Fishing tuna requires a good reel because these fish are some of the strongest, fastest and hardiest fish in the ocean. As a deep sea angler, you will find it hard to find another fish that will put up as good of a fight. With that said, you need certain gear to go fishing for tuna.
What size reel for tuna fishing? You need a tough reel to crank in fish like the tuna. In general, a 130-pound reel will work, but you want to add 200-pound Dacron line in black chunking to help reeling in the fish. Especially with the big tuna, a 130-pound reel is the only choice.
Why Does a Strong Reel Matter?
Having a strong reel matters because if you want to crank in these giant fish, you first need to have the proper gear. You need a reel that can withstand the raw power and the fleeing strength of a scared tuna. This majestic fish is unlike any other on the planet.
As far as tuna fishing reels go, I would recommend the GOMEXUS Saltwater Trolling Reel. This reel was built for the big fish like the bluefin tuna, and you will crank them in easily. It does feel a little heavy, but when you go saltwater fishing for the big fish, you don’t have much choice but to use the big and heavy reels like this.
What Sizes Can You Get?
Previously, I had recommended that you go with the largest 130-pound reel. That begs the question, what were your other options? You have the following options, but I’d still recommend a bigger reel because of how this will help you to handle some of the biggest and hardiest tuna:
Unlike with freshwater fishing, the reels tend to cost a little more, but with that said, you also get one heck of an adventure out of this type of fishing. You will never long for adventure when you choose tuna fishing as your hobby.
On average, it takes around two-and-a-half hours for you to reel in a bluefin tuna. That means that you will need a strong and harder reel that can handle this level of abuse for that long, which is why I’d almost always recommend the heavier reels. You don’t have to worry about it with a heavier reel.
What is the Difference in the Reel Sizes?
Before we even begin, you should first understand how no reel manufacturer rates their reel sizes in the same way. Because of this, you don’t have a golden rule. It differs. This will largely depend on how the manufacturer chose to brand their reels.
In general, the smaller the model number, the smaller that your reel size will be.
How Do You Pick the Right Reel Size for Yourself?
This goes for whenever you go fishing, even outside of tuna fishing, when you go to pick a fishing reel, you have to consider where you will be the most likely to use the reel. What target fish species will you go after? If you plan to target some of the monstrous tuna, then you will want to choose a reel that can handle this, which is why I recommend a 130-pound reel.
You might get away with a 100-pound reel for small tuna, but if you go after the big ones, you will want the full-size 130-pound reel.
In addition, you should understand how you can’t use a freshwater reel for saltwater fishing. You need to have a saltwater reel for this. In particular, I like to choose reels that specifically target a certain kind of fish like with tuna because it cuts out the guesswork. If it says it is a reel for tuna, odds are, the reel can handle tuna.
Usually, you will use a 130-pound reel from a boat, which is where it was intended to be used.
Match the Reel with the Rod
Another important factor to highlight is that you should match the reel with the chosen rod. You want a strong rod with tuna because it can handle the strong weight of the fish like a bluefin tuna.
We have to understand tuna to know why we need such a hardy rod. Tuna have the potential to weigh anywhere from 300 pounds up to 1200 pounds in some places. In fact, the largest one on record for a bluefin was a monstrous 1400 pounds. Near Prince Edward Island in Canada, the average bluefin tuna here will weigh 700 pounds.
Some of the smaller tuna could weigh anywhere from 80 to 120 pounds. While these fish don’t necessarily require a big rod, having an unlimited class rod even for them will ensure that you stay ready for whatever might end up at the end of your fishing line.
The Design of a Tuna Reel
When looking for a tuna fishing reel, you should pay careful attention to the design. You need to have a sturdy reel that can handle the weight and hammering of a giant majestic tuna. This comes in addition to the aesthetic appeal and having a gear-shifting mechanism that will usually have two gears with it.
Ideal Materials of a Reel
In general, the ideal materials for a reel will be either graphite or high-quality aluminum. You will want your frame to have side plates and a spool. The reels will usually weigh more because they will be more equipped to handle the attacks from tuna. Usually, they will use some type of material that is corrosion resistant like stainless steel or something along those lines.
What about the Gears?
Previously, I had spoken about the gears with tuna fishing. Well, what about them? You want a silky smooth action when you go fishing for tuna. The gears will align well, and experts usually recommend a 2-speed reel.
This gives you a higher gear ratio for retrieving the fish more quickly. You use the lower gear when you want more torque to haul the fish into the boat kicking and screaming. The average fight time with tuna can last anywhere from two to three hours, but there have been cases where the fish fought for as much as 10 hours, which was the record.
You want to have a handle with a strong grip because tuna have a reputation for fighting without mercy. They don’t give up. You want to keep a strong grip on the handle, and the handle should have an ergonomic design that makes hauling the tuna into the boat much easier.
Like with the rest of the reel, you want a spool with a solid construction because it needs to be able to handle the tuna without a question. High-strength materials like machined aluminum works well.
When you have a deep sea reel for fishing for tuna, you will usually want it to have a large capacity for line. This will help you to accomodate the different line sizes for your reel.
How Much Do Tuna Fishing Reels Cost?
For a good tuna fishing reel, you can expect to pay anywhere from $200 up to $1000 or more, depending on the reel. In fact, if you target a specific bluefin or a yellowfin tuna, the cost can get fairly pricey. The tuna reel that I recommend that is a good middle-range choice is the Okuma MK-50WII Makaira Two Speed Elite Lever Drag Big Game Reel.
In general, it is best to go with a 130-pound reel for tuna because this will cover all your bases. You don’t have to worry that you don’t have a strong enough reel to handle the tuna. Hopefully you understand a little better what kind of reel you should use for going fishing for tuna. This can help you to make sure that you have the right reel. Never take a freshwater reel out fishing on saltwater because it can’t handle the types of fish that you find on the ocean.