Best Tuna Fishing Reels In 2020 – [Top 7 Picks For Deep Sea]

Tuna fishing is always exciting but it’s not for everyone as they are hard to tackle and fast runner. Generally expert and wise anglers go for this type fishing.

Now catching tuna would not be easy if you don’t carry the right equipment. The reel is one of that must-have equipment you need to carry when going for tuna fishing.

Choosing a good high-end reel for tuna can be tricky as they are very powerful and good fighter in deep sea. Remember, don’t compromise with quality for the price as this type reel is a little bit pricey.

You must need to full fill some criteria like minimum 500-yard line capacity, excellent drug system, and advanced technology in your tuna fishing reels. Overall, you need a powerful reel to catch tuna in deep sea and bring them on the boat easily.

Now in this article, I am going to give you a  that helps you to select the right one for you.

Best Tuna Fishing Reels

If you are in hurry then see our quick short list of Top 7 best deep sea fishing reels for tuna:

  1. Penn Fathom Lever Drag – Best Tuna Fishing Reel
  2. Daiwa Saltiga Lever Drag Reels –Expensive Tuna Reel
  3. Penn Squall 50 Level Wind – Best Budget Tuna Fishing Reel
  4. Daiwa Seagate Reel – A Budget Friendly Pick
  5. Shimano Tekota 300 Conventional – Trolling Tuna Reel Under $200
  6. Penn Squall Lever Drag – An Ideal 2-Speed Trolling Saltwater Reel
  7. Shimano TLD Lever Drag Reel –  Reel With Super Smooth Drag

Here you can see full review and highlighted features of these tuna fishing reel. Lets start.

1. Penn Fathom Lever Drag – Deep Sea Fishing Reels For Tuna

Penn Fathom Lever Drag is an excellent reel for small to medium sized tuna. The main reason it comes to my list is it budget price.

This is a lever drag fishing reel that provide extreme durability and cranking power.

You can’t find such a feature rich reel at this price range. It has no performance issue from customer.

The die-cast aluminum constructed metal body and side plates makes it more durable and rigid.

This reel comes quick shift-2 speed gear system that allows you shift the gear up to down easily. Also the

The 300 yard line capacity allows you cast further which is excellent for tuna fishing. Also the dura-drag system provides you excellent performance even under extreme drag setup.

Its 5 stainless steel bearing allows you enjoy smooth reeling experience. Overall its great budget reel for medium sized tuna.

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  • Excellent reel for small to medium sized tuna
  • Smooth reeling experience
  • Extremely durable and have cranking power
  • 300 yard line capacity
  • Click image to open expanded view

2. Daiwa Saltiga Lever Drag Reels – A 2-Speed Tuna Reels Under $500

At 7th position I have Daiwa Saltiga Lever Drag Reels. Now putting on 7th position doesn’t mean it’s a bad reel.

It is a great reel that have no negative customer review on amazon.

The main thing that put this reel on last position in my list is price. Now if you have enough budget then I definitely recommend it to you.

This is one the compact reel that comes with finest durability and performance.

Its lever drag system works great even under extreme level drag setting.

The Centrifugal break system provides excellent breaking performance on casting. It anti-reverse make this reel more feature rich.

The reel constructed with aircraft-grade aluminum to provide maximum casting strength and performance.

It has 6 CRBB ball bearing makes it more durable and corrosion resistance. That also provide a smooth casting experience to you.

Overall it’s a great feature rich and well-constructed reel that give you optimum tuna fishing performance.

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  • Compact sized and well-constructed
  • Made of aircraft-grade aluminum
  • 6 CRBB ball bearing for corrosion-resistance
  • Lever drag system for optimum performance

3.Penn Squall 50 Level Wind – Best Budget Tuna Reel On The Market

Penn squall level wing trolling reel is my first choice for tuna reel. This is the illustrious version of their GT series reel.

It’s a great reel that comes with all saltwater reel feature on a decent price range around $150 dollar.

Professionals are generally use this reel worldwide. Even if you are a beginner you can use this for its affordable price.

The materials of this reel are high quality and well-constructed. Its side plates and frame made of graphite that makes it lightweight and durable, also make this reel corrosion proof.

The main gear of this reel is made of marine grade bronze alloy. To ensure fluid cranking it comes with 2 stainless steel bearings and an anti-reverse bearing.

It uses HT-100 carbon fiber drag system that allows you feel extra power and smoothness. The reels Versa-handle system allows you feel comfortability at any situation.

Overall it’s a great lightweight and well-constructed reel that fit all angler with it long-lasting durability.

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  • Lightweight & Well-constructed.
  • Long- lasting Durability with corrosion resistance.
  • Smooth HT-100 carbon fiber drag system
  • Stainless steel bearing with anti-reverse system
  • Comfortable versa system handle

4. Daiwa Seagate Reel – A Budget Friendly Pick

Daiwa is another good fishing reel brand that popular for quality conventional reel. Daiwa Seagate is one of them. Now it’s not a level wind reel but the drag works great.

