8 Best Tuna Rods in 2022
Tuna is fierce and aggressive but lots of fun to catch. And, if you ever tried catching it, you know how challenging it can get.
This is where equipment comes into play because quality-made gear makes a difference. Having the best tuna rod will most definitely help you land the big one.
I tested several models, some of which I still use regularly depending on the fishing technique I use. The Okuma Cedros E-glass is the best, although the Fiblink Bent Butt and Okiaya Composit follow closely behind.
Take a few more minutes to learn more about these tuna fishing rods and what it takes to pick one.
Okuma Cedros E-Glass
Best For Beginners
Fiblink Bent Butt Rod
Best by Budget
1. Okuma Cedros E-Glass
Okuma Cedros is a 7’ medium-heavy rod with excellent sensitivity and backbone you’ll notice with the first cast. The design works in your favor, helping you cast in tight spaces and in between branches.
The E-glass blank has quite a lot of pulling power, which makes it easy to retrieve tuna. And, you’ll notice its shock reduction if you choose to use a braided line as I did.
It comes with an Alps 2-tone anodized aluminum reel seat. This one is easy to control and quite comfortable, thanks to its ergonomic design.
Plus, it also has the Alps stainless steel guide frames with zirconium inserts. This allows the braided line to run smoothly by reducing friction to a minimum.
However, one of the things that stand out the most is the lifetime warranty. Okuma covers for damage caused by faulty manufacturing and materials.
Plus, it offers other length, power, and action varieties, although this one works best for tuna.
This Fiblink tuna rod is excellent for yellowfin tuna, marlin, and wahoo. It has plenty of backbone and pulling power while still delivering enough sensitivity.
It’s a two-piece made up of E-glass graphite composite blanks. The one I tested was 6’, but there are several other options available.
What stands out the most is the bent butt with a non-slippery handle. It’s made from a high-strength aluminum alloy and is bent to give you a better angle. This is proven to be more comfortable, but you can also remove it as needed.
It comes with stainless steel roller guides that are quite resistant to saltwater. These are unlikely to rust, but it would still help if you rinse them after fishing.
Lastly, let’s not forget about its extreme exposure reel seat with tapered hood transitions. Also, you’ll notice the groove at the connection. This is meant to prevent rotation and help you align the guides.
3. OKIAYA COMPOSIT
Okiaya is advertised as a big game fishing rod, and I can see why. Its backbone and sensitivity are something you’ll feel right with your first trophy fish.
At first glance, it doesn’t look too unique or special. It features a classic CNC-machined design with a composite fiber main shaft. This gives it the strength and backbone I mentioned, allowing you to land tuna and other similar fish.
Plus, the stainless steel rollers keep the line running smoothly as you fight your catch. This makes a massive difference if you’re after big tuna, as it’ll help reduce friction from the line.
This one is designed to meet or exceed IGFA standards. It’s a 5’6’’ heavy-action rod, so it’s somewhat on the short side compared to the rest on this list. Nonetheless, it’s easy to work with.
And, it comes with a rod cover, which is always a plus.
4. Blue Marlin Tournament Edition 3-piece
This 3-piece is a rough trolling rod meant for marlin, trophy wahoo, and yellowfin tuna. The high-carbon composite blank has four roller guides to allow the wire through.
And, what caught my eye the most was the spiral wrap construction. This is highly useful in preventing the rollers from warping under strain.
It comes with straight and bent butt handles for added versatility. I found the best one to be more comfortable, but that’s just my preference.
This one is 5’5” and is among the shortest out there. However, the reduced length makes it virtually indestructible. Plus, it’s easy to cast thanks to its EVA foam grips that remain non-slippery even in saltwater conditions.
Also, the manufacturer suggests using a conventional heavy-duty reel. I went for the Shimano Tiagra as it makes for an excellent combo for pulling and trolling.
5. PENN Squall 30 Level Wind
As you know, Penn is a major name out there, so don’t expect anything less than excellent. This is a rod and reel combo meant for deep-sea fishing.
