Hey, Lighten up!  Having tried lots of different tackle, I now look almost exclusively, for light rods and reels, as they greatly enhance the sport of fishing.  Graphite is a wondrous material, though it won't take the abuse of fiberglass.  So, I am willing to take more care in the handling of my equipment, and haven't had a problem.

The Shimano reels I have used (Calcuttas, and TLDs) are nothing short of exceptional. These reels have silky smooth drags, outstanding reliability, great corrosion resistance, have readily available parts, and are feather light weight!  It's a treat to have no more line twist, frays, or unexpected bail closures from spinning reels.

Many folks frown upon using small and light Shimano TLD-25s for tunas up to a couple hundred pounds.  "Graphite reels won't hold up", "they don't have the line capacity", "you'll fry the drags" were some of the comments. After reading Captain Pete Barrett's article entitled "Go Lite For Tuna", from the August 17, 2000 edition of The fisherman Magazine, and with encouragement from my fishing partner Charles, he and I decided to give these reels a try.  After many seasons of considerable use, these lever drag rigs are still something else! An added benefit of the light weight comes when chunking, as it can be tiring when using the heavier Penn Formulas.  I set all my 30-pound class tuna gear for ten pounds of strike drag.  Now, we confidently tangle with a variety of tunas, the largest so far - a 160 pounds bluefin. 

The two-speed beefy Penns, inspire confidence, and are a bonus, for persuading larger fish to surface.  They are however, substantial heavier than the TLD-25s (41 vs. 24.5 ounces), which is a hindrance in the frequent chores of deploying and retrieving baits used for chunking.  Clearly both have their place, but if I had to chose one, the nod goes to the Shimano's. 

For every rod bought, or built, it's crucial that the spine is correct. Since all of my outfits are light, they frequently have quite a bend under the strain of a good fish. I don't want unnecessary twist on the rod, hence the importance of a proper spine.  Of course, the custom rod makers get the spine correct, but off the shelf rods need to be hand picked, to find those which are true (many are not).

To get our monies worth with the light lines, we use a 12-turn Bimini Twist at the terminal end.  This is the only 100 percent knot under steady pressure or impulsive loading.  The Bimini, and a good leader makes it a rare occasion when our line fails .... a very rare occasion.   I usually use a Brisol knot to join the leader to the loop of the Bimini, since it has a tiny profile, is quick and easy to tie, and is quite reliable.

The Tackle