Best Tuna Fishing Reels of 2023 – Tried & Tested

Tuna fishing is indeed a thrilling sport, but along with that, it is a bit tricky too. It has been seen that many people spent years fishing, and still, they couldn’t catch a single tuna. That seems really sad! It seems like those tunas are just too speedy for the gears that they use. Since tunas are way too enormous, you must have the best tuna fishing reels and tools to catch them. 

We will bail you out and make you aware of the best tuna fishing reels. I will be sharing the fundamental reasons for what makes these reels so unique. These recommendations will undoubtedly favor you in getting started in your quest to catch those giant tunas. Let’s get started on the journey in the search for best tuna fishing reels.


1. Penn Squall Lever Drag 2


  • Material: Stainless Steel, Aluminum, Graphite
  • Color: Gold, Multicolor
  • Handle Material: Stainless Steel
  • Item Weight: 2 Pounds
  • Fishing Line Type: Braided
  • Bearing Material: Stainless Steel

Penn is one of the in-demand brands in the industry, and this is for a very genuine reason. They always come up with a magnificent product and are always standing behind it. The Penn Squall Family will never set you back as they have added a new member to their family, the Penn Squall Lever Drag 2.

The frames and side plates are created using a graphite material that is lightweight and durable when it comes to holding out corrosion from saltwater (check out some best fishing reels for saltwater). The spools are made of aluminum, and they have line capacity rings to let us know how much line you have left on the spool. Well, this is something you must know! Otherwise, you will encounter problems while combating heavy tunas.

This tuna fishing reel, the one we’re talking about, uses stainless steel gears that are more powerful than bronze. Isn’t it amazing that it offers marine-grade bronze main gear? It has a Dura-Drag System exclusive and is way more robust than the HT-10 drag. Yeah, Powerful! What makes it my favorite is that it comes with 4 stainless steel bearings that are not sealed. I could literally drag heavy tunas last Sunday without any difficulty.

It has a versa-handle design that allows the person to keep the handle in 2 different positions to retrieve. The incorporation of a flush lever makes this reel really distinguishable among others. The reel holds the variations of 16, 30, and 60, with a line capacity of 1,000 yards. The line capacity rings also add versatility to them.

All in all, a really awesome reel that can help you hook many hefty species in the blues. Highly recommended if you intend to buy best reel for bluefin tuna.


  • Although it has many commendable features, its price is still very affordable.
  • Its construction has been done using solid graphite.
  • It has a quick speed for 2 retrievals.


  • These are just a little bulky.

2. Shimano TLD 2-Speed Conventional Reel


  • Material: Graphite
  • Color: Black
  • Handle Material: Aluminum
  • Item Weight: 2.34 Pounds
  • Bearing Material: Aluminum

Anglers tend to do fishing when the actual game time is near, or we can simply say when the fish are on the line. Still, for this, the best equipment is required. Here, I am with an immaculate reel Shimano TLD 2 which is no ordinary reel. They have the best mechanical feature of excellent bearings. Consisting of graphite frames and side plates adds extra quality by weighing them down.

Let us talk about how pricy is it. Trust me, it is a very low-cost reel with a lot more than attributes that many high-cost reels do not offer. It is one of the most conventional tuna fishing reels and has a powerful drag system. It can draw a heavier line. Not only this, but it also has a meager gear ratio.

The single-speed models do not hold more lines, whereas this model offers spools that can hold a bit more lines than the single ones. The smallest size 20 model rates at 250 yards of 50 pounds which is really an advanced feature. Instead of using standard bearings, it uses stainless steel bearings and has shield covers that can last longer.

This reel has springs that can activate and push down the ball bearing. Being in the list of the best tuna fishing reels, it offers an alarm system that is a unique innovation. Modern technology! Wow! So, if you are looking for a budget-friendly commercial tuna fishing reel, it will serve your needs for good. It has some good tuna fishing reel reviews under its name.


  • There is no rusting because of the use of graphite
  • The drags are very impressive and offer a lot of resistance against many giant species
  • worth the investment done


  • The inside bearings and gears need extra maintenance for preventing it corrosion

3. PENN Squall II Level Wind Conventional Fishing Reel


  • Material: Aluminum
  • Hand Orientation: Ambidextrous
  • Color: Black Gold
  • Handle Material: Stainless Steel, Aluminum
  • Item Weight: 476 Grams
  • Bearing Material: Stainless Steel

PENN is my personal best manufacturer of fishing reels. This bluefin tuna fishing reel is the new generation, the PENN Squall II Level Wind. It is low in price with high versatility and is very easy to use. Many technological vital features make it appreciated in the market. It has a high-speed gear access side plate. 

