You check even the quality and functionality of the things that depend on your for their efficiency when buying them, don’t you? Now, think of those things or machines on which you have to depend on to perform better. You will definitely have to put in more effort while choosing them as a slight flaw in them might cause a huge loss on your part. So, when you choose normal fishing reels, you consider a lot of different things. The performance of these general fishing reels somewhat depends on how you cast them. However, when it comes to trolling reels, you get to enjoy a lot of relaxing times as the reel does most of your work.
Furthermore, with other reels, you can just sit there and wait after casting it. But, a trolling reel performs while you are still moving forward at different speeds with your boat. All these features of a trolling reel tell you how much dependent you are on it while troll fishing. Even if you are a careless buyer in case of other reels, you just cannot do the same in case of trolling reels. You must make sure you are choosing from the best trolling reels available. In order to that, you must equip yourself with knowledge about each of its part and what makes them perform best.
10 Best Trolling Reels For 2021
1. OKUMA Magda Pro Line Counter Levelwind Trolling Reel
The Okuma Magda Pro steals our first position with all its amazing features that will satisfy you in any way you want to be satisfied by a reel. Accuracy? Smoothness? Ease of use? Durability? This masterpiece offers it all. That too for a very reasonable price that you won’t be expecting. First of all, let’s talk about its builds that makes it so great. Apparently, it features a graphite spool which keeps it lightweight. Although graphite spools are not usually durable, this one somehow is. Then, there is the multi-disc carbonate drag system which is not just smooth but super easy to control as well. There are two ball bearings that help the reel to function smoothly as well.
The stainless steel parts of the reel make it corrosion resistant and thereby durable in the long term. You get both a level wind and a mechanical counter with it. Therefore, even when you fight strong fishes in freshwater; your wind won’t lose its level. Also, most customers were extremely happy with how accurate the counter is. This reel allows you to deal with 210 yards 20 lbs test easily.
While there are definitely better reels than this one out there, it is the best reel for the price. You are not breaking your bank buying this while enjoying everything a high-quality; expensive reel can provide you with.
2. SHIMANO TEKOTA, Conventional Star Drag Trolling Reel
If you switch between trolling in freshwater and saltwater often and want to use the same reel for both, this one is here to serve you. Apparently, this conventional reel has a combination of features that make it suitable for both kinds of water. Firstly, it uses die-cast aluminum as its material. Therefore, you can expect strength and durability from it. This is basically a good news for the saltwater anglers. Now, the drag system is the good news for the freshwater ones. Since you are mostly concerned with the line performance, you will not be disappointed with this reel. It features a star drag system which makes it very easy to use. The drag is quite smooth in performance but not the smoothest. But, the price level will definitely keep the disappointment away.
The durability of the reel is increased by its anti-rust and corrosion-resistant parts. Since saltwater cannot harm it there is no way freshwater can even take a toll on its durability. Moreover, it features stainless steel bearings that keep it functioning smoothly. You do not even have to worry about managing the line much as the reel comes with a level wind that takes care of it.
3. Okuma Cold Water Linecounter Trolling Reel
Are you looking for a reel that will just be there performing its best no matter what you expose it to? If you want to be amazed by the quality that comes at a cheaper price then you should definitely try the Okuma Cold Water Reel. You do not even have to worry if you are left-handed because this reel serves both left and right-handed anglers. Okuma has rarely disappointed people and it surely does not with this product. The reel is untouchable in case of quality. It is made from reliable high-quality materials with a multi-disc Carbonite drag system. The star drag system makes it very easy to set. However, you might face a few minor problems with the performance. The drag system is not the smoothest or the easiest to handle. But, for the quality and price, it does really well.
The reel features stainless steel bearings and lubricating gears that keep it functioning smoothly. It gains durability not only because of its builds but also the stainless steel and corrosion-resistant frames and parts. You will be using it for quite a long time from the time you buy it. It also features a counter to make things even easier for you. Furthermore, you won’t be disappointed with its ability to deal with larger species either.
Overall, for the price, you get a much better quality than expected and a performance that you can barely complain about. The reel requires a bit of maintenance to stay durable, however.
