Best Trolling Reels 2023

Sergio Smirnoff

Hello, my name is Sergio Smirnof, and my goal with FishReeler is to provide a valuable resource for anglers of all levels, from beginners to experienced veterans. I hope that my passion for fishing and dedication to the sport shines through in the content I create and inspires others to get out on the water and catch some fish!

Trolling Reels

Trolling fishing is a technique where a lure or bait is trailed behind a moving boat in order to attract fish. Unlike other types of fishing, where the angler casts a line from the shore or a stationary boat, trolling fishing requires specialized equipment such as trolling fishing reels. These reels are designed to withstand the rigors of trolling fishing and offer a range of features that make it easier to catch fish in this manner.

Trolling Fishing Reels: The Ultimate Guide to Choosing the Right One

Best Trolling Reels

In this review, we’ll be taking a closer look at trolling fishing reels and why they are important for this type of fishing. We’ll examine the different types of trolling fishing reels available, the key features to look for when choosing a trolling fishing reel and highlight some of the top options on the market.

If you like fishing from a moving boat, then spinning and baitcasting reels don’t always match your desires. Trolling reels are one of the most convenient in this case. Trolling means dragging a fishing line standing on a moving boat (maybe with several baits), thus covering a large area of water. In any form of fishing you need good equipment, and trolling is no exception.

Types of Trolling Fishing Reels: Which One is Best for You?

When it comes to trolling fishing reels, there are three main types available on the market: conventional, baitcasting, and spinning. Each type has its own strengths and weaknesses, and the choice of which one to use will depend on the angler’s personal preferences and the type of fishing they are doing.

Conventional Trolling Fishing Reels: Conventional trolling fishing reels are the most common type of trolling reel. They are designed to handle heavy lines and big fish, making them a popular choice for saltwater fishing. These reels have a high line capacity and a strong drag system, which makes it easier to reel in larger fish.

One of the main advantages of conventional trolling reels is their ability to handle large line capacities, which is essential for trolling in deep waters where bigger fish tend to lurk. They also have a strong drag system that allows anglers to reel in big fish without the risk of the line breaking. However, these reels can be heavy and bulky, which can make them difficult to use for extended periods of time.

Baitcasting Trolling Fishing Reels: Baitcasting trolling fishing reels are another popular option. These reels are known for their accuracy and control, making them a favorite of experienced anglers. They are often used for freshwater fishing, but can also be used for saltwater fishing in certain situations.

The main advantage of baitcasting trolling reels is their precision and control, which makes them ideal for targeting specific fish species. They also have a low profile design that makes them easier to handle and is generally lighter than conventional reels. However, they can be difficult to use for beginners, as they require a certain level of skill to cast accurately. They also have a lower line capacity than conventional reels, which can be a disadvantage when targeting bigger fish.

Spinning Trolling Fishing Reels: Spinning trolling fishing reels are the third type of trolling reel available. They are designed to be lightweight and easy to use, making them a good choice for beginners. They are also a popular choice for freshwater fishing, as they are better suited for smaller fish.

The main advantage of spinning trolling reels is their ease of use and versatility. They can be used for a wide range of fishing situations and are generally less expensive than conventional and baitcasting reels. They are also lightweight and easy to handle, which can make them a good choice for extended periods of fishing. However, they have a lower line capacity and may not be suitable for targeting larger fish species.

In conclusion, choosing the right type of trolling fishing reel will depend on a variety of factors, including the angler’s personal preferences, the type of fishing they are doing, and the size of the fish they are targeting. Each type of trolling reel has its own advantages and disadvantages, and it’s important to choose the right one for your needs in order to increase your chances of success on the water.

Top Trolling Fishing Reels on the Market: Our Top Picks

Shimano Tekota 300 Conventional Trolling Reel

Shimano Tiagra: The SHIMANO Tiagra 20A is a high-end trolling fishing reel that is designed for heavy-duty fishing in saltwater environments. This reel is packed with features that make it a top choice for serious anglers.

One of the standout features of the Tiagra 20A is its drag system. It features Shimano’s patented Twin Disk Drag System, which provides smooth and consistent drag pressure even under heavy loads. The reel also has a powerful gear ratio of 3.9:1, which allows for quick and efficient retrieves. The Tiagra 20A is also built to last, with a sturdy aluminum frame and side plates that can withstand the rigors of saltwater fishing.

In addition to its technical features, the Tiagra 20A is also user-friendly. It has an ergonomic handle and a comfortable grip that make it easy to handle even during long fishing sessions. The reel also features Shimano’s Clicker System, which provides an audible signal when a fish takes the bait, alerting anglers to start reeling in their catch.

Penn Squall Lever Drag 2-Speed: The Penn Squall Lever Drag 2-Speed is a versatile trolling reel that offers two different gear ratios (4.0:1 and 1.5:1) for maximum flexibility. It also has a durable construction made from graphite and aluminum, as well as a powerful drag system that can handle up to 40 pounds of pressure. The Squall Lever Drag 2-Speed is also relatively affordable, making it a great option for anglers on a budget.

