If you flyfish much...you know how often your rod gets layed down in the current....reel in the sand. Now open up the okuma and look closely at the roller bearing and plastic housing that holds the bearings....
Sand trap if you ask me!
I had an okuma integrity and it only took one day just getting it wet and when you pull line out of it , it would not keep a consistent drag...slipped...
I agree with Dan regarding the Integrity. One long run by a chum destroyed the drag on my 7/8 Integrity. Pieces of fractured metal dropped out of the disc drag housing and the reel locked up, causing the loss of the fish. I'm told that the more expensive Okumas are much better. I can't say. But I will say that if you want a good lighter reel for which a heavy drag is not so important, say a 5/6, the Okuma Sierra seems like a good (and inexpensive choice). I have a 4/5 and two 5/6es (both with disk drags). They have both performed very well and seem to be put together right. They usually cost $35.00 or more, but I was able to buy the 5/6 on sale at GI Joe's for less than $20.00. So, rather than buying an extra spool for about the same price as the reel, I just bought another 5/6 Sierra. I've used the Sierras quite a bit since then, and I consider them to be among the best fishing purchases I've ever made. I don't know what size reel you are thinking about, however, and I can't advise you about how a heavier Sierra, like a 7/8, would perform.
I use the Sierra 10/11 on my 8/9 spey rod and it has performed very well. Wet, sandy,cold(enough to ice the guides), and able to stand up to a full chum season, and, I think, a seal dragging a pink I hooked before the leader parted, with no ill effects. I have sierras, airframes, and an integrity and none have failed, yet.
I have a couple Sierras - a 4/5 and a 5/6. I think that, for the price, they're a bargain. The one way roller bearing setup works well and is super smooth. The disk drag works fine. For a larger reel where the drag is more important, I'd want a little more modulation, but for a smaller reel, it's not a problem and I tend to use the rim anyway.
I can see Dan's point about sand, but I haven't had any problems. I try to keep the bearings well-greased, so maybe that stops the grit before it gets in?? I certainly wouldn't expect it to hold up in salt water, but like I said - for the price I have no complaints.
There are usually lots of them on ebay if you decide you want to buy.
I saw an Okuma Vashon (?) at a booth at last weekend's show and it looked nice, but I haven't ever seen it at any of the local retailers. The guy there was just showing, not selling, but said it goes for about $120. I'd like to get a closer look at one of those, but it definitley piqued my interest.
I have two of the Sierra 4/5's. I bought a second as opposed to a spare spool because they were so inexpensive. I've fished almost exclusively salt for the past two years and so far, no problems. I try to be a stickler for keeping my gear rinsed, cleaned, and lubricated, and I'm sure that can't hurt. If you're on a budget, I don't think you could go wrong, at least on the lighter side of Okuma
They are not fly fishing reels but I have used the Okuma Magda pro 30DX Linecounter reels on my boat for years. Just bought two new ones on eBay for 47 bucks plus 10 shipping. Great reel for the money!
Back in the day, I went through 3 sierras in 1 year, parts falling out,breaking,inconsistant drag,etc. Ever since I lost a 30" browntrout in Montana due to sierras inconsistant drag I never went back.
I'd go for the best reel under 94.00 retail and that would be the Orvis battenkill, even cheaper on Ebay.
It has a lifetime warranty unlike the Okuma reels 1 yr warranty. The Battenkill virtually has zero moving parts inside with a drag to stop a freight train. Save your dimes and nickles and get something that give you peace of mind...
If you're going for a budget reel, in the price point of say the Okuma Sierra or Magnitude, I think you would be much better served with the good ol' pedestrian Pflueger Medalist. It's simpler and more durable than the Okuma reels, not to mention that parts and spools are everywhere.
I've heard horror stories about the Okuma integrity but I;ve had mine for 4 seasons and landed probably 100+ chum on it with no problems whatever. I did notice that when I fisrt had it there was some excess grease around the bearing that seemed to cause the drag to slip. I just cleaned it out and relubed it and it's worked fine ever since. I've dunked it in salt several times and still had no problems. I just rinse in fresh and give it a good spray of wd40... Anyhow spending more than 100 bucks for a reel just seems a waste to me. You can get them on Ebay for less than 50 bucks almost anytime...