10 Best Tuna Fishing Reels


tuna fishing reel

Tuna is a popular fish that you will get on each fisherman’s bucket list. The taste of tuna is exquisite, but catching them is demanding. When you fix them up, they will take you down into the water then cleverly escape you. So, if you do not have the right reel, catching tuna will be a daunting job.

This article lists the 10 best tuna fishing reels that are very strong and resistant to saltwater abuse. Here is the list of the tuna fishing reels that we are going to review in this article:

Before jumping into the detailed review, let me share some important considerations that I have learned about the tuna fishing reels that you need to consider when buying a tuna fishing reel.

Choosing the Best Tuna Fishing Reels

Tuna species range from 30-pounders like Blackfin to giant bluefins that can grow as hefty as 1,400 pounds. There are also different techniques to catch tuna from trolling fishing to casting. It means that no reel suits all tuna. Careful consideration is essential to choose the right reel for the species you target. As you decide what tuna reel to get, pay attention to the following factors:

Design

Catching tuna calls for a sturdy reel that can handle the weight of the fish without flexing. The handle and gear shifting mechanism (for two-speed tuna rolls) should be secure. It also feels good to have a beautiful reel envied by other fishermen. An impeccably machined reel looks good even on the outside.

Weight

A tuna reel should have a stout build to handle a hard battle. It means that it will have some weight to it. However, it should not be too heavy to exhaust you during the fights, which can even go on for one or two hours. The best materials strike the right balance between strength and weight.

Material

For the frame side plates and spool, high-quality aluminum and graphite are the ideal materials. These are lightweight yet high strength and can withstand corrosion. Tuna fishing is saltwater fishing, and it must also make gears and bearings of a durable material and corrosion-resistant, such as stainless steel.

Frame

The frame determines how reliable, how capable, and how durable the reel is. It should be powerful enough to hold all the reel components, stiff enough to work well when handling massive fish, and lightweight for ease of use. Frame materials meet the durable yet lightweight criterion includes graphite, aluminum, and composite materials. One-piece construction is ideal.

Gears

For a silky smooth operation, even when battling heavy fish, choose a saltwater reel equipped with teeth made of top quality and corrosion-resistant material such as stainless steel. The gears should also be appropriate. A two-speed reel is excellent because it gives a higher gear ratio when you want a quick retrieval of the line and a low gear when you need plenty of torque to haul massive fish to the boat.

FAQs About the Tuna Fishing Reels

What pound test line is used for tuna fishing?

For tuna fishing, the pound test line depends on the weight of the tuna fish. However, you can use a 30-pound test line and the maximum you can go for 40 pounds. The 40-pound test line is enough to tackle a 100-pound tuna. If you think, you can catch a much giant tuna than 100 pounds than you can use a test line of more than 40 pounds.

What is needed for tuna fishing?

Fishing for tuna is an enjoyable activity, for which you need the best gear. The best tuna gear includes lures, reels, fishing rods, and lines. Also, you need to select the right place and time for tuna fishing.

What rods and reels do they use on Wicked Tuna?

In Wicked Tuna, they use the best rods and reels for fishing tuna. The rods and reels help in catching bluefin tuna fishes. You can check them on the show.

What’s the most expensive fishing reel?

Several brands sell expensive fishing reels. You can find those reels online or in stores. However, remember that expensive reels might not really be the best or high-quality reels. So, do look at other features to select the best fit for you.

Review of the 10 Best Tuna Fishing Reels You can Buy for Money

1. Penn SQL50LW Squall LevelWindOpens in a new tab.

Penn SQL50LW Squall LevelWind
  • Level wind trolling reel for big game fish in a variety of saltwater...
  • Durable construction with lightweight graphite frame and side plates and...

Penn SQL50LW is ready to work in a variety of saltwater fishing conditions. It is the ideal choice for both enthusiasts and serious anglers. The materials of this reel are top quality and well constructed. Its side plates and frame makes it lightweight, durable, and corrosion-proof. The makers make the main gear of the reel of marine grade bronze alloy.

