Shimano TLD25


The Shimano TLD25 changed fishing forever. The use of technology and modern composite materials produced a quantum leap in fishing reel design and function. Three decades later, and nothing on this design has changed. Testament to the legend!


Shimano TLD25

The Shimano TLD25. Changed all of our lives. Forever.

It was 1987, when these futuristic and quantum-leaping lever drags came to the shelves in South Africa. We were all held in awe at their unbelievably smooth drag systems with those huge washers. Their perfect balance. Their military looks.

And that song of a ratchet sound!

These reels put fish within reach, that before, were too much for our tackle. 4/0 And 5/0 super slow star drags were readily replaced by the affordable Shimano TLD25. Soon amberjack were being discovered in places we never even knew they were there. Some guys were finally in with a chance at a billfish. And some outsized tuna found themselves at the wrong end of a TLD more often than not. Remember, all the TLD had to beat those days were senators and sealines. The leap was quantum  if ever there was one.

At 3.5:1, the Shimano TLD25 packs a punch. At sunset setting, you have enough power to lift a yellowtail off the bricks. Or to stop a tuna tearing too much line off. And at lighter drags, the smooth constant pressure beats many fish to the beat.

There is one quirk worth mentioning. The ant-reverse interval is quite substantial compared to infinity anti-reverse systems of today. Remember, this reel is over 30 years old in design, and yet that is the only tiny drawback.  Uhhh…there is one other thing – the heavy aluminium spool makes casting a TLD 25 all but impossible.

The drag range is one of the nicest things about the lever drag TLD25. You can have it in literal free spool whilst chunking for tuna, jam it up to strike when a fish hits, and then go to sunset when a shark threatens. And fishing the reel with lighter tackle for tournaments makes perfect sense. That smooth drag!

Maintenance tips:

There are three distinct manners in which TLD25’s have traditionally maintained.

  1. Do absolutely nothing. Maybe a freshwater spray occasionally. The reel will last for 10 to 20 years no problem. This is what most TLD owners do.
  2. Sporadic cleaning and spraying. 20 years or more, even on jetskis and kayaks.
  3.  Frequent freshwater rinses, some spray every now and then. A periodic disassemble, clean, regrease and oil – you will never ever stop getting excellent service from this reel. Lifetime.

I strongly suggest option 3 as the others were just for comparison and to make a point about the TLDs longevity.

TLD Model (linked)
Retrieve per crank
Line class
Braid cap

If you would like to discuss TLDs or other trolling reels, please feel free to drop us a line via this quick form, and we will get straight back to you…

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Post by The Sardine News for The Fishing Pro Shop.


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