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Do Tuna Still Require Big Reels?

Old 05-06-2019, 06:43 AM
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Default Do Tuna Still Require Big Reels?

Recently, I found some Penn International 50s at a pretty good price. I thought about buying them for Tuna, as I only own one 50 at the moment. I talked to a friend and he told me that he personally wouldn't buy them. Why? The tuna are getting smaller and harder to come by. He suggested buying a Penn International 30 or a Shimano TLD 50, which are much lighter than the Penn International 50s. Anyone else think that I should spend less, go lighter, and get Shimano TLD 50s or Penn International 30s? Or should i still consider the Penn International 50s?
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Old 05-06-2019, 06:54 AM
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Look at it like this, the faster you get the fish in the boat. the better tasting the meat. At least that's my opinion. Big reals, bigger line, faster landing.
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Old 05-06-2019, 07:50 AM
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Originally Posted by bluevein View Post
Look at it like this, the faster you get the fish in the boat. the better tasting the meat. At least that's my opinion. Big reals, bigger line, faster landing.
Yeah I agree with that. It's just that tuna are so rare. You don't see massive Yellowfin nearly as much as you usually do. Is it really worth $800-$1000 to reel in a 40 lb Blackfin?
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Old 05-06-2019, 07:55 AM
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Tuna size varies hugely depending on where you fish. Up in NE, we've been seeing bigger and bigger fish lately. Hopefully this is all just normal fluctuations and the overall stock is thriving.

To answer your question, I think the real game change is moving to braid with mono top shot. Smaller and lighter reels is definitely the name of the game. You can spool 2000 yards of 80lb braid on a Penn 50VSW, but you'd only ever use the 1st 500 yds or so, max. I'd personally much rather fish with a Shimano Talica 25 with 500yds of braid with the same drag with less than 1/2 the weight. Don't forget that your drag doubles by the time the spool is empty, and if you're fishing stand up, you're going to typically be fighting with 25lbs of drag anyways.

But unfortunately this new generation of smaller, lighter braid-generation reels are just as expensive as the huge old heavy ones...Talica 50, which is an excellent reel, costs a grand!
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Old 05-06-2019, 07:58 AM
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ps. I have 4 TLD50 LRSAs and they are excellent reels. I would choose it over the Penn 50 because of the weight and cost for my recreational use as I make fewer than 10 trips / year. If I was fishing every day, I'd probably get a metal body reel for durability.
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Old 05-06-2019, 08:02 AM
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Originally Posted by jtcwhaler View Post
Tuna size varies hugely depending on where you fish. Up in NE, we've been seeing bigger and bigger fish lately. Hopefully this is all just normal fluctuations and the overall stock is thriving.

To answer your question, I think the real game change is moving to braid with mono top shot. Smaller and lighter reels is definitely the name of the game. You can spool 2000 yards of 80lb braid on a Penn 50VSW, but you'd only ever use the 1st 500 yds or so, max. I'd personally much rather fish with a Shimano Talica 25 with 500yds of braid with the same drag with less than 1/2 the weight. Don't forget that your drag doubles by the time the spool is empty, and if you're fishing stand up, you're going to typically be fighting with 25lbs of drag anyways.

But unfortunately this new generation of smaller, lighter braid-generation reels are just as expensive as the huge old heavy ones...Talica 50, which is an excellent reel, costs a grand!
I think that location and time spent fishing plays a huge factor. Currently, down in Louisiana, the tuna are getting smaller and becoming much harder to find. I also do not know how much I will be tuna fishing both in the winter and summer. Definitely leaning towards the TLD 50s.
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Old 05-06-2019, 08:12 AM
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Originally Posted by bluevein View Post
Look at it like this, the faster you get the fish in the boat. the better tasting the meat. At least that's my opinion. Big reals, bigger line, faster landing.
Used to fish them commercially in the eighties. Anymore fight then 40 minutes and the meat is gone. The adrenalin the fish is making in the fight cooks the fish and you now have cat food to sell.
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Old 05-06-2019, 08:13 AM
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I have a couple of Talica 25's its the strongest, lightest, and most versatile reel I've ever owned. You can troll/chunk for tuna and then bottom fish with it.
Just my $.02.
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Old 05-06-2019, 08:14 AM
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I would suggest that the frequency of the catch isn't the reason to go smaller, but it's because you can get the same amount of braid on the smaller reels that we used to get on a 130 with 300 lb mono and 200lb dacron backer.