To ensure a fluid cranking, it comes with two stainless steel bearings and an anti-reverse bearing. Penn SQL50LW uses an HT-100 carbon fiber drag system that allows you to feel the extra power and smoothness. The reels versa-handle rolls system will enable you to feel comfortable in every situation. Overall, Penn SQL50LW is a great lightweight and well-constructed reel suitable for all anglers with its long-lasting durability.

Pros

  • Lightweight
  • Well-constructed
  • Long-lasting durability
  • Smooth HT-100 carbon fiber drag system
  • Stainless steel bearing with anti-reverse system
  • The comfortable versa system handle

Cons

  • The counter for the line is not accurate.

2. SHIMANO TEKOTA LEVELWIND ReelOpens in a new tab.

Shimano Tekota 700 Saltwater Star Drag Fishing Reel
  • The Tekota trolling reel is a great solution for anglers who troll for both...
  • Constructed into a one-piece die-cast aluminum frame that provides tight...

Shimano is one of the leading brands that provide quality fishing reels. It is an excellent reel that comes with smooth reeling action. Shimano has a line capacity of 220 yards, which is excellent for catching tuna, and the unique seamless drag system gives you a better fishing experience. The one-piece die-cast aluminum constructed frame makes it more durable and provides tight tolerance.

You can easily use it for a couple of seasons because of its best-built quality. Its unique crossbar forward design allows you to access the spool directly. Also, it uses the level-wind system that provides better line management. The corrosion-resistant anti-rust bearing offers ten times more protection than the standard stainless steel bearings. Overall, it is a great fishing reel that comes with all the unique advanced features.

Pros

  • The excellent smooth drag system
  • Better line management and capacity
  • Ten times more corrosion-resistance
  • Strong level wind reel
  • Smooth reeling action
  • Well-constructed

Cons

  • Expensive

3. Penn Squall Lever Drag 2-Speed Trolling Fishing ReelOpens in a new tab.

Penn 1292938 Squall Lever Drag 2-Speed Trolling Fishing Reel, 890/50
  • Reel, RH, 3BB + 1RB, 2.9:1 / 1.5:1 ratio
  • Alum spool, Braid 2485/65 2145/80 1835/100, mono 1550/30 890/50 565/80

This saltwater reel comes with graphite made side plates and frames. Graphite material construction makes it lightweight and corrosion-resistant. Its braided line capacity lets you use braid line comfortably. To prevent the reverse grip, it uses a system called a double dog ratchet system. Penn Squall has an excellent tensile dura drag system that works pretty well even under extreme setup. This dura drag can quickly eliminate hesitation and obstacles.

The 5: 1 gear ratio is ideal for large fish, such as tuna. The fast shift 2-speed system allows you to shift gear from high to low or low to high. Overall, Penn Squall is a beautiful, medium-priced tuna reel you want in your next purchase.

Pros

  • Lightweight
  • 5:1 Gear Ratio
  • Shift 2-speed system
  • Braided line capacity
  • The excellent dura drag system
  • Double dog ratchet handle system

Cons

  • Heavy

4. Daiwa Bg Spinning ReelOpens in a new tab.

Daiwa BG3500 BG Saltwater Spinning Reel, 3500, 5.7: 1 Gear Ratio, 6+1...
  • Black Anodized Machined Aluminum Housing ("Hard Bodyz" Body & Side Cover),...
  • Solid Screw-In Handle, Air Rotor, Dynamic Cut Aluminum ABS Spool

The Daiwa bg spinning reel sports top-quality components and industry-leading ingenuity, creating a lean, mean, fish fighting machine. This reel comes with a “Hard Bodyz” machined aluminum body and side cover for the internal part’s strength and stability. Daiwa has a Black Anodized body and body cover to increase the power in the form of corrosion and scratch resistance.

