The 10 Best Trolling Reels in 2023 (Review) – Our Expert’s List
Last Updated on March 1, 2023
The Best Trolling Reels Review: Are you looking for the best trolling reels for your upcoming deep-sea fishing trip? Once you have the fish hooked, you need the best trolling reel to hold your catch.
For a prolonged, relaxing fishing experience, you need a high quality, durable trolling reel. Using trolling reels likewise does not require constant interaction or supervision, which also adds to the relaxing part of trolling itself.
In this article, we list and discuss ten trolling reels that have some of the most advanced technology to land your trophy fish consistently. Hope, these best trolling reels will make your overall trolling experience much more enjoyable.
Quick Answer – Top 10 Best Trolling Reels
1. Penn Squall Lever Drag 2-Speed Trolling Fishing Reel – Dura-Drag system, Double dog ratchet, Quick Shift 2-speed system.
2. Okuma Magda Pro Line Counter Levelwind Trolling Reel – 2 steel ball bearings, Steel level wind line-guide, Carbonite drag system.
3. PENN Squall LevelWind – HT 100 carbon fiber drag, Machined aluminum spool, Graphite frame.
4. Okuma Cold Water Linecounter Trolling Reel – Multi-disc carbonite drag, Ratcheting drag star, Self-lubricating gear system.
5. Shimano TLD 2-Speed Conventional Reel – 2-speed shifting mechanism, A-RB anti-rust bearings, Loud clicker and rod clamp.
6. Penn Fathom Lever Drag – Fluid cranking with 5 ball bearings, Quick Shift 2-speed system, Dura-Drag system.
7. Abu Garcia Ambassadeur S Round Baitcast Fishing Reel – Synchronized level-wind system, 4-pin centrifugal brake, Multi-disc drag system.
8. Burning Shark Trolling Reel Saltwater Level Wind Reels – Double Dog Ratchet, Bakelite Sideplates, Spherical Handle.
9. KastKing Rover Round Baitcasting Reel – Precision cut brass gears, CNC machined spool, Carbon fiber drag system.
10. Okuma Fishing Okuma Trio High-Speed Spinning Reel – Hybrid spool design, Dual Force Drag System, 9 BB + 1 RB steel bearings.
Reviews of the Best Trolling Reels
Once hooked up a big lake trout and other deep-water large fish, you need to make sure that the reel will land the beast with no issue! As uncountable fish as in the sea there are many brands available in the market, finding the perfect gear is a daunting task. But you are in the right place.
We have labored to make your job easier. We have compiled a list of ten best trolling reels you can find in the web. We have also attached a trolling reel buying guide to help you to purchase the best one. Let’s read, Happy Shopping!
1. Penn Squall Lever Drag 2-Speed Trolling Fishing Reel
The Penn Squall Lever Drag 2-Speed Trolling Reel will deliver the power and heavy-duty drag that have great battles demand.
This fishing reel built with the high-performance concept of legendary Penn International, this trolling reel features a lightweight, heavy-duty and corrosion-resistant graphite frame.
The reel’s Dura-Drag system eliminates snags and disinclination even under extreme drag settings. Its two-speed system allows seamless shift between high and low gears.
For smooth operating and dominant performance, this saltwater reel is perfect for targeting kingfish, sharks, and other deepwater species.
The PENN Squall Lever Drag 2-Speed is crafted from lightweight graphite that offers long-lasting sturdiness that stands up to extreme saltwater conditions. Its stainless steel main and pinion gears, this fishing reel delivers smooth cranking even under tremendous stress.
Its graphite frame and side-plates are the protection against corrosion and offer frame flex without burdening your rod. The Dura-Drag system of the PENN Squall fishing reel provides excellent drag power without sacrificing reliability.
The Squall Trolling Reel provides reliable performance and smooth cranking with four stainless steel ball bearings. Its silent double-dog anti-reverse excludes back-play in the handle to deliver a seamless, and steady reeling experience.
