Here’s our guide on the top tuna fishing reels for all budgets.
Tuna is a target species mainly because of its awesome fighting abilities and savory taste. Since it’s expensive to target tuna (charters, gas, etc), it’s important to have the proper gear to bring them in.
8 Best Tuna Fishing Reels
- The best tuna reel for cow tuna – Penn INT12VIS International VI International Reel
- Best tuna reel for any budget – Penn Fathom Lever Drag
- Great low-cost tuna reel – Penn Squall Lever Drag 2-Speed Trolling Fishing Reel
- Solid level-wind option – PENN Squall II Level Wind Conventional Reel
- A tuna dominating reel – Shimano 2020 Saragosa SW A Spinning Reels
- A great tuna reel – Shimano Torium Star Drag Conventional Reels
- A fan favorite – Shimano Talica 20 II Speed Reel
- A solid tuna reel – Accurate ATD Platinum Reel
We’ve also listed the best tuna fishing rods. Check it out!
1. Penn INT12VIS International VI International Reel
The Best Tuna Reel
- The drag systems allow smoother startups
- Eliminates hassles from extreme drag settings
- With exclusive Versa strike with adjustable strike stops to easily customized strike position
- Ergonomic knobs ensure a convenient fishing grip
- Contains useful line capacity rings and improved clickers
- With double dog ratchet system anti-reverse to minimize line slippage
The Penn VI international reel is designed with a quick-shift double-speed system to allow anglers to easily choose among the gear ratio, whether on low-power or fast retrieve speed, to make the tuna reel achieve its maximum efficiency.
In addition, the precisely machined, fully anodized aluminum body with added side plates allows the tuna reel to achieve its ideal weight-to-strength ratio without any flexes upon getting spooled with heavier braids.
2. Penn Fathom Lever Drag
- Has a reliable and smooth drag system
- Contains switchblade harness plugs for a smooth experience
- With shielded bearings made of stainless steel
- Capable of a quick-shifting mechanism brought by the double-speed gears
Penn Fathom is one of the best bluefin tuna fishing reels and is also great for catching yellowfins. Its dynamic lever drags coupled with double-speed tuna fishing gear allow greater success during your fishing.
You can easily combat powerful large tunas with high drag pressures brought by the Penn Fathom lever drag.
Its high-quality drag system settings are the best, as they can back you up when facing extreme situations. For easy bait retrieval, the tuna reel double-speed gears provide the ideal gear ratio to easily manage the speed if you need more power to reel in those tuna.
3. Penn Squall Lever Drag 2-Speed Trolling Fishing Reel\
- With side plates and lightweight frames made of graphite to withstand corrosion
- Has four stainless steel bearings
- Contains line capacity rings with a machine aluminum spool
- Designed with a dura drag system and pinion gears for weight reduction
This tuna fishing reel is built for long-lasting service. Penn Squall Lever has it all, compactness, strength, and convenience to land tuna.
Its body is reinforced with graphite for added strength and to withstand fishing rigors. Also, the Squall 2-speeds make it ideal for large tuna species trolling.
One of the best features of this perfect tuna reel is its drag system that completely minimizes the shakes and twitches you might experience under great pressure, making this trolling reel perfect for sharks, tuna, and other big species.
4. PENN Squall II Level Wind Conventional Reel
- With durable marine grade bronze alloy main and pinion gears to combat stresses
- Stainless steel ball bearings are 3 plus 1 shielded
- Side plates are modified for easy maintenance
- Designed with lightweight graphite for corrosion resistance
- Has an instant anti-reverse bearing and silent backup ratchet
This compact and conventional reel is the perfect combination of smoothness and power, making anglers perform better when fighting against large saltwater fish species, whether sharking, trolling, or trolling.
The versa handle system can let you easily adjust the length of the handles to suit your needs and techniques, making it more efficient in catching your target fish.
It’s proven to be a versatile reel as it provides enough lightweights while providing extraordinary abilities without hassle to ensure your comfort.
5. Shimano 2020 Saragosa SW A Spinning Reels
- With infinity drive technology to enhance the reel winding torque
- Has an IPX-rated waterproof finish and cross-carbon drags for extreme water resistance
- Designed with HAGANE gears and powerful drag systems to handle large fish
- Made of aluminum for durability
This newly designed Saragosa SW is great for inshore and offshore fishing, casting baits, and bottom fish jigging. It is also ideal for catching almost all saltwater fish, such as tuna, tarpon, striped bass, snook, and more.
In addition, it has been carefully designed to completely lessen weight during use with improvements in balance and reel handles.