Daiwa Saltist Levelwind: The Daiwa Saltist Levelwind is a high-quality fishing reel designed for saltwater fishing. It is built with high-quality materials and features robust construction that ensures durability and reliability in harsh saltwater environments. The reel has a classic design that blends well with any style of a fishing rod.

The reel features a sturdy aluminum frame and side plates that are resistant to corrosion and wear. The side plates are treated with a special anodized finish that provides additional protection against saltwater damage. The reel also has a waterproof drag system that ensures smooth and consistent drag performance, even in wet conditions.

One of the key features of the Daiwa Saltist Levelwind is its level wind system, which ensures that the line is evenly distributed on the spool during retrieval. This results in improved casting distance and accuracy, as well as reduced line tangles and snarls.

The reel has a gear ratio of 6.1:1, which means that it retrieves 37 inches of line per turn of the handle. This makes it a good choice for fishing in a variety of saltwater conditions, including deep-sea fishing and trolling.

The Daiwa Saltist Levelwind also has a comfortable handle grip that is ergonomically designed to reduce hand fatigue during long fishing sessions. The reel comes in a variety of sizes to accommodate different line capacities and fishing needs.

Okuma Cold Water: The Okuma Cold Water is a reliable and affordable trolling reel that features a high line capacity of up to 25 pounds and a gear ratio of 5.1:1. It also has a smooth and precise drag system that can handle up to 20 pounds of pressure. The Cold Water is made from durable materials and has a comfortable ergonomic handle for easy and comfortable use. However, some anglers may find the retrieval speed to be slower than other reels on the market.

Avet SX: The Avet SX is a high-quality fishing reel designed for saltwater trolling and casting. Made in the USA, this reel is known for its durability, reliability, and smooth operation. The SX model features a compact yet powerful design, making it a versatile option for various fishing styles.

The Avet SX is constructed with precision-machined aircraft-grade aluminum, providing a sturdy and corrosion-resistant frame. It also features stainless steel components, such as the gears, bearings, and shaft, that are designed to withstand the harsh saltwater environment. The reel is equipped with a carbon fiber drag system that can generate up to 20 pounds of stopping power, allowing anglers to target larger game fish with confidence.

The Avet SX has a 6:1 gear ratio, allowing for quick line retrieval and effective fish control. The reel also features an adjustable strike position and a magnetic cast control system for precise casting. The two-speed option allows for a more versatile fishing experience, with a fast and slow retrieve for different types of fishing techniques.

Tips and Tricks for Using a Trolling Fishing Reel: Maximize Your Catch

Penn Squall LevelWind

When it comes to using a trolling fishing reel, there are a few tips and tricks that can make a big difference in your success on the water. Here are some key things to keep in mind:

Adjust the drag correctly: The drag system on your trolling fishing reel is critical for controlling the tension on your fishing line. Be sure to adjust it based on the weight of your bait and the strength of the fish you’re targeting. Too tight of a drag can cause your line to break, while too loose of a drag can allow the fish to escape.

Spool the line properly: Make sure that your fishing line is spooled correctly on the reel to prevent tangles or knots. Be sure to spool the line in the direction indicated by the manufacturer, and avoid overfilling the spool, which can cause problems when casting.

Use the right trolling speed: The speed at which you troll your bait can make a big difference in your success. Experiment with different speeds to see what works best for the type of fish you’re targeting and the conditions you’re fishing in. In general, a slower trolling speed is better for catching larger fish, while a faster speed is better for covering more ground and catching smaller fish.

Pay attention to the rod angle: When trolling with a fishing reel, it’s important to pay attention to the angle of your fishing rod. The ideal angle will vary depending on the type of bait you’re using, the depth you’re fishing at, and the size of the fish you’re targeting. As a general rule, aim to keep the rod at a 45-degree angle or slightly higher to ensure that you have enough tension on the line.

Keep your gear organized: Trolling fishing can require a lot of gear, including bait, lures, and other equipment. To make sure that you’re able to find what you need quickly and easily, keep your gear organized and within reach. Consider using a tackle bag or tackle box to store your gear, and make sure that everything is labeled and easy to access.

Be patient and persistent: Like any type of fishing, trolling with a fishing reel can require patience and persistence. Don’t be discouraged if you don’t catch anything right away – keep experimenting with different baits, speeds, and techniques until you find what works best for you. Remember, the thrill of the catch is worth the effort!

Stay aware of your surroundings: When trolling with a fishing reel, it’s important to stay aware of your surroundings and any potential hazards. Keep an eye on other boats in the area, as well as any underwater obstacles or changes in water depth. This will help you avoid collisions and keep your gear safe.

Use high-quality line and leaders: The type of line and leader you use can make a big difference in your success when trolling with a fishing reel. Look for a high-quality line that is strong and resistant to abrasion, and use a leader that is strong enough to handle the fish you’re targeting.