This reel constructed with composite frame and side plates that are corrosion proof and lightweight.

The spool is aluminum made so it starts first. But the centrifugal braking system allows you to take full control on it.

The reel come with UT carbon drag system to provide optimum performance even under extreme setup.

This has two type bearings ball and roller. The 3 CRBB ball bearings are corrosion resistance and provide a smooth performance.

Its infinite anti-reverse system will help you lose the cast line as your wish. Overall it’s a budget oriented reel that have almost all feature.

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  • Constructed with composite frame
  • Centrifugal braking system
  • 3 CRBB ball bearings
  • UT carbon drag system

5. Shimano Tekota 300 Conventional – Tuna Trolling Reel Under $200

Shimano is one of the top level brand that provide quality fishing reel.

Tekota 300 conventional trolling reel is one those tuna fishing reel that priced under $200 but have excellent features.

This is a nice reel that comes with smooth reeling action. It is a great option for both freshwater and saltwater anglers.

This reel has a line capacity of 220 yard that greats for tuna fishing. It’s nice smooth drag system provide you a better fishing experience

The one piece die-cast aluminum constructed frame makes it more durable and provide tight tolerance.

You can easily use it for multiple season for its best built quality.

Its unique crossbar-forward design allows you to access the spool directly. Also it use level-wind system that provides you a better line management.

The corrosion-resistant anti-rust bearing provides 10 time more protection compare to normal stainless steel bearings.

Overall is a great trolling reel that comes with all unique advanced features. Any tuna angler can buy it for its budget price.

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  • Excellent smooth drag system
  • Better line management and capacity
  • 10 time more corrosion-resistance
  • Priced under $200 budget

6. Penn Squall Lever Drag – An Ideal Drag 2-Speed Trolling Saltwater Reel

At 5th place I have another reel from Penn manufacture is Penn squall lever drag.

It is a perfect medium priced reel for saltwater tuna fishing.

The price of this reel is about 300$ which is little bit high for beginner but excellent one for professionals.

This ideal saltwater reel comes with graphite made side plates and frame.

The graphite material construction make it lightweight and corrosion resistance.

Its braided line capability allows you using braid line comfortably. To prevent handle reversing it use a system that called double dog ratchet system.

It has excellent dura drag system that works pretty well even under an extreme setup. This can easily eliminate hesitation and snags.

Its 5:1 gear ratio is ideal for large fish like tuna. The quick shift 2-speed system allow you to shift gear from high to low or low to high.

Overall it’s an excellent medium priced tuna reel that you want in your next purchase.

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  • Constructed with graphite material makes lightweight
  • 5:1 Gear Ratio With quick shift 2-speed system.
  • Braided line capability.
  • Excellent dura drag system works on extreme setup.
  • Double dog ratchet handle system

7. Shimano TLD Lever Drag Reel – Tuna Reel With Super Smooth Drag

Shimano TLD lever drag is a great reel that comes in market over 15 year ago and still popular. The graphite construction made them compact and lightweight.

The full reel body comes with one frame graphite structure. Its power handle made of oil-ported torpedo knob.

This reel has a 700 yard line capacity that are excellent for long range casting. It offer a powerful drag system that made of titanium-impregnated fabric.

The fabric makes the drag long lasting and deliver smooth running. Also it can easily dissipates heat and keep the drag tension properly.

It features with anti-rust ball bearing that makes this corrosion proof. Also its 4 ball bearings makes it ultra-smooth.

The stainless steel gear deliver a great performance that every anglers want. After all it’s a great fishing device that comes around $150 price.

Beginner to expert anyone can go for this super smooth tuna reel.

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  • Compact and lightweight graphite construction
  • 700 yard line capacity excellent for long range casting
  • Anti-rust ball bearing makes this corrosion proof
  • A budget price around $150

Choosing A Deep Sea Fishing Reels for Tuna

When buying deep sea fishing reels for tuna you have to pay attention some feature that require for tuna. Your full fishing success depends on it. So be care full…

Bearing Number (Smoothness Depends On It)

Smoothness is something that every anglers want on a reel. In tuna fishing it’s much more important as you are fighting with heavy fish.

If you are fighting with large fish with less smooth reel your fishing fun may turn into pain. So make sure you’re getting a perfect smooth reels that fits you.

Now you maybe thinking how to measure smoothness on a reel.  It’s very easy, smoothness depends on reels bearing number. The more bearing on a reel the more its smoothness.

I prefer at least 5 bearings on a tuna fishing reel to bring them on boat easily.

Size & Weight

Reels size and weight is very important in tuna fishing as you don’t know how much time you have to hold it on your hand. You find two type reel on tuna fishing trolling rig reel and spinning reel.

Trolling rig size and weight doesn’t matter much because they stay on holder and you don’t need carry it on hand all time.

But still choose a lightweight and medium size one to stay risk free.

Now if you’re going for spinning reel you must put attention on its size and weight because spinning reel will stay on your hand maximum time.

So be sure buying a medium size, low weight tuna spinning reel to avoid hand pain.

