Tuna popping reel

Dexter Outdoors

ny2sd

Newbie
Jan 3, 2010
68
3
NY,NY
Name
Frank
Boat
Rowboat
What conventional rod and reel would work for throwing poppers for big 100lbs plus tunas?? Even though spinning rods are the more popular way to go I’m not a big fan spinning reel for big fish thanks
 

Texas Tuna

Pinfish pimp
May 18, 2020
566
725
Rockport Texas
Name
Oliver
Boat
25' SaberCat
Any one of the tall narrow reels. The Penn Baja Special and torque 40N Cast extremely well. The Accurate 600NN size will also work but I'm not sure if they will handle 100+ tuna especially with a long cast. For rods, you want something with a stiffer tip.
 

Trout.com

Member
Jul 8, 2013
384
118
San Dimas
Name
Michael
Boat
17' Klamath "Queequeg"
I use a calstar 100MAG with a shimano TN20 (gold) with upgraded dogs and drags by AT. Put 300 yards of 50 lb braid and top it with 50 lb. mono ( you should have about 400 total yards). I prefer soft steel fo 50 lb surface iron, everything else is too stiff.
Fish a tight drag! Most people fish way too lose.
Have you ever gotten 50 lb stuck on the bottom? You can’t break it.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Haly0

malanx

Royal Star 200# Club
Sep 28, 2011
181
126
Mountain View
Name
Jonny
Boat
SD landings
You don't want a Raptor, or any other rod that is intended for live bait, as your rod for popping, regardless of how good that rod is.

In order to work a popper correctly, get better casting distance, and have less angler fatigue - you need a stiff tip (read: slow / parabolic action) rod.

I can personally recommend the Blackhole Graphite series and Nano series. The Graphite fishes and casts better, but the Nano is gentler on the angler when hooked up. The SaltywaterTackle rods are also very good, but they look like they are sold out of blanks (and are pricey).

The Phenix Titan Popping rods felt good when I pulled on them at Fred Hall, but I haven't fished them. I know UC has a popping series, but I don't know anything about them.


Regarding fishing reels: I use spinners, so I can only tell you what is important, it's up to you to decide what matters to you:

When fishing, you make a large sweep of the rod to cause the popper to pop. You then need to quickly wind in that line. Stella's have ~60" per turn of the handle and that works great as a reference; Tranx HG and PG are 43" and 30" respectively, which is going to leave you winding like crazy to catch up, but it still works okay. As a side note, those are great speeds for surface iron lures.

However, that sweeping motion tends to mess up the lay of the line on non-spinner/ non-level wind reels. Generally I've seen that people using conventionals have to cast out and do a steady retrieve every 3-5 casts, to clean up their line, or risk a nasty backlash (and sometimes they still get said nasty backlash). If you're casting all the time, or want to be sure you will get a good cast the one time you need it, thats a plus for the Tranx.

I've seen a Tranx on a popping outfit land a 100# class YFT at Guadalupe, but there were no sharks, and the angler put the outfit away for "a while" as they got soooo beat up. (I don't know if it was HG or PG).

In my opinion - If you're looking for tuna up to 100 pounds, but usually under, and okay with a beating on a big fish, the tranx is a great casting reel. If you're looking to catch multiple fish in that larger class, you need more ummph (I don't know what that is).


Hope some of this is helpful.
 

pwstriper

Member
Sep 26, 2005
511
234
40
San Diego, Clairemont
Name
Mike M
Boat
Kencraft
You don't want a Raptor, or any other rod that is intended for live bait, as your rod for popping, regardless of how good that rod is.

In order to work a popper correctly, get better casting distance, and have less angler fatigue - you need a stiff tip (read: slow / parabolic action) rod.

I can personally recommend the Blackhole Graphite series and Nano series. The Graphite fishes and casts better, but the Nano is gentler on the angler when hooked up. The SaltywaterTackle rods are also very good, but they look like they are sold out of blanks (and are pricey).

The Phenix Titan Popping rods felt good when I pulled on them at Fred Hall, but I haven't fished them. I know UC has a popping series, but I don't know anything about them.


Regarding fishing reels: I use spinners, so I can only tell you what is important, it's up to you to decide what matters to you:

When fishing, you make a large sweep of the rod to cause the popper to pop. You then need to quickly wind in that line. Stella's have ~60" per turn of the handle and that works great as a reference; Tranx HG and PG are 43" and 30" respectively, which is going to leave you winding like crazy to catch up, but it still works okay. As a side note, those are great speeds for surface iron lures.

However, that sweeping motion tends to mess up the lay of the line on non-spinner/ non-level wind reels. Generally I've seen that people using conventionals have to cast out and do a steady retrieve every 3-5 casts, to clean up their line, or risk a nasty backlash (and sometimes they still get said nasty backlash). If you're casting all the time, or want to be sure you will get a good cast the one time you need it, thats a plus for the Tranx.