- Penn Squall 50VSW lever drag 2-Speed trolling reel
- Lightweight, durable graphite construction
- Dura-Drag system delivers heavy-duty power
- Two Gear Speeds for highly adaptable performance
- Fluid cranking with stainless steel ball bearings
- Machined Aluminum spool with suitable line capacity rings
- Users claimed that the braid capacity is not as advertised
- You get what you paid for
2. Okuma Magda Pro Line Counter Levelwind Trolling Reel
If you are looking for a fishing reel that has superb features, the Okuma Magda Pro Line Counter Levelwind Trolling Reel is a must have.
The Magda Pro Line Levelwing is a perfect midsize trolling reel with a new improved feature that auto flips the spool handle rather than manual operation.
The Magda Pro line counter series is a lightweight and corrosion resistant reel comes with stainless steel reinforced side-plate rings.
This reel is ready for anything as it is equipped with a carbonate drag system, self-lubricating gear system and durable machine cut brass gears.
The multi-disc carbonate drag system ensures smooth and reliable performance while the mechanical line counter function measures in feet and has a rubber push-button reset.
This fishing reel also features two stainless steel ball bearings, stainless steel level wind line guide system, and self-lubricating gear system. This item also comes with one year manufacturer’s warranty.
- Lightweight corrosion resistant frame and side plates
- Corrosion resistant graphite spools
- Stainless steel level wind line guide
- Stainless steel reinforcing side plate rings
- 2 stainless steel ball bearings
- Mechanical line counter function measures in feet
- Multi-disc carbonate drag system
- The line counter sticks sometimes
- Counter gets stuck in frigid weather
3. PENN Squall LevelWind
Penn is known for bringing top quality trolling fishing reels. The PENN Squall Level Wind Reel is another example of excellent craftsmanship that you can expect from the PENN.
The Squall LevelWind reel features bronze gears and a stainless steel pinion that is responsible for reducing corrosion. The drag stack has three carbon fiber drag washers, and are backed by two drag spin.
Though the reel is rated at 15 pounds, the drag is going to deliver you smooth and effortless performance. This is a mid-range Penn reel, and you can also purchase a left-handed version as well.
There are two anti-reverse structures in this fishing reel: a backup anti-reverse bog and anti-reverse bearing. Also, the gear ratio allows you fast line recovery. The PENN Squall LevelWind able to reel in large fish like sheepshead, ling cod, and rock cod and tuna.
- Level wind trolling reel
- Durable, lightweight graphite frame
- HT-100 carbon fiber drag system
- 2 stainless steel ball bearings and an anti-reverse bearing
- Versa-Handle system for easy handle length adjustments
- Sand may get into the reel causing the thing not to work properly
4. Okuma Cold Water Linecounter Trolling Reel
The Okuma Cold Water Linecounter trolling fishing reels will give you great pleasure while comforting on the lake fishing. The Linecounter is built with high-quality aluminum and titanium to deliver durability.
The corrosion-resistant frame and the side-plates are combined with an aluminum ratcheting drag star for exact drag settings.
It has also come up with high technology that makes your fishing reel self-lubricated, and there is no need to keep taking care of it. This reel is not an expensive one, and even it is superior to some of its costly competitors.
The Okuma Cold Water line-counter reel features light-weight corrosion-resistant frame & side plates. The mechanical stabilization system of the reel keeps it in precise alignment, robust, stable and smooth.
And the magnetic control system is 100% waterproof cast that reduces backlash and improves casting distance. Its Clear View Technology anti-fogging line-counter helps you to keep track of how much lines you have let out.
The Linecounter features one infinite reverse bearing and two stainless steel ball bearings, Speed Lock technology pinion gears, and the self-lubricating extra-large, machine-cut drive. This item also covers one year manufacturer warranty.
- Lightweight corrosion resistant side-plates and frame
- 2BB+1RB stainless steel bearings
- Speed lock pinion gear system
- Multi-disc Carbonate drag system
- Drop down gear box with the self-lubricating gear system
- 6.1-year limited warranty
- CVT anti-fogging line counter
- Sometimes the drag adjustment does not work properly
- The braking mechanism is not as smooth as expected
5. Shimano TLD 2-Speed Conventional Reel
The Shimano TLD 2 Speed conventional reel is a nice looking and very sturdy reel. This is a big serious reel which will give you a great time while fishing.
