What equipment do you need for big-game fishing?

pêche au gros matériel

This technique is clearly intended for sea anglers. They will be looking for the most powerful, largest and heaviest fish, hence the term big game fishing. The species sought are generally known by name to most of the population. Examples include swordfish and tuna.

But to tackle these fish from your boat, you need to have the right tackle for the species. Lures are also vital, and our article Top 10: lures for big game fishing gives an overview of the market. The choice, and in particular the price, can sometimes be complicated, especially when you only do this type of fishing when travelling for 1 or 2 weeks a year.

Both the reel and the rod will be of vital importance, without neglecting other aspects such as the braid or the quality of the hooks. This often comes at a cost, but can be a long-term investment. Here's a quick guide.

The fishing rod

canne à pêche mer

This is necessarily an element that should be particularly strong. Its power should correspond to two aspects. The first is the casting range, which tells you how much weight you can use. The second will be the power in pounds, which the rod will be able to withstand to the maximum, a very good indication when choosing your braid.

It's essential to match these technical data to the fish you're after, but also to the technique you're using. For example, if you're fishing with small lures a few miles off the coast, you're unlikely to hook a big one, at least in France. On the other hand, if you use a grazing technique, you'll be able to catch all sizes of tuna, and you'll have to be prepared for this with powers that can go up to more than 100 lbs. If you want to learn more about these techniques, our article What is big game fishing? How to big-game fish? could answer all your questions.

The length will depend exclusively on the fishing technique you decide to use. As with all fish, you'll opt for long rods from the shore and shorter models from a boat. This is especially true for lure fishing. For trolling, the rods will generally be very short, with no need for casting distance but plenty of avatanges.

You can also look at details that are a little more technical. For example, the binding on the rings can be double or triple, depending on the rod. This secures the rings on the blank so you don't end up in direct contact with the fish.

You'll also notice the presence of a toggle at the butt for easy use of harnesses and the choice of rings or pulleys for trolling.

The reel

moulinet pêche au gros

The reel goes hand in hand with the rod. One doesn't work without the other. The first essential point will be to check that one is compatible with the other in the use you want to make of it.

There are two main families of reels for big game fishing. There are casting reels and spinning reels. The choice between one or the other will depend on the techniques you use.


Spinning reels are still the most popular choice these days. Easier to handle, they offer many anglers the chance to get started without the constraints of the sometimes long and tedious process of learning how to use a casting reel.

They come in a wide range of sizes, so you can pick from the biggest ones and have a particularly large reel. This will allow you to have a large reserve of line body, which is essential for this type of coarse fishing. It's one of the first things we look at.

The second aspect is the power of the drag. When you're dealing with fish weighing tens of kilos, it's essential to be able to respond proportionately to the power you're going to have in front of you.

You'll mainly use this type of reel for bait fishing and, of course, lure fishing when casting back. As the casting distance is relatively long, it will be easier with this reel.


The same requirements apply as for spinning. You'll need a reel with plenty of capacity to ensure you have plenty of reserves. The drag also needs to match the power of the fish you're about to catch.

This type of reel is not at all suitable for casting. You'll mainly want to use it for trolling or jigging. A perfect treatment against corrosion will be one of its main qualities, along with its power which will have to cope with very combative and heavy species.

Big-game fishing accessories

The term "accessory" is a bit of a misnomer, especially when it comes to practicality. If you choose them haphazardly, there's every chance that you won't succeed in your fishing and that you'll have invested a lot of money almost in vain.

For us, there are two accessories that are particularly worth choosing. The first is the braid. This link between you and the fish will have to meet some high standards. It must be strong and durable, capable of withstanding phenomenally powerful rushes, and of doing so repeatedly, without faltering. Today's 12- or 16-strand constructions meet these needs, or very large-diameter nylons, if you have sufficient capacity in your reels.

The second accessory that needs to be chosen with care is the hook. Whether it's for your lure or your leaders, it should leave nothing to chance. It must be spicy, and its resistance to opening must allow you to have blind confidence when fighting. Without it, you'll have to endure breakage after breakage, putting your equipment at risk.

Don't forget your landing net, float, bait lines and tackle, all of which should be perfectly suited to the demands of sea fishing.

We are available every day to offer you advice on your choice of equipment for fishing for the biggest marine predators. Don't hesitate to contact us.

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