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The Okuma SST Kokanee Review: Salmon and Trout Fishing Rod
Are you looking to add some variety on your rod rack?
I took notice years back of the Okuma SST Kokanee Salmon rod and its handsome, copper color, smooth cork grip, and light weight and heavy line capacity. I assumed, as you may have as well, that a rod with such specific actions wouldn’t cross over well to other species.
I returned later while in the market for a trout rod, grabbed hold of the same Okuma, and re-assessed the height/ width ratio, sensitivity, and strength and began to wonder, “could this thing handle larger German Browns and buck Rainbow Trout?”
A Kokanee is basically a trout, right?
I gave it a shot.
My relationship with Okuma began there.
My First Impression
I purchased the Kokanee at 7 ft medium action with 4-10 lb line capacity and 1/8 – 3/4 oz lure weight. When I first brought her on the water to a place in Nor Cal (where German Browns are meaner than Musky), I had some trepidation. This thing felt like a fly rod wobbling in the wind.
My first cast was over a drop off with a Rapala Countdown Minnow. Casting distance was long and smooth, and I was very satisfied. My lure darted and danced over that dark void. I then saw a quick flash of yellow and gold beside the lure followed by a massive strike – it was on!
The Kokanee doubled over and held nicely. Paired with 10lb braided line and a fluorocarbon leader (and a fight with a 22″ Brown Trout), I knew I had found my perfect trout rod!
Features of The Okuma SST Kokanee
This rod is durable from bottom to tip.
With Sensitive IM-8 graphite rod blank construction and stainless steel guides, sensitivity isn’t a problem. Everything from a pan fish to a 22″ Brown Trout feels like a salmon on this thing.
Weight, Length, and Control
Despite its light weight, at 7 ft, I felt in control while fighting a larger fish.
I prefer running larger mainline, 10-15 lb braid, for better hook sets and its smooth ability to run through the guides of the rod. The Kokanee can handle all of that, providing an added sense of security and fun.
The 7′ to 9′ rod provides better casting distance. When using lures such as cast masters, and when drifting a bobber on a large river, distance is of little concern with the Kokanee.
Upon first cast, I was impressed by this rod’s balance. I’ve fished combo rods in the past that result in having to grip above the reel for added support on a larger strike. With the Kokanee, there is a nice, equal weight distribution down the rod.
A Little Information About Okuma
If you’re new to Okuma (or salmon and trout fishing in general) and find that you’re overwhelmed, don’t be discouraged. They are an impressive and reputable company with a catalog of products anglers pine for year-round.
Begin by exploring the Salmon Steelhead Trout Rods (SST) – the core series of rods built firmly into the Okuma temple. Some of the other rods in this series include:
- Okuma SST Carbon Grip Casting Rod
- Okuma SST Salmon/Steelhead Casting Rod
- Okuma SST Travel Spinning Rod
As I mentioned before, the SST line are almost identical to each other with metallic copper color and cork grips and species-specific actions.
Also, it is worth restating that the SST Kokanee doubles as a fine trout rod. Likewise, the salmon/steelhead version could double as a rod equipped for those Cutthroat brutes of Pyramid Lake, Nevada, for example.
My Reel Of Choice
Price wise, the Trion and President models are well worth the money. The Trion is generally considered a “beginner reel” and a primer to the President.
Notes on when to use the Trion over the President
- Grab the Trion if you’re learning to drift bobbers or just starting out with fishing in general.
- Perfect for young kids starting out on pan fish.
Final Thoughts on the Okuma SST Kokanee
If you’re interested in some variety, give this rod a try. I would avoid fishing for larger species of fish with the Kokanee: steelhead, salmon, and avoid salt water, unless hunting Perch.
I have read reviews claiming folks have muscled in steelhead with this same rod, but I would anchor safely to trout and anything smaller.
Any reel, cheap or fancy, will crank well on the Kokanee, but as always, you’ll get what you pay for, and a pricier reel could be a step-up for you.
The Kokanee SST proves that a species-specific rod crosses over well and hangs tough with the best of em’.