I did a review a few years ago on what I still think is the best low budget heaver you can get. You might have to work a bit to track one down as they were marketed to the west coast sturgeon fishermen.
Since doing the review I've caught a lot of fish with these rods to the mid 20# range casting 8 oz and big baits and they have been absolutely flawless both in casting ability and fish fighting ability.
I received two Okuma Celilo rods to demo, one conventional and one spinning and had them out for a go over the weekend.
CE-S-1102 (Spinning) and CE-C-1102 (Conventional)
11'0", MH action Sturgeon Rod, line wt. 15~40, lure wt. 4~16, 2 piece.
Available on-line for $59.99 shipped.
These were designed for bottom bouncing for west coast salmon and "kerplunking" for sturgeon.
For beach applications these rods are outstanding. They cast with a medium fast action with the top third of the rod loading very nicely
The top end lure rating of 16 is based on 'kerplunking", not casting but rather dropping a large weight and bait directly into a race in rivers.
My initial expectations were that these rods were going to most resemble pool cues. I was more than pleasantly surprised. The graphite construction makes them surprisingly light for their size, the tip is much softer than I expected and the butt is strong enough to power in anything we might see off the sand.
I'd like to report on their fish fighting abilities but the best I could do this weekend were skates and horseshoe crabs (which the rods handled quite well
). I'll try again this week.
The blank has a sweet spot at 6 to 8 and bait and the conventional, paired with a 7000 C3 and 65# Stealth, can heave a bait a long way.
Although I would consider the highest and best use for the spinning rod to be throwing bait with a baitrunner type reel, the rod paired with a Penn 704 and 30# Stren Superbraid was more than capable of throwing larger wood, pencil poppers and jigs. The tip is just soft enough to give poppers and pencils decent action and it's sensitive enough to give you a good feel for your jig ticking the bottom. In a pinch it can also throw Bombers but can definitely be considered overkill for that. While not, for it's size, a very heavy rig (I'll post the weight of the rod when I get a chance to put it on a scale), it's certainly not an Arra and I don't think you would want to spend hours plugging with this rod.
Although I'm very impressed with the blank, I think the quality of the guides could be improved. According to the Okuma rod designer they are proprietary to the OEM manufacturer who is building these rods under the Okuma name. They are certainly not fuji's and look like the older style of Pac Bays - stamped steel with a plastic ring holding the ceramic ring in place.
The grips on these sturgeon rods are different than the Celilos shown on Okumas website. The website has them pictured as cork ring with a trigger grip reel seat on the conventional. All of the Celilo series come like that except these two models. These come with standard reel seats and foam grips. The first thing I did upon unpacking these rods was to strip off the bottom foam grip and replace it with cork tape. For me this 20-minute job really improved the way the rods fit my hands.
As a backup to your Lami's, a second bait rod when you are using two on the beach, as a rod to loan to a guest or as a first rod for someone thinking about getting into the sport I would absolutely recommend these as a solid, good quality rod and at $59.99 shipped, an unbelievably outstanding bargain.