I've seen a Tranx on a popping outfit land a 100# class YFT at Guadalupe, but there were no sharks, and the angler put the outfit away for "a while" as they got soooo beat up. (I don't know if it was HG or PG).

In my opinion - If you're looking for tuna up to 100 pounds, but usually under, and okay with a beating on a big fish, the tranx is a great casting reel. If you're looking to catch multiple fish in that larger class, you need more ummph (I don't know what that is).


Hope some of this is helpful.
You're right.. but not completely. The tranx PG works nicely due to the fact that for some reason our bluefin like a slow almost deadstick pop, so there is less need for the fast retrieval of line. Sometime you barely even reel in on the pop here..
 
  • Like
Reactions: Haly0

DonnieD

Shit...where's the beer
  • May 27, 2015
    283
    281
    45
    SD
    Name
    Donnie D
    Boat
    FINBOMB
    Black Hole Nano...I use spinning gear now but the conventional rod with an Avet HXJ was what I used in past.
     

    fcsd_christian

    RIP-Here Lies: Fish, E.
  • Apr 1, 2019
    261
    231
    28
    San Diego
    Name
    Christian
    Boat
    14ft Valco
    Seeker 550 with a Daiwa Grandwave 50 spooled with 80# backing and 60# topshot. If that’s too much reel for you I hear people like those highspeed 500 size levelwinds these days
     

    aznboy619

    Abalone King
    Apr 25, 2006
    595
    408
    Alhambra
    Name
    Victor
    Boat
    None
    Okuma Makaira 20k or 30k with a UC SW710 XXH-2J. Biggest BFT to date on this set up is about 130lbs on a 20k makaira.

    The set up is very nice. The SW710 has lots of power and only comes in a blank. I got 2 extra one. Hit me up if you want one.

    Alan Hawk has a review on mak 20k or 30k. Should read it and check it out.
     

    hucklongfin

    Deep release specialist
    Jul 3, 2003
    9,050
    7,018
    Mission Viejo
    Name
    MarkT
    Boat
    Blazer Bay 1860
    For heavy popping I have the Mak 20k on a BH CCS 80g. For more regular popping I have the TP 14k on a BH CCS 86n. Nothing big on either one... so far.
     

    afraser

    I Should Upgrade My Account
    Apr 20, 2008
    1,720
    1,298
    sf, ca
    Name
    aaron
    Boat
    NA
    I know you said conventional but the ideal reel imho is a Stella 18k with a 20k spool on it and a 7-8 foot pipping spinning rod. It is super fast, and has heavy drag. If you want you can set up a harness for it, I use one on fish over 100lb. Under 100lb you can bring fish to the boat in under 10 minutes, easy. I use a 10 ft popping rod with a Stella 14k for the smaller fish, under 80. I think you’ll be happier using spin gear for this application. You can even cast under hand/side arm from the stern on some boats, which normally don’t allow overhand casting from the stern. That said I do have an avet hxj raptor as well that I use for wahoo, but not for popping.
     
    • Like
    Reactions: tbev

    pukahd

    I’m getting nibbles
    Oct 30, 2004
    864
    779
    Torrance
    Name
    Brian
    Boat
    Cabo 216
    If you throw a Raptor you’ll last a few cast. It’s a railrod with walls that are thicker than a conventional blank and it’s heavier. Tranx500 on a +100 lb tuna? ..,ok but if you hook them in the 130 lb class and up, it’s going to be fun for the first 20 min when it’s look at me, yahoo ! and for the next 2-3 hours it’s “F”me !! You really need something with a 2spd. I use a US90 Monster with a 500 Valiant to have a slight chance. I also have US100 Monster 10’ but no dang way do I want to tango with a big tuna on it. Leave that to the young studs who want to have 3 hours of fun.
     
    Last edited:

    pwstriper

    Member
    Sep 26, 2005
    511
    234
    40
    San Diego, Clairemont
    Name
    Mike M
    Boat
    Kencraft
    If you throw a Raptor you’ll last a few cast. It’s a railrod with walls that are thicker than a conventional blank and it’s heavier. Tranx500 on a +100 lb tuna? ..,ok but if you hook them in the 130 lb class and up, it’s going to be fun for the first 20 min when it’s look at me, yahoo ! and for the next 2-3 hours it’s “F”me !! You really need something with a 2spd. I use a US90 Monster with a 500 Valiant to have a slight chance. I also have US100 Monster 10’ but no dang way do I want to tango with a big tuna on it. Leave that to the young studs who want to have 3 hours of fun.
    Tranx PG & raptor 8’0” (read the fine print)
     

    FlatPack

    Online Angler
    Sep 22, 2016
    2,328
    1,769
    City of Angels
    Name
    TackleHO21
    Boat
    "CATTLE BOAT"
    Have anyone check out or have experience with the Okuma PCH Custom Popping Rod series? I only have experience with their casting series for different application. I’m just guessing they might be a great value popping rod like their casting/spinning series.