The very first thing I noticed when I received my Offshore Angler Ocean Master Spinning Reel was the huge grip on the end of the handle. Honestly, my first thought was that I didn't like that handle. Of course, I hadn't used the reel yet. Little did I know that the handle would actually be one of my main reasons for liking the reel.
I opted for the OM 40 model, the smallest in the series. Bass Pro offers OM 50, 60, 70, and 80 as well, with graduating line strength capacities up to 25 pound test. I prefer to fish a little lighter than that, so I spooled the reel with 12 pound World Wide Sportsman camouflaged monofilament line. It's a perfect match for the OM 40, and I was able to get about 180 yards of line on the high-capacity spool.
The reel comes with a spare spool, and I put eight pound test on that one. It held almost 250 yards of line. You may think that eight pound line is too small. But, as I said, I prefer light tackle, and even though this reel is beefy enough to handle even fourteen-pound line, it performed as well with eight-pound line as some of my very expensive ultralight tackle. I was pleasantly surprised at how well it cast and how evenly the line came back on the spool.
The second thing that caught my attention on this reel was the lack of a knob or lever to put the reel into a free spool mode. I initially thought that was a blatant missing feature. It turned out to be a really great "oversight" when I took the reel fishing. (More on this later.)
I paired the reel with an Offshore Angler Ocean Master Light Tackle Series rod, a perfect match for the kind of fishing I do.
This reel has eight bearings and operates very smoothly. The bail on some spinning reels is difficult to trip cranking the handle, making them awkward. This bail worked really well, and it tripped at the first turn of the handle with little resistance.
I like the longer design and high line capacity of the spool. Some manufacturers today have moved to a wider, shallower spool. A wide, shallow spool does not cast as far as a long spool because the line will hit the resistance of the spool top more quickly as it leaves the spool. A longer spool means that more line can leave the reel more cleanly. For the same amount of line off the reel on each type of spool, the remaining line on a wide, narrow spool sits back deep on the spool. That increases resistance and slows the line leaving the spool on any given cast. This reel casts very nicely with very little spool resistance.
The lack of a free-spool mode, which I mentioned earlier, turned out to be a good design for me. I sat back and realized that I seldom, if ever, use a free spool (where the reel handle can be turned backward). In fact, I can't remember ever using the feature on my reels that have it. I do remember, however, that the free spool lever was often inadvertently activated when rods were sitting in my center console rod holders, allowing the line to loosen and the lure to come free, hooking the closest object -- most often my shirt. That won't happen on this reel, because the Powerlock Instant Anti-Reverse feature operates full time.
This reel is built for saltwater. Machined aluminum, stainless steel and brass make up most of the components, and that means no rust or corrosion. A good washing after each use and some light lubrication from time to time will make this one last for years.
I like this reel. It fits the several styles of fishing that I do. I particularly like the large handle grip. And, if you are looking, the larger models of this same reel, with the same features, will perform just as well. They can take the physical beating that big fish can inflict over and over.