I definitely agree that you want to get the fish to the side of the boat as quick as possible so you don't burn it with lactic acid, but that's a function of the helmsman and the angler. I've fished with people that think they want keep the other lines fishing while you're trying to land fish and you end up burning the angler and the fish. Reel them up and get the angler over the fish as fast as possible.
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Old 05-06-2019, 08:16 AM
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Originally Posted by smccormick View Post
I would suggest that the frequency of the catch isn't the reason to go smaller, but it's because you can get the same amount of braid on the smaller reels that we used to get on a 130 with 300 lb mono and 200lb dacron backer.

I definitely agree that you want to get the fish to the side of the boat as quick as possible so you don't burn it with lactic acid, but that's a function of the helmsman and the angler. I've fished with people that think they want keep the other lines fishing while you're trying to land fish and you end up burning the angler and the fish. Reel them up and get the angler over the fish as fast as possible.
X2. That is why you have aft controls and back down real fast. Not just to give the angler a much needed bath
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Old 05-06-2019, 08:24 AM
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Never considered the time it takes to get the fish in. I am assuming "burning" the fish only goes for tuna?

Note: I am extremely inexperienced in tuna fishing. I am basing most of my reel knowledge off of fishing other fish such as Amberjack and Snapper.
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Old 05-06-2019, 08:25 AM
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Go big or go home
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Old 05-06-2019, 08:33 AM
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When the big boy does hook up you better have a large reel and a very good captain at the helm. Both are critical for large tunas
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Old 05-06-2019, 08:47 AM
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I just want to know where member Lloyd Silvey is finding 40# Blackfin??
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Old 05-06-2019, 08:50 AM
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A 30TW weighs 56 oz
A 50T......66oz
A 50 TW... 67

A tld 50 57 oz

I would say the Talica are quickly becoming the reel to own but they come at a stiff purchase price.

There are so many variables as to be mind numbing. If you ask me an old 50T with new drags and handles can be had for under 400 and WI last a lifetime. Every reel has its advantages. In general the larger the spool in diameter the faster the retrieve per crank revolution and the more possible drag.

Are you going to stand ang jig. The smaller and thinner the better. Are you mainly trolling? Weight won't be much of a factor. Stand up fighting? The thinner the better.

I watched a 15 hour sword fight on a Talica 50. I'm super impressed with the entire Talicaine up
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Old 05-06-2019, 08:53 AM
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Originally Posted by HTJ View Post
I just want to know where member Lloyd Silvey is finding 40# Blackfin??
Yellowfin. Not Blackfin. My bad.
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Old 05-06-2019, 04:11 PM
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Originally Posted by tdk72 View Post
I have a couple of Talica 25's its the strongest, lightest, and most versatile reel I've ever owned. You can troll/chunk for tuna and then bottom fish with it.
Just my $.02.
I have a pair as well, and I put them on Okuma spiral carbon rods.
Amazon Amazon
Crazy light compared to my traditional tuna rods, with the same drag and lifting power.
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Old 05-06-2019, 05:56 PM
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I fish delmarva & occasionally the outer banks nc & use a combination of 30s with 600 yds 80# power pro & 100 yd mono top shot. tld50s with basically the same except 100# braid & mono topshots & 50 wides with mono. spreader bars wwb baits & hard pulling stuff go on the bigger reels with more cranking power. but as far as fish fighting my boat is a 23' outboard & very maneuverable I work the boat to the fish as the angler puts line on the reel then when the fish is close good short pump skills combined with boat maneuvering usually brings the fish to gaff quickly even with the 30s. but a 30 will never eaquel the cranking power of bigger reels with bigger gears
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Old 05-06-2019, 08:05 PM
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I put a lot of 100lb+ on the deck with Shimano 50Ws. Use a glove and hand line to turn the fish when you need to you will not have any issues and you will not pull as many hooks.

Last edited by KonaCat; 05-18-2019 at 03:27 PM.
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Old 05-07-2019, 07:15 AM
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I think it all depends on the leader you can get away with. In the Bahamas we are typically limited to 50lb - 80lb flouro so it doesnt really make sense to have all the stopping power of a large reel when you can only fish 20lbs of drag max. If you can get away with larger leader then I would use a 50w or 80w, Otherwise a TLD 30 with an upgraded drag is plenty.
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