Some high-end reels are not always available to all anglers due to their high price.
That’s why we at Northpolevoyages will advise you on the 5 best tuna fishing reels.
There are many heavy spinning reels on the market, and it is easy to get carried away by a cheap price as if these will mark the quality.
The fight with a Tuna or a Billfish is always hard, and even with a large Bacorheta, and not all reels are going to endure these beatings for long.
We have seen reels decompose before our eyes at the first pull of a Tuna, not to mention the brake discs smelling of worn-out car clutch.
It’s very frustrating to watch a reel on opening day lose all its braking power, or the teeth of the gears blow out.
So, do you have to spend a lot of money on a heavy spinning reel, yes, if you want a full warranty, and no, if you only go out a few times a year to fish big ones.
There are few economical reels that can handle sporadic fighting for several seasons, just as there are few that can withstand intensive use. Let’s not fool ourselves, it’s always the same brands that are there.
For our experts there is a list of indispensable features that a good reel must have to fish for tuna:
A good brake capable of holding a fish weighing between 30 and 70 kg.
A great capacity of line of sufficient power to help the brake and that allows us to maneuver the boat comfortably.
Good quality bearings that can withstand friction and protect delicate areas with the effort that will be required.
And a weight that is not excessive, so that we can perform a few dozen sets comfortably, and allow us to continue a day without losing the arm in the attempt.
Then we have more secondary factors that influence the final result, but the previous ones are essential in our view.
Now in this article, I will give you help in selecting the right one for you.
The best tuna fishing reels – Our selection
If you’re in a hurry, check out our shortlist of the top 5 deep-sea fishing reels for tuna:
- Okuma Makaira Off Shore Lever Drag Trolling Reel – The best tuna fishing reel
- Daiwa Saltiga Lever Drag Reels – Best Tuna Fishing Reel for the Money
- Penn Squall Lever Drag 2-Speed Trolling Fishing Reel
- Penn Squall LevelWind
- Penn Fathom Lever Drag
Here you can see a small review and the outstanding features of these tuna fishing reels. Let’s get started.
1. Okuma Makaira Off Shore Lever Drag Trolling Reel
Made of the finest and most durable components available today, the Makaira lever-brake reel series is designed for sport fishing of large fish, from Tuna, Grouper, Seriola, Lemon Fish and Sailfish to the largest in the entire ocean such as the giant blue and black marlin, yellowfin and bluefin tuna and many more.
These reels are the culmination of years of research, development, and testing, which have been based on the highest standard that can be expected from an Elite Reel.
The Makaira model created by Okuma has a frame made entirely of aluminum, plus forged side plates to provide greater strength.
Among its construction features are its 17-4 grade stainless steel gear, which was cold-forged with a type 2 anodization. Makaira reels feature a two-speed gear system and gold anodized housing, plus a preset lever for precise drag adjustment. It features a patented Okuma Easy Roll T-shaped crank with graphite inserts.
Precise placement of drainage holes maximizes water removal from the reel and, in conjunction with the special screws around the side plate, reduces water buildup and saltwater corrosion.
It was manufactured using CRC technology, a coating process that makes the reel resistant to corrosion, and has Okuma’s patented spool pin system to give you the freedom to use the reel with braided or monofilament lines. As if that weren’t enough, it was built with Double-Dog technology, an anti-reverse system, patented by Okuma.
It has a double strength braking system, which has incorporated universal lime braking grease.
- Made of fine and durable components
- Designed for large sport fishing
- Elite reel with a high standard
- Frame made of aluminum
- Forged aluminum side plates
- Extremely resistant
- Stainless Steel Gear 17-4
- CRC and Double-Dog Technology
2. Daiwa Saltiga Lever Drag Reels
They have the same aluminum body, the same coil, the same rotor, and we find the main difference in what we are dealing with, in the bearings where the Saltist incorporates two more and of better quality.
The power of the brake in both is identical 15 kg, with the ATD technology of carbon discs with special grease, comparable in smoothness to the Okuma, the travel is shorter than the latter, faster to adjust and also we must be more attentive.
The line capacity is also the same with 500 m of 50 lb braid allowing to go overboard for these tunas.
The Saltist Nero mounts 7 bearings, for the 9 of the Saltist, this is going to make the collection with weight load softer in the Saltist, but also it penalizes him in the weight, with 740 g the Nero for 850 g of the second.
3. Penn Squall Lever Drag 2-Speed Trolling Fishing Reel
Penn’s Squall Star Drag Reel is built with a lightweight graphite frame and comes with a free-floating reel. This drag reel has a special braking system that makes it easy to launch, whether you’re jigging or making fast, extended casts.
Specifications and characteristics:
- Lightweight graphite frame
- Machined and anodized aluminum spool
- Externally adjustable magnetic cast-iron brake in 12 and 15 sizes
- High strength marine-grade bronze alloy main gear
- Precision machined stainless steel pinion gear
- Live axle with free-floating reel
- Shielded stainless steel ball bearings
- HT-100 drag washers provide smooth drag under heavy loads
- Stainless steel reel holder
- Handle with counterweight and large paddle knob
4. Penn Squall LevelWind
The PENN Squall Level Wind reel is the successor to the GT series reels, which have been around for decades and have proven to be the big fish.
The Squall LW has all the proven features of the GT series, with the addition of better gear ratios and an Anti-Reverse Bearing, in a more compact package.
- HT-100 Drive System
- 2 stainless steel bearings
- Instant anti-reverse
- Blade terminals on size 50
- Recovery rate: 32″/81c,
- Braking system: Mechanical
- Anti-reverse feature: Instant anti-reverse
- Reel handle position: Right
- Drag Type: Star Drag
5. Penn Fathom Lever Drag
The Penn Fathom fishing reels have become a high-performance American proposal for trolling. It is a single piece manufactured in mechanized aluminum. With versatile drag and completely closed system.
Its resistance is enviable since the mechanism is completely made of stainless steel, which also allows smooth traction using up to 7 ball bearings.
This is the best option if you are looking for a very powerful and lightweight trolling reel. On the other hand, its design is especially suited to work with braided wires with a brake capable of supporting up to 13.5Kg.
Features of the Penn Fathom reel:
- Coil capacity: 0,60 mm – 360 Meters
- Weight: 703 grams
- Ratio: 1:4.3
- Bearings: 7 stainless steel ball bearings
- Brake power: 13.5 Kilograms.
- Gears: 1
- Machined aluminum coil
As a conclusion, we advise you, the Saltist, for harder jobs like the usual use with Jigs and Poppers, and the Okuma Makaira, for long casts with linear lures, this are just notions, and both are perfectly valid for all Spinning techniques, but again we come back to the topic of the two brands, in the end, it will be true.
Good fishing, and big tuna.