The 10 Best Trolling Reels in 2020 & How To Choose

Do you intend to go deep-sea fishing any time soon? If you are, one of the items that would boost your chances of relaxed fishing experience is an ideal trolling reel.

Trolling involves dragging lines with hook-rigged lures from the rear of the boat, and this would enable you to cover more water.

If you want to spend more time relaxing during your fishing trip rather than always supervising the lines, then it is wise that you get the best trolling reel for the job.

However, due to the many different trolling reels available in the market, your search may end up being long and frustrating. For this reason, we have come up with this article on the best trolling reels out there to make things easier for you.

For instance, we shall discuss what you need to consider to land a high-quality trolling reel, including:

  • The construction
  • Line capacity
  • The drag
  • Maintenance, among others

Top-Rated Trolling Reels 2020: Comparison List

You may not have the time to peruse our detailed reviews. If that's the case, here's simple comparison list you can conveniently use.

The Best Trolling Reels - Reviews

1. Kastking Rover Baitcasting Reel

If you intend to go hunting for the biggest fish in the deep waters of the ocean, the Kasting Rover would make a handy companion.

First, it features an aluminum spool and anodized side plates to give you a well-built product capable of withstanding the harshest environments.

On top of that, the reel features several stainless steel parts to make it corrosion-resistant, a quality suited for saltwater fishing.

The stainless steel ball bearings allow for the smooth operation of the reel, while the centrifugal braking system is not likely to ever let you down.

When it comes to the handle, not only does it offer a firm grip for ultimate control, but it comes in the form of a single T-handle that makes it weight and space-saving.

Lastly, the carbon fiber drag system is one of the reasons why this is one of the strongest and most powerful trolling reels that you may ever come across.

Pros

  • Attractive red side plates
  • Smooth operation
  • Well-built

Cons

  • The bait clicker is too loud for some

2. Penn Squall LevelWind

Penn has a reputation for producing high-quality trolling fishing reels globally. The Squall LevelWind model does not deviate from these high standards, and it is easy to see why.

For starters, the reel features bronze gears as well as a stainless steel pinion to minimize corrosion.

Then, it has a sturdy yet lightweight graphite frame which is capable of sustaining the pressure that comes with pulling small to medium-sized fish out of the water.

You should also appreciate how smoothly the levelWind reel operates.

Let's not leave out the Versa-drag system, which makes fishing for the larger fish species to be really easy.

Another benefit lies with the gear ratio that allows for faster retrieval of the line.

Lastly, the reel is available in three different sizes, 15, 20, and 30 plus has a left-handed version available too.

Pros

  • Lightweight and durable
  • The Versa-handle system allows for easy adjustment of the handle length
  • Available in three different sizes

Cons

  • Has no auto-engage

3. Penn Squall Lever Drag 2-Speed Trolling Reel

The Penn brand makes it to our list again, and this time it is the 2-speed trolling reel, which is ideal for the saltwater environment. One of the reasons for its suitability to this environment is the heavy-duty drag.

This trolling reel has a corrosion-resistant graphite frame that is also lightweight. What's more, is the Dura-Drag system that ensures there are no drags in the reel's operation.

Another feature of this trolling reel is the 2-speed system that allows you to shift between gears, high and low, when necessitated to do so.

Everyone wants a long-term investment, and with this trolling reel, you can rest assured that you are acquiring a durable product that would serve you for a long time to come.

Pros

  • Smooth operation
  • Corrosion-resistant and durable
  • Sturdy yet lightweight

Cons

  • Pricey

4. Okuma Magda Pro Trolling Reel

If you are looking for a versatile trolling reel, the Okuma Pro would be a reasonable choice. It features a corrosion-resistant graphite spool that makes it suited to both fresh and saltwater.

The reel features a multi-disc carbonate drag system for smooth operation while the side plates are stainless steel reinforced to enhance the reel's corrosion-resistance.

Other notable features include a self-lubricating gear system, two stainless steel ball bearings, and a stainless steel level wind guide system.

Lastly, to give you peace of mind as you use the trolling reel, it comes with a one-year manufacturer’s warranty.

Pros

  • Operates smoothly
  • Corrosion-resistant and durable
  • Comes with a one-year manufacturer’s warranty

Cons

  • Only suited for the experienced anglers

5. Shimano Tekota Baitcasting Reel

Are you looking for a well-built trolling reel that would serve you for a long time to come? The Shimano Tekota would be a decent pick and is ideal for use in open waters such as oceans and lakes.

To start with, the Tekota Baitcasting reel features anodized aluminum frames and side plates. This is crucial to keeping the gears in good shape as twisting would all but be eliminated.

There is also the non-engaging level wind system that automatically guides the line back into the spool. This saves you the energy that you would have used in manually guiding the line.

Then, the anti-reverse system aims to ensure that the reel is more than capable of dealing with the larger fish species.

What's more, is the handle with a Septon grip that is non-slip and should keep the reel firmly in your hands all through your expedition. It is also very comfortable.

Pros

  • Lightweight and durable
  • The handle has a firm grip
  • Ideal for both salt and freshwater

Cons

  • The drag system is not that smooth

6. Okuma Coldwater Trolling Reel

This trolling reel would be the perfect tool if you know you are going to be out in the water fishing for extended periods. This is due to its lightweight and flexible nature that ensures you do not get uncomfortable or tired during the expedition.

Then, it features two stainless steel ball bearings and one roller bearing, all of which contribute to the smoothness and ease-of-control of the trolling reel.