Not only this, but it also has 3+1 stainless steel ball-bearing, which is shielded too. An HT-100 Carbon Drag System is being offered. What makes it different from others is that it is surrounded by graphite frames and side plates.

Isn’t it appreciable that it is available in 4 sizes from 15 to 50 as per the user’s convenience? It also has high-strength marine-grade bronze alloy for the main gear. It has a quick shift system which makes it easier for anglers to reach positions.  

Within the rotation of modern technology, this reel beats the others. It is a good purchase for many years!


  • The use of graphite frames increases durability as they do not rust.
  • Strong and resilient
  • Smooth dragging system
  • A very affordable reel with exceptional features


  • It falls on the simpler side as compared to other reels
  • The durability of the graphite range is also a con because it gets brittle.

4. Penn Fathom Lever Drag


  • Material: Aluminum
  • Hand Orientation: Right Hand
  • Color: Multicolor, Black
  • Handle Material: Stainless Steel
  • Item Weight: 3 Pounds
  • Bearing Material: Stainless Steel

PENN has been making revolutionary steps in fishing and indulged in modernizing the fishing methods by making fishing reels per consumer’s convenience. Now comes my favorite tuna fishing reel. I will discuss the Fathom Lever Drag, which is one of the best-known tuna fishing reels.

This reel’s prominent feature is the entire Metallic Body for durability. It also offers the power-speed combination in a lightweight structure. The reels are designed to make super line fishing easier and cover a wide range of fishing, which makes it a user-friendly product. 

Jigging, baiting and bottom fishing are also among its crucial feature. A substantial body along with side plates makes it really exclusive. Gears are made up of Stainless Steel. It consists of Dura-Drag Washing System along with a lever for dragging. Which I felt is just commendable!

Stainless Steel Ball Bearing is shielded for smoothness in rotation and for anti-rusting. It has Line Capacity rings, the available colours are Black and Red, and the Maximum drag is 33lbs. Whoa! that is strong. The best part is that the right-side reel handles the position and the aluminum spool. This helps in good gripping.

The covered weight is 19.2 oz which can be enjoyed by beginners and pros alike. For decades, this reel will serve to be your partner, provided that it is nicely taken care of.


  • Best available reel in terms of budget and for gigantic fishing
  • Awesome spool Line of
  • Decent line capacity
  • Good gear ratio


  • It is only for catching under 100 Lbs but not for more weight category

5. Okuma Makaira 2 Speed Offshore Lever Drag Trolling Reel


  • Material: Aluminum, Stainless Steel
  • Hand Orientation: Right Hand
  • Color: Gold
  • Handle Material: Aluminum
  • Item Weight :7.5 Pounds
  • Fishing Line Type: Braided
  • Bearing Material: Stainless Stee

Okuma Fishing Tackle is among the finest and most prominent brands when mentioning the best reels for bluefin tuna. It competes with the other best reels for tuna fishing, because of its smoothness and longevity. The most popular among Okuma’s reels are Okuma Makaira 2 Speed Offshore Lever Drag Trolling Reel.

Although it is smaller, I want you all to know how remarkable this product is, making fishing easier. It consists of aluminum side plates and a spool for maximum durability and lighter weight. One of the most admired features is the Corrosion Resistant Coating CRC protection. It is responsible for long-term protection as it significantly holds on to the metal. 

Okuma Makaira 2 Speed Offshore

This is designed in such a way that it utilizes a dual power drag system. What it does is an overwhelming act! It aids in maximizing and reducing the drag at the same time. Not only this, but it has a helical cut gearing system of stainless steel that helped me so much while winding.

 This fantastic product has introduced two-speed gearing technology with stainless steel gears. These are a combination of high-speed gear and low-speed gear ratios. These reels are perfect for heavy drags like billfish, giant tuna, and sharks. It uses a right-hand reel for handling. I also liked the quality of the braided fishing line present. The weight of this reel is 2.95 lbs, which is not too heavy. The sleek outlook shines in gold colour. Attractive!

A powerpack commercial tuna fishing reel that will not let you down is Okuma Makaira. A wise purchase!


  • It offers the best dragging system
  • A good product in terms of price
  • A combo of Stainless Steel and aluminum makes it durable


  • A heavy product in weight in terms of category
  • Available in limited colors

6. SHIMANO TLD Lever Drag Conventional Reel


  • Material: Stainless Steel, Aluminum, Graphite
  • Hand Orientation: Right Hand
  • Color: Black
  • Handle Material: Stainless Steel
  • Item Weight: 1 Kilograms
  • Fishing Line Type: Fly
  • Bearing Material: Stainless Steel

SHIMANO, the name is self-explanatory in terms of rebellion in modern fishing methods. Without worrying about failure, you can undergo the heaviest drags with this small fishing reel. The SHIMANO TLD Lever Drag Conventional Reel has the exceptional attribute of catching enormous fish even with small boats.

