Best Reels For Tuna Fishing

Every fishing enthusiast knows how tricky it can get when it comes to tuna fishing. These species are very fast when compared to other fishes. That’s why you need the perfect gear when planning to head out on a fishing adventure. 

Using the best reels for tuna fishing can help you get them hooked while making your experience smoother.

Best Reels For Tuna Fishing

Tuna fishing reels are made a bit distinctly from regular fishing reels. They usually have more line capacity, premium bearings, and a very good drag system. All these components work together to give you a satisfying fishing experience. 

Tuna fish and anglers get into fights a lot of times and that’s because of their swimming prowess together with the power they have in their fins. 

If you are going to have any luck catching them, prep your mind to go with the right gear at all times. If you are wondering what the best reels for tuna fishing are, this review and buying guide will help you answer the question. With the information contained in this roundup of 5 most recommended products, your buying process is just about to get easier. Keep reading to find out. 

Top 5 Best Reels For Tuna Fishing


Penn 1338218 Battle II Spinning Reel, 3000


It will interest you to know that this product has lots of reviews on the positive side. That's because the Penn battle II fishing reel is equipped with desirable features that guarantee you value for your money. 

It's easy to see that the construction reeks of superior quality and the drag system are everything you want from a reliably smooth fishing reel.

One reason that I consider it to be one of the best reels for tuna fishing is because of the precision employed by the manufacturers to create a solidly-built fishing reel. The metal materials guarantee the longevity of this product and I can’t laud its aesthetics enough. If you are looking to get started with becoming an angler, you will do no wrong trusting the Penn battle II to get you there. 

This fishing reel puts in a strong performance whether you're looking to haul in big or small fish. It's also reliable and you don't have to break the bank to buy it. I like its user-friendliness and that's why I recommend it for beginners who want to explore the world of saltwater fishing.

But that is not to say everything is perfect about the Penn battle II because it could do with some improvements. One aspect that I feel the manufacturers can work on is weight. Don't expect to get through an entire day without feeling uncomfortable. Probably, using a material like graphite can help to make it more lightweight for users.

Regardless of the heavyweight, I will still recommend this product to anglers. Don’t forget that it guarantees you reliable performance and the construction is solid. From rookies to professionals, this product is a beautiful choice. 


  • The drag system is steady and smooth
  • Very solid construction
  • Great aesthetics
  • Fantastic casting capabilities


  • Not the most lightweight tuna fishing reel out there
Penn 1338215 Battle II 1000 Spinning Fishing Reel
  • Durable, high range spinning reel ideal for conquering big saltwater game fish
  • Full metal body, sideplate, and rotor and heavy duty aluminum bail wire offer exceptional durability
  • HT 100 carbon fiber drag system provides powerful drag without sacrificing smoothness
  • Fluid cranking with 5 sealed stainless steel ball bearings and instant anti reverse bearing
  • Superline spool requires no backing, is braid ready, and has line capacity rings marked at 1/3, 2/3, and full capacity



I also noticed lots of positive reviews concerning the Tekota 300 and decided to look into it to determine whether it was worth the money or not. I got to find out that users were excited about the product for various reasons. 

One such reason is how impressive the construction is. There also are other features that I find cool about this fishing reel.

Let's talk about solid construction. Shimano is known for being one of the best that creates premium fishing reels for different fishing levels. They've always been a favorite and the Tekota 300 is proof of that. When you hold this fishing reel, you will notice how solid the materials are. It also has an outstanding drag system and I'm sure this is perfect for tuna fishing.

If you are a saltwater angler that has a thing for engaging in boat fishing activities, you’ve got everything to love about this trolling reel. 

The line counter is very easy to read and helps you determine the level of depth of your bait.

Just as there are good sides, there may be a few downsides to this product and it could sure use some improvements. Some buyers expressed disappointments concerning the retrieval. 

They admit that the manufacturer has created a quick line retrieval but noticed that there are times when it got jerky a bit. Hopefully, we’ll get to see steps taken to create a smoother line retrieval.

In terms of usability, the lever for adjusting the drag could also use some improvement. In summary, it was easy to recommend this device and the minor problems do not downplay how effective it is as one of the best reels for tuna fishing. If you are a saltwater angler who needs a fishing reel that you can count on, look no further than the Tekota 300 from Shimano.


  • Solid construction with durable materials
  • Equipped with special features and a line counter
  • Quick retrieval


  • Touch drag adjustment


Penn SQL50LW Squall LevelWind


Penn is one of the leading brand names that create amazing fishing reels for anglers. Just like the Penn battle II reviewed above, this one also comes with amazing features and utilities and I consider it a worthy addition to this list of tuna fishing reels.

