Best Offshore Saltwater 20-Pound-Class Reels

Light-line-class reels that pack powerful punches and lots of speed.


October 30, 2020
Top 20 pound class reels
Top 20-pound-class reels Andrew Cox

Small, light conventional reels don’t normally impress anglers with their stature, but these 20-pound-class fishing reels are great for taming the blistering speed of sailfish and white marlin, and they are essential for light-tackle and record-seeking anglers. From kite-fishing in South Florida to pitch-baiting in Guatemala, the 20-pound-class reels of today offer lighter weight, higher line capacities, drags exceeding 45 pounds and retrieval rates of up to 60 inches for every turn of the handle—impressive in anyone’s book. Many have two-speed capability, giving the angler the option to downshift into a lower gear when that trophy game fish goes deep.

Even if you’re not expecting it, they can certainly put a stop to the next blue marlin that pops up in your spread — it just might take a little longer. And if that does happen, you’ll want to make sure you’re using the best saltwater trolling reels for offshore fishing on the market today.

Alutecnos Albacore 20

Alutecnos Albacore 20
Alutecnos Albacore 20 Alutecnos

The Albacore 20 from Alutecnos, an Italian company, reflects the company’s attention to detail and use of precision machining with high-quality raw materials. All of the aluminum parts are ultrasonically cleaned, polished and anodized with a gold or silver finish, and is constructed with five bearings and gears made from tempered stainless steel guarantee resistance from corrosion. The addition of an anti-reverse system to an offshore reel is also the first of its kind, and the utilization of carbon composite drag washers ensures smooth and consistent pressure during the most intense battles.



  • Specifications Maximum Drag: 18 pounds
  • Gear Ratio: 4.0:1
  • Weight: 28.0 ounces
  • Mono Capacity (20lb): 875 yards

Alutecnos Veloce 20

Alutecnos Veloce 20
Alutecnos Veloce 20 Courtesy Alutecnos

The speed demon of the Albacore reels is the Veloce 20. Easily recognizable by the blue color of the handle, the Veloce 20 reel differs from the standard version with a gear ratio of 6.2:1 (instead of 4:1) that allows for 50 inches of line to be retrieved per crank of the handle. Featuring the infinite anti-reverse and a whopping 875 yards of 20-pound mono, this line is ideal for light-tackle anglers chasing sailfish and white marlin.


  • Specifications Maximum Drag: 18 pounds
  • Retrieve Per Crank: 50 inches
  • Gear Ratio: 6.2:1
  • Weight: 30.5 ounces
  • Mono Capacity (20lb): 875 yards

Fin-Nor Marquesa Pelagic

fin nor marquesa pelagic
Fin-Nor Marquesa Pelagic Courtesy Fin-Nor

The Marquesa Pelagic from Fin-Nor is perfect for anglers pursuing marlin and sails on light tackle. The custom drag cam is designed to provide a more linear drag range from zero to 15 pounds for finer adjustments during the fight, and more drag for the above-strike ranges. A carbon-fiber drag system and high-speed 6.1 to 1 retrieve make this one a winner for live-baiting and kite-fishing situations, as well as trolling. And it’s all from one of the top names in the tackle industry.


  • Specifications Maximum Drag: 45 pounds
  • Gear Ratio: 6.3:1
  • Weight: 28.0 ounces
  • Mono Capacity (20lb): 450 yards
  • MSRP: $379.99

Penn International 16 VISX

Penn International 16 VISX on a white background.
Penn International 16 VISX Penn

The Penn International 16VS is precision machined from high-strength, lightweight, aircraft-grade aluminum in the same Philadelphia machining center the company has used since 1932. The fully machined two-speed stainless steel gear train provides a high-gear ratio of 5.3:1 and reels in 45 inches of line per turn of the handle. The Dura-Drag system provides 28 pounds of drag and eliminates hesitation, even under extreme drag settings.



  • Specifications Maximum Drag: 42 pounds
  • Retrieve Per Crank (High/Low): 45 / 17 inches
  • Gear Ratio (High/Low): 4.3:1 / 1.7:1
  • Weight: 41 ounces
  • Mono Capacity (20lb): 480 yards

Penn Squall 16 VS

Penn Squall SQL16VS
Penn Squall 16 VS Courtesy Penn Reels

The Penn Squall 16VS is essentially a graphite version of the Penn International that benefits in being both lightweight and corrosion resistant. The Quick-Shift 2-Speed and Dura-Drag technology found in the International has transferred to the Squall reel and provides solid fish-fighting performance in both speed and drag stength. At less than half the price of an International, the Squall provides great value for big-game anglers.


  • Specifications Maximum Drag: 26 pounds
  • Retrieve Per Crank (High/Low): 39 / 18 inches
  • ear Ratio (High/Low): 4.5:1 / 2.1:1
  • Weight: 38.5 ounces
  • Mono Capacity (20lb): 725 yards

Seigler 20

Seigler Reels OS
Seigler 20 Courtesy Seigler Reels

The OS is Seigler’s introduction into bluewater-specific fishing applications, and this one looks like a winner. It was designed with input from some of the top captains and mates fishing off the East Coast, with features like preset drag detents and a see-through top bar. The spool itself is designed for superior strength and is light weight too. The OS is available in three colors: red, blue and silver.


  • Specifications Maximum Drag: 35 pounds
  • Gear Ratio: 6:1
  • Weight: 25.8 ounces
  • Mono Capacity (20lb): 700 yards

Shimano Talica 20 BFC

Shimano Talica 20 BFC
Shimano Talica 20 BFC Courtesy Shimano

The Talica 20 BFC (Billfish Concept) reel is built to meet the highest level of requirements of the billfish tournament scene. The reel is the fastest of the group and provides 60 inches of line retrieval per crank, and also allows light-tackle anglers to keep them from breaking off using light line by providing a minimum of three pounds at strike. Weighing only 28.1 ounces, the reel does not provide the same stopping power as other reels on the market, but more than makes up for it in speed so that the captain and angler can stay tight when backing down quickly.



  • Specifications Maximum Drag: 15 pounds
  • Retrieve Per Crank: 60 inches
  • Gear Ratio: 6.7:1
  • Weight: 28.1 ounces
  • Mono Capacity (20lb): 640 yards

Shimano Tyrnos 20 II

Shimano Tyrnos II 20
Shimano Tyrnos II 20 Courtesy Shimano

The Shimano Tyrnos II 20 features an open design constructed with a diecast-aluminum frame and graphite sideplates to reduce weight. Incorporating Shimano’s stainless steel A-RB anti-rust bearings to protect from corrosion and the oversized gears provide a high-speed gear ratio of 5.0:1 that gathers 45 inches of line per crank. Other than the tried-and-true TLD series of reels from Shimano, the Tyrnos II 20 is a high-performing reel that won’t break the bank.


  • Specifications Maximum Drag: 33 pounds
  • Retrieve Per Crank (High/Low): 45 / 18 inches
  • Gear Ratio (High/Low): 5.0:1 / 2.0:1
  • Weight: 39.2 ounces
  • Mono Capacity (20lb): 700 yards

Shimano TLD 20 II

Shimano TLD 20 II on a white background.
Shimano TLD 20 II Shimano

Light, powerful and reliable, the 20 II is the smallest of the TLD family from Shimano. Its lever drag system is nearly bulletproof, and won’t fail under pressure.


  • Maximum Drag: 22 pounds
  • Retrieve Per Crank (High/Low): 37 / 16 inches
  • Gear Ratio (High/Low): 4:1 / 1.7:1
  • Weight: 36.2 ounces
  • Mono Capacity (20lb): 700 yards

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