Best Tuna Fishing Rods: Popping – Jigging – Trolling – Casting

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What do albacore, yellowfin, and ahi all have in common? 

They’re all massive fish in the tuna family, of course! Fishing for any type of tuna will require you to have some special tricks and tools up your sleeve. 

The best tuna fishing rod should be the first piece of gear on your list. 

Without it, you won’t have much luck reeling in one of these behemoths.

If you’re new to the sport, here’s a quick guide about what you should be looking for.

Best Tuna Fishing Rods: The Short List

Here are the best tuna rods on the market today.

EatMyTackle Tuna Terminator Jigging Rod | Saltwater Fishing Rod (15-25lb. Slow Action, 2pc. Trigger)
EatMyTackle Tuna Terminator Jigging Rod | Saltwater Fishing Rod (15-25lb. Slow Action, 2pc. Trigger)
Tuna Terminator bait caster fast acting jigging 2 piece 15-25 lb. test rod; 8 premium guides wrapped on a graphite glass composite blank for strength
PENN Squall 30 Level Wind Fishing Rod and Trolling Reel Combo, 6.5 Feet
PENN Squall 30 Level Wind Fishing Rod and Trolling Reel Combo, 6.5 Feet
Level wind trolling reel for big game fish in a variety of saltwater conditions; HT 100 carbon fiber drag system provides powerful drag without sacrificing smoothness
Shakespeare Ugly Stik Tiger Casting Rod , 7'
Shakespeare Ugly Stik Tiger Casting Rod , 7'
Versatile live bait fishing rod designed for big water game fishing; Ugly Tech construction to create a strong, yet sensitive rod
Okuma Fishing Tackle Okuma Cedros Jigging Rods, CJ-S-701MHa
Okuma Fishing Tackle Okuma Cedros Jigging Rods, CJ-S-701MHa
E-glass blank offers incredible pulling power; Glass blanks offer shock reduction when using braided line
EatMyTackle Roller Guide Saltwater Fishing Rod | Blue Marlin Tournament Edition (160-200lb)
EatMyTackle Roller Guide Saltwater Fishing Rod | Blue Marlin Tournament Edition (160-200lb)
Wide mouth, wind-on leader, and roller guides; Sensitive tip with a strong backbone, EVA foam grip for comfort and non slip

Last update on 2022-05-14 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

The 6 Top Tuna Fishing Rods 

Here are top tuna fishing rods on the market today

EatMyTackle Tuna Terminator Jigging Rod

EatMyTackle makes one of the best tuna fishing rods you can buy. You can buy this jigging rod in both a one- or two-pack, allowing maximum convenience. 

It comes in two pieces and is a 15-25 lb test rod. You’ll get eight premium guides that are wrapped around a graphite glass composite blank.

At just over six and a half feet long, this rod breaks down to half that size for easy carrying. 

It has a split handle that makes it comfortable to jig with – as does the EVA grip finish. It comes with a two-year warranty for any factory defects, too. 

Pros:

  • Breaks down into two separate pieces
  • Made out of lightweight graphite composite
  • Average length for maximum versatility 

Cons:

  • A bit on the pricey side

>>Check Price on Amazon<<

PENN Squall Level Wind Reel & Rod Fishing Combo

Another great fishing rod for going after tuna is the Penn Squall. This rod is one of the most universally recommended fishing rods of all time – not just for tuna, but for other species of game fish, too.

It is one of the best trolling rods you can buy, equipped with a durable lightweight frame and side plates along with a stainless pinion gear and bronze main gear. 

The reel has two stainless steel ball bearings and a carbon fiber drag system for smooth operation that eliminates rotor backplay. 

It’s super sensitive and incredibly lightweight. 

Because many of this package’s components are made out of high-strength bronze alloy that is rated to marine standards, you won’t have to worry about it breaking down from saltwater corrosion, either.

Pros:

Cons:

  • Prone to some factory issues with rod base

>>Check Price on Amazon<<

Fiblink Bent Butt Fishing Rod 2-Piece Saltwater Offshore Trolling Rod

While most beginners to tuna fishing will go with straight butt rods – a feature I’ll tell you more about later – this bent butt fishing rod by Fiblink is still a sure bet. 