4. Penn Squall Lever Drag 2-Speed Trolling Fishing Reel
If you want more power and control in your hands and do not mind investing a bit more than normal then this Penn reel might just be what you are looking for. Do you want to go after the big fishes in deep water? Then, this reel is definitely one you can take as your weapon. First of all, it has a nice strong build. It is made of graphite which is not just lightweight but also durable. The lightweight helps to keep your hands free of as much strain as possible. Then, it comes equipped with a Dura-Drag system which is super powerful and also smooth. Furthermore, you get to shift between two speeds to have more control over how you fish. Apparently, shifting between the two speeds is not even hard with this reel’s convenient design.
There are four stainless steel ball bearings with one anti-reverse one. In fact, the stainless steel and other corrosion-resistant materials used in the frame and overall build keep this reel functioning for years. It is one of the greatest options for saltwater fishing. Apart from all that, the reel has a good line capacity and keeps track of the line’s depth well. You can easily check the line condition thanks to the capacity rings attached on this reel.
Although this reel costs a bit more than others, it does deliver better performance and provides you with better features and control.
5. Okuma Fishing Tackle Classic Graphite Trolling Reel
Remember we mentioned that machined aluminum is a great material for trolling reels but are a bit expensive? It seems we were a bit wrong. If you wanted a machined aluminum reel but were too afraid of the price, you just struck a gold mine. While the reel itself is made from graphite, it has a spool that is made from anodized machined aluminum. But, you definitely will not be expecting this at this price level. The machine is quite durable as you would expect from such materials. Moreover, it features more corrosion-resistant parts that make it great for trolling. It is also quite lightweight with bigger handles that will keep you quite comfortable.
You may or may not be satisfied with the drag system as there are a lot of mixed reviews about this one. Apparently, the reel features a multi-disc rubidium drag system. While many were totally satisfied with the power, many others found it troublesome to handle the drag system. Some complained about the drag not being smooth enough, others complain about the difficulty of tightening it accurately. Besides that, the reel has a really good capacity of holding lines and you can use lead core lines conveniently with it. It also features a clicker which is quite loud.
6. One Bass Fishing Reels Level Wind Trolling Reel
If smooth performance is your greatest priority then this is a reel you can consider. You will also be happy to know that it is a good quality reel for the price and the performance. In fact, the reel has a die-cast aluminum frame, aluminum plate and an aluminum braced graphite side plate. Although these parts are made of high-quality materials, customers complain of a few plastic parts that really is a drawback for the reel. Apart from that, it features an aluminum spool, the best feature of which is the speed. While the multi-disc Carbonite drag system is quite smooth in its performance, most people are not happy with the power it provides. If you are alright with less power then this is still an OK drag system.
There are, however, 14 stainless steel bearings with one reverse bearing that makes the reel function really smoothly. Furthermore, it has a good gear ratio speaking of its good speed. You will find it fun to use as it is very easy to use with its cast control knob and clicker button. The oversize handle makes it comfortable to use as well.
7. Shakespeare ATS Trolling Reel
If you are looking to buy from a reliable brand and also at a reasonable price, Shakespeare is the one. In fact, you get to choose from a number of line capacity and sizes of spools. Therefore, finding the right reel for you won’t be that hard. The Shakespeare ATS trolling reel is made with a graphite spool. While you will enjoy the lightweight, you won’t enjoy the strength of it. Because as graphite materials go, you won’t get the durability you expect from a reel. Apparently, a few customers even complained about breaking the reel too soon after the purchase. But, the corrosion resistant build does improve its durability and make it suitable for use in both saltwater and freshwater.
However, Shakespeare does not disappoint when it comes to performance. The star drag performs quite well. You won’t have any trouble bringing in fishes smoothly with it being backed up by two ball bearings. It also has a clicker that is quite loud. The line capacity of the spool is also remarkable and will satisfy you. Finally, you will enjoy all these at a very good speed because of the great gear ratio this reel has.