This reel is lightweight and durable and built to handle saltwater environments. The two selectable gear ratios match the reliability of the TLD 2-Speed.
The Anti-Rust Bearings improved the quality of the reel, and dramatically reduced corrosion and smoothing reel performance.
The Shimano TLD 2-Speed Conventional Reel is powerful, light and durable. This best trolling reels offer 2-speed versatility and feature salt-resistant A-RB bearings and all-around performance you can handle.
The TLD conventional reel also features a graphite frame and side-plate, aluminum spool, ergonomic power handle, and a clicker. The Shimano TLD reel is appropriate for use in Saltwater. This fishing reel is rated for use with Fluorocarbon, Mono, and PowerPro lines.
- A graphite frame and side plate
- Ergonomic power handle, aluminum spool, and a clicker
- Approved for saltwater fishing and rated for use with PowerPro, Mono & Fluorocarbon lines
- Leverdrag TLD IIA reels offer 2-speed versatility
- Salt-resistant A-RB bearings
- Weighs only 36.2 Ounces
- The image provided by the seller is confusing
6. Penn Fathom Lever Drag
The Penn Fathom Lever Drag features a full metal Body for durability and offers speed and power in a lightweight package.
This reel is engineered to cover a wide selection of fishing applications such as live baiting, jigging, and bottom fishing.
The Fanthom lever drag offers a stainless steel pinion gear, full stainless steel gear trains along with PENN Dura-Drag system that is available in the high-end Penn International reels.
The Penn Fathom Lever Drag 2-Speed reel comes in 5 models which can pack 995 yards of 65 pounds braid onto the big spools which are perfect for your larger pelagic like kingfish and sailfish.
The lever drag offers you the ability to see how much pull you have applied as compared with a typical star drag system. The Fathom is a high-speed reel that performs very well for an incredible price point.
- Full metal body and side plates built from die-cast aluminum for rigidity
- Fluid cranking with five shielded stainless steel ball bearings
- Quick Shift 2-speed system
- Dura-Drag system virtually eliminates snags and hesitation
- Fluid cranking with five shielded stainless steel ball bearings
- Users claimed that the braid capacity is not as advertised
7. Abu Garcia Ambassadeur S Round Baitcast Fishing Reel
The Abu Garcia Ambassadeur S is a proven performer and comes with a ton of features for a high price. The classic round reel design of this reel includes a 2 ball-bearing and multi-disc drag system so users can fight fish all day long.
It has 4-pin centrifugal braking system that allows you to control casting a wide variety of baits. This is an excellent reel to get started in the fishing scene, value-packed power, and performance.
The ambassadeur S round bait-cast reel will do the job day after day by providing smooth operation with its two stainless steel ball bearings.
With its 4 pins centrifugal brake and 12.5 pounds of drag pressure will deliver controlled casting and power for a variety of situations. The adding of a bent handle and drag star offer a more ergonomic feel for all day. Both the 6500 and 5500 sizes are available in left and right-hand models.
- Zinc frame construction and aluminum side-plates
- 2 stainless steel ball bearings
- Multi-disc drag system gives smooth drag performance
- The compact bent handle provides a more ergonomic design
- 4-pin centrifugal brake offers consistent brake pressure throughout the cast
- Synchronized level wind system enhances line lay and castability
- Casting quality is not great
- Excellent for trolling and still fishing
8. Burning Shark Trolling Reel Saltwater Level Wind Reels
If you are looking for excitement, you can use this fishing reel for a big game in the sea. The Burning Shark Trolling Reels Saltwater Level Wind Reels will give you the most unforgettable fishing experience.
The reel is very tough, and well designed to catch big fish. This fishing reel is built of high-quality metal with a layer of coating. It is smooth with retrieving, and the sound is well controlled as well.
The Burning Shark Trolling Reel comes with a ton of features for a high price. Its high-quality double dog ratchet system prevents reverse handle.
