10 Years Later: Shimano Tyrnos Conventional Reel Review

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Written By Russ Egan

Russ is a professional fisherman with over 20 years of experience. He has fished all over the world for more than two decades, primarily for saltwater game fish but also for local trophy fish. Russ comprehensively tests and reviews all his fishing gear to help others achieve their own fishing goals. There is nothing he prefers than heading down to his local tackle store, buying the latest fishing reel, and taking it to the water to test.


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The Shimano Tyrnos Overhead Fishing Reel is a personal favorite of mine – I have owned one for over 10 years and it is my go to reel when it comes to targeting big offshore fish like tuna or mackerel. If you want to get a top quality game fishing reel, then the Tyrnos should be your first product to look at.

I have even used this reel to chase Black Marlin (although I haven’t caught one yet!), so you know it is of the highest quality. I have also used this reel for bottom fishing for coral fish and trolling for tuna and other saltwater game fish. I have tested it extensively in saltwater and it is still one of my favorite conventional reels.

In this review I will highlight some pros and cons from my own personal experiences of using it.

Remember – this is a heavy duty reel and can handle even the biggest fish you will encounter. The largest reel, the Tyrnos 50 weighs over 3.5 pounds! It can also hold over 600 yards of 50 pound mono fishing line. This is a serious conventional reel for serious anglers, and is particularly popular among shark fishermen.

The reel is also available in smaller sizes as well, so don’t be overwhelmed. 

Shimano Tyrnos Conventional Reel
  • I Have Owned This For Over 10 Years and Use It For All Offshore Trolling and Big Game Fishing
  • Two Speed Gearing for Fighting and Retrieving
  • Suitable for Game Fish and Bottom Fishing

Click here to learn more about how we score.

Shimano Tyrnos Review

To test the Shimano Tyrnos I have used it for a long time as my personal big game fishing rod. I have paired it with a Shimano Backbone rod which is a heavy boat rod with a pulley at the tip. I have it spooled with green 40 lb braid and use a heavy leader, often metal, depending on the species I am targeting. I really enjoyed the adjustable drag which can be increased through to the full-drag mode with the push of your thumb. I personally prefer this to the front or rear drag options that need you to look down and take your hand off the handle.

This is a powerful reel with a high line capacity that can fight almost any fish in the sea. I wouldn’t have any problem in picking this reel to target a sailfish or marlin that can pull hundreds of yards of line at a time. The large handle knob is also very comfortable for my large hands (I am 6’1″).

It is not a reel for casting – you can probably cast about 20 feet, but that’s it. It is primarily used for trolling lures or deep dropping bait.

Let’s dive straight into the review, which I have broken down into a few key criteria.

10 Year Update

I have owned a Shimano Tyrnos 20 for over a decade and thought I would add my experience over all this time. This is my go-to big game reel for trolling lures or bottom bashing for large reef fish. I have used it to catch everything from Tuna to Mackerel and even tried to catch Sailfish and Marlin. This is a powerful reel that I generally have spooled with 40 to 80 lb braid with a metal leader to prevent sharp teeth from cutting the line.

I am a big fan of the adjustable drag so that it can be changed on the fly when you are fighting powerful fish without needing to look down – you just press your thumb forward.

After 10 years of heavy use this reel still performs like new – I have found similar durability from most of my Shimano-produced reels, which is why they are one of my favorite manufacturers. Of course, there are some scratches on the body paintwork and get the reel serviced regularly. I also flush it with freshwater after every use in saltwater which has helped with the long-term performance.

Saltwater Tough Construction

The Shimano Tyrnos is specially designed to be tough enough to handle all that saltwater can throw at it. This is done through clever design and robust materials of construction. Some of its saltwater features include:

  • Anti-rust bearings
  • Diecast aluminum frame
  • Stainless steel bearings

Although I always recommend flushing your reels with freshwater after use, the Shimano Tyrnos will not rust even if it is treated badly. I have had my Tyrnos for over a decade, and it still looks good as new.

