Danielsson reels okay for tarpon?

I'm going after large tarpon in Belize soon. I'd like to use my steelhead reel which is a Danielsson H5D 9thirteen. Has anybody used this brand for tarpon? The drag seems plenty strong.


Not to be confused with Freestone
No experience with that reel, but the website certainly suggests that's what it's designed for. Honestly, Danielson is not the name that comes to my mind when thinking of great quality fly fishing gear -- but that may simply be a result of their lack of marketing...at least here in the RMW. If these are not listed as saltwater rated, take extra care to rinse really well after the days use. In fact, I do that even on my saltwater rated reels. Have fun and get ya some silver kings!


Active Member
danielson was the machine shop that made the original LOOP reels, hope that clarifies who they are.

not sure about tarpon but the sealed drag system should work in your favor. you should be setting your strike drag ahead of time at somewhere between 2 and 3#s as measured directly off the reel with a reliable scale. keep in mind that if you are losing line at a rapid pace, you need to be backing OFF the drag as the resistance of line in water is going to add considerable stress to your leader. let us know how the reel performed on you return. i have several of these well made reels and they have worked beautifully albeit for fish of smaller proportions.
Whether it will stand up to the run, the first question is whether you can load enough backing. I got the old video called tarpon talking about the early days they were catching tarpon on a fly. You probably have better gear than them. Funny sequence seeing Tom McGuane trying to palm a reel.

Salt reels are usually really simple so less can go wrong. I'd be less concerned about the reel and more concerned about my casting skills
What makes you an A-hole is the way that you treat people, not the fact that the trade didn't happen. Of the 4 messages you've sent me, all were negative, sarcastic and/or disrespectful. If you have nothing good to say, please don't say anything.

Yeap, I'm a real A-hole cause I wouldn't buy your beat up Abel reel....


Active Member
back on topic, if you are worried about the amount of backing on the reel, switch over to braid, 50# is what i spool with. my abel went from 300yds of 30# dacron to 500 yds of 50# braid. remember, if you do this keep your fingers out of the way, assuming you want to come home with all 10 still attached.
It's nice to have a real quality reel but what do you suppose they did in the early years when Abel and some of the other major reel manufacturers were not yet in business? I have never had the pleasure of hooking or landing a Tarpon but I know that other big fish require a certain amount of pressure and skill to land. I'm sure that a good reel helps a great deal but you have nothing to lose but the fish and maybe a line. Try it. That will answer your question.


Active Member
the hardest part of tarpon fishing is setting the hook in that concrete block jaw. actually the old timers were using bogdans as there were precious few folks who had the time or money for this game. when you see the first 200yds melt away, you will be glad you have a reel with a drag system.

I have always found that the hardest part of Tarpon fishing was to get the Tarpon to eat, after they eat, you just use the strip strike, the rest is pretty easy. my 2 cents


Joe from PA
Can’t help you with your question, but it may not be a bad idea to get some spare parts for your trip just in case. I needed new carbon drag disks for my 8-12 (one was almost disintegrated). I sent them an email and had the parts back from Sweden in about 2 weeks – no charge.