Tsunami Shield Reel – Review

The Tsunami Shield saltwater reel has been a highly anticipated reel since word got out in the summer of 2016. Bait shops on the east coast of the USA quickly sold out of the first batch of 3,000 reels.  There are good reasons why this reel is so popular and I’ll go over these in this review. Find out if the Tsunami Shield spinning reels are everything anglers anticipated.

Review – Tsunami Shield Spinning Reel

Tsunami has created a saltwater reel designed to withstand saltwater and to take the punishment of large reel punishing fish like bluefish, striped bass, albies and even sharks.  Bluefish are strong and wild fighters. These reels were designed to take that kind of stress and help you land those fish.

Tsunami manufactures four versions of the Shield spinning reel. The four models are divided into two versions that are close in weight but differ in their spool capacities.  These are the 3000 and 4000 series and the larger 5000 and 6000 series.

The 3000 and 4000 are close in weight and their drag ratings are the same (20 lbs). The 4000 version however holds more line.  Similarly, the 5000 and 6000 also weigh nearly the same and also feature the same drag rating (30 lbs).

You can think of the 4000 and 5000 as the sweet spot models that can handle a variety of fishing situations well. The 4000 handles the lighter end of medium while the 5000 series model handles the heavier end of medium. The 3000 model handles the lighter end of the saltwater fishing spectrum while the 6000 version is a perfect match for stouter rods, tougher fish and for chunking heavier baits.

Another thing to be aware of is that the 3000 and 4000 versions are non-submersible reels. The 5000 and 6000 reels are submersible, making both of them ideal for fishing in the surf under conditions where the reel might be dunked in saltwater. That said, the 3000 and 4000 versions of the reels feature ten internal seals to help guard them from damage incidental to fishing in saltwater.

Tsunami Shield Specs

Model Weight (ounces) Drag Braid Capacity (yd./lb.)
TSSHD 3000 9.5 20 220/10 150/15 125/20
TSSHD 4000 9.8 20 300/15 230/20 200/30
TSSHD 5000 16.2 30 400/30 300/40 220/50
TSSHD 6000 16.5 30 450/30 350/40 250/50


The Shield spinning reels are a good value because of the following features:

  1. Carbon fiber drag
  2. Light weight construction
  3. Sealed stainless steel bearings
  4. Ten to thirteen internal seals to protect against saltwater and sand
  5. Corrosion resistant aluminum body

Carbon Fiber Drag

Most saltwater spinning reels, including many lower priced Penn saltwater reels, come with felt fiber drags. Carbon fiber drags provide superior heat transfer qualities which in turn improves the stopping power and smoothness of the drag itself. A carbon fiber drag will give you a higher rating of drag resistance, enabling you to control a large fish with more authority. That’s why many anglers replace their stock felt drags with carbon fiber drags.

Cutaway view of Tsunami Shield saltwater reel. Note the internal seals that are colored in red.

Tsunami Shield  TSSHD 3000 $99.99

The 3000 series Tsunami Shield is a lightweight model (9.5 ounces) that is ideally suited for light saltwater applications to medium heavy action. This is the ideal reel for those who want an all around reel that is tipped toward the lighter end of all-around. It will match well with a lightweight medium power rod with a fast action tip for lighter lures, a shorter inshore rod for fishing from a kayak or for chunking bait (within limits).

The drag on this reel will help it cope with large hard fighting saltwater fish but the relatively light line capacity will limit how hard you fight that fish. The 3000 series reel will hold 125 yards of twenty pound test braid, the lightest many anglers are comfortable using for stripers. That’s plenty but you’ll probably gain more casting distance with this reel if you go down to as low as 15 pound test line.

Best Use of Tsunami Shield 3000

The sweet spot for the Tsunami Shield 3000 is likely to be found tossing light lures from 1/2 ounce to as high as 3 ounces. Paired with an inshore saltwater rod from 6 – 7 feet, you’ll find this reel ideal for fishing from a boat or kayak.

The Tsunami Shield 3000 is also perfect for use as a plugging rod where the light weight of the reel (9.5 ounces) will match up beautifully with a lightweight high carbon rod in the 8-9 foot length. A lightweight combination is important when you’re spending all day or night casting and retrieving.  At 9.5 ounces you can consider this reel a dream for casting and retrieving lures and jigs.

Best Saltwater Species to catch with Tsunami Shield 3000

Porgies, flounder, white perch, bluefish, and striped bass are all fair game for the 3000 series reel thanks to the 20 lbs of drag. The only limitation is if you catch a very large striper or bluefish that might go for a long run. If you’re using 20lb braid it’s possible to get fairly close to getting spooled if you don’t keep that fish under control. But the chances of that happening with this reel is slim.