It features Machined Aluminum Spool, Bake light Side plates, Spherical handle, stainless steel gears, etc. It has Lightweight Corrosion Resistant Frame, Comfortable Cranking, and its Line Release Lever works very well.
The hand is long enough to reel in the big fish. And the level wind feature makes line retrieving easy. Besides, the spool is big to take 300 yards 80 pounds braid line.
- Lightweight Corrosion Resistant Die-cast aluminum Frame.
- 7 stainless-steel antirust ball bearings
- Oversize cast-control knob
- Double Dog Ratchet system that prevents the handle from reversing
- Non-disengaging level wind system
- 4.1:1 gear ratio
- It does not include a reel clamp
9. KastKing Rover Round Baitcasting Reel
The KastKing Rover conventional reel offers all of the necessary tools for you to go after the big catches. This is the perfect weapon to master the beasts of the deep.
This reel has gorgeous anodized red side plates and spool built from high-grade aluminum. It also features stainless steel components with precision machined brass worm shaft that give the reel superior corrosion protection, even in saltwater.
The Rover conventional reel is equipped with 3.6:1 gear ratio, and has fatigue reducing weight saving design with single large T handle nonslip grip for maximum control.
The Rover round baitcasting reel is stronger and more powerful with superior carbon fiber drag system. This reel delivers excellent power and performance at an affordable price compared with trolling/round baitcasting reels by other brands.
The KastKing Rover reels have the finest quality shielded stainless steel ball bearings for smooth operation. Rover also features one clicker line out an alarm and a consistent centrifugal braking system that delivers you even, constant pressure on every single cast.
- Attractive anodized thicker side plates and spool constructed from high-grade aluminum
- KastKing Rover round bait-casting reel with superior carbon fiber drag system
- Steady and smooth stainless steel worm shaft
- The Rover comes with 3.6:1 gear ratio
- Rover features a clicker line out an alarm and a consistent centrifugal braking system
- The bait clicker sounds loud
- Not great for large fish
10. Okuma Trio High-Speed Spinning Reel
The Okuma Trio High-Speed Spinning Reel offers a unique crossover construction. Its solid one-piece stamped aluminum stern and rotor arm are combined with lightweight graphite side plate that provides strength where needed.
The spool structure houses the drag system in an aluminum drag compartment for added stability and smoothness. This is an excellent fishing reel with 20lbs drags.
This fishing reel will provide super smooth operation with awesome drag, and it is not heavy for the size. The reel is fast, excellent drag, perfect for small fish and can also handle some larger fish. The Trio reel has quick gear ratio with smooth and powerful drag. Overall, this is an excellent fishing reel for the money.
- The solid one-piece stamped aluminum reel stern and rotor arm
- Hybrid spool design with graphite arbor
- Lightweight graphite side plates
- 9 BB + 1 RB stainless steel bearings
- Quick-set anti-reverse roller bearing
- Precision Dual Force Drag system incorporates both surfaces of the spool
- This very good for small fish, not great for big fishes
- The screws on the gear housing strip easily
Buying Guide of Trolling Reels
It is worth mentioning that awareness of the features will make your purchasing the most appropriate instrument easier. Here, we are going to discuss just some essential elements that should be considered when looking for the best trolling reels.
The body construction is the first thing that you should look for when buying the trolling reels. The reels are built from three materials. These include cast aluminum, graphite, and machined aluminum.
Graphite reels are lightweight and less expensive, but they are not very strong regarding construction. Cast aluminum trolling reels are known for their top quality and strength.
While machined aluminum reels are strong enough to endure the tensions caused by big tuna, marlin, sharks, etc. They are stronger and top quality, by and large.
Another essential feature of fishing reel that should be considered is a smooth drag system. As your catch makes a run, you want to have a drag system to operate smoothly without having the jerk.
Multi-disc drags provide a smooth control when handling fishes. While Star drag adjustments are developed for convenient use. Drag is significant when fighting a big game, so you want the absolute smoothest drag you can get.
Level Wind is another feature to pay attention. When fighting large saltwater species like trout, salmon, etc., the stress on the line may not let the wind to be level. If you are looking to target big saltwater creatures, pay attention to this feature. If not, you can ignore it.
