Okuma Cortez Conventional Reel Review

Updated on December 23, 2021 by

Okuma has been producing some of the highest-quality fishing tackle and equipment for decades. The company has become one of the most popular producers of rods and reels and the Okuma Cortez Star Drag Conventional reel is among one of the best currently available. 

This reel features the brand’s all-new Carbonite drag system which operates using a specialized carbon-based drag material that’s better-equipped to deal with friction and heat that can often ruin a reel. This new capability is especially important for serious saltwater anglers as catching a large game fish species can often result in breaking or completely destroying a reel that’s not equipped to handle the extreme levels of pressure and rapid pace at which line is torn from the spool. 

The Okuma Cortez Star Drag Conventional reel is perfect for pairing with a large, heavy rod and is suitable for catching just about any type of fresh or saltwater game fish species. A more thorough look into each of the rod’s components and capabilities reinforces just why so many users deem this to be among one of the best conventional reels currently on the market. 

Bestseller No. 1

Quantitative Score

Performance – 4/5 ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Durability – 4/5 ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Value for Money – 5/5 ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Overall – 4/5 ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Click here to learn more about how we score.

Okuma Cortez Star Drag Reel Overview 

The Okuma Cortez Star Drag reel is crafted to the same high-quality standards that the Okuma brand has become well-known for in recent decades. The reel housing is made of a high-quality graphite frame and side plates that are designed to be durable and corrosion-resistant. The company went to great lengths to create a reel that is ideal for beginner and novice saltwater anglers that can stack up quite well against heavier saltwater fish species. 

The internal parts of the Cortez Star Drag are manufactured from machined aluminum and are anodized in a smooth, sleek finish that compliment the reel’s ergonomic design. Okuma produces five different Cortez Star Drag reel models that offer different sizes, gear ratios, and maximum drag weight. This allows anglers to select the rod that’s ideal for the specific type of game fish they plan to catch. 


  • Affordable price 
  • Durable housing 
  • Magnetic cast control 
  • Stabilization system 
  • Quality internal components 
  • Carbonite drag system 
  • Fresh or saltwater 


  • Not fully sealed 
  • Low max drag 
Okuma Cortez Star Drag Conventional Reel

Notable Features 

The Okuma Cortez Star Drag Conventional reel is full of surprising features that combine to create an exceptionally well-made product that anglers of all skill levels can appreciate. A closer look at each one of these features reveals just why this reel is fast-becoming the most popular model on the market today. 

Carbonite Drag System 

Okuma designed the Cortez Star Drag reel with its Carbonite drag system, which is crafted as a multi-disc drag system that offers an incredible level of strength and performance for anglers. The Carbonite drag system is made to allow the angler to have greater stopping power as opposed to being at the mercy of their catch. The system is reported to be incredibly smooth when compared with other reels that are priced at a similar level. 

Corrosion Resistant Frame

One of the most important aspects of a capable saltwater reel that’s designed to go after the largest fish in the sea is the ability to function despite being exposed to the highly-corrosive effects of saltwater day in and day out. The graphite frame is extremely lightweight compared to other models, but Okuma made this reel with an anodized aluminum frame that’s capable of withstanding just about anything nature might throw at it. 

The Cortez Star Drag’s side plates are also designed to be corrosion-resistant, which will extend the overall lifespan of the reel and allow anglers to get many years out of the product. 

Quality Internal Parts 

One of the most important parts of any fishing reel is the spool. Okuma designed the Cortez with a machined aluminum spool that’s also anodized for added toughness. The increased durability does not come at the usual cost of added weight, however. This reel will combat rust and corrosion without the usually heavy parts associated with so many different saltwater conventional reels. 

While other brands rely on cheap, composite material to craft the interior parts of their reels, Okuma engineers designed the Cortez with a forged-aluminum, anodized star that can easily be adjusted by the angler at any time. This further adds to the overall lightweight feel and performance of the Cortez as compared to many other premium conventional reels that are all-too-often designed with heavier parts to increase strength and durability. 

Magnetic Cast Control System 

One of the most sought-after characteristics of the Cortez Star Drag Conventional reel is the Magnetic Cast Control system. This operational system uses a combination of magnetic components to create a more smooth casting experience for anglers who prefer to use this reel to cast their baits and lures when necessary. This system works to prevent backlash, which is extremely important for beginner and novice anglers to have as they might still be getting the hang of using a conventional-style reel. 

Variety of Models 

Okuma designed five different Cortez reel models that are all made with different specifications and capabilities. The gear ratios range from 6:2:1 to 4:7:1 and all feature four ball bearings, as well as one stainless steel roller bearing that’s designed for a smooth, effortless retrieve. 

Video Review

If you want to see this reel in action then have a look at this video produced by Okuma’s John Bretza:

Bestseller No. 1


ModelGear ratioBearingsWeight (g)Line retrieve(cm)Max drag force(kg)Monofilament line capacity
(diameter in mm.)
CZ-5CSa6.2:14BB+1RB39696.570.35/370, 0.40/275, 0.45/200
CZ-10CSa6.2:14BB+1RB499109.280.40/360, 0.45/270, 0.50/220
CZ-12CSa6.2:14BB+1RB522109.280.45/410, 0.50/340, 0.55/280


Finding a quality reel that’s capable of being used to catch some of the most popular saltwater game fish species can be a challenge for anglers who might not know just what to look for. The Okuma Cortez Star Drag Conventional reel offers just about everything the beginner fishing enthusiast could ask for in a reel. 

This model offers plenty of high-quality components with a comfortable, lightweight feel that’s easy for anglers of all ages and skill levels to handle. The reel might not be as well-made as some of the premium, high-cost models out there, but this one does provide a solid combination of characteristics that make it an exceptionally great value. 

Last update on 2022-05-20 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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Donny Karr

Donny Karr is a Tournament Angler and writer whose work has been featured in magazines for nearly a decade. He is a member of the Outdoor Writers Association of America. He enjoys bass and crappie fishing in the lakes around the south-eastern United States, as well as trout fishing in the streams and rivers of the Appalachian mountains. He enjoys keeping up with the latest news and gear items in the fishing industry and is always looking forward to his next outdoor adventure. Donny has written for Georgia Outdoor News, The Outdoor Trip, Man Can Outdoors, Global Fishing Reports, and Bassmaster.

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