10 Best Trolling Reels Reviewed

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You probably already know a lot about trolling motors but what about trolling reels? Well, put simply these are the reels that are used for just that – trolling. In trolling one drags lines that have hook-rigged lures from the back side of a boat to entice the fish.

To a large extent trolling reels are similar to baitcasting reels. They are mounted right above the rod. Worth noting, however, is that their baitcasting counterparts have larger spools because they are meant to accommodate heavier lines.

Back to the trolling reels, for now, they come in all shapes and sizes. And, therefore, if you’re considering giving this style of fishing a shot, we’d encourage you to read the reviews below.

Trolling Reel ​Comparison Table

Trolling fishing is an ingenious method of fishing that enables you to use multiple lures. The style can also be used to cover huge swathes of water. And now below is a comprehensive comparison chart to help you choose the ideal trolling reels.

Ranking

Image

Reel Model

Material

Weight

Check Price

1

Shimano Tekota 300 Conventional Saltwater Star...

Shimano Tekota 300

Aluminum

1.9 pounds

2

Penn SQL50LW Squall LevelWind

Penn SQL50LW

Stainless steel

1.85 pounds

3

KastKing Spartacus Plus Baitcasting Fishing...

KastKing Spartacus

Aluminum spool

0.52 pounds

4

TL HyprMag SLP SS ACB 7.5:1/5.1oz/12/30

Lews Hyper SLP TLH1XHL

Aluminum alloy

0.34 pounds

5

Okuma Cold Water Linecounter Trolling Reel CW-303D

Okuma CW-303D

Composite

1.25 pounds 

6

Penn 1338218 Battle II Spinning Reel, 3000

Penn 1338218 Battle II

Stainless steel

1 pound

7

Okuma Magda Pro Line Counter Levelwind Trolling...

Okuma Magda Pro

Graphite

1.1 pounds

8

Shimano Torium 16 HGA Saltwater Star Drag Fishing...

SHIMANO TOR16HGA

Stainless steel

1.25 pounds

9

Penn 209LC General Purpose Level Wind,...

Penn 209LC

Stainless steel 

1.5 pounds

10

Penn 1292938 Squall Lever Drag 2-Speed Trolling...

Penn 1292938 

Stainless Steel, Aluminum, Graphite

2 pounds


10 Best Trolling Reels ​Reviewed

1. SHIMANO TEKOTA

On Sale Today
Shimano Tekota 300 Conventional Saltwater Star...
149 Reviews
Shimano Tekota 300 Conventional Saltwater Star...
  • The Tekota trolling reel is a great solution...
  • Constructed into a one-piece die-cast...
  • Featuring a unique crossbar-forward design...
  • Offers specially treated Anti-Rust Bearings...

If you regularly explore the open waters of the ocean or lake, then you must know that a sturdy reel is a requirement for you to achieve your goals. The Shimano Tekota is just what you need for such situations. To start with, this model features anodized aluminum frames and side plates. They are quite solid and you can be sure that any chances of twisting would be eliminated to provide protection to the gears.

The reels are lightweight and durable implying that they will serve you for years to come. Then, it also has a non-engaging level wind system which serves to guide the line back into the spool and you will never have to do so manually. It has a dual anti-reverse system which gives it sufficient power to deal with larger fish species. Lastly, all the handles that come with this model use the Septon grip which does not easily slip.

Pros
  • It is durable
  • Is lightweight
  • Has no-slip handle
Cons
  • Reels do not come with harness lugs

2. Penn Squall

On Sale Today
Penn SQL50LW Squall LevelWind
402 Reviews
Penn SQL50LW Squall LevelWind
  • Level wind trolling reel for big game fish in...
  • Durable construction with lightweight...
  • HT 100 carbon fiber drag system provides...
  • 2 stainless steel ball bearings and instant...

One of the outstanding features of the Penn Squall level wind is the stainless steel, 2&1 shielded bearing system. This will give you a flawless performance and will serve you for many years to come. It has a strong yet lightweight frame constructed out of graphite, which is more than capable to withstand the pressure from small to medium sized fish. It also operates quite smoothly.

Additionally, it has a Versa-drag system which will make fishing for larger fish quite easy. It comes in three sizes, 15, 20 and 30 plus the two latter sizes can be available in left-hand versions. Last but not least, it is affordable and will surely give you a value for your money.

Pros
  • It is lightweight
  • It is durable
  • Left-hand version is available
Cons
  • Has no auto-engage

3. KastKing Spartacus

KastKing Spartacus Plus Baitcasting Fishing...
1,258 Reviews
KastKing Spartacus Plus Baitcasting Fishing...
  • New features added - like its gladiator name,...
  • Powerful - you will love the exceptional...
  • Smooth - a Spartacus bait casting reel has:...
  • No mercy - a KastKing Spartacus bait caster...