What's more, is the multi-disc carbonite drag system that ensures you bring your catch on board with minimum effort.

Let’s not leave out the ratcheting drag space that offers accurate drag settings. On top of that, the handle feels good in the hands.

Lastly, the product comes with a one-year warranty.

Pros

  • Smooth operation
  • Comfortable handle
  • Has a one-year warranty

Cons

  • Too noisy

7. KastKing Rekon Trolling Fishing reel

Another one from the KastKing brand is the Rekon line counter that is ideal for dealing with the large fish species, including Salmon, Trout, and Walleye.

The reel is designed for harsh conditions, and it features three stainless steel ball bearings that are double-shielded. The gears and shafts are constructed out of precision machined brass, while the pinion gear and line guide shaft are made of high-quality stainless steel.

As a result, you have a durable reel that should serve you for a decent period into the future.

The Rekon Line counter reel uses a carbon disc drag system for a smooth operation.

Lastly, the double-padded handles with Eva grips offer a comfortable and firm grip.

Pros

  • Durable
  • Smooth Operation
  • Comfortable handle

Cons

  • Tends to slip during line-retrieval

8. Okuma Convector Levelwind Trolling Reel

The Okuma brand is normally associated with high-quality trolling reels, and the Convector levelwind is not an exception.

It is a well-built graphite frame and the side plates that are corrosion-resistant. On top of that, the reel features anodized aluminum spools, and this enhances its durability.

Another feature is the multi-disk carbonate drag system that allows for the smooth operation of the trolling reel.

We should also mention the two stainless steel ball bearings as well as the anti-reverse ball bearing, which contribute to the overall efficiency of the trolling reel.

Pros

  • Undergoes quality tests before release into the market
  • Well-built
  • Smooth operation

Cons

  • Not waterproof

9. Okuma Classic CLX Levelwind Star Drag Reel

This is another Okuma product, which we believe is worth investing in. To start with, it features a stainless steel foot that gives it impressive strength and durability.

Then, there is the stainless steel lever wind guide that you would find handy as you fish with a double line by helping in the proper knot clearance.

Another benefit lies with the graphite frame that is corrosion-resistant and would last longer even when exposed to salty water.

The reel also features a Rubidium multi-disc drag system as well as a self-lubricating gear system. These, coupled with the carbonite drag washers, go a long way in contributing to the smoothness and efficiency of the reel.

Lastly, the Speed LOC Pinion Gear System does not inhibit positive engagement, even when you operate the reel at a very high speed.

Pros

  • Corrosion-resistant for durability
  • Has a stainless steel foot for strength
  • The aluminum power handle gives you total control over the reel

Cons

  • There is a legal disclaimer that claims the product exposes its users to harmful chemicals

10. Okuma Classic Pro XP Trolling Reel

What better way to wind up our analysis than with another Okuma model, the Classic Pro XP? This reel is ideal for beginners, while some professionals are also fond of it due to its numerous desirable qualities.

First is the corrosion-resistant graphite frame that is capable of withstanding the harsh environments that it is likely going to be exposed to.

The reel also features a multi-disk rubidium drag system for efficient and smooth operation.

The Classic Pro has a compact and minimalist design that makes it ideal for you if you are always on the move.

Pros

  • Lightweight
  • Corrosion-resistant
  • Lightweight and compact

Cons

  • Not really ideal for the professionals

The Buying Guide

If you want to spend less time looking form the appropriate trolling reel to purchase, there are several factors that you need to consider. This would also boost your chances of getting the best product for the job.

We have discussed these aspects below.

The Construction

The durability of your trolling reel largely depends on how well it is built. Common materials used in constructing trolling reels include aluminum and graphite.

Graphite reels tend to be lightweight and affordable but not very sturdy. On the other hand, aluminum reels sturdy, high-quality, but pricy.

Line Capacity

You ought to know that there are fish species capable of stripping an entire spool. This issue is most common with saltwater fishing, and so you need to be adequately prepared for such an eventuality.

Drag

When it comes to this feature, you would want one that would do an impressive job of absorbing energy, especially when you have to deal with the bigger and more resistant fish species.

Multi-disc drags are the ones that would guarantee you smooth control, especially when dealing with the large fish.

The Clickers

A clicker has the function of giving out a loud sound as your line pays out. Therefore, you need a clicker that is loud enough for you to hear it over engine noise or your fellow anglers conversing.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

You may also check out the following questions and their answers for you to boost your knowledge of trolling reels.

What is the difference between a trolling reel and a baitcasting reel?

Well, they are very similar in many aspects. However, baitcasting reels allow you to cast the line while trolling reels only allow you to drop the line into the water to cover some depth.

Why should I go for a trolling reel?

The main reason we would advise you to invest in one is so that it contributes to you having a relaxing fishing experience without having to constantly monitor the lines.

Also, trolling reels tend to cover more water as compared to other types of reels.

The Best Overall

In the end, we have concluded that the Kastking Rover Baitcasting Reel is the best of them all. Not only does it possess features that would ensure it delivers an outstanding performance, but it also has an attractive design.

You could, therefore, show off to your companions, plus it would be an ideal gift for a friend.

Final Thoughts

If you are a serious angler, you need to try out trolling in your lifetime. For a memorable experience, you need an appropriate trolling reel for the job.

We hope our article would be of great help in your search. We have even taken the step of analyzing some of the best trolling reels in the market to help you make an informed choice next time you are out shopping.

All the best in your search for the ideal trolling reel.

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