8. GOMEXUS Saltwater Trolling Reel
Are you willing to take a bit of a risk for better performance by spending a bit more? Then, this GOMEXUS reel is one expensive saltwater reel you could try your luck on. Apparently, if weight is a problem you should skip this because the reel is quite heavy. You won’t feel comfortable holding it for hours. But, if you prefer quality and durability over comfort then this could be the one. Because it is cold-forged aero aluminum machined and also anodized. Therefore, you can expect a lot of strength and durability from it. Furthermore, it has stainless steel parts that are corrosion resistant. However, a few customers complained that although it is made for saltwater, it does get damaged a bit in it.
It features a powerful and smooth drag system. However, the durability of the drag is questionable as a few customers complained that the drag was either not working or it broke. Other than that, it allows you to switch between two speeds easily. There are both ball and roller bearings that will keep the whole reel performing smoothly. The reel has quite a good capacity and can handle line quite well.
9. BURNING SHARK Trolling Reel
Does retrieving the line make you anxious? Then, the Burning Shark trolling reel might just be your cure from this certain anxiety. While the reel has many good qualities, the best among them is the ease of retrieving the line with it. The reason is its level wind feature that keeps everything on track when you are retrieving. Apart from that, the reel is built really well too. It features a CNC aluminum spool that has a good capacity and is quite strong. In fact, it is capable of handling 300 yards of 80 lbs line. Moreover, the reel has a corrosion resistant coating that keeps it fine in saltwater. The six plus one rust-resistant bearing keep it flowing smoothly too.
You will enjoy handling it as well with the oversized cast control knob. The star drag system makes things easier as well. You won’t have to face trouble with the handle either as it has a double dog ratchet system that prevents the handle from reversing. And, you get to enjoy all these at a great speed for a very low price.
10. Mingyang CL70A Baitcasting Trolling Reels
If you are among the folks who are not serious about troll fishing but just one to give it a decent try, this reel is the one for you. It won’t break your bank but it has features like the better brand quality ones and looks like one too. However, you cannot expect performance similar to the better quality ones from this reel. Apparently, it has a spool made of aluminum alloy and other parts from stainless steel. So, it provides you with the basic protection against saltwater.
As for the drag, the drag is decent and smooth but definitely not going to impress you. It does have a good line capacity; therefore, the drag strength is average. With a gear ratio of 4.2:1, it has a fairly good speed. Furthermore, two ball bearings and one reverse bearing make it work smoothly. Although the reel is of decent quality and quite efficient, it is an average reel for the price. You cannot use it for serious fishing.
Buying Guides For The Best Trolling Reels
If you do not consider the parts that make a trolling reel, you will never get your desired performance out of it. So, here is a list of features you should be aware of to track the best one that exist.
1. Graphite, Cast Aluminum Or Machined Aluminum?
You cannot ignore what makes almost every part of a machine, can you? Therefore, the material is an obvious consideration. However, it is not very hard to select the material as trolling reels are generally made of one of the three materials mentioned above. Now, each of them has their benefits and flaws.
If you are a beginner, you do not want to invest more in reels that might break due to your mishandling. Another reason behind this reluctance is that you do not know if you will continue troll fishing. Therefore, what you will be looking for is a cheaper yet well-functioning reel. Graphite reels are the cheapest and this fact has its cons. Although the reel is light and easier to handle, it is not very durable or strong. However, your amateur trolling skills would have broken the expensive ones anyway. Then, for the intermediate fishers who are sure of what they are doing and do not mind spending a few extra bucks for durability, there are the cast aluminum reels. This is better in terms of both strength and quality. Even a better material used in reels is the machined aluminum. While it’s the best in terms of every criterion, it costs a bit more as well. Therefore, experts and who are really passionate about fishing can choose a reel body made of machined aluminum.
2. The Drag Qualities:
Your target fish will not give its life up without a fight. It’s not his fault but the fault of the entire living being’s nature. Therefore, you need to be ready for a fight and if your weapon itself causes problems, you will easily lose your prey. What helps you fight and bring in your prey is the drag. It is not just what the drag can handle but also how it handles it. Firstly, depending on the type of species you are after (large or small), choose the correct drag power. A multi-disc drag is something everyone suggests as it is easier to control and also puts up a good fight. The second thing you have to consider is how smoothly the drag performs. You definitely do not want to give your prey the chance to escape with your drag jerking while they fight. Therefore, find a drag that does not jerk and performs as smoothly as you need with the required power.