Keep your gear in good condition: To get the most out of your trolling fishing reel, it’s important to keep it in good condition. This includes regularly cleaning and lubricating the reel, checking for any damage or wear, and replacing any worn or damaged parts. A well-maintained fishing reel will perform better and last longer.

By keeping these tips in mind, you can improve your trolling fishing technique and increase your chances of catching the big one. Remember to be patient, persistent, and prepared, and you’ll be well on your way to a successful fishing trip.

Trolling reels are not as easy to use as conventional spinning reels or others. If you simply threw a line on standard reels, then here you have to drag it from a moving boat or ship.

🐬Here are tips to help you avoid losing your fish or line:

  • Follow the counter to set the bait to the necessary depth
  • The bait and boat should be between 20-150 pounds. No more and no less. In the first case, the fish simply won’t swim so close to the boat. In the second, it’ll be difficult for you to pull it out.
  • If you have been standing still for a long time without results, then change the bait. Often, it helps to get fish. It’ll also be useful to change the place a little. The more lures – the more fish you can catch. Always experiment – try to place different lures at different depths and distances from the boat. Then you will definitely get the desired result.

The Best Baits and Lures for Trolling Fishing: How to Attract the Big Ones

Trolling is a popular fishing technique used to target a wide variety of fish species, from salmon and trout to tuna and marlin. One of the key components of successful trolling is using the right bait or lure. Here are some of the best lures and baits for trolling fishing and how to use them effectively:

Spoons

Spoons are a classic trolling lure that mimics small baitfish. They come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and colors, and can be trolled at different speeds to match the fish’s feeding behavior. Silver and gold spoons are popular choices for freshwater trolling, while colorful patterns are effective in saltwater.

Diving Plugs

Diving plugs are versatile trolling lures that can dive to different depths depending on their design. They often have a lifelike appearance and can mimic a variety of prey, including fish and squid. When trolling with a diving plug, adjust the speed and depth until you find the right combination for the fish you’re targeting.

Squid Skirts

Squid skirts are a popular choice for trolling for species like tuna and marlin. They consist of a plastic skirt and a hook that is trailed behind the boat. The skirt’s movement in the water mimics the motion of a live squid, making it an effective lure for predatory fish.

Live Bait

For some species, live bait is the most effective trolling option. This can include live minnows, herring, or squid. When using live bait, make sure to keep the baitfish healthy and lively by keeping them in a well-oxygenated bait tank and changing the water frequently.

Soft Plastic Lures

Soft plastic lures are a versatile and cost-effective trolling option. They can be rigged with a variety of hooks and weights to achieve different depths and speeds. Soft plastic lures come in a wide range of colors and shapes, making them a great choice for matching the hatch and enticing a variety of fish species.

When choosing a trolling lure or bait, it’s important to consider the fish species you’re targeting and the water conditions you’ll be fishing in. Experiment with different options and adjust your trolling speed and depth until you find what works best. With the right lure or bait and technique, you’ll be well on your way to a successful trolling fishing trip.

Best Trolling Reels Comparison Chart

ImageProductBrandLink
PENN Fishing SQL20LW Squall LevelWind , Black, 315yd/20LbPENNBuy on Amazon
Okuma Magda Pro Line Counter Levelwind Trolling Reel, Small, Black/Silver, MA-30DXOKUMABuy on Amazon
Okuma Cold Water Linecounter Trolling Reel CW-453DOKUMABuy on Amazon
KastKing Spartacus Plus Baitcasting Fishing Reel,Rubber Cork Version,Right Handed ReelKastKingBuy on Amazon
PENN Warfare Level Wind Conventional Inshore/Nearshore Fishing Reel, HT-100 Star Drag, Max of 15lb | 6.8kg, Made with Corrosion-Resistant Graphite Frame, WAR15LWPENNBuy on Amazon
Shimano Tekota 300 Conventional Saltwater Star Drag ReelSHIMANOBuy on Amazon
Abu Garcia C3-7000 Ambassadeur Catfish Special Round Baitcast Fishing ReelAbu GarciaBuy on Amazon
Daiwa Sealine SG-3B 4.2:1 Line Counter Right Hand Reel w/ Counter Balanced Handle- SG47LC3B,blackDaiwaBuy on Amazon
Shakespeare ATS Trolling Reel , Black, 30ShakespeareBuy on Amazon

Trolling Fishing Reels vs. Other Reels: What Makes Them Different?

Trolling reels are designed to catch deep-sea fish in salt or freshwater from a moving vessel. They are not designed to be used as a traditional reel. Trolling reels have a more rounded shape and contain more lines than other reels.

They are somewhat similar to baitcasting reels because they are installed on top of the rod. But they are distinguished by the fact that trolling contains much more lines. This is necessary to facilitate the heavy fishing line that is used in trolling.

All trolling reels are combined by three functions: star drag, line out the alarm, and release lever. Depending on the fish, various fishing lines can be used on trolling reels. In this regard, they are universal. Trolling is one of the most productive types of fishing because with it you can cover a lot of water and use several types of lures.