It has a solid construction with solid e-glass graphite composite blanks. You’ll love the power behind this rod – and you won’t mind its sensitivity, either. 

It comes in lengths of five, six, and seven feet to help you fish easily in any setting. 

Not only that, but it’s equipped with quality stainless steel roller guides, too. You’ll get corrosion resistance along with a wear-free line flow. 

Pros:

  • Perfect for tuna and even marlin
  • Bent butt is comfortable and easy to use 
  • Corrosion-resistant rod

Cons:

  • Designed to be used on a boat and not great for fishing in other settings

>>Check Price on Amazon<<

Shakespeare Ugly Stik Tiger Casting Rod

The Shakespeare Ugly Stik Tiger Casting Rod is a versatile fishing rod that’s meant to be used with live bait – and on big game species of fish.

It has some of the best construction around, with a durable build that brings together the best materials for a strong, sensitive rod. 

It has lightweight, comfortable EVA foam grips that will give you the utmost level of comfort during all fishing excursions. 

With one-pieces stainless steel guides, this casting rod is easy to use and has a reduced likelihood of insert pop-outs. 

It even comes with conventional reel seats with stainless steel cushioned hoods, to make attaching your reel easy, secure, and seamless.

Pros:

  • Designed specifically for catching tuna
  • Well-balanced feel
  • Durable graphite and fiberglass construction

Cons:

  • Eyes have a tendency to bend

>>Check Price on Amazon<<

Okuma Cedros E-Glass Jigging Rod

When you see that glass is the name of this jigging rod for tuna, you might feel a bit disconcerted. Isn’t glass fragile?

That’s true, to an extent – but this fishing rod is unique in that it has glass blanks. These offer superior shock reduction while still being durable. 

The rod also has e-glass blanks, which give you exceptional pulling power. It comes in several sizes, including lengths that range from five and a half to seven feet. 

You’ll get reduced friction from the braided line, too. 

All Okuma Cedros rods are backed by limited lifetime warranties, so you don’t have to worry about anything going wrong. 

Pros:

  • Excellent shock reduction
  • Backed by a limited lifetime warranty
  • Multiple lengths available

Cons:

  • A bit heavy

>>Check Price on Amazon<<

EatMyTackle Roller Guide Saltwater Fishing Rod

Looking for one more option by EatMyTackle? Consider this lightweight and durable saltwater fishing rod.

It has everything you need for a successful day on the water. It is rated for 160 to 200 lbs and has tournament-grade construction with its wide mouth and sturdy roller guides.

Made out of high-carbon composite blanks, it has unique span wrap construction. This means it resists twist and remains strong and steady while you’re reeling in the catch of a lifetime.

It’s comfortable to use, too, as it has a sensitive tip and a strong backbone. It also comes with an EVA foam grip that makes it perfect for use in rainy or otherwise less than perfect fishing conditions.

Pros:

  • Has comfortable and sturdy grips
  • Heavy-duty rod with a lightweight feel
  • Comes with a two-year manufacturer’s warranty

Cons:

  • Too small for some styles of reels

>>Check Price on Amazon<<

Tips for Choosing the Best Tuna Fishing Rods

Your Technique

One of the most important factors to keep in mind when you are shopping for a tuna fishing rod is how you plan to use it. Your technique will play a big role in what kind of rod you ultimately decide on. 

Jigging 

A jigging rod is one that is specially designed to drop jigs deep into the water column. Ideally, this kind of rod should be light and short, in the 5’8” to 6’6” range. 

Match the weight of your jig to the jigging rod’s intended weight. This will help make sure your action matches up as intended. 

You can use both a conventional or a spinning setup for jigging. Spinning reels will give you a bit more sensitivity, while conventional reels will offer more drag.

Popping

A popping rod is one that is meant to toss swimbaits and poppers on the surface of the water. A popping rod will be a bit longer – generally up to 8 feet. 

This lets you make the long casts you need to drop your lure into a school of tuna (without having to get up close and personal).

Often, these rods have parabolic blanks that are lightweight. They can transfer more torque so they wear out the fish – and not your arm. 

You can use them with spinning or conventional tackle.

