Shimano Tekota Reels Review – Fresh Or Saltwater Trolling

Shimano Tekota Reels Review – Fresh Or Saltwater Trolling

Trolling the vast ocean waters or the open miles of large freshwater lakes requires a sturdy reel. Shimano Tekota reels specialize in these exact fishing situations. Features such as a sturdy die-cast aluminum frame, large aluminum spool, and plenty of drag add to their trolling capabilities. The technology doesn’t end there and anglers have a variety of size options to choose from. Without further ado, take a closer look at Shimano Tekota reels.

Shimano Tekota Reels

Shimano Tekota Reels
The Shimano Tekota 600 Conventional Reel

Product: Shimano Tekota Conventional Star Drag Reels.

Overall Ranking: 90 out of 100.

Price: Mid range.

Company/Owner: Shimano, Inc.


Intro To Shimano Tekota Reels

Durable and effective star drag reels, the Shimano Tekota markets as a trolling series. Anglers have 5 different size reels to choose from and double that number in models. Reel sizes begin at 300 and continue on to 500, 600, 700, and 800. Each size is also available with the line counter option, bringing the total number of models to 10.

Shimano Logo

With a line counter giving precise measurements of fishing line behind the boat, the level wind system ensures an even return. 3 Anti Rust Bearings keep a smooth spin while the Shimano Super Stopper anti-reverse puts on the breaks. As a backup, Tekota reel design includes a pawl & ratchet anti-reverse making it a dual system. A large cast control knob next to the star drag hints that Tekota reels do more than just troll.

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Shimano Tekota Models, Specs, & Features

Tekota Reel Models

• TEK300     • TEK300LC     • TEK500     

• TEK500LC     • TEK600     • TEK600LC     

• TEK700     • TEK700LC 

• TEK800     • TEK800LC

Shimano Tekota Specifications

Shimano Tekota 300 Reel
The Shimano Tekota 300 Star Drag Reel

From 300 to 800 is a big difference in reel size and it covers a lot of different uses in the fishing world. Anglers should keep in mind that all models include the level wind system. The line counter is optional and shows with an LC at the end of the model number. Another quality common to all Tekota models is the gear ratio. These single speed reels retrieve at a decent rate of 4.2:1 which translates to around 25-33 inches of line per crank.

The smallest Tekota 300 holds 30. 40, or 50-pound braid at a range of 255 to 205 yards. This maps out to monofilament of 12, 14, and 16-pound test between 275-185 yards. Reels sizes move up from the 14.3 ounces 300 reel, as does the weight and line capacity. The 500 holds 40 to 65-pound braid between 390-260 yards. It holds the same mono as the 300 model and offers a lot more length. The 600 keeps the same ratings for braid with more length but increases mono to 16-25 pounds.

Size 700 models mark the point where the max drag increases from 18 to 24 pounds. They make a large jump in weight from the 16 ounces of the 600 model, up to 29.8 ounces. Line capacity jumps for braid (50-80 pound test) and mono (25-40 pound test) with lengths between 735-430 and 410 to 290 respectively. Size 800 reels recommend the same line weights but offer a bigger spool.

Features Of Shimano Tekota Reels

Anodized Aluminum Frames & Side Plates

Part of the Shimano Metal Series, Tekota reels come with one of the most solid foundations available. Featuring anodized aluminum frames and side plates, Tekota reels eliminate twisting and protect the gears. Both lightweight and incredibly durable, Tekota reels will last several decades or longer with proper care.

Aluminum Spool w/ Level Wind System

Shimano Tekota Level Wind System
Shimano Tekota Level Wind System

Forged aluminum spools continue the themes of strength and durability in the Shimano Tekota series. All models carry a non-disengaging level wind system that guides line back onto the spool. Anglers don’t have to worry about guiding the line with their fingers during the retrieve. The non-disengaging function means the level wind will continue to work with the reel in free-spool (during casting).

Line Counter On Specific Models

Shimano Tekota Line Counter
Shimano Tekota Line Counter

As the model numbers indicate with a final LC, each size Tekota comes with the option of a line counter mechanism. The line counter weighs about an ounce and has a removable service panel on the outside. Line counters are especially useful when trolling techniques call for exact amounts of line, like over structure or with a downrigger. A click of the button resets the counter when you’re ready to start over.

Dartainium Drag

Shimano hails the use of Dartainium drag washers, claiming they provide smoother resistance over a wider range of settings. Angler reports (by the masses) state that these washers release a soot that builds up over time. Eventually, the drag will stick which is an obvious issue. Professional reel mechanics like Alan Tani suggest replacing the Dartainium washers with Carbontex washers at the first sign of any trouble.

Dual Anti-Reverse System

Shimano uses a stainless steel one-way roller bearing they call their Super Stopper and a dog style stopper as well. The anti-reverse roller bearing acts first as a quick hook set mechanism while the pawl & ratchet serve as a backup. The dual system leaves no play in the spool while ensuring the drag will hold against larger species.

3 Types Of Handles

Shimano Tekota Reels
Double Paddled Handles On The 300 Models Only

Depending on the size of the Shimano Tekota reel, anglers will find 3 different handle styles to crank with. A double paddled handle appears only on the smallest 300 & 300LC models. The 500 and 600 models employ a counterbalance style handle while the 700 & 800 reels have an adjustable shank. All handles use the no-slip Septon grip.

Additional Features

All Shimano Tekota models come with a large cast control knob to fine tune the free-spool as well as an oversize clicker. There is, of course, a metal rod clamp and a manual flip clutch standard on star drag reels. All models feature a crossbar forward design which gives better access to the spool with the level wind in place.

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Pros & Cons Of Shimano Tekota Reels


Shimano Tekota reels offer an excellent choice to personal watercraft fishermen for fresh or saltwater application. Much of their value lies in the durable anodized aluminum frames and effective mechanics. Anglers could very well go with the Shimano Tyrnos two-speed lever drag reel, but not at nearly the same price.


Unfortunately, a good representation within the fishing community feels Shimano is making a mistake by not switching out the Dartainium drag washers. It wouldn’t be too much trouble to change manufacturing over to Carbontex, especially since anglers are able to easily make the replacement. Another sticking point is that the reels market for trolling, but don’t come with any harness lugs. This means they are for the rod holder only and can’t sling behind a larger sportfishing vessel.

Suitable Fishing Styles

Shimano LogoWith all the talk about using Shimano Tekota reels for trolling, anglers shouldn’t discount their casting ability. Though the level wind feature imposes friction against the cast, it does follow the spool as it goes with its non-disengaging feature. The cast control knob allows anglers to fine tune to the weight of their jig, putting greater or less resistance against the free-spool. Shimano Tekota reels are suitable for either fresh or saltwater fishing.

Shimano Tekota Reel Support

All Shimano fishing products include a limited one year warranty against defects in craftsmanship or manufacturing. Shimano provides a list of authorized service centers on their website, which includes locations around the world. Customers may contact Shimano through their email form or call during regular business hours. Talk to a reel technician directly at their Irvine, California office using 877-577-0600. 

The Wrap Up

90 out of 100 anglers approve of Shimano Tekota Reels

It’s not tough to see why anglers appreciate a star drag conventional reel like the Tekota. They may not offer the low gearing of a two-speed reel, but they are braid compatible. Smaller size models offer 18-pounds of max drag and the larger ones give 24-pounds. That’s enough to slow medium to smaller size tuna, lake trout, or big striper. Considering the cost, the value of Shimano Tekota reels stands out like a sore thumb.


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