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Shimano Tiagra Conventional Reel – The Indestructible, Big Game Specialist

The Shimano Tiagra as known as an indestructable big game specialist reel. If you are looking to target some monster tuna, kingfish or even marlin then you will want to seriously consider a Tiagra.

When you have hooked a big game fish then you want to be 100% certain that you will not lose it due to poor quality gear. You might only get a few bites in a lifetime of that trophy marlin, so make sure you have every chance of reeling it in. That starts with a suitable reel.

The largest 130A model has a drag of 88 pounds with a 2.1:1 gear ratio - so you know it is built for big fish.

Shimano Tiagra Conventional Reels, TI50WA
  • Hagane Body
  • HEG
  • Cross Carbon Drag

Big Game Specialist

Most reels are designed for versatility - so you can take them fishing at the beach, the river, or the lake. The Tiagra is not versatile - it is perfectly suited for one thing - big fish!

It does not matter whether you are going after a swordfish, a marlin, or a tuna, the Tiagra will be able to handle it.

The two speed gearing allows you to control the action more closely even when under intense pressure.

The 9 models give you the ability to pick a size perfect for your own requirements and allow thousands of yards of braid or mono line to be spooled on. The largest model, the 130A, will hold 3315 yards of 150 lb braid fishing line

That is enough to catch the biggest and fastest swimming fish on the planet!

I personally own a Shimano Tyrnos as my personal big gamefish reel which is very comparible to the Tiagra and I cannot express enough how much I enjoy using it - particularly when there is a big tuna attached.

Indestructable

The Tiagra's body is machined in a one piece frame from aircraft aluminum. It is designed for strength to handle the pressure a shark can apply when the reel is attached to a game fishing chair.

The materials also mean it is corrosion resistant and won't get damaged from the salt and sand that will inevitably come into contact with it during a long fight.

The stainless steel ball bearings are coated with an anti-rust coating that claims to last 10 times longer than standard stainless steel bearings.

Lever Drag

The lever drag is easy to apply with an easy action and the maximum drag is enourmous, even with the smallest sized models available. This is a big reel designed for big fish.

You can preset the drag before hand so that you apply the correct amount of drag everytime. Or you can adjust it on the fly. 

And with up to 88 lbs of drag in the largest model, you will never be underpowered when fighting the fish of a lifetime.

Key Features

The 6 stainless steel ball bearings will give this reel a smooth retrieve. It has a reasonably low gear ratio but this is able to deliever a decent retrieve rate, depending on the model. I suggest having a look at the specifications below.

The ratchet makes 89 decibels of noise, so you will never miss out when a mahi mahi or swordfish takes you line - it will wake the entire crew.

The handle is offset for improved ergonomics and comfort and is made from a non-slip material.

The 10 year manufacturers warranty says a lot - Shimano are standing behind the quality of this reel. And if you have any problems they will be available to help out.

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Pre-lubricated drag washers
  • Single piece aircraft aluminium frame
  • Heavy duty stainless steel two speed gears
  • 10 year warranty

Cons

  • Very heavy - upwards of 37 ounces for the smallest model
  • Not versatile - specialised for big game fishing

Shimano Tiagra Specifications

For those of us who want to see the numbers, here are the key specifications for all the available models including the number of bearings, gear ratio, retrieve rate, and maximum drag.

MODEL

WEIGHT (OZ)

BEARINGS

GEAR RATIO

RETRIEVE PER CRANK (IN)

MAX DRAG (LB)

TI16

37.4

6

3.9:1

36

31

TI20A

49.7

4

3.9:1

41

26

TI30A

52.4

4

3.9:1

41

35

TI30WLRSA

55.6

4

3.9:1

41

35

TI50A

83.4

4

3.1:1

37

26

TI50WA

86.2

4

3.1:1

37

26

TI50WLRSA

86.2

4

3.1:1

37

40

TI80WA

115.2

4

2.5:1

37

40

TI130A

174.1

6

2.1:1

39

88

Shimano Tiagra Video Review

For the visual learners please have a look at this video review. It showcases some of the key features of the Tiagra.

Frequently Asked Questions

What makes the Tiagra so indestructable?

It is the heavy duty aircraft grade aluminum materials of construction mainly. This gives it incredibly durability. The ball bearings and drag washers are also coated in a rust resistant coating. All in all this makes the Tiagra almost indestructable. 

Is the Tiagra suitable for saltwater?

Absolutely, in fact it is specifically designed for saltwater. As mentioned above, the internals are all coated in a corrosion resistant material to make sure they last. And with the 10 year warranty you can be confident that it is tough even in salt water conditions.

Is the Tiagra worth the money?

The Shimano Tiagra is certainly a high end, high quality overhead reel. It is a big gamefish specialist - so if you intend on targetting a big gamefish then I would certainly recommend it. The worst possible scenario is spending a fortune on boating, travelling hours into the deep sea, find your target fish, fighting with it for over an hour, and then losing it when your reel overheats. 

I am a big fan of buying quality gear that suits your requirements - and for these extreme requirements you will need an extreme reel. 

Conclusion

In conclusion - if you are looking for an indestructable, big game specialist reel, then I would add the Shimano Tiagra to the top of your list. It is extremely durable in its construction and is made from the strongest materials available. The aircraft grade aluminum body is both strong and light for its size (although it is still heavy due to its size!).

This is not a reel for bass or trout. This is a reel if your boat has a big gamefish chair.

The Tiagra is certainly top of its class in this category of biggame saltwater fishing reels and gets our highest recommendation and endorsement.

If you own a Tiagra and have some words of wisdom of your own to share then we would love to hear it in the comments below.

Happy fishing!

Russ Egan
 

Russ is an avid angler. He has fished all over the world, primarily for Saltwater game fish but also for local prize fish. Russ writes reviews for all of his fishing gear to help others achieve their own fishing goals. His favorite reel is a Shimano Tyrnos for an overhead reel or a Shimano Curado for a baitcaster. His dream is to catch a Black Marlin.

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