Air Rotor weighs 15% less than standard rotors because its particular shape cuts out the fat while distributing stress more equitably for maximum strength in a lightweight design. The maximized core diameter and reversed taper of the spool means no deadline buried deep in the center, causing less friction for longer and easier casting. It is also braided, ready. Daiwa’s machined aluminum screw-in-handle design provides zero movements or plays between the main gear and handles arm, offering anglers both confidence and control when turning the handle.

Pros

  • Soft handles
  • Durable
  • Rarely backlashes
  • Good precision
  • Lightweight
  • Maximum drag

Cons

  • Not for catching large fish

5. Pflueger President Spinning Fishing ReelOpens in a new tab.

Sale
Pflueger PRESSP20B President Spinning Fishing Reel
  • 7 bearing System corrosion resistant stainless steel ball bearings
  • Graphite body and rotor lightweight graphite reel construction.Braid ready...

President Pfluger spinning fishing reel comprises a graphite body with a cork grip. It includes an instant anti-reverse bearing, multi-disc drag, and nine stainless ball bearings. Graphite is very sturdy, making this a stiff rod to use for more abundant and small fish alike. It also protects the body by anti-corrosion material, making it suitable for saltwater fishing.

With the medium action, the reel is perfect for beginners. This spinning reel is challenging to use at first for beginners, but with some practice, one will learn to appreciate the cast’s smoothness.

Overall, this reel is easy to use (with a little practice) and will last you a long time. You will have a great time casting and tiring those fish out without worrying about breaking your reel.

Pros

  • Graphite body
  • Aluminum handle
  • Good value for the money
  • Lightweight
  • Smooth
  • Corrosion resistance

Cons

  • Replacement handles are costly.

6. Penn Battle II & III Spinning Fishing ReelOpens in a new tab.

Sale
PENN 1338220 Battle II 5000 Spinning Fishing Reel
  • Durable, high range spinning reel ideal for conquering big saltwater game...
  • Full metal body, side plate, and rotor and heavy duty aluminum bail wire...

Penn Battle II & III Spinning Fishing Reel is one of the best tuna fishing reels. It is a durable and robust reel that can easily catch a big fish in saltwater. The entire body of this tuna fishing reel is metallic with side plates and rotor. Also, the heavy-duty aluminum bail wire enhances the durability of this reel.

Moreover, this Penn Battle tuna reel comes with a powerful drag system. The HT 100 carbon fiber drag system does not compromise the smoothness and drags easily. With 5 sealed stainless steel ball bearings, it offers high-friction and high performance. Also, it helps in casting distance smoothly with fast retrieval.

Further, the instant anti-reverse bearing does not let you catch go anywhere. The line capacity rings of the Superline spool has markings at one-third, two-third, and full capacity. The spool does not require backing, is braid ready, and keeps the line on the mark.

Pros

  • Durable and robust fishing reel
  • Metallic body with an aluminum bail wire
  • Five stainless steel ball bearings
  • The HT 100 carbon fiber drag system
  • Anti-reverse system
  • Line capacity is one-third, two-third, and full

Cons

  • Expensive than other similar products

7. Shimano Stradic Ci4+ 4000 XG FB Spinning Fishing ReelOpens in a new tab.

Shimano Stradic Ci4+ 1000 FB Spinning Fishing Reel With Front Drag,...
  • Spinning fishing reel with frontdrag. Gear ratio: 5.0:1, Retrieve:...
  • Line capacity lb/yds: 2/270, 4/140, 6/110

Shimano Stradic Ci4+ Spinning Fishing Reel is a lightweight yet stable tuna reel. It offers an ultra-smooth reeling experience with its splendid appearance to attract anglers. This reel has introduced the latest Shimano technology to upgrade its performance and enhance the tuna fishing experience.