This model is definitely worth your money. To start with, it has both the left handed and right handed versions, so just pick whichever you are comfortable with. Then, it comes with 11+1 shielded corrosion resistant ball bearings which means that you can use this reel in freshwater as well as salty water without worrying about the corrosive effects of salty water.

These ball bearings also ensure that this reel operates as smoothly as possible. The gear ratio of 6.3:1 coupled with the micro-cast dual centrifugal and magnetic brakes gives it exceptional power to pull out the bigger fish species from the water. The rubber cork handle knobs give it a good grip and ensure that your hands will feel good and comfortable throughout the fishing adventure.

Pros
  • Is very affordable
  • Resistant to corrosion
  • Easy to set up
Cons
  • It is not durable

4. Lews TLH1XHL

On Sale Today
TL HyprMag SLP SS ACB 7.5:1/5.1oz/12/30
15 Reviews
TL HyprMag SLP SS ACB 7.5:1/5.1oz/12/30
  • One-piece magnesium frame with lightweight...
  • Aircraft-Grade double anodized Duralumin...
  • Premium 11-bearing System with...

This model is one of the most impressive low-profile reels out there. First, it weighs about 5 ounces, meaning that it is extremely light. This is mainly due to the cool design of the spool which is constructed out of aircraft grade duralumin. The sturdy one-piece magnesium frame and the C45 Carbon side plates ensure that you will use minimum effort in pulling out the heavier catches from the water.

It features a carbon fiber drag system which has a 20-pound drag capacity. This gives you full control as soon as you set the hook. It has an amazing braking system which will give you a longer casting distance, while the Winn Dri-Tac knobs have an awesome grip to keep it firm even in wet conditions. Last but not least, it does not scratch easily.

Pros
  • Is lightweight yet sturdy
  • Can cast over a longer distance
  • Very low profile
Cons
  • A bit pricey

5. Okuma Coldwater

On Sale Today
Okuma Cold Water Linecounter Trolling Reel CW-303D
269 Reviews
Okuma Cold Water Linecounter Trolling Reel CW-303D
  • Made using the highest quality materials
  • Tested for reliability and quality
  • Used by professionals worldwide
  • Lightweight corrosion resistant frame and...

The Okuma coldwater reel is lightweight and flexible so you can hold it for long periods without feeling discomfort or fatigue. When it comes to ball bearings, it comes with two stainless steel ball bearings and one roller bearing which are highly durable and smooth, making them easy to control.

Then, it has a multi-disk carbonite drag system which is excellent in applying the pressure necessary to fight the hooked fish into submission. Additionally, it holds the ratcheting drag space for the precise drag settings. It has a lower reset button which lets you ignore any undesirability which comes about from resetting the line counter. It also has two stages of the clear view technology which end up drying the interior of the line counter window.

Pros
  • The handle feels good in the hands
  • Frame and side-plates are weather resistant
  • It operates smoothly
Cons
  • Can be too noisy

6. Penn Battle iI

On Sale Today
Penn 1338218 Battle II Spinning Reel, 3000
1,348 Reviews
Penn 1338218 Battle II Spinning Reel, 3000
  • Durable, high range spinning reel ideal for...
  • Full metal body, sideplate, and rotor and...
  • HT 100 carbon fiber drag system provides...
  • Fluid cranking with 5 sealed stainless steel...

If you are fishing for a solid and reliable reel which you can use for professional or leisure purposes, then the Penn Battle II is just what you are looking for. To start with, it has rubber knobs for a comfortable feeling in your hands as well as a good grip. Then, it has a high quality build starting from the painting. The painting is vital in that it serves to protect the reel from corrosion caused by saltwater and paint.

For further protection from corrosion, it has five stainless steel sealed ball bearings. The spool has extra line capacity rings so that you can always know the amount of line you have remaining on the spool. Still on the spool, it has a rubber inlay so that you can always load it directly with braided line.

Pros
  • Has a smooth drag system
  • Is affordable
  • Spool capacity always braid ready
Cons
  • Quite heavy 

7. OKUMA Magda Pro

Okuma Magda Pro Line Counter Levelwind Trolling...
356 Reviews
Okuma Magda Pro Line Counter Levelwind Trolling...
  • Made using the highest quality materials
  • Tested for reliability and quality
  • Used by professionals worldwide
  • Line Counter

This trolling reel is versatile and one which you should definitely try out. For starters, the graphite spool is corrosion resistant and therefore usable in both salt and fresh water. It is durable and sturdy, a feature which is further enhanced by the two stainless steel ball bearings. The gear system itself is self-lubricating.

It is quite solid and lightweight so your arms will not get cramps easily even after fishing for long periods of time. It is constructed with high-quality materials which will ensure its durability and consistent performance.