Line Capacity

Line capacity on a reel is something that measures how much long line you can cast. Choosing line capacity depends on what type fishing you are going.

If you don’t have enough line capacity in your reel, you may lose your game easily. For fighting fish like tuna you need a long line capacity as they fight and run long distance.

I prefer at least 300 yard line capacity for tuna fishing. Now you don’t have to follow me exactly. You may consider 300-400 yard, but don’t go under 200 yard line capacity otherwise it may cost you.

Braided Line Capability

Braided fishing line is commonly used among big fish anglers like tuna.  This line has no memory so you will not face any line twist on it.

Braid line is very thin that allows you to fit more braid on your reel. So using more braid line on your reel you cast further even with a small sized reel.

But putting braid line in reel is not easy unless you have a braided line capability reel. So be sure to buy a braided line capability reel for tuna fishing.

Drag System

A quality drag system is always important for tuna fishing reel. Otherwise it will ruin your fishing fun.

Now what drags do? It gives you a clear observation on line reacts when you get any fish hooked. It is most significant consideration when fishing in deep sea.

A good drag system always keeps your fishing reel damage free. So choose a strong drag system reel no matter what type tuna you hunt.

Quality Materials & Construction

Fishing tuna is a little bit costly. You have to buy some quality equipment that helps on your tuna trip. Reel is one of those.

If your reel don’t have constructed with quality material then it’s going to ruin your tuna fishing journey. You may easily fall in trouble with low material made reel.

So make sure you have well-constructed reel with quality material that help you to enjoy your fishing fun.

Corrosion Protection

It’s known that tuna is a saltwater fish. Now corrosion is something that happened on saltwater. It reduce durability of any metal.

Now a reels maximum part made of material. If you go on tuna fishing with a reel that has no corrosion protection then you are going to destroy it yourself.

So be sure using a corrosion resistance reel every time going to saltwater fishing. It will increase your reel durability.

Handle & Knob

Handle and knob plays an important role in tuna fishing than any other fishing. It’s painful using small handle on big fishing reel. So using big handle is good for tuna fish.

Now using a reel comfortably you need a proper shaped knob. A circular knob is perfect for large and well swimmer fish like tuna.

I love anti-reverse handle on reels that’s allow you to release some line when fighting with fish. It’s a great feature not to lose any fish easily.

Gear Ratio/ Power

Gear ratio is the measurement of how much line your spool can collect per action or turn. It also known as power of reel.

Now how much gear ratio you need for your tuna reel? I think 4.9 to 5.1 gear ratio is good for big fish like tuna.

You can’t force too much power on tuna if you want to get them in your boat. Using high power reel may cause line breaking also losing your bait and tuna both.

So be careful on choosing gear ratio for your reel as it’s a very important tuna fishing fact.


Waterproof feature keep your reels internal part safe from water. Every reel you buy should waterproof especially for saltwater reel.

Now if your reel is not waterproof then be ready to face problem when fishing tuna. It reduce your reels durability, even your reel can break down during fishing time.

I always prefer a sealed tuna reel for long lasting and keep my fishing journey safe.

Price Range

Tuna fishing reels comes with different price range. Here I put them in 3 category. See on what category you prefer…

$50 – $150

The first category here is budget one. I generally don’t recommend from here unless you are a beginner. For newbie tuna angler with a tight budget can go for this price range.

You’re tuna reel requirement can easily fulfill at this price range. But if you’re going for big tuna with these reels then you will come with noting in your basket.

$150 – $500

This is a decent price range for tuna reel. You find every feature you need for medium to large tuna fishing.

I always prefer this medium price range to go for every tuna angler. Remember tuna is strong and pricy, so to catch them you have pay something.

So go for a decent reel and make your tuna fishing journey successful. Good luck…

$500 Up

This is final price category and the highest one. I never bought any tuna reel at this cost.  It’s true that you get the best one at this price but very few angler can carry this cost.

So if you’re angler who have no money or budget issue definitely go for it I don’t discourage you. Best of luck…

Frequently Asked Question

Q: Why Choose A Spinning Reel Over A Conventional Reel?

Spinning reel are easy to use and beginner friendly. Also it affordable so you don’t pay much on it.

On the other hand conventional reels are critical to use and not newbie friendly. You have to learn it first then can use it. The price is also high for this type reel.

So I prefer a spinning reel over a conventional reel. But you can keep both and use them properly.

Q: The Difference between a Tuna And normal Spinning Reels?

Line capacity and drag system are the main deference between a tuna and normal spinning reel.

For tuna you need a high line capacity and excellent drag system spinning reel that are not required for normal fishing.

Q: Should I Need A Bait Clicker On Tuna Reel?

I think you don’t. You can easily feel the bite from a such big fish. So it’s all on you use it or not.

Q: Should I Use a Spinning Reel for Tuna Fish?

Now the answer is depends on a lot of things. If you are going for large Bluefin tuna then the answer in big NO.

For normal to medium size tuna you can definitely go for spinning reel.

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