It comes with settings and aluminum spool to guarantee you a smooth fishing experience in addition to its gear ratio of 4.0:1. The Penn Squall level wind has mono capacities of 320 yds / 40 lb., 435 yds / 40 lb. This is in addition to its impressive braid capacities. 

The side plates and frame made of graphite contribute to its being not as heavy as many other fishing reels on the market. You'll also appreciate the maximum power that comes from aluminum. The drag system is remarkably smooth and the pinion and main gears promise you high strength.

Although this fishing reel isn't as big as you would think, you are guaranteed to enjoy the best fishing smoothness that comes from using a device with a high-strength pinion gear. That's not all as it is also created using stainless steel.


  • Comes with pinion and main  gears of high strength
  • Made using graphite material to contribute to its lightweight attributes
  • Amazing drag system
  • Aluminum spool


  • It doesn't look as big as you would expect
Penn SQL50LW Squall LevelWind
  • Level wind trolling reel for big game fish in a variety of saltwater conditions
  • Durable construction with lightweight graphite frame and side plates and bronze main gear and stainless pinion gear
  • HT 100 carbon fiber drag system provides powerful drag without sacrificing smoothness
  • 2 stainless steel ball bearings and instant anti-reverse bearing that eliminates rotor back play
  • Forged and machined aluminum spool is braid ready and has line capacity rings marked at 1/3, 2/3, and full capacity


Shimano Talica Conventional Reels, TAC12II


Shimano reels rarely ever come with too many bad reviews and this wasn’t any different for the Talica II reels. Many people who have bought this product in the past also had great things to say about it. 

One of the things I found out is that its drag system is insanely powerful. It is also easy to master and delivers consistency in how it works. 

The Shimano Talica II merits its place on my list of best reels for tuna fishing for many reasons. It's easy to get impressed by its design which I think is very effective. When it comes to excellence, this fishing reel doesn't disappoint and that's because of its very solid drag system. 

You'll get as much pressure power as 60 pounds. That's not all as you will also enjoy its super-smooth casting ability.

You might be wondering whether this fishing reel from Shimano is ideal for you. Well, you wouldn't go wrong with this choice if you want something that lasts a long time. The construction also guarantees durability. 

A lot of fishermen consider the Shimano Talica II to be a favorite and I’m sure you will find that to be true. Apart from consistency and reliability, you will also notice some other special features.

Speaking about downsides and possible improvements, almost every aspect of this product looks perfect. But I noticed that some of the reviewers feel some improvements need to be made about the handle size. 

They believe the size of the handle can be adjusted as it feels quite small. This is risky because that could cause hand fatigue or even wrist tiredness after using it for long.

Generally speaking, this is another top product that tuna fishermen would appreciate. The qualities speak for themselves and it promises you a smooth performance. It doesn't lack style and usability and you'll also fall in love with its awesome casting ability and impressive drag system.


  • The gearing technology is very efficient
  • High-power drag system
  • Great line retrieval speed and very smooth casting ability
  • The line capacity is awesome


  • The handle could be bigger
Shimano Talica Conventional Reels, TAC12II
  • Platinum Premier Service Plan
  • Hagane Body
  • S-Compact Body
  • HEG
  • Super Free Spool


Penn 1292938 Squall Lever Drag 2-Speed Trolling Fishing Reel, 890/50


This product from Penn is one of its top-ranking fishing reels because of its powerful performance and strength. Apart from being durable, another thing that got reviewers happy is how powerful the drag system is. There are many reasons that the Lever Drag 2-Speed stands out.

Now you've got something that puts your tan advantage if you get into a fight with aqua life. No need to worry about losing large fish like tuna and that's why this fishing reel is perfect for getting heavy-duty fish. 

You'll also love the construction as the manufacturer has made sure to use high-quality materials that will serve you for a long time.

I also find the drag system to be remarkably powerful. Saltwater anglers will benefit from using this high-tech fishing reel to haul in big fish. 

If you mostly do the fishing from a watercraft, make no mistake when I say that this one is perfect for you.

 In general, every tuna fisherman will get value for their money if they invest in this product. It comes with sufficient power to handle even the biggest tuna fish out there. And you have a fishing reel that comes with quality materials for durability.

