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Fishing sturgeon is not for the faint of heart. These ferocious fish can grow to epic proportions and fight with unbelievable strength.
Don’t be daunted by the prospect of going after one of these massive fish, though. With the right skills and know-how, you can easily pursue this fish.
When you’re headed out in search of sturgeon, it’s essential that you arm yourself with the best sturgeon reels to help you fight these big fish.
Quick Sturgeon Reel Guide to Help You Make a Decision
Here are the best sturgeon fishing reel setups to choose from:
Last update on 2023-12-02 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
Top 5 Sturgeon Reels in 2023
1. Shimano Talica 16 – A Great Casting Reel
The Shimano Talica is one of the best reels you can buy if you are headed out for sturgeon or other large, hard-fighting fish.
This reel is an excellent casting reel, featuring a super smooth (yet also powerful) drag system that will help you handle all those big battles out there on the water.
It’s specifically designed to handle all kinds of braided line, including Power Pro Hollow Ace and even shorter fluorocarbon leaders.
It’s available in several different sizes – eleven in total – to help you take on all kinds of offshore fish, including tuna and other pelagic species.
With two separate retrieval speeds, this reel is available in single – and two-speed models.
It has up to 60 lb maximum drag and unique High-Efficiency Gearing technology that will give you the best cranking power with an effortless retrieve.
Plus, this reel has 6+1 bearings for exceptional performance even when you’re under super heavy loads.
- Available in 11 different sizes
- Great for casting
- Two-speed spinning reel
- Not available with left-hand configuration
2. Shimano Tyrnos – A Quality Lightweight Conventional Reel
With a maximum drag force of 33 lbs, the Shimano Tyrnos is one of the best conventional reels you can buy. It has right retrieve and an impressive gear ratio of 5.0:1.
Weighing just 40.9 ounces, this reel is lightweight and easy to take with you wherever you decide to go. It has a line capacity of 600 yards of 30 lb monofilament or 1330 yards of 50lb braided line.
That’s seriously impressive. Although it might sound like overkill, the more line the better when it comes to sturgeon. You don’t want these large, quick-fighting fish running away with your line.
There’s nothing worse than spending hours fighting a fish only to have it spool off your line and go swimming away with several hundred yards of line in its mouth.
The reel has a line retrieval of 45 inches per crank. It is available in two sizes – a 40lb/450 yard size and a 50 lb/700 yard size.
This reel has selectable power or high-speed gear ratio. It will allow you to rip jigs quickly and then will let you switch gears for a slower (albeit stronger) fish fighting experience.
With lightweight graphite sideplates and solid aluminum braces, this reel is one of the strongest you will find.
It is made with a diecast aluminum frame and has an oversized handle shank, too. Its power handle is ergonomic, making it comfortable to use even in torrential downpours.
This reel comes with everything you need for a successful day on the water, including a rod clamp, ratcheting drag lever, and harness lugs, too.
It’s approved for use in saltwater and freshwater and can be used with all kinds of lines, including PowerPro, fluorocarbon, and monofilament.
- Can be used with all kinds of line
- Excellent line capacity
- Ergonomic handle and lightweight design
- Can be noisy while in use
3. Okuma Fishing Tackle Solterra Reel – Durable for Saltwater and Freshwater
This fishing reel by Okuma is perfect for sturgeon. With stainless steel shafts, main gears, and pinning ears, it is durable and resistant to the elements. Not only that, but this reel has a forged aluminum spool and line indicator rings.
You’ll always know exactly how much line is left on your reel so you don’t have to worry about a quick-fighting sturgeon running away with your line.
The Okuma reel also has a carbonite drag system that is prepared with Cal’s universal drag grease. It includes stainless steel ball bearings, too.
With a graphite frame, this reel offers exceptional performance. Without a doubt, it’s one of the best sturgeon reels, offering lightweight portability without sacrificing its quality.
There are eleven different reels in this family that you can choose from to meet any fishing needs or preferences. This reel will work well for many other kinds of fish, too, in both saltwater and freshwater settings.
- Eleven different styles available
- Gorgeous and durable aluminum and stainless steel design
- Smooth drag system
- Some users report that this reel is a bit on the heavy side
4. PENN Fathom Lever Drag 2 Speed – Strong and Portable
The Fathom reel, made by fishing equipment giant Penn, features a dynamic series of reels that are compact and portable but also packed with all the features you need for a successful day of fishing.
