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Giant Tuna Tackle - Stand-up

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The rod we recommend for giant blue tuna stand-up fishing is a 6’0″ straight or bent butt rod rated for 130lb mono. This is typically going to be the highest rated rod in any series. There are no compromises here. Lighter rods simply will not have enough power to get the fish to a position where the wireman get grab the leader.

Giant Tuna Reels

Steve Palmo applying 50lbs+ of drag pressure to a 950lb giant bluefin tuna

Steve Palmo applying 50lbs+ of drag pressure to a 950lb giant bluefin tuna

We strongly recommend using only lever drag reels for giant tuna. Two-speed reels provide an added advantage. We recommend an 80lb class reel. Anything smaller will simply not have enough line capacity. The 130lb class reels are simply too heavy for stand-up. Lever drag reels are a must for circle hook fishing (also recommended – see below). The lever drag allows the angler to slowly increase the drag pressure to ensure the proper hook set.

Giant Tuna Line

Tuna can be notoriously line-shy and for this reason all chunking is done with a 100-200ft 130lb mono top-shot backed with hollow braid of equal or higher rating (typically 200lb). The thinner diameter of the braid provides significant additional line capacity. The hollow braid allows for an optimal connection where the mono topshot threaded into a 6-8ft section of the braid.

Leader and Connections

When targeting giant bluefin tuna we use a bimini twist knot to create at approx 20ft length of double main line passed twice through the eye of a 300-400lb ball bearing swivel. The swivel is connected to an 8-10ft length of 130-200lb fluorocarbon leader using a loop protector and a crimp. The hook is also connected using a loop protector and a crimp. Both crimps are covered with black electric tape to reduce their visibility.

Giant Tuna Hooks

We strongly recommend using only 9/0 – 11/0 3x circle hooks for several reasons:

  • These hooks have a smaller visible profile the “J” hooks of the same rating (great for line-shy fish)
  • Circle hooks virtually ensure the hook will set on the corner of the mouth reducing the chance that the tuna’s teeth will chafe through the leader
  • Circle hooks ensure the least amount of damage to fish that are destined to be released

Fighting Belts for Giant Bluefin Tuna

We recommend the Black Magic Fighting Belt and Harness. This is a uniquely designed belt and harness system that helps prevent side-to side slippage while reducing back strain. It offers true seat conformation, more stability and fighting leverage!

Giant Tuna Stand-up Checklist

  • 6’0″ conventional stand-up rod rated for 130lb mono
  • Lever drag conventional reel rated for 80lb mono
  • 200lb hollow braid main line
  • 130lb mono top-shot
  • 300-400lb ball bearing swivel
  • 3x 9/0-11/0 circle hooks

Please contact us if you have questions about our recommendations!


Tackle Recommendations
Click on any of the images or names to visit the manufacturer's website.  Click on the links or retailer logo to see prices or purchase.  If you can't find the product you want, try searching Amazon. Please contact us if you find any broken links!
Rods
Penn International V ARA Stand-up Penn International V ARA Stand-up
Offshore stand-up rod - 5'6" - 6'0" - multiple one-piece models rated for 30-130lb mono - Aftco rollers - EVA foam foregrip - aluminum reel seat and gimbal
Learn more and buy at Tackle Direct
Penn International V ARA Stand-up
Reels
Penn International VS Penn International VS
Offshore lever drag 2-speed conventional reel - models rated for 12-130lb mono and 20-200lb braid - 1.4/3.0:1, 1.6/3.8:1,  2.0/5.3:1, and 3.3/5.3:1 gear ratios - 4 ball bearings
Learn more and buy at Tackle Direct
Penn International VS
Shimano Tiagra Shimano Tiagra
Offshore lever drag 2-speed conventional reel - models rated for 12-130lb mono and 40-250lb braid - 1.2/2.2:1 and 1.7/3.9:1 gear ratios - 4-6 ball bearings
Learn more and buy at Tackle Direct
Shimano Tiagra
Line
Berkley Big Game Mono Berkley Big Game Mono
Trilene monofilament line - shock and abrasion resistant - clear, green, and solar collector colors - available in 8 to 130lb test and 1/4, 1, 3 and 5lb spools - exceptional knot strength
Learn more and buy at Tackle Direct
Berkley Big Game Mono
Hooks
Mustad 3x Demon Circle Hook Mustad 3x Demon Circle Hook
39950NP-BN - Demon Perfect Offset Circle Hooks, 3X strong, sizes 4/0 6/0 8/0 10/0 12/0
Terminal Tackle
Mustad Ball Bearing Swivel Mustad Ball Bearing Swivel
77250-BN - Black Ball bearing Swivel, two welded rings
Learn more and buy on Amazon
Mustad Ball Bearing Swivel
Yo-Zuri Fluorocarbon Leader Yo-Zuri Fluorocarbon Leader
Fluorocarbon leader  - invisible, durable, max knot/crimp strength - clear  and disappearing pink colors - 4-200lb test and 30/100yd spools
Learn more and buy at Tackle Direct
Yo-Zuri Fluorocarbon Leader
Yo-Zuri TopKnot Fluorocarbon Leader Yo-Zuri TopKnot Fluorocarbon Leader
Fluorocarbon leader - additional abrassion resistance, lower diameter, invisible, durable, max knot/crimp strength - clear and disappearing pink colors - 8-200lb test and 30/100yd spools
Learn more and buy at Tackle Direct
Yo-Zuri TopKnot Fluorocarbon Leader
Other
Black Magic Belt & Harness Black Magic Belt & Harness
Belt and Harness for rods with 15-18" butts - available in 3 different belt sizes (27-48" 34-58" 42-65") and standard 17.25" or XL Wide 19.5" plates
Learn more and buy at Capt Harry's
Black Magic Belt & Harness