In summary, this is an all-around reel that tips toward the medium light side of the fishing spectrum. I would consider this reel for casting relatively light lures or weights for chunking. The ideal rod to pair this with may be with lighter weight medium light to medium action rods for inshore fishing (6- 7 feet length) as well as medium power rods with a fast action tip in the 8 to 9 foot range for casting lures or soaking bait with light weights. If you’re a fan of the bait and eight style of fishing then you may wish to consider a larger reel.

Tsunami Shield  TSSHD 4000 $99.99

The 4000 series reel, at 9.8 ounces, is only .3 ounces heavier than the 3000 series reel yet it boasts nearly twice the line capacity of the 3000 series. This makes it a better choice if you’re casting lures from shore or chunking baits from a pier because the larger spool diameter will help increase your casting distance. The larger line capacity will also be useful for fighting hard charging fish like false albacore and exceptionally large striped bass that tend to peel off a lot of line. Because of its light weight the 4000 series reel will make a good match on the same kinds of rods as the 3000 series and could even do bait chunking duty on a high quality (graphite) medium heavy 10 foot rod.


  1. Light weight
  2. Reasonable line capacity
  3. Twenty pounds drag
  4. Six internal seals to protect against water
  5. Five sealed stainless steel ball bearings
  6. Aluminum body

Comparison of Tsunami Shield 3000 to the 4000 Model

I’ll say it right now, to me the 4000 series of many saltwater reels represent the most versatile size for performance and a variety of applications. If I ever need a backup reel I can always count on a 4000 series reel to help me finish the night of fishing whether I’m soaking bait or casting poppers into the surf.

Everything I said about the 3000 series applies to this model except that this model can be considered to be better because of its higher line capacity and larger reel, which will allow you to cast for further distances.  The 3000 series is better for finesse applications such as casting smaller lures and baits, as well as for fishing from a boat or kayak.

But my personal preference, considering the small amount of extra weight in the 4000 series, I would feel more comfortable with the larger spool capacity of the 4000 because that makes it more versatile in a variety of fishing scenarios. The larger spool also gives me peace of mind against getting spooled by a fish of a lifetime class striper.

Review Summary – Tsunami Shield TSSHD 4000

The 4000 series model is an all around size spinning reel for the medium to medium heavy side of the fishing applications. It’s appropriate for a variety of fishing scenarios and is suitable for use from surf to pier to boat. The 20 pounds of stopping power is exceptional but coupled with the light 9.8 ounce size and the decent line capacity this reel has the makings of a great reel for plugging lures from the beach or pier. Casting lures while matched to a medium power rod from 8 to 10 feet in size would probably be the ideal use for this reel.

You could probably get away with using this reel for fishing with bunker chunks if you’re using 20 to 30 pound braid. However in my humble opinion I think the Tsunami Shield 4000 spinning reel is at its best tossing plugs and topwater lures.

Tsunami Shield TSSHD 5000 & TSSHD 6000

The Tsunami TSSHD 5000 represents the middle sweet spot that makes it capable for casting lures from the surf with a medium heavy rod or fishing with bait on the bottom with a stout heavy power rod. But at 16.2 ounces it’s on the medium heavier end of what’s generally acceptable for casting lures all day.  Nevertheless, if you wanted to choose one Tsunami Shield that could do double duty as a plug rod and as a bait rod, the Shield 5000 spinning reel would be that model.

However you’re probably best going with a 4000 model for plugging and either a Tsunami Shield 5000 or 6000 reel for chunking bait. If you need extra line or are using heavy braid or mono, then the 6000 model is probably best. The Tsunami Shield 6000 is only .3 ounces heavier than the 5000 model and both have 30 pounds of drag. If you’re chunking bait with 50# test braid you’ll very likely be fine with the 5000 model. I like to go with the least heavy spinning reel I can get away with but that’s my personal preference.

A $739 Van Staal spinning reel.

Comparison of Spinning Reels

Comparison of Tsunami Shield Versus Penn Battle & Penn Conflict

The Tsunami Shield comes stock with a carbon fiber drag, which makes it an incredible value at this price point.  The smaller 3000 series version ($99.99) boasts a whopping 20 pounds of maximum drag.  That’s twice the stopping power of a similar size Penn Battle or Penn Conflict, both of which are in a similar price range.

A comparison between the Tsunami Shield and the Penn Battle and the Penn Conflict show that the Tsunami Shield is lighter, has better drag material and will perform as well or better.

Comparison of Tsunami Shield Versus Penn Spinfisher V

Penn is a leading brand in saltwater reels, its Penn Spinfisher V is one of the best values in saltwater spinning reels. Their 3500 series model is comparable in size and weight to Shield 3000, including 20 pounds of drag for a similar level of fish stopping power.

