Gear: Best Tuna Casting Rods and Reels #200-B

Captain Mike’s Tuna Bluefin Casting Rods & Reels

Casting Rods & Reels: As with my jigging outfits, this outfit is entirely off the shelf. If I can’t land a tuna on this rod, I don’t want to land a tuna on any spinning rod. The overall outfit is remarkably light and well balanced. The butt section is short enough for ergonomic fighting but long enough so that you can lock it into a gimbal for trolling.

  • Rod: Shimano Terez TZS-70XH-BLK 7′ 65lb to 200lb: This rod has no problem casting 4oz and 5oz jigs and plugs. Like all the Terez rods, it is extremely rugged. The rod itself is very parabolic, which means it’s very forgiving. If you take a misstep with a boat side fish, it is hard to break. The rod absorbs a lot of energy, making it easier on your arms to fight big fish. This rod can absolutely handle 25lbs of drag. I will say the rod can limit out if you need to put the boots to a very large fish pushing maybe 300lbs.
  • Reel: Stella 18000 holds about the same amount of line as the 20000 and has the same drag capacity. The main difference is the higher gear ratio, which makes it better for fishing faster retrieve plugs, metals and Epoxy Jigs.
    • 57:1 Gear Ratio
    • 30.9oz in weight
    • 51” line intake per crank
    • 320 yards of 100lb hollow core
    • 55lb drag
  • Line/leader: I fish the same wind-on set up the same way I do as my jigging set up, but with 100lb hollow core to 100lb flouro leader with the only difference being a shorter wind-on leader. I prefer a 12’ leader on my tuna spinning outfits due to less friction going through the guides.
  • Connection: I prefer loop-to-loop connecting wind-on leaders over a knot between my braid and flouro due to the reliability and how easy it is to swap out leaders. I often go up and down in size and I also frequently put new leaders on. I literally change them after every trip, even if I didn’t hook up. I have spliced loops put on my tuna jigging and spinning reels at the beginning of the season and often in between trips if I break them off. I have my local shop do this. If I need to retie a loop due to a broken line, I will tie a Bimini hitch or a spider hitch on the water depending on how much time I have or how cold me hands are!

“Hybrid 60/60” Rods & Reels: I use this outfit about once in every 10 times I am chasing Bluefin tuna. This outfit allows you to cast very light lures, as light as 1.25oz, and has the brawn to handle a large fish, but not a fish over 80lbs. If I hook a big fish, I take the sporting approach and break it off quickly because the outfit isn’t strong enough to hold onto the fish for a very long time. No sense in risking injury to a fish you know you aren’t able to land.

  • Shimano TZSW-70MH 7′:I use this rod as a heavy-duty striper rod but it’s also my ultra-light tackle tuna-spinning rod. It’s heavy and has some fiberglass in it. I have landed tuna up to 80lbs on this rod, though I suspect I could have seen 100lb with it but never had the chance. This rod will cast the smaller Epoxy Jigs and lighter Hogy Pro Tail Eels and if you get bit by a larger fish, you just may have a chance!
  • Reel: The Stella 14000 reel is about the same physical size of a Stella 10000 but has a bigger drag system and a little more line capacity. Plenty of drag that will transcend that of the rod I’m using.
    • 5.7:1 Gear Ratio
    • 30.9oz in weight
    • 51” line intake per crank
    • 320 yards of 100lb hollow core
    • 55lb drag
  • Line/leader: 60lb power pro with a 60lb fluorocarbon leader tied on directly with a loop knot. 60lb the diameter of 60lb fluorocarbon leader is too narrow to crimp.