Shimano Talica 20 II

By Capt. Steve Fernandez

Lighten up your offshore gear!

So as the days pass, anglers are slowly transitioning to “smaller gear” for offshore fishing.  The days of 130’s and 80’s packed with Dacron are going the way of the buffalo and more and more anglers are utilizing new technology and fishing much smaller two speed setups that pack just as much punch as the bigger single speed reels of years past.  Myself included.

I am going to do a small review based on the fish I have caught this year on my Shimano Talica 20 II.  I opted for the 20 as it is the same reel as the 25, just a narrower spool.  In the Talica Series, the only reels that come with Harness Lugs are the 20, 25, and 50…these are a necessity for canyon fishing, as you never know when a 250lbs Eyeball will show up and you will be in for a 2hr+ fight.  On my particular reel I was able to pack on 500yds of JB60 as well as a 100yd topshot of 80lb Momoi Diamond (both the hollow core and mono topshot have a breaking strength of well over 90lbs).  I paired this setup with a 60-80lb Custom Seeker Acid wrapped rod that I actually got from Capt. Joey Leggio himself.
tallica 20II

My first impression of the setup was that it was INSANELY light.  I’m talking bass rod light, which is NOT the norm for an offshore big game setup.   After setting the drag to 18lbs and doing some test pulls with the rod, I realized the weight had no effect on the strength and backbone of this setup…I knew it could hold its own in the world of 50 wides.

The first fish I caught on this setup was a White Marlin.    I dropped a bait back to the fish as it was harassing our spread, and I was again impressed with the performance of the reel.  The free spool showed zero tension, and allowed me to drop back a very light weight bait, without any resistance (which is a must for billfishing).   Shimano actually released a “billfish” version of their talica with a very high ratio retrieve, and single speed.  Since I mostly tuna fish this reel was not for me, and I opted for the 20 2 speed.  After landing the fish in under 5 mins I was thrilled!  No belt, no harness, and I felt as if I could fight a fish on that rod for hours.  The smoothness of the reel, paired with the freespool, and the weight made it a walk in the park to fight freestyle.

A few weeks passed and decided to try my hand at sharking with this new lightweight setup.  After a few uneventful hours, I got the right bite…on the right setup!  The Talica started peeling out drag, I setup, slid the drag lever up, and let this shark have it.  The rod and the reel were flawless while setting the hook, and the rod had the perfect amount of backbone to send the hook home, and I settled in for the, what I thought was going to be, grueling fight.   After 30 seconds a 120lb class Thresher started breaching behind the boat and making blistering runs right at me.  I was able to utilize the high speed retrieve, and keep the line tight…prolonging the fight.  5 mins later it was a give and take battle straight down beneath the boat.  I quickly switched to low speed, and the winching began.  I was able to horse the fish up with little to no effort, and again without a belt or harness.  After 20 minutes I welcomed the fish to my boat with the flyer.  120lb Thresher tied off!

steve marlin 2

My first impressions of the reel were that it was extremely smooth, very light, and very powerful.  After a few trips use, non of those opinions changed.  This reel has the power of a 50w and the weight of a bass reel.  After using it with some friends, we are all making the switch to small, light, and powerful setups.  The days of fighting the tackle, and getting jelly arms are over.  I am MORE than confident this reel (Talica 20 II) can handle any fish you may come across in these waters, and do so without straining your entire body trying to hold a 20lb 80w/roller guide setup.  These reels back 45lb of drag at full and a comfortable 30lbs of drag at strike.  This is MORE than enough for most anglers, as we only use 22lbs of drag for canyon fishing on all of our 30/50w setups.

I will leave you with this…

I have never had an easier time fighting a big game fish in my life.  I have many years of offshore experience with 50w’s and 80w’s, and I wish I could go back in time and switch those out for smaller more modern setups such as this Talica 20.  The amount of strain you remove from the fight when reducing the weight of the tackle you are using is astronomical.  All fish I have caught on this setup have been landed without belts or harnesses…all freestyle.  Most in this industry are making the switch to lighter setups with hollow core and the results are amazing.  If you are a naysayer or still believe 50s and 80s are the way to go, I can almost guarantee you have not fought a fish on one of these setups.  If you had, surely you would be singing a different tune…if you’d like, take a trip with Joey and I and utilize one of these feather light battlesticks, and I guarantee you will be a believer.

Tight Lines and Screaming Drags,
Steve Fernandez


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2011 Chasin Tail TV - Shimano Talica 20 II.
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