Trolling Reels FAQs
Can I Use a Spinning Reel for Trolling?
You can troll offshore for species like tuna and mahi with a spinning reel if you know a few principles for trolling. Generally, most experts recommend fishers to use large reels while trolling offshore.
Can I Troll With the Braided Line?
Even a few years ago, trolling with the braided line was pretty challenging for anglers. But today it isn’t thanks to the thin diameter of braided line. Fishers can now troll with lighter tackle, which is more efficient and effective.
How Far Should I Troll Behind the Boat?
The ideal distance for most boats is anywhere from 20 feet to 150 feet behind your boat. It doesn’t matter which types of boats you have; you should always troll maintaining the mentioned-above distance. Also, it would help if you positioned your lures in clean areas.
What Reels Are Best for Trolling?
Based on performance, many anglers agree that conventional topless reels work well for trolling. These reels come with lever drag, which is robust and smooth for trolling.
Its open-top area enables you to apply manual resistance to the spool with fingers. It will help you while sending lines deep inside the water.
How Many Lines Should I Let Out During Trolling?
You need to let out approximately 50 feet of line while trolling at five mph with 5 ounces of weight. But it is difficult as you can’t go exactly five mph using 5 ounces and letting out 50 feet of line.
Are Baitcasters Good for Trolling?
Baitcasting is a trolling method that many anglers apply to troll various fishes. For baitcasting, fishers use bait caster reels. These are mechanical devices that sit on top of the fishing rods. Baitcasters are excellent for trolling. That’s because fishing lines won’t get twisted while trolling.
Apart from that, bait casters provide lots of other benefits. They feature a line counter. These reels are elegant for letting out line, hook sets, running drag, and more. Anglers can comfortably draglines using bait casters. They can conveniently measure line out. That’s why bait casters have gained lots of fisher’s trust.
How to Calibrate Trolling Reels?
Calibrating trolling reels is the process of ensuring that all reels have the same amount of lines. Anglers follow this technique to make the fishing reel more accurate for determining trolling leads. However, some anglers consider that if they fill up the reels to capacity, these reels will be automatically calibrated, which isn’t true. Thus, every angler should correctly calibrate their reels. Below we will describe how to calibrate trolling reels correctly.
There are various methods of calibrating fishing reels. The most common one is to measure out a set distance, which can be up to 100 feet. To apply this, you need to fill up the reels with lines to their maximum capacity. After filling up, you mustn’t cut the line from the spool. Now put two stakes in the ground; the distance from one stake to another should be 100 feet. Attach your line with one stake, and zero out your line counter.
Then, walk along with the fishing reel, line attached to the spool, towards the other stake, and check the line counter what it reeds. You may see that the reel will either be a few feet under or over the line counter. If it is under 100 feet, you need to release some lines from the reel. On the contrary, if it is over 100 feet, you should take lines onto the reels. That’s how you calibrate your trolling reels.
What Size Trolling Reel Do I Need?
Trolling reels come in various sizes as they are appropriate for trolling different fishes. Larger reels can provide anglers better line capacity, while smaller reels are suitable for trolling small fishes. One size isn’t perfect for trolling all types of fishes. Thus, avid trollers always use different trolling reels.
For instance, walleye catchers will use smaller reels like 15 or 20 sizes, while salmon or tuna fishers will select 30 sizes. Some trollers even use 45 size reels to troll musky. That said, what trolling reel size is appropriate for you depends on where you will be trolling and which type of fishes you want to troll.
As each reel available in the market is composed of various components by different brands. When it comes to finding the best one, it seems like a daunting task.
Here, we have presented a selection of the top brands trolling reels which are vastly praised by users available in the market. We have also included a reel buying guide to assist you in purchasing the best one for you. Hope you find this article helpful. Happy Shopping!
You May Also Like to Read
Hi, I am John Campbell, an outdoor enthusiast. Just like you, I value the habitat, heritage and tradition of great outdoors. I do my best to make sure the correct research, writing, and photo are shown on Tacticalgearslab.com. Indeed, I am committed to preserving a great online experience for you.