It’s heavy-duty but also versatile, allowing you to use different lines. I paired it with a 60-pound monofilament and 4oz weight.
The first thing you’ll notice is how easily the line comes off the spool. And you’ll also feel its excellent backbone once the fish bites.
It performs well under the pressure of a large fish, so you probably won’t have any issues cranking. Plus, the reel has 20lbs of drag, which should be enough for tuna and other similarly large fish.
As far as the construction, it stands out with its ultrasensitive tubular glass construction. In addition, the marine-grade bronze alloy main gear helps run things smoothly, especially when you hook a heavy catch.
6. Ugly Stik Tiger Casting Fishing Rod
Ugly Stik Tiger is a reliable piece perfect for everyday fishing. It works excellent with live bait as it’s strong yet sensitive.
It’s a tough one, so get ready to land tuna, wahoo, and mahi-mahi without any issues. What stands out the most is its indestructible blank, allowing you to hook-heavy fish without breaking.
Also, this one has one-piece Ugly Tuff stainless steel guides to eliminate pop-outs. As a result, the entire rod is easier to use.
And, let’s not forget the conventional reel seats, featuring stainless steel cushioned hoods. All of this makes it perfect for saltwater fishing, especially since it requires minimal maintenance.
An occasional rinse of the blank and EVA handles would be enough to protect it from corrosion. Overall, it feels easy and comfortable to use, giving you just enough sensitivity and power to tackle tuna.
7. EatMyTackle Tuna Terminator
This EatMyTackle jigging rod is called a Tuna Terminator for a reason. It’s a 6’7’’ rod that disassembles into two 35-inch and 48-inch pieces for easier transportation and storage.
It delivers slow action with a line capacity of 15 to 25 pounds, so you can target other similar fish as well. Plus, the split handle makes it easy to handle as it’s comfortable even when wet.
What I liked the best was the sensitivity that allows you to feel even the lightest nibble. But, it doesn’t come at a price of backbone, so you’re still getting enough strength to battle the fish.
It features a graphite blank that bends easily when needed. However, I noticed it doesn’t lose power when it bends, so you won’t have any problems fighting aggressive spices.
8. EatMyTackle Roller Guide
This 160-200lb fishing rod has a high-carbon composite blank with wrap construction. This is meant to give it more durability to resist twisting.
On top of that, it has a sensitive tip that helps give it more backbone you’ll need to fight tuna. Apart from tuna, I assume you can also fish for marlin and big wahoo.
I tested it out with Yellowfin and Bigeye tuna and was quite impressed. In addition, the rod is lightweight, so you won’t feel any fatigue even after hours of use.
Plus, this EatMyTackle is affordable and easy to use for beginners. It won’t weigh you down and is excellent to travel with, even though it’s a single piece.
Its EVA handles have a significant say in this since they remain soft and comfortable throughout. And, let’s not forget its smooth wide-mouth roller guides that work with nearly all lines.
Buyer's Guide for Tuna Rods
Tuna is an aggressive fish, so you need more than just a simple rod. Many models on the market might do a good job, but not for too long.
For this reason, you should focus on a few things meant specifically to help you pick a tuna rod. So here’s what we’re talking about.
The type you’ll go for is the first thing you should think about. The most common options for tuna include popping, trolling, and jigging rods.
Tuna jigging rods are meant to deliver the jigs deeper into the water. These are typically between 5 to 6 feet and lightweight.
Popping rods are excellent for frog lures and other similar swimming baits. These are between 7 and 8 feet long so that you can cast from a long distance without spooking the fish.
On top of that, popping rods bend easily and work well with spinning reels.
Trolling rods are the heaviest, which makes them perfect for heavy fish. In addition, fishing rods for trolling are often have rolling guides that handle pressure well, allowing you to catch large fighting tuna.
The length of your rod will impact the performance, which is exactly why you want to give it some thought.
Think about the casting distance to determine the best length that would work for you. For example, the best poles for tuna will be at around 6 to 7 feet. However, long-range fishing requires a longer rod that’s typically at about 7 feet.