Trolling reels can fish at a much greater distance from the shore than other reels. These reels have increased drag and capacity, and many of these reels have reel counter capabilities to assist with releasing a set amount of line when trolling for fish in open waters. But the trolling reels have some drawbacks. Usually, they are more expensive than other types of reels and more difficult to use.

Quick Take – TOP 3 Best Trolling Reels

🐬These are our recommendations for the best trolling reels:

Trolling Fishing Reels for Beginners: Start Your Trolling Journey Here

Are you ready to take your trolling fishing game to the next level? Look no further than our comprehensive guide to trolling fishing reels.

There are several key features that set trolling reels apart from other types of reels. First and foremost, they have a high line capacity, which allows anglers to use heavy lines and target larger fish species. They also have a strong drag system, which is essential for reeling in big fish without the risk of the line breaking.

Another important feature of trolling reels is their level wind mechanism, which ensures that the line is distributed evenly across the spool as it is being reeled in. This prevents the line from bunching up or getting tangled, which can cause frustration and potentially lose a fish.

There are a huge number of trolling reels on the market, so choosing a good reel can be difficult. Fortunately, we have selected for you the best reels on the market. Now let’s look at their features and differences.

1# Penn SQL50LW Squall LevelWind

Penn SQL50LW Trolling Reel

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The Penn Squall LevelWind SQL50LW is a high-quality trolling fishing reel that is built to handle the demands of offshore fishing. With a rugged, corrosion-resistant construction and a powerful drag system, this reel is designed to deliver reliable performance even in the toughest fishing conditions.

One of the standout features of the Penn Squall LevelWind is its level wind system, which ensures that your line is evenly distributed across the spool as you reel in your catch. This helps to prevent tangles and ensures that you can quickly and efficiently retrieve your line. The level-wind system also makes this reel well-suited for trolling applications, where you need to maintain a consistent depth and speed as you troll for fish.

The Penn Squall LevelWind has a line capacity of 435 yards of 50-pound test monofilament line, making it a great choice for targeting larger fish species like tuna and marlin. The reel has a 4.0:1 gear ratio, allowing you to retrieve your line quickly and efficiently. The drag system on the Penn Squall LevelWind is also impressive, with a maximum drag of 20 pounds that can be easily adjusted to suit your fishing needs.

Penn SQL50LW with a durable graphite frame, body, and side plates is well-suited not only for trolling, but also for sharking, drifting, and chunking. There is no twitching or shaky drag because the gears are made of bronze and stainless steel. The drag system is quite smooth and flexible, it copes well with heavy, game fish. Versa adjustable handle is installed on the reel, so you can adjust the length you need.

Video review

Pros
  • High-quality gears

  • Adjustable handle

  • Lightweight

  • Robust graphite construction

Cons
  • No, engage for line spooling out

  • Inaccurate line counter

If you hunt salmon, halibut, or other deep-sea fish, then Penn Squall LevelWind will do well with these tasks and save your budget.

2# Okuma Magda MA-30DX Pro Line Counter Levelwind Trolling Reel

Okuma Magda MA-30DX Trolling Reel

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The Okuma Magda MA-30DX Pro Line Counter Levelwind Trolling Reel is a top-quality fishing reel that is designed to help you maximize your catch in any trolling fishing scenario. With a robust construction and a powerful drag system, this reel is built to withstand the rigors of offshore fishing and deliver reliable performance.

One of the key features of the Okuma Magda MA-30DX is its line counter, which allows you to easily track the depth and distance of your line as you troll for fish. This makes it easier to maintain a consistent fishing depth and speed and helps you target specific species more effectively. The reel also features a level-wind system, which ensures that your line is evenly distributed across the spool, reducing the risk of tangles and ensuring that you can quickly and efficiently retrieve your line.

The Okuma Magda MA-30DX has a line capacity of 580 yards of 20-pound test monofilament line, making it well-suited for targeting a range of larger fish species like salmon, walleye, and pike. The reel has a gear ratio of 4.0:1, allowing you to retrieve your line quickly and efficiently, while the drag system can deliver up to 17 pounds of stopping power to help you bring in even the biggest catches. Overall, the Okuma Magda MA-30DX Pro Line Counter Levelwind Trolling Reel is a top-quality fishing reel that is built to deliver reliable performance and help you land bigger and better fish.

Saltwater won’t damage this reel due to its excellent lightweight construction and corrosion resistance. A line counter is installed here that measures distance only in feet. So be careful if you need meters or something else. Inside is a self-lubricating gear, carbon fiber drag systems, and brass gears.

The side plates and body are fully protected against corrosion. You can don’t worry about the fact that over time it’ll become covered with rust and the components inside it will stop working because of this. The reel comes to you already assembled and you get a year warranty on it. But sometimes this model starts lashing out and it may happen that the line counter becomes sticky or the drag setting is reset. This happens very rarely, but it happens.