Some areas could also do with some improvements and I noticed that some reviewers feel the design is a bit clunky. You are also at risk of experiencing wrist fatigue if you spend a long time on a single adventure due to its relatively heavier build. Penn could find a way to reduce the weight from the design to improve comfort.


  • Very strong and can handle heavy-duty fishing
  • It has line capacity rings
  • Powerful drag system


  • Feels clunky
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
  • Reels saltwater lever drag
  • Lightweight yet powerful lever drag fishing reel with graphite frame and sideplates ideal for big game saltwater fishing
  • Quick Shift 2-speed system easily shifts into high or low gear

Best Reels For Tuna Fishing Buying Guide

You need to keep your focus on specific factors because buying fishing reels for tuna is different from buying fishing reels for other activities. 

You must show great care and be meticulous because this determines how successful you will be on your next fishing expedition. Here are the factors to consider before buying a tuna fishing reel:

Quality materials and construction

It costs more to hunt for tuna fish. Buying quality equipment is non-negotiable and guarantees the success of your tuna adventure. One such quality equipment is your fishing reel which must come with quality materials that guarantee its durability. Never go for low-quality reels because they could just ruin your fishing experience.

Size and Weight

It’s not up to you to determine how long you can hold the tuna fish and that’s why the weight and size of your fishing reel are important. 

You could either have a spinning reel or a trolling rig reel. The advantage of a trolling rig reel is that you don’t have to worry so much about their weight and size since their design style means you don’t have to carry them every time.

To keep yourself free of risks, go for something lightweight. You may have to hold your spinning reel during most of your adventure, so go for something of medium size to protect your hand and wrists from pain.


Nobody wants to go fishing only to have a bad experience. The smoothness of your real is crucial when it comes to tuna fishing because you might have to do lots of heavy fighting. If your reel is not as smooth as it should be, your experience can quickly go from excitement to pain. 

That's why you need to consider the bearings that your preferred fishing reel comes with.

The number of bearings influences the level of smoothness of your fishing reel. Go for something that has more bearings, at least up to five. This helps you to haul in the big fish without much stress.

Drag System

To buy the best reels for tuna fishing, you need a very effective drag system. That's because anything other than that will spoil your experience. With the help of a good drag system, you can see how hooked fish affects the line. 

This is non-negotiable for people who like to fish in deep waters. Your fishing reel stays safe from damage if you have a quality drag system.

Line capacity

The best way to know the casting ability of your preferred fishing reel is to determine the line capacity. The fishing style and type is another factor to consider when choosing a fishing reel. This helps you in selecting the right line capacity so that you don’t lose your game.

Since this is about tuna fishing, go for something that allows you a long line capacity because these fish are known to run for long distances while putting up a fight. I recommend going for a line capacity of 300 yards to 400 yards. Whatever the case, don’t go too low so that you don’t spend money buying a device that does not fulfill your requirements.

Best Reels For Tuna Fishing - FAQ's

How much does a tuna fishing reel cost?

There are varying price points for different products but you can spend anywhere from above $1000 to below $200. Buying fishing reels for a tuna adventure is relatively expensive. 

What gear do I need for tuna fishing?

A fishing rod and reel are some of the most important equipment you need for hunting tuna fish. You also want to go with lures and baits, a strong fishing line, balloons, and sinkers. Another thing that helps you lift your catch onto your vessel is a fishing gaff. Ensure that your gear is of a premium quality to take care of stubborn fish like tuna.

What kind of fishing reels do they use on wicked tuna?

Tuna species can be very heavy, weighing as much as 1000 pounds and more. Since you’ll be hunting them, you want to go with heavy-duty tuna fishing reels because they are built to handle the pressure that comes from fighting fish. 

What is the best tuna fishing reel?

  • Penn Battle II
  • Shimano Tekota 300
  • Penn Squall Level Wind
  • SHIMANO Talica II Reels
  • Penn Squall Lever Drag 2-Speed

Does colored fishing line matter?

It’s easier to notice slight bites and have a clearer line of sight when the color is brighter. But you’ll risk the fish seeing the line too. You can go with a colored line if the water is dirty.


Every fishing enthusiast understands the intricacies of dealing with hard fighting fish like tuna. That's because of how they are shaped. 

This means you need to work with reliable fishing reels built to handle heavy-duty adventures. Check out the five top products in this review and use the buying guide to determine what's best for your needs.

Please note that all of the tuna fishing reels compared here can be found on Amazon. 

To find even more options that will match your purchase preferences, just follow any of the product links above. Finally, don’t forget to check the return and replacement policy before placing your order. Happy tuna fishing.