The X-ship technology of this reel stands it out among all tuna reels. It prevents the friction between the gear and spool shaft for an improvement in casting for longer distances. Also, the gear durability increases due to this technology. It incorporates the Shimano’s flagship hagane gearing and powerful body. Due to which, it becomes robust, sturdy, and enduring. Also, the performance and smoothness enhance to give anglers the strength for both inshore and offshore fishing.

Unlike other tuna reels, it features an ultra-light, reliable CI4+ carbon body and cold-forged aluminum spool combined with Shimano’s Magnumlite Rotor. This carbon body is long-lasting, and the Magnumlite Rotor offers a light feeling when you turn the handle.

With a built-in Dyna-balance rotor and fluid drive ii system, it offers extra smoothness and casting abilities. Also, Shimano’s propulsion line management system reduces fish line management problems. This tuna fishing reel consists of 6+1 ball bearings while the gear ratio is 6.0:1.

Additionally, the line capacity of these tuna reels is 10/95; 15/85; 20/65 for powerpro and 2/270; 4/140; 6/110 for mono fishing line capacity. This reel can drag almost 20 pounds of weight with a front drag.

Pros

  • A strong body than other any other tuna fishing reel
  • Line retrieval with ease
  • Lightweight with smooth casting and drag
  • Magnumlite Rotor
  • X-ship technology
  • A CI4+ carbon body and cold-forged aluminum spool

Cons

  • Expensive than other tuna fishing reels
  • Due to its ultralight body, it cannot stand against strong winds
  • More suitable for freshwater than saltwater

8. Okuma Ceymar Spinning ReelOpens in a new tab.

Okuma Ceymar Spinning Reel Size 10 - 5Lb Max Drag Pressure
  • Multi-disc, oiled felt drag system, Max Drag Pressure - 5-lbs
  • Quick-set anti-reverse roller bearing

Okuma Ceymar Spinning Reel is another one of the best tuna fishing reels. Constructed on a fluid 8-bearing drive system, this fishing reel delivers high performance. The Okuma precision elliptical gearing feature is one of the advanced features of this fishing reel for tuna. Also, it has an inflexible machined aluminum spool. This spool makes a strong base for the braided fishing line and monofilaments.

Moreover, this tuna reel has a multi-disk drag system that helps in drawing the line with stability and enhances its strength. The rotor system of this tuna fishing reel has a specialized computer balancing system. So, this feature prevents the reel from wobbling when spinning at high speed.

It has a blade body design, which offers corrosion resistance. Also, it is compact and refined, which means it minimizes the bulkiness and size of the tuna reels so that anglers can fish with no worries. A forged aluminum handle arm allows taking control over the reel while being extremely comfortable with its Ergo Grip design.

Further, it features a machined aluminum, 2-tone anodized spool, and precision machine cut brass pinion gear. This tuna fishing reel has a 7BB + 1RB that offers ultimate smoothness. Also, the quick-set anti-reverse roller bearing avoids the retrieval of the line.

Additionally, the maximum weight this best tuna fishing reel can drag is 5 pounds. This reel has a gear ratio of five to one. Also, it has a vast range of sizes available from C-10 to C-65. Freshwater, saltwater fishing, pier, and jetties, or ample water fishing, the right size of this tuna reel for each of these places is available.

Pros

  • Durable and sturdy material used in its construction
  • Has a refined and compact design yet highly strong
  • With its super smooth drag system, it can cast long distances
  • The anti-reverse system makes the reversal impossible
  • Ergo Grip aluminum handle offers control with a comfortable and stable grip
  • It has a diverse range of sizes: C-10 to C-65

Cons

  • It has slow gearing as compared to other fishing reels
  • Anti-corrosive properties do not make it resistant to saltwater damages

9. KastKing Royale Legend GT Baitcasting ReelsOpens in a new tab.

KastKing Royale Legend GT Baitcasting Reels, New Low Profile Design...
  • GREAT FOR BEGINNERS – The 1st Generation Royal legend baitcasting reel...
  • BIGGER LINE CAPACITY – Royale Legend I is a bigger baitcasting reel than...

