It would be allright for blackfin and small yellowfin. I have one and I dont think it is tough enough to stand up to the punishment a 80-120lb tuna can dish out. Put some 60-65lb spectra and a short topshot of 60-80 flouro and give it a try.. The penn 9500's will withstand a couple of bigger tunas before they either fall apart or need repair.. There are only a handful of spinning reel that are up to the task in my opinion.. that would be the big stellas,accurate twinspin,diawa, and the finnor. I am sure that others will chime in..
I used a baitrunner 4500 one time but never again. I caught about a 30 lb yellowfin I thought the poor little reel was going to disentegrate. It was bending in places it shouldn't and shreiking like a stuck pig. that being said I did land the fish and the reel is still intact, but like I said, never again.
Shimano Thunnus is a great reel for those that like the live bait free spool feature of the baitrunner. The metal frame will take care of the flex problem.
I have used both varieties of reels for many years and have had a couple B.R. implode never with the thunnus though. I think the baitrunner reels blew up from old age and heavy client use over many seasons.
I would go with the 6500, i know several charter captains that use them to handle tuna up to 100#s, but then again maybe the reason they use the is they are cheap and easily replacable. There is a saying that is true most of the time. You get what you pay for.
I've had the chance to work with a lot of fishermen both in the recreation and commercial side of it, i worked at a good-sized tackle and sport outfitter in kittery, ME that deals with a large variety of reels...including shimano, okuma, penn, now tiburon, accurate, and daiwa
from my experience and seeing what reels from different manufacturers hold up over time i would highly recommend the shimano baitrunner
in fact they've come out with a brand new, updated, baitrunner that is designed with better features especially if you like to use superbraided lines
i've got 2 baitrunners a 4500 and a 6500, these reels are built like tanks, definitetly the best baitrunner reels on the market,
i've heard and seen some of the okuma baitrunner reels burn-up and explode (mechanically, gearing problems)
if you're looking for a great value reel that can handle pretty much anything up to 80# look into the 6500 shimano baitrunner B, you can probably find some of these that are cheaper now because they are discontinued
i might even get a few more...only downside to these reels is the weight...a little on the heavy side...but very, very smooth drag and i have friends that own and use them for commercial striped bass fishing...hold up very well for multiple years with no maintenance, these guys run the spectrum of excellent maintenance to no maintenance and these reels have held up to many, many bass ranging up to 40 lbs., bluefin tuna up to 70 lbs. and i've heard of guys tackling fish up to 100 lbs.
the thunnus is a larger spool capacity but also another 100 bucks, in my opinion, you can get two of the discontinued baitrunner 6500's, they'll last you for a long time of heavy use, 18 lbs. of drag i believe and will hold 300 yds of 65 lb. powerpro...then on top of that i like using about 5 ft. of 40# mono (for stretch and shock absorption)
then a fluoro leader ( 3-4 ft in length)
this system will work great for chunk bait, chumming techniques, live bait with ballooning mackerel, pollock, herring
i love these reels, hard to beat em...if you want the updated new style check em out, i'm sure they're drag is really nice and if u want one to handle tuna get the biggest size you can find...good luck and tight lines
i agree it's not meant, nor designed for Gulf fishing
I believe you're referring to YFT, the smaller cousin of the BFT
however, i have friends up here who have used 6500 baitrunners and had success with them against small, <80 lb. bluefin
now are these shimano reels on par with the quality drags of the Stella SW, absolutely not, but if you read the specs it maxes out at 18 lbs. of drag
speaking from experience, and my opinon, the reels are tough as nails for what they can do, they're easy to cast, easy to use, work well for chunking, live-baiting
and if you were on a budget you could catch multiple species of fish
with proper care and minimal maintenance these will last a long time
bluefin, or yellowfin, for that matter over a certain size could potentially smoke this reel, the spool capacity is around 300 yds of 65 lb. test powerpro (solid)
or 20 lb. mono
my point was that these reels for the money and what they are designed to do are phenomenal, they've been around for i don't know 15-20 years
they held the original patent for a baitrunner style spinning reel
only years later do you see Daiwa, penn, okuma, and Tica to name a few develop "baitrunner" style reels
avoid the Penn captiva and Penn captiva baitrunner style reels...saw so many of them with problems
actually another good value reel is the okuma avenger, epixor and salina baitrunner
ooh, by the way a friend of mine was given a prototype Quantum Boca Baitrunner reel, the baitrunner switch felt weak and i hope they've fixed it
the reel was not well balanced and wobbled when you turn the handle
if you want to target yellowfin tuna in the gulf use the largest size Thunnus. You can use small scad, sardines, peanut bunker, threadfin herring, pilchards, shrimp, etc. All you have to do is cast it out, let the tide take it and feed out line, you can even turn away from the rod and pull out line from the tip
No need to worry about a backlash and if you get bit you'll see line flying off the reel ( in freespool)
while using the baitrunner feature i'll troll a sabiki rig to catch mackerel and use a large rapala, green mackerel pattern CD-18, large metal bill will dig deep and put off tons of flash, i believe it is very effective because it draws in the fish
also, it gives the impression of a predator-prey interaction. I.e. mackerel chasing a school of smaller bait.
when you get bit you will hear the baitrunner scream and i'll pick up the rod and reel in the livies.
So, for those of you out there that want to try a spinning reel capable doing many things a conventional reel may do, try a baitrunner. Relatively strong gearing, smooth drag, ARB shimano bearings. Solid reel for about $100 and i'm talking about the discontinued ones. The new ones are about $180
check this out Shimano Baitrunner D Reels from Melton International Tackle
25 lbs. of drag at max, can handle any live bait you want, improved bearings, gearing, spool, and handle, what more could you want?
don't believe me, look at reviews on-line around the world from other baitrunner fans...good stuff
You've received some good replies about the BaitRunner 4500. I own one, and I absolutely love it; however, I agree with the others that it is not up to the task of a decent size yellowfin. The 4500 is a great reel for kingfish and blackfin.
To go up the foodchain, you could go with the BaitRunner 6500, and that reel is even better suited, but still not up to the task of a yellowfin. I own two of these reels. This reel can catch blackfin all day long.
Then there's the Thunnus 16000, and I own one of these, too. On a good day, this reel can handle a yellowfin if it's loaded with, say, 80# braid, at least 300 yds. But, this reel will not last forever--if you tackle a few 100# or more yellows, the drag might possibly burn up. If you only go fishing once or twice a year, this reel may work just fine for you.
Lastly, if you plan on making tuna fishing more of a serious hobby, perhaps going 4 or more times per year, it would be better to sink your money into a Stella which I plan to do soon.....If I can just figure out how to buy one without my wife finding out!