Injected carbon into sideplates to reduce weight
Brass main gear
Multi-disc carbon drag washers
2HPB + 1RB corrosion-resistant stainless steel bearings
Dual anti-reverse system for added strength
Quick-set stainless steel anti-reverse bearing
External magnetic control
Anodised aluminium handle
Drop-down gearbox for maximum gear sizing
Self-lubricating gear system for maximum heat dissipation
One-year limited warranty
I have to admit when this multiplier first landed on my desk, a huge smile spread across my face. It was almost as if someone had tapped into my thoughts and my prayers had suddenly been answered.
For here was a reel that appeared to tick every box on my wish list. A reel that looked as though it could accomplish probably everything that my shore fishing demanded. On top of that, the reel looked pretty cool too. The Okuma ALC-20CS, or ALC Mag as it will undoubtedly be known, will certainly appeal to shore anglers who prefer to use a slightly stronger mono than the more conventional 15lb beach line. Anglers who need to cast bigger baits into deeper water, or, over testing ground, are going to relish the features this reel offers.
Build-wise, it is strong, being constructed in such a way as to allow the angler to lean hard on it, like in a pump-and-wind situation. The dimensions are perfect, in my opinion. A decent wide spool area means it balances brilliantly when strapped to a beach rod. By that, I mean it doesn’t look bulky or odd. The handle, too, is perfect. Short yet incredibly tough, with a grip that allows a good, firmhold.
STRENGTH IS SUPREME
The clutch is understated and tucked neatly out of the way close to the handle. You certainly won’t be adjusting this without knowing, and it won’t catch on to the cuff or sleeve of a bulky waterproof or outer garment. At the same time, though, it can be adjusted quickly when you need its assistance. I love the gear lever system, simply because it takes a firm push to click it out of gear prior to casting, and it takes another firm push to engage; this totally eliminates any premature gear engage during casting that can occasionally occur with some other beach reels.
The frame is a machined aluminium open-top version. Again, strength is supreme, but it’s wide and low, meaning it sits very close to the blank when fastened. It also means that a thumb can be wrapped right around the spool, for a super-grip when casting. The foot of the reel is extremely strong and keeps the reel held firm inside a winch fitting with absolutely no movement or wobble when retrieving your rig.
With regards to weight, at 415g it’s not the lightest multiplier I’ve ever used, but it’s certainly not the heaviest either. Uniquely, the boffins at Okuma have decided to inject carbon into the sideplates to reduce the weight…quite ingenious.
Inside the reel is a whole world of features to help this multiplier’s reliability. I’m certainly not going to waffle on with techno-blurb because I’m not a tech-head but a user, and I’m more interested in performance, not how it is delivered to me. What I will say is that brass gears, multi-disc carbon drag washers, two HPB plus a single RB corrosion-resistant stainless steel bearings and drop-down gearbox all add to its efficiency. It’s also equipped with magnets for casting control, and I’ve purposely not mentioned them…but more of that in a bit.
I loaded the aluminium and anodised spool with 20lb mono and attached a tapered shockleader in preparation for a day at the beach. Incidentally, spool capacity is 230 metres of 0.30mm, more than enough for any shore trip. A few simple chucks to wet the line suggested the reel is really quiet during casting, and winding in was smooth at a swift 6.2:1 ratio.
A simple wheel on the sideplate adjusts those magnets I mentioned earlier, with eight settings from maximum to off. Obviously, I thought I would begin with it set to the max with the intention of reducing it each cast.
Hitting an off-the-ground cast hard, the sinker climbed high, but it was easily noticeable that the magnets were definitely holding it back. To me, that’s a good thing for two reasons: firstly, the magnets are actually working, and secondly, I wouldn’t have any concerns belting a bait out into a headwind. With each next cast I reduced the setting by one stage, and the reel certainly began to ‘open up’, until I got to the fourth setting. This is where it got really interesting.
I hit another hard cast and that’s when I heard it, that unmistakeable sound of line beginning to mingle on the spool. Instantly, I started to thumb like hell to prevent the lift from causing a disastrous overrun. The sinker then carried on its course with a settled down mono still attached to it.
Now I was in a predicament. Do I carry on reducing the mag control settings, or call it a day, job done? I decided to carry on, but go steady on the casting and be a little more tentative. At this point I’ll admit that I didn’t make it to the ‘off’ setting, simply because it was like a runaway train at the seventh setting. Goodness knows what ‘off’ does.
Should you decide to run this reel close to the edge, you certainly are tempting nasty things to happen. It really is incredibly fast. On the beach, I used a pair of ACL-Mags loaded with the same line and shockleaders, and both performed the same as each other. The smoothness of casting and winding in was a joy, and I enjoyed every single minute.
I can certainly envisage this reel being a hit with shore anglers who fish different marks for a variety of species, and I think it will make a good inshore uptiding reel too. On a personal level, I love it and I intend to use it this winter. Hopefully, it will deliver everything I’m expecting. I’m interested to see how it performs after a hard winter being pushed to the limit. In the meantime, it’s definitely a big thumbs up from me.