3. A Level Wind:
When you are troll fishing, you are constantly moving. Most often, the wind loses its level even when you are just fishing staying in one place. Therefore, it is obvious that the wind will lose its level when you are troll fishing. Or, at least it will be more prone to losing the level. So, in order to keep the wind on track while the line fights a fish, you should consider a level wind. The level wind will keep everything in place even when the line struggles with the fish. In the end, you get to stay carefree while the reel takes care of the fishing.
4. The Line Capacity Of The Reel:
You do know that reels have a line capacity and this is an important factor for consideration when you are troll fishing as depth is involved. When you troll fish, you just let the line fall straight and smoothly into the water to reach the depth you want it to reach. Troll reels are different from baitcasting reels because they cannot be cast. Therefore, a lot depends on the length of the line you are using. So, your reel should be able to handle the line properly.
The thing you need to consider while determining the length of the line is the species you are targeting. At what depth will you, in general, find them? When you determine the depth you will be working in, choosing the line capacity for your reel becomes really easy.
5. The Spool:
It is not just the line capacity that matters but the size of the spool does too. What you need to consider in this case is not the length of the line but the type of it. What do you plan to use? A monofilament, braided or a lead core line?
The type of line affects the spool size with their diameters. Monofilament line has a diameter between the other two lines. So, when you use a braided line of the same test weight as the monofilament line, you can wind greater lengths of it around the spool as it has a lesser diameter than a monofilament line. On the contrary, as lead core lines have greater diameters you can wind less of it around the spool.
Therefore, you may want your spool to be small or large depending on the type of line you will be using.
Some reel actually offers you a dual speed. You can, in fact, choose between two speeds with a lever. This comes in handy when you are fighting larger species. However, this is not a feature that will improve your catch everywhere. It completely depends on how and what you fish whether it will help you or not. If it does not then it’s better to not spend extra bucks on it.
A clicker will warn you out loud when your line is paying out. It is best to have one as it will really assist you in certain situations. What you need to keep in mind is that the clicker should be accurate and loud. You do not want to miss out hearing it because of the boat’s engine, do you?
When you are fishing as an escape from work, the lesser work you have the better. Counting the line depth can be a tedious and irritating task. So, with a counter anglers can feel completely peaceful while troll fishing.
You get to choose from two types of counters. One is the electric line counters and the manual ones. The one problem with electric counters is that their LCD screen and other electronic parts might fail due to exposure to the watery environment.
Benefits Of Buying Trolling Reel
Why will you buy a trolling reel instead of other fishing reels? Well, what you obviously know is that trolling reels are for troll fishing. It will specifically bring you benefits if you are troll fishing. So, here is what you will enjoy if you use the best trolling reels for troll fishing:
More Comfort And Less Work:
What you basically do during troll fishing is keep the line in water while you keep moving with your boat. So, a trolling reel lets you focus on covering distance while it keeps busy luring in fish.
Greater Drag Power:
Since you troll fish in deeper waters, you need reels with greater powers. Because deeper water has larger species that are more aggressive. Therefore, trolling reels are made with greater drag powers than other reels.
More Line Capacity:
You cannot cover the distance you need to cover with your line in the deep water with a low-capacity reel. Therefore, trolling reels which are designed for the purpose of fishing in deep waters provide you with a greater capacity than other fishing reels.
Keeps Track Of Line Depth:
Trolling reels, further ease the task of troll fishing for you with their counters (if they feature one). The counter saves you from the stress of manually estimating the line depth by keeping an accurate measure of it.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Q. How Is A Trolling Reel Different From A Baitcasting Reel?
Answer: While trolling reels and baitcasting reels may look very similar and in fact, may be quite similar, there is one big difference between them. The difference is that while baitcasting reels enable you to cast the line, trolling reels do not. In fact, you only drop the line smoothly and directly into the water to cover depth instead of distance.
You see how important trolling reels are for troll fishing. If you want to do troll fishing right, you must have the right trolling reel for it.
And, the right trolling reel will come to you only when you consider every factor and then make the decision. Our list of the best trolling reels is also a good place to look for the perfect reel for yourself.
In the end, if you end up with a reel you are not happy with, try to ensure that it is not your fault by being a careful buyer.