It has a graphite frame and a graphite side plate which is not seen much in fishing reels. A significant part of this reel is the barrel handle grip which makes the ends equal. Though compact, but has gained many best reviews for tuna fishing among my friends too. Along with all the mentioned characteristics, it has an Anti-Rust Bearing system. This is designed to resist saltwater and extreme weather.

 According to the models, the Line Retriever per crank is 30-32; according to the models, the material used is Stainless Steel, Graphite, and aluminum. It is a right-handed handle orientation made of stainless steel, and the available color is black. It has a weight of 1.9 pounds which is comparatively less.

Genuinely speaking, I love the lightweight. It is portable for me. Being one of the most commercial tuna fishing reels, it offers the best quality fishing even in deep water. The best part is its easy-to-use features. One can go on fishing trips by easily carrying these reels and still would catch the giant fishes effortlessly. The best reel for bluefin tuna combats!


  • It has a two-speed clutch
  • Lightweight and portable
  • Exceptional in saltwater


  • Sometimes the gear gets jammed intermittently.
  • For preventing saltwater corrosion, regular maintenance must be done.


Alright, so now you must have decided that you will be purchasing one of the best tuna fishing reels. Maybe you are buying it for the first time, or you plan to upgrade it to a better version. But for that, it is mandatory to do some research work for enhancement.

Before buying any tuna fishing reel, some tips have been mentioned below to help you serve better. So this can be helpful when you will read our tuna fishing reel reviews too.

Best Tuna Fishing Reels

Size of the Reel:

Everybody needs comfort, the success in fishing can be highly influenced by the size of the reel, which ultimately is responsible for comfort too. Now here the question arises: How is comfort connected to the size of reels?

If someone plans to fish in freshwater, they would not be taking a more enormous reel on a trip like that. Still, if a sea monster comes, they would regret not taking a larger one which means that the size is significant. 

Match the reel and rod:

Every fishing reel does not work with every fishing rod, so when you buy them, don’t forget to check out the specifications. You can ask the rod manufacturers and go according to their suggestions.

Size and shape of spool:

When buying the best tuna fishing reels, check out the Tuna fishing reel reviews, where you can clearly find how important the size and the shape of the spool are. The spool configuration profoundly impacts the line capacity and the distance it will cover.

Drag System:

The drag system provides friction to the spool, making it easier to cast and fight the bigger fish. It has been seen through various experiences that most anglers can deal with the pressure of drag which is 15 to 18 pounds, without losing power. Hence never underestimate yourself and buy a reel with a good drag. You will be more comfortable and not get fatigued.

The money along with quality:

The quality is utterly connected to the price. However, sometimes buyers get a perfect deal at a low price but not always. So if you are a regular user, I would suggest you spend a few more bucks on high-quality fishing. Your money should never be wasted, I believe.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Q1. What size of the reel is best for tuna fishing?

Ans: As the tuna is massive and the fastest in the ocean, we need a very tough reel to crank them. According to my expertise, a 130-pound bluefin tuna fishing reel works the best. It makes it possible for the catchers to quickly grab them.

Q2. What is the cost of a tuna rod and reel?

Ans: The bluefin tuna gears are relatively costly. The reel and rod are $120, but cheaper ones are also available, but only a few are reliable.

Q3. How much drag do tuna fishing reels need?

Ans: The drag should be 10 pounds for 50 pounds line for making the drag system better. However, the lever should be able to be pulled back from strike easily.

Q4. What test line should be used for tuna fishing?

Ans: The tunas rarely outstrip 100 pounds, but it is recommended to use a heavier line when they do. More than 30 pounds test line works best as the tunas are really giant. They need a lengthier test line. This is present in commercial tuna fishing reels and some normal ones too.


Fishing a tuna is what everyone desires because of the fight they offer and their delicious taste. It can indeed become a memorable experience if you choose the best reel for this purpose. According to my experience, you can go for the Penn Fathom Lever Drag has those qualities that not even the most expensive ones have. So, it would not be wrong to keep it on the top of the list because its rates are not so pricey. Yet, it is a combination of resilience and durability.

You can consider the best tuna fishing reels I have reviewed, but I will highly appreciate it if you share your personal experience in the comments. You are free to give recommendations so that others could also know which one is suitable for them. Best of luck with your tuna fishing!

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