Okuma Makaira Review – 2 Speed Lever Drag (Gold and Special Edition)

Okuma Makaira Review - One of the best conventional reels available the distinctive gold finish of the Okuma Makaira can be spotted on numerous big-game offshore rigs around the world.

If you are looking for a trolling reel that can deliver best in class performance, precision engineering and superb build quality then look no further than the Okuma Makaira.

With the Makaira, Okuma reels burst onto the offshore fishing reels segment and has now found its way onto more and more big-game offshore boats. Where traditionally reels like the Penn International would have dominated the Makaira is now gained serious traction.

The Okuma Makaira reel comes in two different variations with several sizes in each.

The standard gold Makaira and the Makaira SEa(special edition)​ which comes in a rather subtle gunsmoke color. Each model contains a host of high tech features with the Special Edition containing a few more features.

The demands of offshore big game fishing are not easy. Multiple different design considerations must be taken into account when trying to produce a reel that can live up to the demanding standards that big game fishermen have come to expect.

Okuma have based the design and build process of the Makaira reels around what is know as it's 4D system. The 4D system stands for Design, Drag, Drive, Durability and they have delivered superbly on all four.​

Okuma Makaira Review

It's clear a lot of time was spent on research and development on the Makaira by Okuma. Some of the most standout features and design elements are listed below. It appears Okuma were really trying to differentiate themselves from the rest of the pack when the Makaira was conceived. 

The Makaira effectively launched Okuma into the mid to high end segment of the offshore trolling reel market and it has firmly cemented their place there now.​ 

If you are looking for a very durable, high quality conventional reel that packs a punch then read on a learn more about the Okuma Makaira trolling reel.​


The gold Makaira is the standard model in the range. It is built strong from a one piece machined aluminum frame and forged side plates that are finished in a patented coating to reduce corrosion. This design creates a reel that has virtually no flex even at max drag. Lesser graphite built reels will not stand up to the same forces that a one piece machined aluminum reel can withstand. 

makaira lever drag reel
makaira reel reviews

The standard model's gold finish is nicely accentuated by the T-bar handle with rubber grip and a dark anodized aluminum reel foot and clamp. The handle on the Makaira reels is angled in the most natural position possible to reduce wrist fatigue for when you are fighting big game for hours on end. The handle is big and will fill most adults hands meaning that no part should dig in which can happen on smaller handles.

There is a nice attention to detail on the lower crossbar as it is shaped and smoothed out to become a very comfortable and ergonomic thumb rest. These little details really show just how much thought and research went into the creation of the Makaira reel.


Machined 6061-T6 Aluminum

The aluminum used to create the Makaira is aircraft grade 6061-T6 one of the highest grades available. As mentioned before this aluminum is anodized and more than capable of standing up to the harsh environment at sea.


The ​internals however are not neglected when it comes to protecting them from the destructive influence of saltwater. All of the internal running gear is coating using Okuma CRC(Corrosion Resistant Coating) process and Corrosion X HD to all external and internal parts.

​Two Speed System

​All of the variations across both models come as two speed reels. The gear ratio's will of course change from size to size. The Makaira SEa however does have a lower gearing on low setting than the Makaira Gold reel. The gearing in general is suited to power right across the line. In the smaller models you will find some higher gear ratio's. If you are looking for max torque and power then obviously the bigger models in the range are the better match. 

Helical Cut Gears​

Helical cut gears result in a much smooth meshing of ​the gear teeth than straight or spur cut teeth. The advantage does not stop at smoothness either, straight cut teeth can't take as much torque as a helical cut and under high loads they are more prone to shearing off.

Custom Deigned Thrust Bearings​

Under maximum load the spool and gearing on lesser reels can warp or rub against the reel body. Okuma have developed their own thrust bearings that ensure that the ​side loading experienced in these cases is all but eliminated. 

​Silent Anti-Reverse

Okuma have developed an anti-reverse that is significantly quieter than it's competitors. Less noise means less wear and tear of metal on metal. The anti-reverse slides out seamlessly as you reel forwards, once the reel handle is stopped the anti-reverse pawls slide back into place to stop the spool. The whole system relies less on a dog spring than other manufacturers solutions.

Carbonite Dual Force Drag System​

​A choice between either strike mode or full position lets you fine tune your drag setting depending on what moment you are in during the fight against big heavy game fish.

The Makaira is available in the following models:
  • ​MK-10II
  • MK-15II
  • MK-16II
  • MK-20II
  • MK-30II
  • MK-50II
  • MK-130II

So who is the Okuma Makaira for?

​If you are a weekend warrior or a tournament pro the Makaira reels really will not disappoint and certainly represent considerable value for money. Although it does represent a considerable investment and is best suited to those who take their fishing very seriously. 
They are suitable for tuna, mahi mahi, sailfish, kingfish and small marlin. The Makiara is one all round very capable offshore real whether that is trolling from the stern or big bait fishing over the side the Makaira has your back.
It is a offshore reel with high end features and quality usually found on the best offshore reels.

Okuma Makaira

  • 4 ABEC-5 Sapporo stainless steel bearings
  • Custom thrust bearings
  • 1 anti-reverse bearing
  • Carbonite dual force drag system
  • 2 Speed
  • Helical cut gears
  • 6061-T6 Aluminum frame and side plates
  • 5 year warranty
  • CRC Corrosion Resistant Coating

​The Okuma Makaira is without doubt one of the best conventional reels for the money. For this build quality and extremely high specification it can give other reels at twice the price a very serious run for the money.

Okuma Makaira (SEa Special Edition) Review 

​The Okuma Makiara SEa or special edition Makaira has a number of different features yet still retains a lot of the first class features that are found in the standard Makaira model.

Open Spool Bearings 

The upgrade to open spool bearings on the Special Edition Makiara increase the spool speed up to a massive two and a half times the standard model. They come lubricate with TSI-301 oil that makes the free spool run almost endlessly. ​

Lower Gearing​

​When you need more grunt when retrieving drop the Makaira SEa into lower gear and it really starts to shine. The SEa has a lower gear ratio than the standard in low gear so if you need maximum torque it's there at the flick of the lever.

The Special edition is most definitely suited to hauling heavier fish up from the depths than the standard. Given the lower ratio in low gear you should be able to really haul hard against that big game trophy fish.​

Okuma Makaira SEa Special Edition


  • Open spool bearings
  • Custom thrust bearings
  • 1 anti-reverse bearing
  • 2 Speed
  • Helical cut gears
  • 6061-T6 Aluminum frame
  • Forged side plates
  • Corrosion resistant stainless steel gearing