Best Spinning Reel For Tarpon

Question-

Name: Luke Bodenhausen
Email Address: Lboden@gmail.com
Subject: Reel size
Message: Hey Tom I've been fishing big pine key the last five years in May and I'm looking to purchase the best size reel for tarpon exclusively. I've got 30s and 40s and just wondering what size would be the best for tarpon. Thanks
(Sent via Saltwater Experience Fishing Blog)

 

Answer-

Hey Luke...thanks for the question. You have found a good spot in Big Pine Key.  There are lots of fishing opportunities in that area and it sounds as if you are well on your way to being comfortable and productive there. 

I love the 20/30 size reels for redfish and small bonefish.  I usually step up to a 40 size for Permit, Bonefish and Small tarpon.  The 40 is my go-to, all around reel.  However, Quantum brought out their new 50 size reel which is built more like the 40.  There is a pretty large jump between a 40 and 60 size reel and I have never found the 60 to be a good size for sight casting tarpon with jerk baits or lures.  The 60 does have more capacity and a bigger drag but I would stick with a 40 loaded with braid for sight fishing for large tarpon.  As you can imagine, the 40 is a little small for many of the tarpon or situations where we fish them and we can find ourselves with only a few wraps of line left on the reel.  The 50 solved this problem because of the small frame size and large capacity.

Rich with a casting setup for a variety of species.  Here he is casting to a large school of tailing reds, but we use the same rod for tarpon.

Rich with a casting setup for a variety of species.  Here he is casting to a large school of tailing reds, but we use the same rod for tarpon.

I suggest a 50 Quantum Cabo for sight fishing for tarpon.  Pair this with a good 7 foot 10-20 lb heavy action rod and you will have an awesome tarpon setup. 

Shown here is an arsenal of Fin Nor 7500 which is another of my favorite "Boat Rod' reels.

Shown here is an arsenal of Fin Nor 7500 which is another of my favorite "Boat Rod' reels.

We also fish in channels and around the bridges often.  Sometimes this requires casting a large mullet or a pinfish a long distance and then pulling a large tarpon away from the bridge pilings.  For this purpose, I like to step up to more of a boat style rod which has more power and larger guides.  This outfit is more balanced with the 60 or 80 size reels. 

We step up to a larger boat style rod with much more lifting power paired with a larger 60-80 size reel for pulling large tarpon away from bridge pilings.

We step up to a larger boat style rod with much more lifting power paired with a larger 60-80 size reel for pulling large tarpon away from bridge pilings.

So, for sight fishing or casting smaller baits, go with the 50 and for live baiting and bridge fishing, go for a 60 or 80.  Load these all up with braid and get after it.

I hope that helps.

Good luck!  Send us some pictures of your big tarpon.