Pros
  • Is lightweight
  • Durable and sturdy
  • Corrosion resistant
Cons
  • Meant only for experienced anglers
  • Pricey

8. SHIMANO TORIUM HGA

On Sale Today
Shimano Torium 16 HGA Saltwater Star Drag Fishing...
106 Reviews
Shimano Torium 16 HGA Saltwater Star Drag Fishing...
  • A lightweight; solidly-built; star-drag...
  • Equipped with a High Efficiency Gearing...
  • Offers specially treated Anti-Rust Bearings...
  • Features Cross Carbon Drag which provides...

This model was designed specifically to meet the standards set and expected of by the experienced saltwater anglers. To start with, it is compact and powerful with an amazing casting distance. The S-Concept body design has resulted in a reel that will feel smaller and lighter in your hands on top of adding to its durability.

The side-plate has the handle drag adjustment and cast control knob and the availability of these in one piece contributes to the rigidity and comfy feeling in the hands. Then, there is the EI surface treatment which makes the reel to be highly resistant to corrosion.

The reel has a Cross Carbon Drag which enables the reel to perform more smoothly and durable. The smooth performance is further enhanced by the high-quality materials used in its construction.

Pros
  • Lightweight
  • Feels good in the hands
  • Corrosion resistant
Cons
  • Gets overheated too fast

9. Penn ​209LC

Penn 209LC General Purpose Level Wind,...
271 Reviews
Penn 209LC General Purpose Level Wind,...
  • Used by professionals worldwide
  • Made using only the highest quality...
  • Tested for quality and durability
  • Machined and anodized aluminum spool

As the name suggests, this reel is versatile and you can subject it to various uses and conditions. It is tough and resistant to corrosion so you can also comfortably use it in salt water without worrying about its quality being compromised.

It is lightweight and yet durable and you will use it for years to come. The accuracy with which it reels is so precise that finding the strike zone is extremely easy and swift. The handle has an oversized paddle knob which acts to provide balance as you fish. Last but not least, it is quite affordable.

Pros
  • Is lightweight
  • Is affordable
  • Durable
Cons
  • Screws loosen up quite easily

10. Penn Squall ​1292938

Penn 1292938 Squall Lever Drag 2-Speed Trolling...
121 Reviews
Penn 1292938 Squall Lever Drag 2-Speed Trolling...
  • Reel, RH, 3BB + 1RB, 2.9:1 / 1.5:1 ratio
  • Alum spool, Braid 2485/65 2145/80 1835/100,...
  • Reels saltwater lever drag
  • Lightweight yet powerful lever drag fishing...

If you seek a trolling reel that would deliver an exceptional performance in a saltwater tournament, then the Penn Squall Drag 2 Speed Trolling system may just be what you need. Its design makes it all round powerful and gives an extremely heavy duty drag necessary in such environments.

It is constructed out of high-quality material and the graphite frame is what contributes to its lightweight nature. This frame is also highly resistant to corrosion. It has a powerful and reliable Dura-Drag system which ensures that there the existence of drags and hesitations is all but eliminated. Even if you subject it to extreme drag settings, the reel will operate with maximum smoothness.  

It has a two-speed system which makes it easy for you to shift between high and low gears whenever necessary. The lightweight graphite coupled with machined aluminum ensures that you are in possession of a highly durable drag which will be of service for a long period to come. On top of the graphite frame, there are side-plates which offer additional protection against corrosion, without adding much weight on the Rod.

Pros
  • Lightweight
  • Durable and resistant to corrosion
  • Smooth and powerful
Cons
  • Keeps falling out of gear when switching

How to Find the Best Trolling Reels - Buying Guide

As you can tell, trolling is one of the most effective techniques of targeting any fish that might be suspended in deep water. But to get the most out of this style of fishing, there are quite a few factors to keep in mind. These are as follows.

Body Construction

There are three types of bodies for trolling reels and these are cast aluminum, graphite, and machined aluminum. Graphite is quite popular among cheap trolling reels. Cast aluminum is the next step up and machined aluminum the gold-standard of reel body construction.

Drag

It’s highly important to choose multi-disc drags. These do a pretty good job of absorbing energy especially when one encounters hard-fighting fish.

Manual vs. Electric Line Counters

Manual line counters are designed to record the number of revolutions made through the spool. Electric counters, on the other hand, are quite sophisticated and have built-in programming. You can choose the former for practicality and the latter for convenience.

Line Capacity

This is a big issue, especially when fishing for species that are capable of stripping a spool e.g. catfish and largemouth bass. It’s important to keep this in mind especially if you’re planning to engage in saltwater fishing. Be sure to settle for a reel that has more than enough line capacity.


Which One Is The Best?

The Penn Squall Level-wind is what in our opinion qualifies as the best trolling reel. Not only is it resilient but also, it’s pretty light in weight and superbly made. It’s also available in left and right-hand variants as well.


Final Thoughts

If you haven’t given this style of fishing a shot then you’re missing out on a lot. So, it’s time to get yourself one of the well-made trolling reels, add a bit of thrill to your fishing escapades and enjoy fishing.