Two Speed Reel Versatility

The Tyrnos has a brilliant two-speed reeling system. This means that you can rapidly retrieve when you are pulling in your lure, and then switch to heavy power when that big game fish bites. While this doesn’t sound like much, when you are fishing massive fish the ability to change the gearing quickly is extremely powerful.

It is like a mountain bike in that regard – you can select the appropriate gear ratio for whatever task you are doing, making the whole fishing day much easier and more successful. Depending on your requirements, this switches the oversized gears between high speed and low speed.

The two speed drag system allows for on-the-fly adjustment to the drag without needing to check. Just swing the lever drag and you are good to go.

Shimano Tyrnos Features

  • 4 A-RB (Anti-Rust Bearings) ball bearings for saltwater durability
  • Rugged die cast aluminum frame
  • Stainless steel gearing
  • Loud Clicker
  • Alternating Twin Pawl anti-reverse system
  • Graphite side plates with aluminum braces
  • Ergonomic power handle for more comfort and less casting fatigue
  • Gear Ratio: 5.0:1
  • Retrieve Rate: 44 inches per crank
  • Max Drag: 41 lb
  • Line Capacity: Up to 700 yards of 50 lb mono
  • Weight: 28-57 oz

The Tyrnos also has a comfortable, oversize rubber handle. This is not to be underestimated – when you are retrieving a big game fish that can take over an hour, prioritizing comfort means you can go harder for longer. The oversized handle also allows you to apply more power to the reel than you otherwise would be able to.

The handle will also not slip from your grip when you are covered in fish guts or sweat from a long battle.

This reel, like most overhead reels, is not designed for casting – it would be absolutely horrible at it. It is perfect for dropping baits or trolling lures out the back of your boat. So make sure this suits your purposes before making a purchase.

Shimano Tyrnos Specifications

The Shimano Tyrnos comes in a variety of sizes and models, all of which come with different specifications, so we felt it was worthwhile to list out the data below. Hopefully, this will help you decide which reel is best suited for your requirements.



Max Drag (lb)

Mono Capacity (lb/yard)



Gear Ratio

Tyrnos 16


33 lb


28.8 oz


Tyrnos 20


33 lb


36.0 oz


Tyrnos 30


33 lb


38.0 oz


Tyrnos 50


41 lb


57.3 oz

4.0:1, 1.5:1

Shimano Tyrnos Video Review

The video below is an interesting unboxing video of the Shimano Tyrnos 30. This just gives you an idea of exactly what you get and what comes in the box:

Monster Slayer Big Game Specialist

The Shimano Tyrnos is a true monster slaying overhead reel. It doesn’t matter what big game fish you are targeting from Marlin to Sailfish or Tuna to Sharks. The smaller overhead reels are also great for bottom fishing for catfish, sturgeon, or reef fish.

The only thing you really need to pick is the size – from a Tyrnos 16 to a Tyrnos 50. The table above of the specifications is a good place to start, otherwise, you may want to go check them out at your local tackle store. 

Also, make sure you select the correct overhead fishing rod to go with your reel. You don’t want to pick a massive reel to put on a smaller rod or the other way around. Picking the right combination of rod, reel, and line is crucial to having success and getting the most out of your fishing adventures and your equipment.


For a long time Shimano Tyrnos Overhead Reel user I cannot recommend it strongly enough. I have pulled in countless tuna and other saltwater monsters and it has never let me down. Even after years of hard use it looks good as new due to its rust-resistant properties and it feels like a brand new reel with its stainless steel bearings.

Shimano also has excellent customer service and as this is a more expensive quality reel this will help you sleep soundly after pressing the buy button.

There are some good reviews on the internet from other saltwater anglers if you want a second opinion.

If you have tried a Tyrnos or have any other words of wisdom then please leave a comment below so more anglers can learn from your experience.

I have also put together a comprehensive comparison of the best conventional reels available on the market that you might be interested in reading.

Happy fishing!

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