Also Read: Best all around baitcasting rods

Trolling

A trolling rod will work in most cases, but this depends on the kind of tuna you are going after. These rods tend to be short (usually no longer than six and a half feet). 

They tend to be a bit heavy, too, giving them more backbone. 

Materials in Tuna Fishing Rods

Fiberglass

Fiberglass is one of the most commonly used materials when it comes to tuna fishing rods. 

Fiberglass is flexible as well as strong, helping it handle all kinds of wear and tear when you’re out there on the water. 

Unfortunately, fiberglass does tend to be a bit heavy. This can make it more challenging for you to pick up on strikes.

Graphite

Graphite tends to confuse customers when it’s used in a product description. 

Graphite is really carbon fiber, but the two terms are used interchangeably. It offers better action and a more sensitive feel.

Another benefit of graphite is that it is lightweight and sensitive. However, it can be somewhat fragile.

Composite

Looking for the best of both worlds? Go with a composite rod. This will provide you with the sensitivity and lightweight feel of graphite paired with the strength of fiberglass. 

Length

The length of the rod is important when you are fishing for tuna, as it is with all other species of fish, too. 

The best rods for tuna fishing will be a minimum of six and a half feet – ideally longer. If you plan on fishing long-range, you may want to use a rod over 7 feet.

This will not only give you an extended reach, but it will also be necessary if you plan on fishing off a boat with high rails.

That being said, if you don’t necessarily care about extending over this side of a boat and don’t need that ultra-long reach, a shorter rod will do just fine. 

A rod around six to six and a half feet will give you enough length to get the job done but will also give you more pulling force when you’re fighting with a fish.

Butt Handle

Tuna rods are available with both bent- and straight-butt handles. Here’s the difference.

Bent

A bent-butt handle is one that can be used if you are fishing with heavy drag settings and are using heavy tackle. 

You can also use a bent-but handle from a seated position, as it will position the tip of your rod downward.

Straight

A straight butt handle is one that is a bit more versatile. It’s more common than a bent butt and can be used in a wide array of settings. 

If you’re new to tuna fishing, a straight butt will probably get you by just fine.

Budget for Tuna Rods

Catching tuna is no joke – you want to make sure you have a rod that can hold up to the heavy demands you are throwing at it. 

While you might be tempted to just buy the cheapest tuna rod you find, you should avoid this temptation. 

It will not only be more likely to break under the stress of all that weight, but it will leave you feeling disappointed, too.

That doesn’t mean you need to take out a second mortgage on your home to get a high-quality rod. 

Simply remember that you want to spend enough to be able to walk away with a good tuna fishing rod for your money. 

Other Considerations to Make

Buying the right tuna fishing rod for your first (or next) adventure is only half the battle. There are a few other considerations you will want to make. 

First, rest assured that you really don’t need different types of gear for various types of tuna. 

You can use the same reels and rods, for the most part. Where you will need to be a bit more nitpicky is with your fishing methods and lures. 

Some of the most popular tuna species include albacore, bigeye (also known as ahi), bluefin, skipjack, and yellowfin (another species that’s often referred to as ahi). 

You will want to keep the sport fishing regulations in your area in mind. Depending on the state in which you live, you will need to pay attention to certain size and limit regulations. 

These change from state to state and can also be variable between years. 

In most cases, these restrictions are put in place by the states respectively Fish and WIldlife Departments, so make sure you do your research before you head out on the water.

Otherwise, a great day of tuna fishing will just rely on a few other essentials – like mastering the right tuna fishing technique and getting some quality line, lures, and bait.

Here are some good tuna fishing tips if you’re new to the game.

With a little bit of practice and the right tuna fishing rod, you’ll be well-equipped with everything you need. It won’t be long before you feel that tell-tale bite!

You’ll be reeling in tuna in no time. Hopefully your family, friends (even your dog) appreciate the taste of Tuna!

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Sean Ward

Sean Ward

Hey there, my name is Sean – OnTrack Fishing is my site. I’m based in the UK yet I’ve been fortunate enough to catch bass in the States, barramundi in Australia, trout here at home and carp on the Danube delta. If I’m not fishing, or talking about fishing, then….I’m probably asleep.

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