So, the big tuna are foaming off SoCal like never before, and we are not talking about schoolie sized fish. We are talking full size jumbos with the potential for fish in the upper 200-pound range or better. Nothing could be more exciting that watching one of these fish ferociously blast a topwater plug.
One tool to reach these fish without spooking them is to tap the benefits of a spinning reel, which by its nature can make long casts with ease. In days of old, a spinning reel could not hold enough line or produce enough drag to even think about battling a giant, but in today’s world with super thin yet tough braided lines like PowerPro, it is not only possible, but a routine happening in many fisheries. To dish out the pressure on a big fish or to withstand the pressure of these brutes, a spinning reel must be created like no other. Shimano has answered that call with the Stella SW spinning reel series and the 18000SW is the pinnacle of sturdy, smooth spinning reels.
The Stella SW is built to withstand punishment and to dish it out.
The Stella 18000SWBHG can produce a max drag pressure of 55-pounds. That is an incredible amount of pressure to have at the right moment during an epic battle and with Maxcuatro’s super thin diameter for its strength, you can put a bunch of white 100# on it to do the job right.
If you pair this power with Shimano’s new OCEA Plugger Full Throttle spinning rod, then you have a tuna whipping combination that can sling a plug a country mile. These premium rods use Spiral X and Hi-Power X blank construction to create more powerful mid-sections. The technology in this rod dramatically reduces blank twist, which allows longer and more accurate casts as well as less pressure on the angler during a fight.
Jamie Thinnes runs Seasons Sportfishing in San Diego and he is very familiar with chasing big tuna and everything else in SoCal waters. He offers this recipe for success aboard his Parker charter boats.
“When we see 200-pound class tuna, the Stella is what we grab. The running and gunning style of fishing becomes so much easier because there is no backlash and the casting ability of the Stella is great. You don’t want to push into bluefin tuna too close or they can spook, so the ability to cast a great distance and down-wind is important. Tuna are really skittish and can feel the vibrations of the boat. That’s why the ease of casting distance with these reels makes all the difference.
More and more people are asking for the Stella because they know it will allow them to cast further and that one fact is game changing. A lot of times we give our less-experienced clients the Stella spinning reels because, not only can they cast further, but the drag system on those reels is burly with a lot of torque and power. You can really pull on a fish!
What it comes down to is when we’re running up on a fish and the fish are blowing up, the adrenaline is pumping, and the client is only going to get one shot to cast on that fish; It has to be precise and accurate, but then the power needs to be there to get that fish in the boat. The big Stella excels at both.”
If you want a reel that can sling an Orca lure or Pop Orca to the fish long before they feel you coming, gear up with the best. Reaching the fish is half of the equation for success, holding up to what happens next is even more important and the Shimano Stella was made to do both equally well making it the ticket to tuna success.