Pros
  • Manufacturer’s warranty

  • Self-lubricating gear system

  • Carbon drag system

  • Corrosion-resistant

  • High-quality materials

Cons
  • Sticky line counter sometimes

  • Not consistent drag adjustment

This is a great trolling reel with fast drag adjusting and an accurate counter. The only thing that will cause difficulty for the first time is that the turning is too much and you need to get used to it so as not to lose the fish.

3# Okuma Cold Water Linecounter Trolling Reel CW-303D

Okuma Cold Water Trolling Reel

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The Okuma Cold Water Linecounter Trolling Reel CW-303D is a high-performance fishing reel that is built to handle the toughest trolling fishing conditions. With durable construction and a range of advanced features, this reel is designed to help you target and land bigger and better fish.

One of the standout features of the Okuma Cold Water Linecounter Trolling Reel is its line counter, which allows you to easily track the depth and distance of your line as you troll for fish. This makes it easier to maintain a consistent fishing depth and speed and helps you target specific species more effectively. The reel also features a level-wind system, which ensures that your line is evenly distributed across the spool, reducing the risk of tangles and ensuring that you can quickly and efficiently retrieve your line.

The Okuma Cold Water Linecounter Trolling Reel has a line capacity of 420 yards of 20-pound test monofilament line, making it well-suited for targeting a range of larger fish species like salmon, trout, and walleye. The reel has a gear ratio of 5.4:1, allowing you to retrieve your line quickly and efficiently, while the drag system can deliver up to 18 pounds of stopping power to help you bring in even the biggest catches. With its durable construction, advanced features, and high-performance capabilities, the Okuma Cold Water Linecounter Trolling Reel CW-303D is a top-quality fishing reel that is built to deliver reliable performance and help you land bigger and better fish.

This is one of the lightest but most reliable trolling reels on this list. In addition to being lightweight, the reel design and side plates are corrosion-resistant. If we look inside the reel, we’ll see here a star drag, a dual anti-reverse system, and a carbon drag system. Mechanical stabilization perfectly aligns shafts and gears so that the reel feels smooth and soft during operation.

The line counter can be installed on the left or right. So no matter what your working hand is, you can set it the way you like. The manufacturer gives a year warranty on this reel. But despite the high quality of the internal components, sometimes the drag in this reel is quite sharp. Especially when working with heavy fish.

Video review

Pros
  • Corrosion resistance

  • One-year warranty

  • Dual anti-reverse system

  • High-quality star drag

  • Adjustable counter side

Cons
  • The drag is jerky sometimes

Smooth, uniform motion, and an accurate line counter that never fogs up and can be installed on either side, make this reel a good trolling option. Most often I use it for striped bass, but it also works well with other types of fish.

4# KastKing Spartacus Plus Baitcasting Fishing Reel Ultra Smooth

KastKing Baitcasting Fishing Reel

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The KastKing Spartacus Plus Baitcasting Fishing Reel is a high-performance reel that delivers smooth and reliable performance. Designed for serious anglers, this reel is built with precision engineering and advanced materials to ensure that it can handle the toughest fishing conditions.

One of the key features of the KastKing Spartacus Plus Baitcasting Fishing Reel is its smooth and consistent performance. The reel is built with a low profile design and a 7+1 stainless steel ball-bearing system that delivers ultra-smooth operation, making it easy to cast and retrieve your line with precision and control. The reel also features a magnetic braking system, which helps to prevent backlash and improve casting accuracy, even in windy conditions.

The KastKing Spartacus Plus Baitcasting Fishing Reel has a maximum drag of up to 17.5 pounds, making it well-suited for targeting a range of fish species, from bass and walleye to larger saltwater species. The reel also has a gear ratio of 6.3:1, allowing you to retrieve your line quickly and efficiently, while the CNC-machined aluminum spool helps to reduce weight and increase casting distance. With its advanced features, high-quality materials, and smooth and reliable performance, the KastKing Spartacus Plus Baitcasting Fishing Reel is a top-quality reel that is built to deliver optimal performance and help you catch more fish.

With this reel, you get 18 pounds of carbon fiber drag, which is backed by micro-casting with a dual magnetic brake system. In addition, the reel is equipped with high-quality cork or rubber handles (depending on the design) and 11 + 1 shield stainless steel bearings.

The ceramic guide is specially reinforced for a braided fishing line, and the reel itself has a double break and anti-reverse. Also, KastKing installed brass gears, an aluminum spool with SNS, and a gear ratio of 6.3: 1 here. Options for the right and left hand are available, but there are a couple of cons. Bearings may fail over time, so after some time, you will need to replace them.

Video review

Pros
  • 18 lbs. drag

  • Dual brake

  • High-quality handles

  • Right and left-handed

  • Strong line guide

Cons
  • Bearings can fail over time

The KastKing reel will be a great addition to your fishing equipment due to its high drag power and gear ratio. A high-quality body and handles will not cause discomfort during the operation.

5# Penn Warfare Level Wind Conventional Fishing Reel

Penn 641-1366185 Fishing Reel

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The Penn Warfare Level Wind Conventional Fishing Reel is a high-quality and versatile reel designed for both inshore and offshore fishing. With its durable construction and impressive features, it is a top choice for anglers of all levels.