Having that extra length gives you an extended reach. It’s excellent for fishing off a boat. If not, you might want to go for something shorter, like a 6’ long rod.
Shorter ones don’t have such an extended reach, but they’re packed with power.
Weight is another factor that’ll affect your performance. This is why most tuna fishing rods are lightweight and easy to handle.
However, there’s a catch. Going for the lightest rod isn’t always the best choice. In other words, the lightest models lack the strength needed for them to support the line. On the other hand, lightweight rods especially spinning rods that are ultralight, are great for fishes like crappie, perch, bass and trout.
So, it’s best to think about the specific fish you’re after. Think about the line capacity you’re using to catch tuna and match it with the rod length.
The action determines how much the rod bends when you put pressure on the tip. It also determines the speed at which it returns to its neutral position.
This is often determined by the construction and materials. It’s referred to as extra-fast, fast, moderate-fast, medium/moderate, and slow.
In most cases, slow-action rods work well for tuna fishing.
As said, tuna is aggressive fish, so you want a strong and resilient rod to fight it. Look for one made from strong materials such as fiberglass, graphite, and carbon composite.
These materials are the strongest but still lightweight enough not to weigh you down. Fiberglass and graphite are the strongest, allowing you to handle heavy-duty fish without breaking or cracking.
However, these are also the most expensive, so keep that in mind. Also, all the materials should be rust-free because you’re probably going to spend the most time in saltwater conditions.
The grip on your rod has a big influence on the overall comfort and ease of use. As you may have noticed, most tuna fishing rods have EVA handles.
EVA is considered more comfortable than cork when it comes to long-hour fishing. It’s thick but soft, remaining comfortable even when you fight heavy fish.
And, you’ll also have to choose between a few style options. For example, some tuna fishing rods have a bent butt handle, while others are straight.
Bent-butt handles are ideal for drag fishing or when you’re fishing from a chair. But, choosing one is mostly a matter of preference.
With these rods, you often get what you pay for. So, think about your budget in advance to set out a price you’re willing to pay.
Although some of these might seem expensive, they’re long-lasting, durable, and reliable. Undoubtedly, more affordable options can also work fine but are unlikely to last as long.
Kids’ rods and those meant for beginners are always cheaper, so make sure to consider your skill level.
Your fishing technique is another crucial factor that dictates the kind of rod you need. The most common techniques are jigging, popping, and trolling.
Jigging rods are quite short at 5’8’’ to 6’6’’. These are for dropping the jigs deep into the water, but there’s a catch.
You should always match the jig weight to the rod’s intended jig weight. This ensures the action performs as needed, luring the tuna to bite.
Spinning and conventional rods work well for jigging, although spinning poles are more sensitive. Traditional rods are good due to their power that comes in handy when fighting large tuna.
Popping rods are designed for throwing swimbaits and poppers on the surface. These are often longer at about 7.5 to 8 feet.
The added length is perfect for long casts when you need to drop the lure into a school of tuna. You can be quite accurate without coming too close to the fish.
In most cases, popping rods are lightweight and will help you wear out the fish quickly. In addition, they pair well with spinning gear.
Trolling rods are many, and you should choose one based on the particular tuna species you’re after. These are often short, measuring somewhere between 5’6’’ and 6’6’’.
And, they’re almost always heavier than the rest of the tuna fishing rods we talked about. However, don’t let this discourage you because the added weight gives it backbone and strength for pulling that heavy fish.
Trolling rods have open or roller guides, depending on the weight class. Roller guides are often the best when fighting heavy fish because they prevent excessive friction.
Final Thoughts on the Best Tuna Rods
At this point, you probably found a tuna rod that fits your needs. These are the ones I find the most useful regardless of whether you’re using jigging, popping, or trolling.
Keep in mind your needs and preferences, especially regarding the lure and fishing technique you’re using.
Again, the Okuma Cedros E-glass is a safe choice if you’re having troubles picking just one among this many.