I have put together this feature to cover Shimano’s Baitrunner OC fishing reels, also referred to as the Shimano Oceanic USA Baitrunner series. An absolutely brilliant reel for the money and arguably one of the best medium sized fixed spool reels for all round sea angling. Definitely one of my favorites.
I have been using Baitrunners for fresh water Pike fishing for many years, the sound of the Baitrunner clicking when a specimen Pike picked up a whole Mackerel bait and ran with it was music to my ears on any day of the week. When I moved to live on the coast of Cornwall I continued using my old Baitrunner reels for both shore fishing and kayak fishing with great results. I am really pleased to be able to try out one Shimano’s 8000 Oceanic reels to show you guys why I’m such an advocate of the Baitrunner series when it comes to sea angling. As well as being constructed from anti-rust saltwater resistant materials, the OC release still contains a lot of the features that have made the Baitrunner a household name, and also feature advances that are going to take this iconic range of reels well into the future.
Some of the upgraded features include a machined handle, a replaceable spool clicker, Varispeed Oscillation to provide a perfect line lay with braided lines, and Propulsion Line Management to increase distance while casting. The Baitrunner lever moves towards the body to stop any accidental gear changes, and with three double-sided, shielded stainless steel bearings and an anti-reverse bearing, this range continues to dominate the bait fishing reel market. Available in four sizes from a compact 4000 size to a powerful distance casting 12000 version to cover a wide range of fishing preferences.
Putting the Baitrunner 8000 OC to the test
I spooled the reel up with 17lb mono mainline and took it out with me on a number of fishing expeditions to test its durability and performance.
Bait fishing from the rocks – Using a medium weight beach rod and 40lb shock leader, I have used the 8000OC reel for bait casting from the shore. I use a 4-5 oz gripper lead on a pulley Pennel rig targeting bigger species like Rays, Codling, Bass, Smoothhound & Conger Eels. The reel can definitely handle it, and I have cast in excess of 120 yards with this set-up (more than far enough to get my bait among the fish). On one busy session, I landed over 15 fish in two hours, the reel didn’t show any signs of weakness and gave me everything I asked of it. I use the Baitrunner when the rod is on the tripod, this will stop my rod going in if a decent fish hits my bait, and if i’m not watching the rod top the Baitrunner will give an audible clicking sound to signify a bite.
Surf fishing for Bass – When I surf fish for Bass I use quite big baits, and I need to be able to cast quite accurately. The 8000 OC reel delivers this for me effortlessly, and in quite harsh conditions. In these situations, the Baitrunner feature is excellent. Just engage free-spool mode by flicking the switch backwards and dial in enough pressure to just cancel out the tide. The fish can then move off after taking the bait and you just lift into it and it’s hooked. If I put my rod down for any reason, I can leave it in free-spool so a big take won’t see my rod disappearing into the surf. When surf fishing there is high chance of the reel being exposed to salt water and so the anti-rust properties are important. I always wash down my reels in freshwater anyway, but it’s good to know that the Oceanic series are built to resist saltwater corrosion.
Lure fishing from the rocks – I like to use the 8000 OC reel with one of my heavier spinning rods for casting medium to heavy weight lures (25-50 grams), I usually target Bass (and there are some large specimens to be caught from various rock marks in Cornwall). The constant casting and retrieving of the lures is where this reel shows it’s worth, I can easily cast one of my 2oz jigs a good 80-90 yards and accurately too. The 8000 OC is fitted with minimal bearings: three Anti-Rust ball bearings plus a one-way roller. Despite not being crammed full of bearings, operation is silky smooth. Anti-reverse can be switched off and the handle is of a very similar design to the Shimano Navi reels. I have never experienced wind knots or any line bedding into itself on the spool, I can quite literally cast and retrieve all day long with consistent reliability. I would suggest looking at the 4000 OC reel for use with lighter rods/lures.