The reel boasts a full-metal body and side plates, making it both strong and corrosion-resistant. Its HT-100 carbon fiber drag system provides smooth and consistent drag pressure, allowing you to reel in even the toughest fish. The reel also features a level wind system that helps to distribute lines evenly across the spool, ensuring smooth and accurate casts.

The Penn Warfare Level Wind Conventional Fishing Reel is equipped with a 5+1 stainless steel bearing system, providing effortless cranking and smooth retrieves. The line capacity rings on the spool allow you to easily monitor your line capacity, while the anti-reverse bearing prevents back-to-play, giving you more control over your fishing experience. This reel also has a powerful gear ratio of 5.1:1, allowing you to quickly retrieve your catch.

Penn has an excellent graphite frame, and it’s quite light. The side plates are made of another material – forged aluminum. Inside, there are HT-100 carbon washers, a brass gearbox, and anti-reverse bearings. The kit comes with a clip for convenient fixation on the rod, and a loud clicker is also installed here. You can choose a drag from 15 to 30 lbs and design for the left or right hand. Of the minuses, it’s worth noting that the alarm button works intermittently and in free spool mode, full rotation is needed for installation and blocking.

Video review

Pros
  • Bait clicker

  • Strong graphite frame and aluminum side plates

  • Clip for fixation

  • HT-100 drag washers

Cons
  • Unstable alarm button

  • Need full rotation to set and lock in free spool mode

Penn has excellent casting speed and drags power. Even an inexperienced fisherman will be able to control this reel well. With high-quality handles and a sturdy case, you can fight fish even more than 20 pounds.

Key Features to Look for in a Trolling Fishing Reel: Your Complete Checklist

Daiwa Tanacom Power Assist Reels

As I said, trolling reels differ in three main parameters: star drag, release lever, and line out an alarm. But besides these, there are several more features that you need to consider when choosing a trolling reel. Let’s talk about them.

Choosing the right trolling fishing reel can be a daunting task, but by understanding the key features, you can make an informed decision that will improve your fishing experience.

🐬Here are some of the most important features to look for in a trolling reel:

Line Capacity

The line capacity of a trolling reel refers to the amount of fishing line that it can hold. This is important because trolling often requires heavy lines to target larger fish species. A high line capacity allows anglers to use heavier lines without worrying about running out of line during a fight with a big fish.

Gear Ratio

The gear ratio of a trolling reel refers to the number of times the spool rotates for each turn of the handle. A higher gear ratio means that the reel retrieves the line faster, which can be useful when reeling in a fish or when trolling at higher speeds. However, a lower gear ratio can provide more power and torque, which can be helpful when fighting a big fish.

Drag System

The drag system of a trolling reel is responsible for controlling the amount of resistance on the line when a fish is hooked. A smooth and powerful drag system is essential for reeling in big fish without risking the line breaking. Some trolling reels have a dual drag system, which allows for even more control and precision.

Levelwind Mechanism

The level wind mechanism is responsible for distributing the fishing line evenly across the spool as it is being reeled in. This prevents the line from bunching up or getting tangled, which can cause frustration and potentially lose a fish. A high-quality level-wind mechanism is essential for a smooth and efficient fishing experience.

Construction and Durability

Finally, the construction and durability of a trolling reel are important factors to consider. Look for reels made from high-quality materials, such as stainless steel and aluminum, which can withstand the wear and tear of saltwater fishing. A well-built reel can last for years and provide a reliable fishing experience.

The Clicker

The clicker is needed to notify you when the line ends. Therefore, it should be quite loud, so that you can hear it through the noise of the boat motor, waves, voices, etc.

Materials

Basically, trolling reels are made of two materials – graphite and processed aluminum. Graphite is much cheaper and weighs less, but inferior to aluminum in durability. Here I can’t recommend one thing, everyone chooses the material that is convenient for him. But I like aluminum more, it’s much more durable and can withstand corrosion in saltwater, although it’s quite heavy.

Trolling Fishing Reels Maintenance: Keep Your Gear in Top Shape for Success

Any reel becomes dirty over time. And if you fish in the open sea, and leaves and branches do not fall on the reel, this doesn’t mean that it’ll always stay clean. Before cleaning, prepare everything you need: a bucket of hot or warm water, a cleaner (preferably biodegradable), oil for reels, and a little fluid.

First, remove the side cover and disassemble the reel. If you are not sure that you remember the order of disassembly and assembly of parts, then it’s better to write it somewhere or take a video. I often did this with my first reels. When working with springs and clamps, use tweezers or pliers so as not to lose parts.

🐬And yes, you didn’t forget to remove the line before disassembling, do you?

  • Immerse all parts in warm water and clean them with a cleaner and brush.
  • Using a toothpick or a small brush, apply grease to the bottom of the teeth.
  • Remove and dry the parts. Don’t rush to assembly the reel back.
  • First, clean the bearings with fluid, assemble them and lubricate. They should rotate without creaking and rattle.
  • In the end, assemble the reel, you can lubricate the moving parts, and the stationary ones can simply be cleaned with fluid.

