Best Tuna Fishing Reels – Charter Boat Captain picks

Here’s what charter boat captains are recommending as the best Tuna fishing reels:

  • Penn International V or VI
  • Shimano  Tiagra
  • Daiwa  Saltiga
  • Fin-Nor Santiago Wide.

Why are these reels the best?

  • Large line capacities: 700 – 1000 yards of 50 – 130 lb line
  • Heavy Duty Gears – reel in 800 lb tuna without failure
  • High Tech Drag System – heavy, stable drag wears out large fish without failure
  • Anodized Protection – NO RUST
  • Competitively Priced – starting at $400

These reels are the best for bringing in Tuna. Tuna are large and extremely powerful and require a very strong and durable reel and rod setup. If you have less than optimal, you will loose the big ones!

I know several charter boat owners that use Penn International for all of their Bluefin Tuna reels. They have never had a failure in over 20 years. Bluefin tuna are the largest tuna species and can take several hours to bring them to the boat. Penn International reels are recommended.

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Penn International V Tuna Reel

  • High-performance 2-speed fishing reel delivers exceptionally smooth and powerful drag
  • Full metal body and side plates constructed from die-cast aluminum for durability and rigidity
  • Dura-Drag washers, Push-To-Turn preset knob, and ratcheted drag lever maintain icy smooth drag even under extreme loads
  • Quick Shift 2-speed system seamlessly shifts into high or low gear
  • Fluid cranking with 5 shielded stainless steel ball bearings and double dog ratchet anti-reverse
  • HT-100 drag washers provide smooth drag under heavy loads
  • Ratcheted lever eliminates “drag-creep” caused by hours of trolling and boat vibrations
  • Easy and reliable two-speed mechanism with Quick Shift system
  • Push-to-Turn present drag system prevents ‘unknowing anglers’ from accidentally adjusting the drag when backs are turned
  • Full metal body and side plates to ensure its precision gear alignment

Shimano Tiagra Tuna Fishing Reel

  • A-RB (Anti-Rust Bearings) – Our specially treated stainless steel ball bearings are at least 10 times more corrosion resistant than standard stainless steel ball bearings.
  • Forged Aluminum Spool – These spools are made from cold forged aluminum then machined to provide an extremely dense, solid construction that can withstand the heavy drag pressures the reels can apply.
  • Chrome Plated Side Plate Screws – The side plate screws are chrome plated to prevent corrosion.
  • 2-Speed Gearing – Uses 2 sets of gears that are always engaged for quick, easy gear ratio changes even under load.
  • Ratcheting Drag Lever – eliminates the chance of the drag lever backing off due to boat vibration and allows for more precise adjustment.
  • Twin Disk Drag System – uses two drag disks and a floating drag plate to effectively double the drag surface which provides a wide range of settings and increased durability.
  • Clicker – The clicker increases the tension on free spool and activates a clicking alarm when a fish bites.
  • Septon – The handle grip material, Septon, is soft to the touch and does not get slippery even when wet.
  • Permalube – This lubrication improves freespool while maintaining protection and durability of moving parts.
  • Metal Series – With the Metal Series, metal frames keep moving parts in precise alignment for increased efficiency and durability.
  • Machined Aluminum Frame – These frames are machined from solid aluminum pipestock, which makes them incredibly rigid and strong for ultra tight tolerances.
  • Offset Ergonomic Power Grip – The power grip is offset on multiple axes to allow natural hand, arm and wrist angles to improve comfort and power (not available on (TI12 & TI16).
  • Ergonomic Power Handle – Comfortable, non-slip grip provides maximum comfort and torque (TI12 & TI16).

Daiwa Saltiga Tuna Fishing Reel

  • Conventional reel, RH
  • 6 Ball Bearings
  • 6.3: 1 Ratio
  • Aluminum spool
  • Line Capacity: Braided 40/840, 50/630, mono 30/350, 40/310.
  • Offset power handle with Soft Touch grip
  • Massive stainless steel gears – helical cut for optimum power and smooth winding
  • Offset power handle with Soft Touch grip
  • Machined aluminum frame and left side plate are one solid piece for maximum strength and durability

Fin-Nor Santiago Tuna Fishing Reel

  • 4 ceramic/hybrid ball bearings for support and strength
  • Fully machined one-piece aluminum frame
  • Forged aluminum spool
  • Push-button and dial-release two-speed shift system
  • Line Capacity: 900yds/50lb mono – 900yds/130lb braid capacity

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