a big red or angry pike and keep your line tight.
The Ceymar series is equipped with all-brass pinion gears, allowing for precision machining and very well-executed teeth. You can really feel that when you crank these reels: there’s a solid, grounded feel that aluminum pinion gears just don’t match.
To offset that extra weight, Okuma built the body of these reels from graphite. That’s an awesome choice for the lighter end of the lineup, where you’ll see some weight savings compared to the President, but I’m not so sure about their big siblings.
You want really stiff, really strong bodies when you’re fighting real monsters, and you need that outer shell to hold the gearing firmly in place with minimal flex. Again, for the cost-conscious, this is a good choice, but don’t expect the 55 and 65 to perform on par with offerings from Penn.
Okuma doesn’t report the material it makes the main gear from, but I’ll bet stainless steel or aluminum since those are the industry standards.
You’ll find that size to size, the Okuma Ceymar series tends to be a touch smaller than its competition, and that shows on the spools of some of the larger models.
At the smaller end of the spectrum, the Ceymar really shines, with the 20 holding 140 yards of 4-pound mono. Comparatively, the President 20 only accommodates 100 yards of 4-pound mono.
That’s a huge difference!
But in the 40, that advantage disappears: spool capacity is noticeably less than the President in real-world use. Their 40 can pack 230 yards of 10-pound mono, while the Ceymar manages just 190 yards of the same line.
Is that a game-changer?
I’d say no - not by a long shot!
In the 10, 20, and 30, the Ceymar crushes the President in capacity - but in the 40, the President is superior in this respect.
In the 55 and 65, the Ceymar comes in strong again, rivaling the excellent Penn Spinfisher VI in terms of how much line their spools can hold.
Overall, that’s very, very good performance for this price point.
Casting and retrieving
Okuma clearly knows fishing, and the smoothness of these reels as they cast and retrieve really demonstrates that.
Anglers who switch from more expensive reels will be pleasantly surprised by how the Ceymar series fishes: expect buttery-smooth cranking and excellent casts from their well-machined spools.
The bails function flawlessly, and the anti-stop mechanism kicks in quickly.
Overall, you can count me as impressed.
I’d say yes.
The Ceymar offers the kind of performance that anglers know and love - long casting, smooth cranking, excellent drag - but at a price about 20% lower than the Pflueger. That doesn’t add up to much - about $10 in most cases - but for fishermen who need to watch every penny, the Ceymar doesn’t feel or fish like compromise.
And to me, that makes these reels something to consider for any angler looking for good tackle.
That said, I have reservations about the 55 and 65 sizes. Yes, they’re well made, and yes, they pack on plenty of line and sport enough drag for big fish. But they can’t close the performance gap with either the Penn Spinfisher VI or the Slammer III.
To do that, you’ll need to spend a lot more money than you will on the big Ceymars.
But in the 10, 20, 30, and 40 sizes, do yourself a favor and try one out.
You’ll be glad you did.