Summing Up

In conclusion, trolling fishing reels are an essential tool for any angler looking to target larger fish species through trolling. With their high line capacity, strong drag system, and level wind mechanism, these reels are designed to withstand the rigors of trolling and help anglers reel in their catch with ease.

Trolling fishing reels are an essential piece of equipment for anyone interested in trolling fishing. They are specially designed to handle the unique demands of this type of fishing and offer a range of features that make it easier to catch fish. When choosing a trolling fishing reel, it’s important to consider the different types available and the key features that are most important for your needs.

Trolling reels are a very interesting and effective type of fishing reel. If you want to succeed in trolling fishing, then you need a good fishing rod, bait, and most importantly, a good trolling reel. No one angler has ever caught a hundred pounds of fish for the first time. Here, as in any kind of fishing, you first need to gain experience and practice. But as soon as you ‘feel the ground under your feet’, you will see, how efficiently trolling reels work.

I chose some good reels specifically so that you don’t spend time searching the Internet. But if you still don’t like my list, then you can always use the tips on choosing the right reel. If you liked this article, then share it on social networks.

Tags: #trolling reels / #best trolling reels / #trolling reels with line counter / #okuma trolling reels / #saltwater trolling reels /#best offshore trolling reels / #best trolling reels for walleye / #best trolling reels for tuna

Top Best Trolling Reels

Sergio Smirnoff
Sergio Smirnoff
Professional fisherman with 40+ years of experience.
Fishing and the ocean is a passion of my life. I am passionate about all kinds of sea fishing: fishing from the shore (spinning, float, baitcasting), from a boat, and spearfishing day and night.

I live in Tenerife (Canary Islands) for the last 10+ years and share my daily fishing experiences on my website. Many years of personal experience as a fisherman and the vast experience of my friends allow me to write professionally on any fishing topics (from choosing a flashlight and equipment to deep-sea fishing).

All of my advice is based on practical real-world experience and will be useful to both novice anglers and professionals. Read more about the author.

Affiliate Disclosure: FishReeler.com sometimes gets paid for listings, through sponsors or affiliate programs like Amazon, Ebay, Cabelas, Bass Pro Shop, Shimano, Daiwa, Rapala, Renn, Okuma, KastKing, etс. Clicking a link helps keep FishReeler.com free, at no extra cost to you!

About the author: Each article is verified by the fishing expert Sergio Smirnoff. The articles are written by professional and amateur fishermen with 20+ years of fishing experience.

Note: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of any agency. The articles are for informational purposes only, share your opinions in the comments and join the fishing discussions, let's share our fishing experiences together!

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Neal Scott
Neal Scott
1 year ago

The PENN Squall II Level Wind is the perfect choice for anglers looking for a high-quality, durable, and affordable level wind reel. With its Fast Gear Access Sideplate, 3+1 shielded stainless steel ball-bearing system, and HT-100 carbon fiber drag system, the PENN Squall II Level Wind provides everything you need for a great day of fishing.

Product Name
PENN Squall II Level Reel
Oscar Taylor
Oscar Taylor
1 year ago

This reel (OKUMA MAGDA MA-30DX PRO TROLLING REEL) is a great choice for saltwater fishing due to its corrosion-resistant construction. It features a line counter and self-lubricating gear, making it a durable and reliable option. However, some users have reported issues with the line counter and drag setting, so be aware of these potential problems before making your purchase.

Product Name
OKUMA MAGDA MA-30DX PRO TROLLING REEL
Rick KLM
Rick KLM
1 year ago

My opinion is that there is a lot to consider when choosing a trolling reel, but taking the time to find a reel that fits your needs will make your fishing much more enjoyable. The PENN Squall II Level Wind Conventional Fishing Reel is a great choice for those who need a reliable and durable reel that will handle trolling conditions well.

Product Name
TROLLING REEL
Anarthian Sunqin
Anarthian Sunqin
6 months ago

Thank you for your recommendation on fishing gear. I completely agree with your assessment. The AVET MX or LX equivalent and Shimano Calcutta 400B are excellent choices for this type of fishing.

With 15-30lbs fish in the area, it’s essential to have a reel that can hold the heavier lines and more of it. Using a 40-50lbs test line is recommended as the fish are not line shy. However, if you feel that they are, using a 5-foot fluorocarbon can help.

I completely agree that one rod and reel will not cover all your fishing needs. It’s crucial to have different setups for different types of fishing, especially if you’re targeting different species. For example, a heavier setup like the AVET MX Raptor with Daiwa Proteus Boat Rod is great for tuna, large yellowtails, and more.

If you’re not sure what type of gear to buy, renting from the landing is an excellent option. It allows you to get a feel for the equipment before investing in something that may not work for you.