However the Penn Spinfisher V 3500 reel retails for $139.99. That said, the Penn Spinfisher V is has been redesigned to make it an exceptional reel for distance casting. I would give the nod to the Penn Spinfisher V reel.

Comparison of Tsunami Shield 3000 Versus Shimano Saros 3000

The Shimano Saros 3000 series costs $149, roughly fifty dollars more than the Shield spinning reel. Their light weights and line capacity are similar. But the Tsunami Shield’s drag is significantly more powerful. The drag on the Shimano Saros FA 3000 (SAR3000FA) is 15 pounds. The similarly sized Shield comes in at a whopping 20 pounds of drag.

The Shimano Saros features the legendary Shimano smoothness in its drag. It has also been redesigned to give it an exceptional balance in hand. Between the two reels I would give the nod to the Shimano Saros 3000 for being a more refined reel that will allow you to cast less fatigue. However the Shield is also very smooth and not far behind the Shimano, in my opinion.

Tsunami Shield Versus Shimano Stradic

Dollar for dollar, the drag on the Tsunami Shield is significantly more powerful than most similar size saltwater spinning reels available at this price point and even at higher prices. You would have to spend at least $199 on a Shimano Stradic to achieve similar performance and weight levels at this reel size.

Clearly the Tsunami Shield is not better than a $200 Shimano Stradic. The Shimano Stradic is a highly engineered spinning reel that is an exceptional value at its price. However, for real world fishing for bluefish and striped bass, the Tsunami Shield is more than adequate, it is right on the money.

In terms of being easy to cast, balance of the reel and the smoothness of the drag, the Shimano Stradic literally sets the bar. It’s up to you decide if the Stradic is a hundred dollars better; I know what I think. 😉

Comparison of Tsunami Shield Versus Van Staal VS 150

As a comparison, the top of the line VS150 series of Van Staal reels that are popular with surf casters weighs about 12 ounces and offers 32 pounds of drag- but you’ll have to pay $739 for that reel. Looked at in that light, you can see why this reel is so popular at the moment. Paying $109.99 for a 16.2 or 16.5 ounce submersible reel with 30 pounds of drag is a remarkable deal.

I will say right now that the Tsunami Shield is not a direct competitor with the Van Staal spinning reel. The Van Staal is a highly engineered reel that is made to exacting tolerances, the kind of equipment that can last a lifetime. I only put the two together to contrast them against each other and to highlight the remarkable value represented by the Tsunami Shield 5000 and 6000 series saltwater spinning reels.

Summary – Review of Tsunami Shield Saltwater Reel

The Tsunami Shield is an extraordinary reel at a remarkable price. It places high quality design features within the reach of most anglers. Because of its t’s worthy of consideration for your saltwater angling needs.

Disclosure: This article may contain Amazon affiliate links. I receive a commission from products purchased at Amazon.com through my links at no extra cost to you. Reviews on Baitsoaker.com reflect my actual testing and opinion of the products reviewed.

7 Comments on "Tsunami Shield Reel – Review"

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  1. Hank arkin says:

    I am using the reel. The 5000 is fantastic. Compliments from captains, mates, and other fisherman especially after trying it. Can’the wait to tie into a 40lb striper.

  2. Ismael Carranza says:

    Great review. A lot of detail. I liked the the comparison you did among the different sizes and with other brands. One of the best reviews. Well done. I will consider to get one of this Tsunami Shield to go fishing some big roosters in my country Costa Rica.

    • Roger says:

      Thanks for the positive feedback! These reels aren’t perfect, but they’re better than some other reels in this price range and higher that are supposedly for the surf. You’d have to pay considerably more to obtain similar performance and saltwater resistance. Plus, Tsunami stands behind their products, so be sure to keep your receipts should anything go wrong. As long as you wash it down after every use and grease it up now and then it should last for several seasons.’

      Another affordable reel to keep on the shortlist, which I’ll be reviewing later this season, is the Daiwa BG. It’s not sealed like the Tsunami Shield though. But it looks very promising otherwise. If your reel is going to be taking a lot of dunking, then the Shield is probably your best bet at this price point.

  3. James gautreaux says:

    Still going strong, this reel is fantastic!!!!

  4. J Scott Klossner says:

    Thank you for the in-depth review. I fish off my Stand up surf board ad weight is an issue. But so is getting everything wet and dunked. This reel seems like the best closest deal I will get for the $$. your review helped a lot as I was about to stick with my standard diawa bg series, but if this is sealed for almost the same cost…

    • Baitsoaker says:

      I love the Daiwa BG, it’s a powerful reel and built to last. However it’s not meant for dunking the way the Shield is. One thing to keep in mind is that shielded reels may feel less smooth than non-shielded reels and that’s true for the Shield as well. That’s perfectly normal and to be expected. It’s not a defect, it’s just the way shielded reels are.

      Good luck!


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