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8 Best Tuna Fishing Reels for 2022

Tuna fish is one of the angler’s desired species to catch mainly because of its savory taste. However, catching these species can be challenging as they are very clever in water and can escape easily. 

With the right equipment, you don’t have to worry about them breaking free from your reels. Keep reading to see our list of best tuna fishing reels for 2022!

Our Top Picks 

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Best for Smooth Casting
Penn 1292934 Fathom 40N Lever 2-Speed Lever Drag Fishing Reel
Best Big Fish Fighting Reel
PENN 1292938 Squall Lever Drag 2-Speed Trolling Fishing Reel, 890/50
Best Wind Tuna Reel
PENN Fishing SQL50LW Squall Level Wind , Black, 320Yd/50Lb
Feature 1
Has a reliable and smooth drag system
Has four stainless steel bearings
Stainless steel ball bearings are 3 plus 1 shielded
Feature 2
Contains switchblade harness plugs for a smooth experience
Contains line capacity rings with a machine aluminum spool
Side plates are modified for easy maintenance
Best for Smooth Casting
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Penn 1292934 Fathom 40N Lever 2-Speed Lever Drag Fishing Reel
Product Name
Feature 1
Has a reliable and smooth drag system
Feature 2
Contains switchblade harness plugs for a smooth experience
Best Big Fish Fighting Reel
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PENN 1292938 Squall Lever Drag 2-Speed Trolling Fishing Reel, 890/50
Feature 1
Has four stainless steel bearings
Feature 2
Contains line capacity rings with a machine aluminum spool
Best Wind Tuna Reel
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PENN Fishing SQL50LW Squall Level Wind , Black, 320Yd/50Lb
Feature 1
Stainless steel ball bearings are 3 plus 1 shielded
Feature 2
Side plates are modified for easy maintenance

Check out our other recommended tuna fishing gears!

8 Best Tuna Fishing Reels

1. Penn Fathom Lever Drag

Best Tuna Reel for Smooth Casting

Penn 1292934 Fathom 40N Lever 2-Speed Lever Drag Fishing Reel
  • Heavy duty lever drag fishing reel offers phenomenal...
  • Full metal body and side plates constructed from die cast...
  • Quick Shift 2 speed system easily shifts into high or low...

Key Features:

  • Has a reliable and smooth drag system
  • Contains switchblade harness plugs for a smooth experience
  • With shielded bearings made of stainless steel
  • Capable of 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 against 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.


2. Penn Squall Lever Drag 2-Speed Trolling Fishing Reel

The Ultimate Big Fish Fighting Reel

PENN 1292938 Squall Lever Drag 2-Speed Trolling Fishing Reel, 890/50
  • Reel, RH, 3BB plus 1RB, 2.9:1 / 1.5:1 ratio
  • Alum spool, Braid 2485/65 2145/80 1835/100, mono 1550/30...
  • Reels saltwater lever drag

Key Features:

  • 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 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, 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.


3. PENN Squall II Level Wind Conventional Reel 

The Best Wind Tuna Reel on the Market

PENN Fishing SQL50LW Squall Level Wind , Black, 320Yd/50Lb
  • Level wind trolling reel for big game fish in a variety of...
  • Durable construction with lightweight graphite frame and...
  • HT 100 carbon fiber drag system provides powerful drag...

Key Features:

  • 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. 


4. Shimano 2020 Saragosa SW A Spinning Reels 

Best Tuna-Dominating Saltwater Reel

Key Features:

  • With infinity drive technology to enhance the reels winding torque  
  • Has 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. 


5. Shimano Torium Star Drag Conventional Reels 

Top-Rated Saltwater Reel

Key Features:

  • Has fish-fighting features from its compact body and cross carbon drag
  • With smaller and more manageable B-side plates for anglers, easy control
  • Incorporated with 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. 


6. Penn INT12VIS International VI International Reel 

The World-Class Reel

Penn INT12VIS International VI International Vis 2 Speed Fishing Reel
  • Machined and anodized aluminum body and side plates
  • Stainless steel main and pinion gears
  • Quick-shift II 2-speed System

Key Features:

  • 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 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.


7. Shimano Talica 20 II Speed Reel 

The Most Advanced Tuna Fishing Reel

Key Features:

  • 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 in power handles for comfort and clicker knobs.


8. Accurate ATD Platinum Reel

The Market’s Finest Tuna Fishing Reel 

Key Features:

  • 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 2 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 2-speed quick-shift can easily allow fast transition from high to low gear and vice versa.


best tuna fishing reels
Source: Canva Pro

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. 

Weight

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 number of fish. 

Design

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.

Gears

Choosing saltwater gears is the best choice because they offer smooth operation, especially when battling large fish.

Also, most of them are made of stainless steel and corrosion-resistant. Your gears should also have a relatively high gear ratio depending on your retrieves. 

Frame

The strength, effectiveness, and durability rely on the reel frame. At the same time, it should be lightweight enough for comfortability. Frame materials you should look for are aluminum, composite materials, and graphite.

Material

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. 

Spool

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.

Handle

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.

Bearing

The tuna reel’s best feature is an anti-reverse bearing that can prevent back plays. Stainless steel materials and sealed and shielded bearing are also ideal for being resilient enough and resistant to elements in saltwater.

Price

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 out come up with a premium reel completely. 


The Anglers Behind This Article:

Johanes Godoy
Fishing Editor

Jon Stenstrom
Founder & Angler

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Articles » Gear Reviews » 8 Best Tuna Fishing Reels for 2022