The reel has a full metal body. It also has dura-drag washers and stainless steel pinion gears. This reel is truly unstoppable.
It has a durable metal body and side plates along with a quick-shift two-speed system. It’s backed by five shielded ball bearings made out of stainless steel.
These resist corrosion even in tough conditions, so you don’t have to worry about your reel wearing out because of saltwater exposure.
It can hold up to 355 yards of 12 lb monofilament line or 415 yards of 30lb braided line.
With a gear ratio of 6.1:1, this reel has an excellent retrieval rate. Its carbon fiber drag will help you reel in massive sturgeon with a pull that’s about as smooth as butter.
- Durable stainless steel bearings
- Has a double-dog ratchet anti-reverse
- Full metal body makes this reel one of the longest-lasting you’ll find
- Can be cost-prohibitive for some anglers
5. Shimano Tiagra – Quality Reel With Great Line Capacity
Another excellent reel by Shimano is the Tiagra Reel. This two-speed reel is one of the best sturgeon reels you’ll find.
It comes in several sizes, including the 80WA and the 50WLRSA. It has a gear ratio of 3.1:1 or 1.3:1, depending on the retrieve and weighs just 86 ounces.
It can hold up to 550 yards of 80 lb monofilament or 1575 yards of 80lb PowerPro line. This is a seriously impressive line capacity that is sure to be plenty for hauling in tough sturgeon!
With a line retrieve of 37 inches per crank, this reel is incredibly high-performing. It has a maximum drag force of 44 lbs and includes four durable ball bearings.
The newest version in a long line of products by Shimano, this reel is designed for right-handed users.
It comes with everything you need for success out there on the water, too, including rod clamps, a safety loop bracket, and a wrench, too.
- Durable ball bearings
- Excellent line retrieval
- One of the best line capacities for reeling in sturgeon
- May be a bit too costly for some users
How To Choose a Sturgeon Reel Setup
Without a doubt, drag is going to be one of the most significant features when it comes to buying the perfect sturgeon reel.
Big sturgeon can often run away with more than 200 yards of line on their initial run, so you’ll want a reel with a high-quality drag.
Look for one that operates smoothly and consistently. A lever drag is generally the way to go with a sturgeon reel, but other drags can sometimes work in a pinch, too.
Your reel’s spool and line capacity is also important. You will want to be able to have at least 250 yards on hand if you plan on fishing from a boat.
If you fish from shore – which, frankly, is not the recommended style of fishing when you’re going after sturgeon – you will need even more line.
Maintenance and Care for Sturgeon Fishing Reels
Keeping your sturgeon fishing reel in good shape is vital for reliable performance. Here’s a quick guide:
- Cleaning: Rinse your reel with freshwater to remove salt, dirt, and debris after each fishing trip. Use a brush for detailed cleaning.
- Lubrication: Apply reel oil or grease sparingly to moving parts like the handle, bail, and gears to ensure smooth operation.
- Check for Loose Parts: Periodically inspect and tighten any loose screws or components to maintain stability.
- Line Maintenance: Examine your fishing line for wear and replace it as needed. Keep the line spooled evenly to prevent tangles and uneven drag.
- Storage: Store your reel in a dry, cool place, away from direct sunlight and extreme temperatures. Consider using a reel cover for added protection.
- Professional Service: Occasionally, have your reel professionally inspected and serviced, especially for high-end reels or after heavy use.
By following these straightforward maintenance steps, you’ll ensure your sturgeon fishing reel remains in top condition and delivers consistent performance on your fishing adventures.
What Else Do You Need to Fish for Sturgeon?
For a successful day of fishing sturgeon, you’re going to want a rod that offers the backbone to withstand some serious pulling. However, this rod also needs to be sensitive enough to feel a soft bite from one of these fish.
Most sturgeon rods are about 8 feet long – try not to get anything too much longer or shorter.
You’ll also need various tackle, including braided lines and heavy leaders. Hooks in sizes 6/0 to 10/0 are also essential.
At the end of the day, a sturgeon reel is going to be your most important investment. When you invest in a high-performing reel, it will let you gain the upper edge over these tough-fighting fish.
Choose a reel that’s cheaply made or otherwise not perfectly suited to your rod, and you’re going to find yourself sorely disappointed with the results.
Instead, consider shopping for one of these five best sturgeon reels – you’ll love their quality and design.