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Best 3 Tuna Fishing Reels Compared in 2023

Last Updated: 23.09.23

Tuna fishing reels – Buying Guide, Reviews and Comparison


If you want to find the best fishing gear, but you don’t have time to go through the buying tips and reviews prepared by our research team, this short paragraph should tell you everything you need to know about the best tuna fishing reels. After analyzing a lot of feedback coming from both amateur and professional fishermen, we have concluded that the Shimano Tekota is the best as it has been tested by many individuals over time who have nothing but good things to say about it. This 4+1 ball bearing unit does the trick whether you intend to focus on tuna or practice some of your salmon fishing skills. Thanks to its durable frame and line capacity, the Tekota does a good job when it comes to targeting all heavy bottom fish. If the Shimano Tekota is unavailable, you should consider the Penn SQL50VSW as it is a reliable alternative both in terms of performance and quality.



Comparison table


The Good
The Bad



3 Best Tuna Fishing Reels (Reviews) in 2023


Some of the best products in this category will be showcased below. All of these models have been granted remarkable tuna fishing reel reviews, which is why we’ve decided to include them in our selection. Some are more or less affordable than others, but you should be aware by now that you’re likely to spend a pretty penny on a reliable reel for tuna.



1. Shimano Tekota Conventional Saltwater Star Drag Fishing Reel 


1.Shimano Tekota Saltwater Casting ReelThe Tekota is a casting reel that does the trick in most circumstances, particularly if what you have in mind is catching some seriously heavy fish. The frame of this model has been constructed using diecast aluminum and the sideplate has been built out of a combination of aluminum and graphite.

There are four ball bearings in every Takota that you might be interested in selecting, whether you need more or less line capacity. Since this product is a saltwater reel, it goes without saying that you’ll encounter no issues whatsoever if you also plan to utilize it in freshwater, just as well.

When it comes to brand recognition, Shimano is a world-known manufacturer that has gradually won the hearts of amateur and expert fishermen alike. This is the reason you’ll find that the vast majority of the ratings received by this unit are favorable, with people praising its abilities for salmon, walleye, and tuna.


Strong quality materials are an obvious advantage and a reason to invest in the product. It uses a die-cast aluminum frame, and the non-handle sideplate is aluminum braced graphite.

Well designed for the purpose, the Shimano Tekota has an oversized cast control knob, Septon handle grip and a manual clutch lever. The level of control you have over the reel is a good thing in general and a great edge when large fish is concerned.

The palmable mechanical line counter is a great feature for those who favor freshwater. It’s easy to set and read, just remember that for a precise measurement you must fill the spool first.

The drag and the retrieve are excellent. The four ball bearings and 4.2:1 gear ratio will make the retrieve smooth and the drag has nice clicking sounds that give you an idea of how tight the line is.


The reel that the producer puts on the market is right handed only, so you’ll have to search for alternatives if you’re left handed.



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2. Penn 50VSW Squall Lever Drag 2 Speed Reel


2.Penn SQL50VSWThis product is a reasonably priced alternative for individuals looking for the best value for the cost. Penn has been building reels for a decent amount of time now, during which the company’s engineers have learned a lot about the needs of the modern fisherman.

This model features a quick-shift 2-speed system and a frame that has been constructed out of graphite, which means that it may be less durable compared to the previously showcased Shimano alternative.

Even so, the main and pinion gears of this unit have been built out of stainless steel, which means that the reel manages to pack up all the power you may need in spite of its lightweight frame. Besides, the spool of the product is made of machined aluminum, which means that it’s significantly more reliable than people would normally tend to think. As is the case with the formerly mentioned product, this one features four ball bearings. The gear ratio of this reel is 2.9:1 on high and 1.5:1 on low.


Lightweight but powerful thanks to the graphite frame and sideplates. It is the right choice for big game.

This gear is ideal for saltwater because of the corrosion resistant materials. The frame, sideplates, and spool are all immune to the damaging effects of salt.  

It’s a powerful tool. Inside the graphite housing lie stainless steel main and pinion gears that are drilled for weight reduction and four shielded stainless steel ball bearings.  

The reel’s efficiency relies on a Dura-drag system designed to eliminate surging and hesitation, even under extreme drag settings.

You’ll enjoy a reliable handle that features a double dog ratchet system. It makes for a safe anti-reverse, with no back-play and delivers double strength compared to the typical single dog system.  


The reel has about 500 yards less braid line capacity than the producer specifies. Not a deal-breaker, but it’s good to know.

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3. Penn International 50VSW V VS 2-Speed Fishing Reel


3.Penn Gold Label Series International VIf you’re willing to invest a pretty penny in the perfect fishing reel, you’re more than free to give a chance to the Penn Gold Label Series. As is the case with the Penn item we’ve described above, this one features the unique quick-shift patented 2-speed system that makes it possible for the reel to be used either in low or high gear.

Nothing beats the sturdiness of the Penn Gold PGLSIV as we’ve seen that it does its job wonderfully with under the heaviest loads. Since it comes with Dura Drag, an exclusive technology developed by the manufacturing brand, this model can raise up to par in spite of the heavy use or heat levels it might need to withstand when you are battling with tuna.

The fishermen who took to the internet to express their feelings regarding the build and performance of this Penn unit say that it meets their expectations on all levels.


The reel is part of a series that set the gold standard for big game fishing reels. It’s meant for professional use and offers advanced and reliable performance.

High-quality components are the rule, and you can rest assured they will perform as stated since the product has been tested for quality and durability.

The product has a push-to-turn feature that prevents less experienced fishers from accidentally adjusting the drag when backs are turned.

The reel effectively eliminates drag creep by using a ratchet lever drag system. This system ensures that the amount of drag used when you hook a fish corresponds to the preset you have selected.

The Penn Gold PGLSIV provides you with Quick Shift, a simple way to engage high speed or low speed with the help of a shift button, without letting go of the handle.


Owning this quality item will cost you a few dollars more.

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Buying guide



The best ocean fishing reels are usually made from aluminum alloy and that’s due to the fact that it has been proven to be more durable and reliable when compared to graphite. Tough metal has to be used in the build of these alternatives in order for them to take up the abuse they’re likely to withstand when targeting massive fish such as tuna. Graphite alternatives, while they are somewhat more sensitive compared to aluminum units, aren’t as strong in the long run.

If you’re not on a budget, it might be a good idea to choose a reel that has been constructed using high-grade aluminum alloy. Many brands are working toward lowering the weight of their products, since tuna reels can be quite hefty. One example is Daiwa, which has recently started to use Zaion, a type of high-density carbon resin. If your physical attributes aren’t an obstacle, we recommend you choose the hardiest possible option.


The smoothness of your reel depends on the number of ball bearings it comes with. The more, the merrier, they say, and we couldn’t agree more in this case. If what you plan to do is choose a baitcasting or spinning alternative, you ought to focus on getting a model that features at least four ball bearings that have been constructed out of steel or stainless steel.

Typically, manufacturers include an extra roller bearing that you might see displayed like “+1”, and this is a core characteristic to take into account as it will act much like an anti-reverse feature and prevent the rotor from spinning backward.


Gear ratio

The power of the reel can be determined by examining the gear ratio. While most people tend to think that a higher gear ratio will make your reel work faster, although this is true, it should be correlated with your purpose. In many cases, it might be necessary for your reel to move slower but take the cake with regard to durability. The gear ratio can be defined as the number of times the spool rotates per handle crank. The general rule would be to focus on a reel that can withstand the weight of the fish and the test of time, so a fast one might be out of the question for tuna.






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