Seriously Tough Tackle
  |  First Published: March 2011

When it comes to top quality fishing tackle, we anglers have literally never had it so good. Seriously, the high end fishing equipment on today’s market continues to blow me away with its performance and standard of finish and nowhere is this more evident than in the ranks of heavy duty spinning reels.

These days, it is possible to fish for just about anything short of Cairn’s big black marlin on an eggbeater and be fairly confident of coming out on top. Even noted tackle wreckers such as dogtooth tuna, giant GT and the like are more than adequately tamed on a heavy duty threadline reel full of suitably sized braided line.

True, the sort of spinning equipment needed to tangle with these beasts doesn’t come cheap, but when you look at the engineering that is involved, I believe what you are getting for your money is pretty reasonable. That’s especially so if you’re smart enough to get your hands on one of the more affordable entrants to the ultra heavy duty spinning reel market in the form of Tuff Tackle’s Diablo Sniper 10000.

Now what sets the Sniper apart from the other major players in the heavy duty spin reel market is that these reels are actually assembled in Australia. That’s right, Tuff Tackle gets the parts made to their specifications (both locally and overseas) and then they put them together here. This process allows Tuff Tackle to ensure the quality control process, as every part is physically checked before going into the reel. The correct amount and type of lubrication is also applied and with this procedure in place, there is almost a zero percent failure with these massive reels. Tuff Tackle is so confident of their product that each reel is individually numbered and comes with a 15 year warranty, as well as two free services.

Inside Information

The Sniper includes a list of ‘must have’ features for any truly heavy duty spinning reel. For example, it runs on 10 shielded stainless steel bearings which keep everything rotating like a Swiss timepiece. Then there are the main gears, which have been cut from stainless steel. The extremely high tolerances involved in the machining process also help to enhance the smooth cranking power of the reel, as it ensures perfect meshing of the gears every time. To make sure that everything stays in perfect alignment, the internals are housed in a full metal body, with absolutely no graphite or plastic involved. It results in a slightly heavier reel, but a rigid metal frame is the best way to hold everything together under ultra heavy drag pressures.

The Snipers’ drag is 100% waterproof and boasts 30kg of stopping power. That’s an incredible amount of drag pressure and thanks to its combination of stainless steel and composite washers, it is smooth all the way up to lock up. Tuff Tackle designate this reel as being suitable to fish 80-130lb braid and they aren’t kidding!

While I haven’t managed to achieve it, I believe it is quite capable of busting 80lb braid if you tighten the drag and hang on long enough! Having fished 50lb braid during the test period, I can assure you that the drag is faultless across the range and certainly silky smooth under more ‘normal’ fishing pressures.

As far as line capacity goes, the Sniper swallows over 500m of 0.35mm braid or just over 300m if you opt for the heavier 0.50mm ‘rope’. While the gear ratio is not that high at 4.1:1, due to its large spool diameter, it retrieves just under a metre of line for every turn of the handle. This rapid rate of line recovery makes it fast enough for high speed scenarios when spinning or jigging.

As you would expect, all the other bits on this reel are built to cope with the sort of pressure it can generate. For example, the CNC machined aluminium crank and handle knob are large, robust and locked in place. The bail wire is 5mm in diameter and the large diameter line roller is braid friendly titanium. The anti-reverse function is provided by a very large, one way bearing, and there is also additional backup is in the form of a stainless steel anti-reverse gear ratchet.

Obviously with all that beefed up engineering, there is no way this reel will fall to pieces on you during a protracted fight. Basically, what Tuff Tackle have tried to do with the Sniper is eliminate any potential weak points and reinforce all the other components to make it as rock solid as possible. From what I can tell, they have certainly achieved that.

Testing the Sniper

I must admit that I have struggled to find fish big enough to really test the true capabilities of this reel. Let’s face it, on the right rod it is capable of fishing 130lb braid to the hilt! And yes, you literally can apply 30kg or more of drag if you want to but I wouldn’t advise you to try it. Honestly, the vast majority of people simply aren’t physically strong enough to handle that sort of pressure for very long. Realistically, even 10kg of drag is a hell of a lot when you are standing up in a rocking boat and you are getting dragged all over the place by some rampaging fish.

The first time I took this reel out for a test run, all I could find were some Spanish mackerel up to 12kg to play with. Nice fish to be sure but the Sniper literally wiped the floor with them. Mackerel are fast fish but they don’t fight dirty like a GT so for the first couple I backed the drag off and let them have a bit of a run to see how smooth the drag system was and it performed flawlessly. Once they had completed a couple of sprints however, I simply cranked the drag knob back up and got a bit serious. Let me tell you it only took a couple of short strokes to see what a reel of this quality can do. It had those poor old mackerel at the boat so fast they literally didn’t know what hit them.

Even the larger run of long nose and golden trevally which usually put up a good account of themselves are little match for a reel like this and quickly find themselves at the side of the boat. I must admit that this was a new experience for me as I’ve never fished with gear which can dictate the fight quite like this reel can and it was a very satisfying feeling knowing how much firepower I had at my command.


The beauty of a big spinning reel like this is that it is just such a versatile bit of gear and you can almost do anything with it. Obviously, it was designed with heavyweight jigging for kingfish, amberjacks and samsonfish but other types of fishing are just as applicable. It’s easy enough to use for tossing big poppers at GT and the like and there would be no reason why you couldn’t live bait with it. In fact, I reckon it would be brilliant for hauling some of those big bottom hugging reef dwellers out of their hidey holes amongst the coral.

During the test phase, I spent a lot of time high speed spinning with metal lures with it and even though it’s not really designed for that purpose it performed faultlessly. One of the things I’ve noted that it does particularly well is to wrap the line neatly onto the spool. Even the thin 50lb Bandit braid packed in there perfectly every time, which shows they have the oscillation system worked out exactly right. In fact, I didn’t suffer a single wind knot while spinning with it, even though the lures do cause a degree of line twist so it certainly gets top marks in my book.

as Good as it Sounds

This reel is well named as it seriously is one tuff piece of tackle. It is built like the proverbial brick outhouse and should stand up to years of hard work, as long as you take advantage of the ‘free’ services which come with purchasing this brilliantly engineered piece of machinery. When you consider that this locally assembled reel sells for about half the price of the two other big name players in the industry, well you’d be mad not to check the Tuff Tackle Diablo Sniper 10000 out before making that sort of investment. It is far and away the best fishing reel I have ever had the chance to use.


Overall Rating

Construction and finish:10/10
Drag performance:10/10
Casting performance:9/10
Value for money:9.5/10
Suitable for:Any heavy duty fishing scenarios.

The Tuff Tackle Diablo Sniper 10000 is a superb piece of heavy duty fishing tackle.

The Tuff Tackle Diablo Sniper 10000 is a superb piece of heavy duty fishing tackle.

The Sniper’s metal body holds everything together and eliminates flexing under load.

The Sniper has a 100% waterproof body so an oil port beneath the handle allows for lubrication to be added between services.

The Sniper has massive stainless steel and composite washers provide silky smooth drag performance across the full range of settings.

The Sniper’s crank and handle knob are machined from aluminium.

The over size handle knob provides a good grip and allows you to generate plenty of leverage.

Poor little Spanish mackerel like this never knew what hit them when they ran into the Sniper.

Mid sized trevs like these come in all too easy on the Sniper.

Spinning with metal lures turned up some nice fish but nothing big enough to really test out the big tuff tackle reel.

While it wasn’t designed for it, the Sniper would be ideal of pulling big reef fish out of the coral.

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