Jigging for cod from the kayak – I do a great deal of kayak fishing, more so than shore fishing. I occasionally drop a bait to bottom on the drift, but a majority of my kayak fishing is jigging lures over reefs and wrecks for Cod, Pollock and Bass. The 8000 OC performs just as well as any boat multiplier for this in my opinion. The gear ratio is 4.8:1 – which lessens the need use the rod to ‘pump’ heavier fish – with a recovery rate of 91cm per turn it does a great job of quickly retrieving fish from the depths. The Baitrunner is great for bait fishing, either out on the sand flats or fishing the creeks for Gilthead Bream, being able to pop the rod in the rod holder on free-spool will allow a hard fishing fish to run with the bait without me losing my gear to Davey Jones’ locker. I also find the Baitrunner really convenient for quickly letting out a bit of line when handling a landed fish, much easier than un-tightening the front drag and then restoring it back to the same setting.
Estuary fishing for flatties – In addition to some of the heavier fishing I have done with the 8000 OC reel, I am not opposed to a lazy Sunday afternoon on the estuary flats with light gear targeting the flatties. The size of the 8000 OC works brilliantly, making it incredibly easy just to rig up, cast out with no nonsense, put the rod on the tripod and wait for a bite. The reel also does a great job when float fishing in the harbour for Mullet.
Packed Full of Features
- Model Number: BTR8000OC
- Weight: 590 grams
- Gear Ratio: 4,8:1
- Line Capacity mm/m: 0.35-340 / 0.40-230 / 0.45-180
- Line Capacity lbs/yards: 17-250
Hypergear – The precision engineered main Hypergear transmits more power from the handle to the rotor. Designed to exacting tolerances, it requires less effort but returns more retrieve torque with vastly reduced component wear.
Varispeed – Good quality line lay is the most important feature for precise, long and accurate casting. Shimano’s Varispeed system consists of two specially designed gears. One is oval and the other is square shaped. Shimano has been able to make these two shapes fit perfectly together – the result is a perfect parallel line lay and improved fishing precision.
Power Roller – The special grooved design of the Shimano Power Roller significantly reduces line twist and is a big advantage when using thin mono or braided lines.
AR-C Spool – Shimano AR-C spool is patented spool design with an angled spool lip. This design enables the line to leave the spool with less friction and in smaller coils resulting in longer more accurate casts. AR-C spools are proven to reduce backlash and wind knots when using braid.
Lubrication Port – The reel has a small oil lubrication post that enables direct lubrication of the inner workings of the reel with approved Shimano lubricant.
Waterproof Drag – Using special protection gaskets, the drag is protected against the intrusion of water for more consistent drag performance.
Floating Shaft – The key friction area on most fixed spool reels is where the spool drive meets the pinion. Shimano designers have overcome this by reducing a large percentage of surface area contact and incorporating bearings on either side of the shaft. The resulting design leaves the shaft in a floating position, considerably improving efficiency and longevity.
Baitrunner System – Baitrunner was a breakthrough in big fish angling – a feature that has proved so beneficial that it has become a standard on big fish reels. Baitrunner is a level located on the rear of the reel that allows the reel to be set so that line is released in controlled free-spool.
DynaBalance – Dyna-Balance reduces wobble during the retrieve by counter balancing the rotor to enhance sensitivity and smoothness. By using computer balancing, Shimano are able able to redistribute the rotor weight to eliminate vibrations.
XT-7 – XT-7 is the original Shimano composite reel material. Used on mid-prices and budget reels and spools XT-7 is reliable, robust and lightweight.
A very affordable Baitrunner (RRP £154.99) that’s still packed with unique Shimano performance features such as AR-C line management, cold forged aluminium spool, Baitrunner and a lightweight XT-7 body. This reel is a true workhorse which can be used for both freshwater and saltwater applications. I highly recommend this reel to any saltwater fisherman fishing UK waters, this reel will perform really well for both bait and lure fishing, either from shore or boat.
Notice: The 8000OC reel was supplied to me by Shimano for the purpose of this review, all opinions are my own.