Several months ago the Okuma Cayenne reel went on sale, a $139.99 reel that after the sale price and rebates was only $69. A deal I just could not pass up and ordered four of them. I have been using the Okuma Cayenne for three months now and have enjoyed flawless performance. Making adjustments on the fly are simple with their patented design. It is small, lite and casts like a dream. The low-profile design is exceptionally comfortable in most hands, making it extremely easy to palm the reel. All sounds impressive and I’ve loved the reel. Now it is time to take it apart and see what’s inside and see if it is something that I think will last. What I found also impressed me.
When I first got these reels, the opening on the worm gear facing forward, concerned me. One would think that this was to allow for quick replacement of the worm gear pawl should it get damaged. However, it is not possible to remove the worm gear cap without first taking off the small plate that goes across the front of the reel, to do this one has to take the side plate off the reel. This means the reel will have to be disassembled to replace the pawl. On a side note, I do not believe in replacing just a pawl. With worm gear problems replace both the worm gear and pawl, they wear together. With the worm gear opening facing forward, it is easy to lube. Caution must be used as too much grease or oil will attract a lot of debris and cause issues with performance. With the easy access, I’d recommend wiping it down regularly and adding just a touch of oil or grease.
I started with removing the spool. To remove the spool simply turn the left side plate down an 1/8th of a turn and it will slide off. There is no locking mechanism. This is good and bad in my opinion. Good in that it is remarkably fast and effortless to access the spool for changing the casting options. Bad in that I wonder how long this will take before becoming week and a problem developing with keeping the side plate tight. I have open and closed the side plate probably a hundred times and it is still remarkably tight. The spool rides on three bearings. One at each end and a third bearing at the center of the spool. This is part of the reason the Cayenne free spool is exceptionally smooth and free spin will outlast many other reels on the market right out of the box. The spool shaft bearings have different outer diameters. Not a critical issue unless repairing these reels, it would be more parts to keep in stock. This is a non issue with the angler.
Next was removing the handle and side plate, simple task with nothing out of the ordinary. I did notice the crank shaft has an unusual amount of washers. I’m sure this is just to aid in spacing requirements. The only difficulty this might present is if someone is tearing down a reel for the first time, it is more to keep track of to put back after cleaning.
The cast control knob has a floating base plate that holds a carbon disk for the spool shaft end to ride against. Carbon disks work well with most reels. I prefer a brass disk so that I can polish it to a mirror like finish creating as little drag as I can. I must say that this reel has positively no problem with casting distance, so the carbon fiber disk is not an issue. Since it is on a free floating brass disk, it can move around and find its perfect center with spool alignment. This is an advantage but not necessarily an aid to performance in my opinion.
Once inside the reel, I found some things that I thought were excellent from an angler point of view and not so appealing from a maintenance point of view. Take the thumb bar return springs, yes there are two. This is great unless, once again, trying to stock parts for maintaining the reel. They are sturdy and should last a life time, especially since there are two sharing the load with one pulling the clutch cam and one pulling the clutch pawl.
The drag is a Multiple stage drag washer system. With three drag disks and two metal plates between them, and a top metal plate that all sit inside the drive gear. In my experience with reels, this creates a more reliable and smoother drag. If one of the washers gets hot or sticky for whatever reason (oil or dirt), the others will continue to work. Also with multiple drag washers sharing the load, they seem to work smother.
Many manufactures now have learned that just the smallest amount of debris can make an anti reverse roller bearing inoperative. So some manufactures have elected to add a backup system to the reel. This reel does not have a back up anti-reverse mechanism, which is acceptable for a properly maintained reel. Equipped with the anti reverse roller bearing that provides smooth cranking and an anti reverse that has no play. The reel has an internally keyed anti-reverse bearing bushing. I personally like the internal key versus the external bottom key as it is stronger. However, do not take proper care of your reel and some corrosion could start on the crankshaft, making it very difficult to remove. So again care should be taken.
Unfortunately, there is no pinion gear bearing. Some reel mechanics will argue that it is not necessary. While it does not affect casting, a pinion gear bearing can add to how smooth a reel feels when retrieving baits. The reel does have a crankshaft bearing creating an exceptionally smooth retrieve.
Okuma says this reel has nine 9 bearings. I found three on the spool shaft and one on the crankshaft and the roller bearing for the anti reverse. So I’m not sure where the other three or four are. We still need three more bearings if they are counting the roller bearing, or if they are not counting the roller bearing then there are four bearings in the handle. If there are four bearings in the handle, some manufactures would say this reel has 10 bearings.
One thing I like was that of the 4 reels I took apart, zero were over greased in my opinion. I have seen some major-brand manufacturers have excessive amounts of grease inside the reel. Whether it helps prevent the reel from having problems with users that do not care for their equipment or not, is not for me to say. However, it was not the case with these reels, I found them to be effectively lubricated.
Over all, the Okuma Cayenne is an outstanding reel. Well built internally, I would expect a lifetime of use out of this reel. Unfortunately, due to its name it can no longer be manufactured, Porsche has an automobile that has the same name and asked Okuma not to use it. I’m sure Okuma will replace it with a like reel as soon as their stock is out.
If you want a strong reel, that can cast a “country mile”, fits well in the palm of your hand, has a smooth drag, and does not break the bank, I highly recommend the Okuma Cayenne.