Okuma Rockaway Reel Review – A strong surf reel

The Okuma Rockaway Surf reel is an affordable long cast reel for tackling many different type of saltwater application, whether surf, beach, rock and pier.

This is a big reel in many regards – with huge spool capacity, tons of drag, chunky handle and broad rotor design.

The Rockaway should be able to withstand it a lot of what the surf elements chuck at it, and has become a popular lower to mid-level reel option for a lot of surf anglers.

I’ve heard they rarely are returned or need repairs against saltwater exposure so are good long-lasting and long-casting surf reels if taken care of and cleaned properly.

Okuma Rockaway Rating Score

4.6 stars

  • Performance: 4.5 stars
  • Durability: 4.6 stars
  • Value for Money: 4.7 stars

Who should invest in the Okuma Rockaway Surf Reel? 

The Okuma Rockaway really is designed for distance surf casting. You have hundreds of yards of braid capacity. So if you’re fishing way out over the breakers then this reel is a great option.

It’s versatile for either chucking bunker baits or screaming some lures through the surf. With a hefty amount of drag it should be able to handle a lot of the species and sizes that the ocean has to offer.

If you’re a keen surf angler but are watching your budget, or want a backup reel you don’t mind knocking around, then this is a great option compared to something a little more expensive than the Daiwa BG spinning reel.

Okuma Rockaway Specs

  • Best for: Long distance surf casting on a budget – whether bait or lure fishing. Also, a solid option for your first long-cast surf reel if you are a little more budget-conscious.
  • Sizes: 6000, 8000
  • Drag: 26lbs max drag, or 35lbs max drag
  • Line capacity: 400yds/40lb braid on the 6000
  • Weight: 22oz
  • Bearings: 5
  • Gear ratio and retrieval: 5.3:1 – 40 inches per crank
  • Handle side: Left

Check out how Okuma reels compare vs Penn reels

Surf fishing at the beach and reviewing the Okuma Rockaway Surf Reel

Okuma Rockaway Surf Reel Pros

Fairly robust, durable and affordable long-cast reel

As mentioned above, this is a pretty good option for surf fishing at distance for an acceptable price. The design has factored in some elements to assist with increasing durability too, like the ‘cyclonic flow’ feature which draws water out of the center of the rotor and reel, and also a seal on the drag to increase the longevity of that too.

At this price range, Okuma have really thought about the elements it faces.

Most of the body is corrosion-resistant, it has stainless steel ball bearings, a handle of rigid metal to reduce any give and solid pinion gears cut from brass.

This feels like a pretty solid and stable reel in hand when you are winding in.

Lots of spool capacity

The Okuma Rockaway has tons of line capacity on it, particularly braid which is the choice line for beach casting.

I sometimes get caught out with some of my spinning reels that aren’t necessarily designed just for the surf, in that they don’t quite hold as much line as I would like them too when I take them surf fishing.

The Okuma Rockaway doesn’t have that problem – it holds 400yds of 40lb braid! That’s huge. If someone were ever to claim that they’re worried about running out of line on that, I’d like to know either what they’re eating or what they’re hooking up on!

Huge amount of drag

The Rockaway surf reel is a bit of a beast when it comes to its max drag. On the 6000 model there is 26lbs of max drag and that jumps to 35lbs on the 8000. That is just massive and more than any of us would ever really need before becoming concerned. People land monsters on half that capacity.

What that means though is there is a huge range of drag settings on the Okuma Rockaway – so set your drag prior to casting out, and always check to adjust it if needed when fighting a fish.

Feel fairly smooth thanks to the 5 ball bearings

The Rockaway has a really nice smooth feel to it when you are reeling in. The 5 stainless steel ball bearings help the reel to glide around as you’re reeling.

The spool has a wonderful oscillating action to it as it moves up and down and distributes the line across the spool evenly. This helps wit the long casting – because the line is laid and dispersed evenly as you retrieve, when you go to cast it comes off the reel efficiently giving you extended distance to reach those larger fish out the back onf the breakers.

Chunky EVA foam handle

I think the Okuma Rockaway surf reel handle is really well suited for surf fishing.

It’sa nice chunky EVA foam which is nice and comfortable – it doesn’t rub too much when your hands are wet and sandy. And it;s grippy if you’re covered in fish slime too.

The large foam design works well for cranking lures through the ocean quickly, as well as providing a confident grip for you when you’re fighting fast, powerful fish.

