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  • Writer's pictureSeth Nichols

Okuma Makaira MK-80WII

Down and tight on the Makaira 80w

I have been fishing with Okuma Makaira MK-80WII's since 2018. Here is my review after 6 years of commercially bluefin fishing these powerful 80 wides. I will be referring to them as 80w reels through this post. As a brief overview, the Okuma Makaira MK-80WII is a two speed, wide spooled 80 class offshore reel. It lacks in some departments, and excels in others. Continue reading to learn more.

Showcasing a very powerful drag for any reel, never mind an 80 class


Okuma advertises the Makaira 80w as having a max drag pressure of 100lbs. I have not measured this, but I believe it to be true. I have never actually gone to full sunset mode on any fish with my makairas. Full drag simply feels like too much drag. Only in situations where I was trying to break a fish or shark off have I pushed the lever to full. This powerful drag has made the makaira 80w have as much drag force as a 130 class reel. Drag pressure is simply not a problem with these. What is a challenge, is micro adjusting the drag pressure. The drag lever operates on a ratcheting lever. That means, as you slide the lever forward, it clicks with every millimeter or so. As you are fighting a fish, each click past strike represents a considerable amount of additional drag pressure. It is not like some reels where you would slide the lever forward well past strike to tighten the pressure. Instead I slowly creep the drag forward until I reach my desired level of rod bend. This has not been an issue for me, but may be for some anglers. Any drag tension at or below strike, operates the same as any other reel. In my experience, the makaira has a smooth and reliable drag, most of the time. I did recieve one makaira that had a sticky drag new out of the box. After a couple fish the drag was much smoother. I took this to mean poor quality control and most likely warped drag washers that needed to be seated properly under pressure. 


The reel seat.

The makaira’s that I own, will not seat properly into an alps 130 butt, nor a Winthrop T-10x adjustable butt. The reel seat has a more rounded shape to it than most other reels, which allows the reel to have some side to side play in the rod butt. This is not going to be any weaker than another reel, but it is a major annoyance. I had to shim my reel seats to prevent this. I spoke to Okuma about this years ago, and they seemed to be unaware of the issue. 6 years later, and they have not rectified a major problem that seems so easy to fix. 

The clicker.

The makaira clicker is a liability. Period. I don’t use it, ever. The clicker functions off the main spool of the reel. The spool has a ridged pattern that a push rod then bounces off of as the spool is spin. This spring powered rod bouncing across the spool produces the “clicker” noise. Simple, easy concept. The problem is, this system can on occasion jam the clicker and spool together. Think of this as shoving a stick through the spokes of a spinning bike tire. It instantly jams the spool. You cannot reel through it, or pull line off the spool, regardless of the drag level. The only way to un seize it is to reduce line tension and disengage the clicker. The first time this happened to me, I had no idea what happened and it freed itself quickly. The second time it happened, was about 5 minutes later while I had a fish making its initial run. With about 150 yards of line out on a running fish, my reel seized. The result was a violent snap. I honestly didn’t know what would break first when it happened, the rod, the mainline or the leader. If I remember correctly the leader broke most likely in the corner of the jaw. It took a crazy amount of pressure before it broke though, being the fish hadn’t had time to Chaffe the leader yet. After that incident, I took my reels apart to diagnose what had happened. After figuring it out, I decided my clickers were untrustworthy. I have spoked to other makaira owners with the same issue. 

Small reels can still catch big fish

Gear Ratio:

I have been very happy with the high and low gear ratios of my makairas. At high speed, my reels retrieve around 45” of line per turn with a full spool. I feel I can reel very fast with this, and I have enough power to set a hook into a fish that may not be running away from the boat. On some 80’s, the high speed seems to lack considerably in torque. The makaira 80w in high speed is nowhere near as powerful as a 130, but much better than most, if not all, other 80 class reels. In the low speed setting, these reels are extremely powerful. I easily gain line without using another hand to pull line onto the reel in low speed. Switching between high and low speed is simple and fast, fast enough that I feel comfortable using low speed on every fish. 


My Makaira’s have held up well. Any issues have been highlighted. Those issues aside, my reels function like new. The spools will corrode if you allow old line to sit on the spools, but to my knowledge every reel spool will corrode without yearly cleaning. I rinse my reels off after most trips, and wipe them down with wd-40 weekly.

A good example of how chaotic fishing alone can be

Why do I fish Makaira 80 wides?

I fish alone, a lot. Fishing alone, I often am multi tasking. This includes lowering a rod over the gunnel to get it under my anchor line or a high flier, while a fish is on the line, while it’s windy, etc etc. The light weight nimbleness of fishing a 80w makes this considerably easier. Fishing alone, I can’t maneuver the boat to avoid the line from rubbing on the hull. Instead, I pick my rod up out of the rod holder and lower the rod tip under the water. I find I have to do this many many times during the course of a fight on my 28’ contender. On occasion, I’ll actually have to walk around the boat holding the rod while fighting the fish, stand up technique. All of this is so much easier with the lighter and smaller 80 sized reels. Of other 80s I have fished (Avet, Shimano, Penn) Okuma has had the most drag power. The downsides of the makaira are outweighed (for me) by the amazing amount of power and torque these reels posses. 

Who is the Makaira 80w for?

I can think of two groups of people who would benefit from these reels. First, would be the center console fleet. On a small boat, the smaller 80 sized reel feels more manageable. They take up less space, they are easier to move around, and they are easier to take on and off the boat every day. Secondly, I think these reels would be great canyon reels. In the mayhem of multiple hookups, having a smaller reel that is easy to move around other rods also with fish on, is a nice thing to have in the canyons. These reels also have the power to bring in fish fast. The clicker may be a downside for some in the canyons, especially if you have a tired crew, a green crew, or maybe just a comfly cabin. You wouldn't want to miss a bite with the clicker off!

I hope everyone reading this has plenty of this in their season!

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