This reel is sure to push its limits with its X-protect water-resistant system that can enhance the durability of line roller bearing, making it ideal for extreme fishing conditions.
6. Shimano Torium Star Drag Conventional Reels
- Has fish-fighting features from its compact body and cross-carbon drag
- With smaller and more manageable B-side plates for anglers, easy to control
- Incorporated with a durable HAGANE body to maximize power and efficiency
This lightweight tuna reel is great for fishing tuna, mackerel, bass, and several other great fish because of its solid design and lightweight power. Anglers use the Torium star drag reel for bottom fishing and live bait applications.
It also comes in various sizes that can match your needs. The lineup includes 20 HG models, 40PG, and 50HG for throwing irons on the surface, fishing for snappers at the bottom, and catching Ulua along the rocks of Hawaii, respectively.
7. Shimano Talica 20 II Speed Reel
- With a powerful and super smooth drag system for long periods of fishing
- Built with a modern braided fishing line and fluorocarbon leaders
- With 11 sizes to target all sizes of pelagic fish and tuna
- Designed with highly efficient gearing technology for easy retrieves
- Can deliver exceptional performance with the highest loads through its 6+1 Bearings
This small conventional tuna reel is designed for fly-lining chunks and live baits even when fishing from tuna boats.
It can deliver the best power-to-size ratio that can surely bring fish to the table together with its high-speed drag reels coupled with highly efficient drag curves and gears and compact lever drag system, making it a great choice for anglers fishing on stand-up tuna boats.
Additional interesting features are power handles for comfort and clicker knobs.
8. Accurate ATD Platinum Reel
The Market’s Finest Tuna Fishing Reel
- The Twin Drag features allow powerful and smooth drags
- Designed with pressure on reel’s both sides for handling high drag loads
- The harness has two synced dogs for great stopping power when catching large species
- With consistent ATD to lessen occurrences of high drag spikes
This platinum tuna reel is built and tested to make it efficient in big-game fishing. It is lightweight and durable. In addition, it is great for catching powerful fish such as marline, bluefin tuna, big wahoo, and more.
The unique and efficient twin-drag tuna reel system has alphanumeric and graduated visual states coupled with preset levels for added precision in its range settings.
The advantage of these reels includes a 2-speed quick-shift that can easily allow a fast transition from high to low gear and vice versa.
Things to Consider When Buying Tuna Fishing Reels
There is no perfect tuna fishing reel suitable for targeting all kinds of fish species, whether small or big. However, rest assured that the best tuna reel suits your style well.
So, mindful consideration is crucial when deciding on the best tuna spinning reel and target fish. You can start by remembering the following factors.
When considering the weight of the reel, the best tuna reel materials should deliver just enough balance between weight and strength. Also, it must not be too heavy, or it might tire you easily before reaching your target species and a number of fish.
The best spinning reel design should be durable to catch fish without bending. Two-speed tuna reels are ideal such that they have a desirable gear-shifting mechanism and gear handles.
Choosing saltwater gears are the best choice because they offer smooth operation, especially when battling large fish.
Also, most of them are made of stainless steel and are corrosion-resistant. Your gear should also have a relatively high gear ratio depending on your retrieves.
The strength, effectiveness, and durability rely on the reel frame. At the same time, it should be lightweight enough for comfort. Frame materials you should look for are aluminum, composite materials, and graphite.
The best, lightweight, corrosion-resistant, and durable materials you should look for in your frame, spools, and side plates are graphite and aluminum.
Gears to be used in saltwater fishing should be made of these materials as well for them to last longer.
Spools of a reel for tuna must be built on durable materials like machined aluminum spools and cold-forged ones to withstand the intense drag pressures of catching tuna.
Your spool should also have a large line capacity to fit in all fishing line sizes of tuna.
The handle of a reel for tuna should be designed ergonomically to provide a comfortable and nonslip grip when battling fish. When catching heavy tunas, go for offset power grips for maximum control and comfort in your drag system.
The tuna reel’s best feature is an anti-reverse bearing that can prevent back plays. Stainless steel materials and sealed and shielded bearings are also ideal for being resilient enough and resistant to elements in saltwater.
Although the tuna fishing reel cost for catching tuna is expensive, you can invest at least 200 dollars to ensure you end up choosing a high-quality, budget tuna fishing reel with outstanding performance.
Tuna Fishing is a Fun Activity
Here are the top tuna reels on the market. If you are a recreational tuna angler and looking for the most reliable drag system, you can choose any of these deep-sea fishing reels.
We also included their key features and in-depth information. In the end, we also shared additional factors to consider before buying one to help you come up with a premium reel completely.