One thing I would recommend though is to rinse the foam handle with warm fresh water after every session. This heps dissolve any salt more effectively and keeps the foam handle clean and avoids it pershing. This should hopefully extend the life of the handle – becasue they can be quite expensive to replace!

Instant anti-reverse

The anti-reverse feature on the Okuma Rockaway is pretty responsive. There is not much give or movement between the forward reeling motion and an immediate brake to a stop. I find this important becasue when you’re hooked on to fish like bluefish or tuna, they can turn and change direction really quickly so you need a reel that responds well to that and doesn’t allow that fish any edge on you during the fight.

High retrieval rate to pull lures through the surf

The final thing about the Rockaway that makes it a decent performer for long distance surf casting is the retrieval rate at 40 inches.

Now, it’s not as much as say the Daiwa BG’s retrieval rate, which for the 5000 is 47.4 inches, but it’s still more than adequate for surf fishing.

Okuma Rockaway Surf Reel Cons

Again, this reel also comes with an anti-reverse switch which I think is a little unnecessary and where it is positioned I fear my hand might accidentally hit it when battling larger fish species.

The bail arm is chunky but a little bit clunky and sticky at times when you try and flip it over.

The reel feels stable but becasue of the non-metal body it’s nowhere near the solidity and rigidity of the Daiwa BG or Penn Battle 3. When fighting larger fish I’d worry about the flex of the reel and gears within it. Fine for smaller/medium sized fish.

Okuma Rockaway Surf Reel Performance

Okuma is very well known for its quality rod manufacturing, but how about their reels?

There is mixed consensus among seasoned anglers as to the quality and performance of Okuma reels. But ultimately it depends on the model.

Let’s think about the Okuma Rockaway’s performance in relation to the pretty tough conditions of surf fishing, and the price-point that it sits at, making comparisons to some other long-casting surf reels out there.

In terms of line capacity, the Rockaway beats the Penn Conflict 2 longcast version, which holds 330yds fo 40lb braid compared to the Rockaway which carriers 400yds/40lb braid. It also beats the Shimano Spinfisher VI, which has a capcty for 355yds /40lb braid too.

Check our article comparing the best reels for surf fishing to compare more reel specs!

In terms of rigidity, which is very important in such difficult conditions like surf fishing, the Okuma Rockaway performs fairly well and is pretty stable. Some anglers have reported some flex in the reels at times, and have concerns for the Rockaway based on other models.

Okuma Rockaway Surf Reel sizes

The rockaway only has 2 sizes to it.

ModelBearingsMax Drag (lbs)Weight (oz.)Gear RatioLine Retrieve (in)Braid Cap (yds/lb)Mono Cap (yds/lb)
60004+126175.3:140.9400/40 375/12 (0.31), 260/16 (0.37), 220/20 (0.41)
80004+13518.75.3:148.4570/40 550/12, 370/16, 305/20
8000 RBF5+120.75.3:148.4570/40550/12, 370/16, 305/20

Okuma Rockaway Surf Reel Construction Specs

A lot of this reel is made of corrosion restistant metals – the stem, sideplate, frame and rotor. The handle too is solid metal assisting the angler with control. And the spool is anodized aluminum to add strength but not weight.

The gears are ‘High Density Gearing’ which is also corrosion resistant, and these connect to brass pinion gears that have been machine cut.

Click here to read out article comparing Okuma vs Penn reels.

Okuma Rockaway Surf Reel FAQs

Is Okuma a good reel?

Okuma has mixed reviews online as to whether they make good reels or not. There are some models which apparently crumble after heavy use in the surf, but Okuma carp reels are held up as reliable and high performing, especially for their price.

How good is Okuma?

Okuma is a well-known and trusted fishing brand that has served many anglers well. Like all brands they may have had their dud products. Some anglers say that it is not worth investing in lower-end Okuma models because they don’t invest value into the technology within those reels.

Okuma is well known for making quality, good-value rods at excellent prices. The Rockaway surf rod is sa sought-after model and high performance for saltwater conditions.

If you want to upgrade from Okuma, then check out our comparison of Okuma vs Shimano.

What is the best surfcasting reel?

We rated the Daiwa BG as the best overall surf casting reel for a number of factors. Check out our article that picks the top surf reel for saltwater fishing for many different types of application.

Is Okuma a Japanese or Chinese brand?

Okuma is a Taiwanese company originally, but has manufacturing in Japan, USA and distributes across the world.

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