KastKing Royale Legend GT Baitcasting Reel is one of the best fishing reels for tuna. This tuna reel has a smooth and long reel life due to its precision-machined brass main gear. Moreover, Royale Legend GT micro click spool tension knob help in adjusting the tension in the spool. You can easily fine-tune the tension in the spool with these micro increments for consistent performance.

Further, the ceramic line guide, which is oval, protects the fishing line under heavy load from retrieval. It also provides a smooth casting experience, covering long distances. With stainless steel hardware, it offers durability and endurance. The Grand Touch handle gives a firm yet comfortable grip for all-day tuna fishing. Unlike other conventional reels, it has a seven magnet magnetic brake system for a great casting control.

Additionally, the ball bearings are 11 + 1 shielded MaxiDur, which has corrosion resistance. The anodized aluminum forged spool reduces weight but offers strength.

Pros

  • The precision-machined brass main gear
  • Stainless steel body
  • Ceramic line guide
  • Micro click tension adjustment
  • Seven levels of magnetic brake system
  • Available at affordable prices

Cons

  • The spool tension knob can be finicky

10. Sougayilang Fishing Reel SpinningOpens in a new tab.

Sougayilang Fishing Reel Spinning -12+1BB Ultralight Smooth Powerful...
  • Sougayilang spinning fishing reel Drag System offers incredible stopping...
  • Lightning fast, buttery smooth and high speed retrieval helps every angler...

Sougayilang Fishing Reel Spinning is another one of the best fishing reels for bass fishing or tuna fishing in both freshwater and saltwater. This reel has a unique look and power to fight any big fish in the water. The drag system of this tuna fishing reel has an incredible capacity to drag almost 17 pounds. Also, it comes with a hardened main metallic shaft, precision machined pinion gear, and perfect mesh drive gear to catch a fish.

Further, it has12+1 ball bearings; these ball bearings help in a fast, smooth, and high-speed retrieval. You should not worry about friction or getting stuck with this best tuna fishing reel. One great feature of this tuna fishing reel is that you can use the right or left side interchangeably.

Moreover, the fishing line cup comes with a surface that helps in casting long distances. Also, this line enhances the control for the angler. An ultralight aluminum handle with EVA knobs offers you extra control and leverage with the fish line.

The anti-reverse system locks the handle to prevent any retrieval. It is one of the sturdy fishing reels that are available at affordable prices. Also, the lightweight structure and sleek design are easy to carry and transport when you go out to fish.

Pros

  • Line capacity to drag 17 pounds
  • Comes with the metallic shaft and precision machined pinion gear
  • Ball bearings are 12+1
  • Interchangeable left and right sides
  • Cast long distances
  • Lightweight, smooth, and fast tuna fishing reel
  • Sturdy and reliable reel for tuna fishing
  • Affordable prices

Cons

  • The absence of corrosion resistance
  • Works better in freshwater than saltwater

Verdict!!

I recommend Daiwa Bg Spinning ReelOpens in a new tab.. It has exceptional outputs and is also lightweight. While beginners will learn how they can do well, on the other end, the experts will appreciate all its features. Outstandingly configured, this well-made reel has a beautiful dragging force, ultimate casting support, and perfect balance.

I know to buy a fishing reel is tedious and sometimes confusing. But not necessarily it has to be. I narrowed down the five best reels for tuna fishing among the hundreds of products available.

Steve Hudson

I have been an outdoor activities enthusiast from teenage. I have been going out with my parents on different outdoor activities such as camping and hiking. After moving to a town surrounded by three well known fishing spots, I started fishing and started using all kinds of tricks and equipment to make the most out of each adventure I pursued. Over the years I have been camping outdoor, hiking and following my passion of enjoying life at full. Few years ago, I started writing about my thoughts, experiments and ideas about outdoor, fishing, hiking and more. This blog is a compilation of that plus tips, ideas and products that can make life more meaningful, enjoyable and a pleasant.

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