I had the opportunity to test drive one of the new Okuma Nomad Xpress Travel Rods – in this case the C7114H, a heavy 7-foot 11-inch model. This particular rod has a very versitile line rating of 12 to 25 pounds and a useable lure weight of 1 to 4 ounces.
My initial impression after piecing together this rod was of how stout it was. Handling big baits and heavy lures should not be a problem for these models.
The C7114H has four individual sections and comes in a hard-shelled case with each section having it’s own pocket. The case is small enough that it can be easily packed in large luggage or used as a carry-on when traveling. The rod itself has a nice matte finish, 12 aluminum oxide guides including the tip, a cork handle, and an Okuma reel seat with a lure keeper below the handle.
The Nomad Xpress is all about sturdiness. The double-footed guides are slightly angled forward so that they won’t bend as easily as a single-footed guide. This slight angle also helps the line slide over the guide rather than wrap around it during casting. The tip guide is longer so the chances of it breaking are minimal. The Okuma reel seat has ample room for larger reels, minimizing the chances of the reel pulling out of the seat on a hook set or when fighting a fish.
One of the coolest features of the Nomad Xpress are the European spigot ferrules. These are the caps that connect the rod’s four sections together. In this case, the tip slides over the butt end rather than the older style of the top sliding over the bottom. This type of ferrule strengthens the rod and gives it the more consitant feel of a one-piece.
The finishing touches of the blank’s sleek matte finish and cork handle are nice accents. The cork has a smooth feel and the lure
hanger below the handle keeps trebles and baits out of the way.
Since I live near the California Delta, I first tried punching with the rod, which it performed well when paired with 1- to 1 3/4-ounce weights and 65-pound braid. When throwing swimbaits, I equipped the rod with the new Okuma Helios SX reel, which handled 5- to 8-inch swimbaits easily. I also found this rod works well for throwing an umbrella rig, or flipping and pitching a 1/2- to 1-ounce jig.
The Nomad Xpress has a consistant parabolic bend near the top of the rod which makes it easier to cast heavier baits without wearing out your arm. The action is not so fast, however, that it ruins sensitivity or the ability to achieve a good hook set. We had no problem feeling the bite and moving fish out of heavy cover. The long handle offers a lot of leverage both when casting heavy baits or tucked under your arm when punching.
The single downside to the Nomad Xpress Travel Rod is its overall weight. Being on the heavier side, some may find its weight cumbersome. However, when taking into consideration the length of the rod and its ability to manage a wide range of lures and line sizes – not to mention that it is a four-piece travel rod – its weight can be condoned.
The Okuma Nomad Xpress is a great travel rod when on the move, or as a back-up tucked away in your boat or vehicle. It fishes well, it’s very sturdy, and best of all, it retails for only $119.
Note: If you rearrange the rod pieces in the case, the Okuma Helios SX reel will fit inside as well.
Overall a great rod, it fishes well is very sturdy and best of all it sells for $119.
For more information visit www.okumafishingusa.com
Note, if you move the rod pieces around in the case the Helios SX reel will fit also.