As for my current setups, I use the AVET SX 2 Speed with Daiwa Proteus Boat Rod for smaller 12-15lbs class yellows, calicos, sand bass, bottom fish like sculpin, sheep heads, halibuts, or sand dabs. The AVET MX Raptor with Daiwa Proteus Boat Rod is my go-to for larger species like tuna, white sea bass, large lingcod, thresher sharks, and more. Finally, the Daiwa Lexa 100 with Daiwa Exceler 15lb line weight ultra-light setup is perfect for bass, perch, sand dabs, and bait fish like mackerel or sardines.

Qaled Qamaz
Qaled Qamaz
6 months ago

Thank you for sharing your recommendation for a good trolling setup. As an avid angler, I completely agree with your suggestion of using a moderate action rod and a line-counter reel.

Personally, I would recommend the St Croix Eyecon Bounce-N-Troll EYC70MHM rod, although you could also get good performance out of an Ugly Stik or an SLX Glass. For the reel, I would suggest looking into the Daiwa Lexa LC 100 or one of the Okuma line counters. If you need to throw cranks, you can always swap on a regular casting reel as most line counters don’t have casting brakes. While clip-on line counters are also an option, I find them to be fiddly and prefer a line-counter reel instead.

This setup works well for various types of lures such as crankbaits, walleye rigs, spoons, spinners, jet divers, and pink lady divers. I haven’t tried using a dipsy diver on it, and I don’t use planer boards. However, trolling rods specifically made for dipsies, planers, and more are easy to find and relatively inexpensive. Both Shimano and Daiwa make them.

The St Croix Eyecon Bounce-N-Troll EYC70MHM is a hybrid between a crankbait stick and a rod built specifically for trolling. It’s the only one I know of with a smaller handle compared to most other purpose-built trolling rods. However, if you’re looking for extra power, I recommend checking out the Eyecon Trolling series and the new telescopic trollers from 13.

Anjoon Suniqo
Anjoon Suniqo
6 months ago

If you’re looking to handle a decent size tuna or high-speed trolling (HST), I would recommend the Avet 50w or Shimano’s Tiagra over the Penn reels. We’ve found that the Avet and Shimano reels hold up longer and have a better warranty compared to our older Penn reels. While we have some older Penn reels that have held up well, the newer ones just haven’t performed as well for us.

When it comes to trolling, I highly recommend sticking to conventional reels instead of spinning reels. A spinning reel simply won’t hold up if a giant fish grabs your line and rips out half of it in less than 10 seconds.

I’ve heard that Penn reels are now available wholesale along with the others you mentioned. However, it’s unfortunate to hear about the decline in the quality of the newer Penn reels.

In terms of our own trolling setup, we usually use a maximum of 5 conventional reels and 1 spinning reel – a Penn Battle 6000 on a surf pole – to keep it far and clear. We use the Penn spinning reel because it has an ultra-soft drag setting for those finicky fish. I have had some great experiences with the Penn spinning reel, such as one day when we were pulling in the spread and I reeled about 30 feet from a boat. 

Suddenly, a kingfish and I saw each other at the same time. It was holding the bait and didn’t know it was on the line because of the ultra-soft drug release. It turned out to be one of the best kingfish fights I’ve had, weighing in at 38lbs.f you’re looking to handle a decent size tuna or high-speed trolling (HST), I would recommend the Avet 50w or Shimano’s Tiagra over the Penn reels. We’ve found that the Avet and Shimano reels hold up longer and have a better warranty compared to our older Penn reels. While we have some older Penn reels that have held up well, the newer ones just haven’t performed as well for us.

When it comes to trolling, I highly recommend sticking to conventional reels instead of spinning reels. A spinning reel simply won’t hold up if a giant fish grabs your line and rips out half of it in less than 10 seconds.

I’ve heard that Penn reels are now available wholesale along with the others you mentioned. However, it’s unfortunate to hear about the decline in the quality of the newer Penn reels.

In terms of our own trolling setup, we usually use a maximum of 5 conventional reels and 1 spinning reel – a Penn Battle 6000 on a surf pole – to keep it far and clear. We use the Penn spinning reel because it has an ultra-soft drag setting for those finicky fish. I have had some great experiences with the Penn spinning reel, such as one day when we were pulling in the spread and I reeled about 30 feet from a boat. Suddenly, a kingfish and I saw each other at the same time. It was holding the bait and didn’t know it was on the line because of the ultra-soft drag release. It turned out to be one of the best kingfish fights I’ve had, weighing in at 38 lbs.

Markod Rutila
Markod Rutila
6 months ago

As an avid saltwater fisherman, I recently started freshwater fishing in Southern California and I’ve really taken a liking to trolling for rainbows. The fish are usually between 2-3 lbs, and I’ve been using a 10 lb lead core line since it’s the smallest I could find. However, my current setup, an Avet SX on a Calstar 700ML, seems comically overkill for this type of fishing.

So I’m looking for suggestions on well-built conventional or baitcasting reels with a clicker specifically for trolling. I don’t need a line counter. I was initially looking at the size and shape of the Shakespeare ATS 15, but I wasn’t impressed with its quality. Any recommendations would be greatly appreciated!