Best Trolling Rods of 2021 (Top Picks & Buying Guide)

Kenneth ReavesEdited by: Kenneth Reaves
Michael DarmontReviewed by: Michael Darmont

Last Update:

The Rundown

Best Overall: Fiblink Saltwater Offshore Heavy Trolling Rod
“The Fiblink Saltwater Offshore Heavy Trolling Rod smooth and impressive performance is due to its comfortable design and tough build. It minimizes strain on your line while allowing secure handling.”

Best High End Rod: KastKing Krome Casting Pro Troller
“If you’re looking for maximum durability and comfort on top of top-notch performance and unparalleled sensitivity, the KastKing Chrome Casting Pro Troller is for you. It features premium-grade hardware and is tough beyond comparison.

Best Budget Rod: Daiwa Wilderness Downrigger Trolling Rod
“There’s no need to go out of budget to get the best quality trolling rod when you have the Daiwa Wilderness Downrigger. It offers additional gripping power and eliminates unnecessary drag line.”

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Trolling is a highly effective method of covering water, in a bid to increase one’s success while on the water.

However, this fishing tactic also typically requires the use of quality gear, including a high-grade trolling rod.

Premium trolling rods are constructed with longevity in mind. These rods tend to be longer than standard fishing rods, and are constructed from top-tier materials, in a bid to enhance their longevity.

Some heavy-duty trolling rods also feature additional equipment, such as roller guides, which assist in the proper metering of line, both when being trolled and during a prolonged fight.

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Hours spent testing
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Our Ranking
Ranked #1
Ranked #2
Ranked #3
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Fiblink Saltwater Offshore Heavy Trolling Fishing Rod Big Game Spinning Conventional Boat Fishing Roller Rod Pole with All Roller Guides (Heavy Power, 5-Feet 1-Inch, 50-80-Pound Test)
KastKing Krome Salmon and Steelhead Fishing Rods, Casting Pro Troller - 12ft - Heavy-2pcs
Daiwa Wilderness Downrigger Trolling Freshwater Rod, 8' Length, 2Piece, 8-17 lb Line Rate, Medium/Light Power
Our Grade
Our Rating 95/100
Our Rating 92/100
Our Rating 91/100
Feature 1
E-glass graphite composite blanks for increased durability
Custom Carbon fiber handles for enhanced durability and comfort
Constructed of fiberglass for lightweight durability
Feature 2
EVA handle provides comfort for all-day excursions
Toray IM8 high-strength carbon, 45 million modulus blanks for unparalleled strength
Ceramic rings for dramatically reduced friction
Best Overall
Our Ranking
Ranked #1
Thumbnail
Fiblink Saltwater Offshore Heavy Trolling Fishing Rod Big Game Spinning Conventional Boat Fishing Roller Rod Pole with All Roller Guides (Heavy Power, 5-Feet 1-Inch, 50-80-Pound Test)
Our Grade
Our Rating 95/100
Feature 1
E-glass graphite composite blanks for increased durability
Feature 2
EVA handle provides comfort for all-day excursions
Buy Now Button
Best High End Rod
Our Ranking
Ranked #2
Thumbnail
KastKing Krome Salmon and Steelhead Fishing Rods, Casting Pro Troller - 12ft - Heavy-2pcs
Our Grade
Our Rating 92/100
Feature 1
Custom Carbon fiber handles for enhanced durability and comfort
Feature 2
Toray IM8 high-strength carbon, 45 million modulus blanks for unparalleled strength
Buy Now Button
Best Budget Rod
Our Ranking
Ranked #3
Thumbnail
Daiwa Wilderness Downrigger Trolling Freshwater Rod, 8' Length, 2Piece, 8-17 lb Line Rate, Medium/Light Power
Our Grade
Our Rating 91/100
Feature 1
Constructed of fiberglass for lightweight durability
Feature 2
Ceramic rings for dramatically reduced friction
Buy Now Button

Best Trolling Rods of 2021 (Top Picks & Buying Guide)

Fiblink Saltwater Offshore Heavy Trolling Fishing Rod Big Game Spinning Conventional Boat Fishing Roller Rod Pole with All Roller Guides (Heavy Power, 5-Feet 1-Inch, 50-80-Pound Test)
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KEY FEATURES

  • E-glass graphite composite blanks for increased durability
  • EVA handle provides comfort for all-day excursions
  • Backed by a 1-year warranty

The Fiblink Saltwater Offshore Heavy Trolling is likely the perfect choice for any angler who is looking for quality performance, at a cost-effective price. This rod is constructed of top-quality, extra-tough tubular E-glass graphite composite, for applying extra pressure when battling those huge saltwater fish. The Fiblink Saltwater Offshore’s heavy-duty roller guides minimize strain on your line and provide smooth operation.

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Those purchasing the Fiblink Saltwater Trolling Rod should be extremely satisfied with the unit’s aluminum alloy reel seat, which provides secure containment for your reel, and is corrosion-resistant. 

This rod also features a high-density EVA handle and foregrip, allowing for secure handling. Additionally, the Fiblink Saltwater Trolling Rod features an aluminum butt section for easy removal and placement in rod holders. Also of note, is the Fiblink Saltwater Trolling Rod’s 1-year manufacturer warranty.

2. KastKing Krome Casting Pro Troller

Best High End Rod: A premium rod that is sure to satisfy even the most discerning of anglers

KastKing Krome Salmon and Steelhead Fishing Rods, Casting Pro Troller - 12ft - Heavy-2pcs
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KEY FEATURES

  • Toray IM8 high-strength carbon, 45 million modulus blanks for unparalleled strength
  • Fuji K-Frame guides with Alconite rings for use with multiple line types
  • Custom Carbon fiber handles for enhanced durability and comfort

If you are currently searching for an extremely durable trolling fishing rod, that should last a lifetime, then you will likely find immense favor in the KastKing Krome Casting Pro Troller This rod is constructed of Toray IM8 high-strength carbon, a 45 million modulus blank, and Nano Silica resin for incredible durability, performance, and sensitivity. The Casting Pro Troller is then reinforced with true Kevlar fabric from the butt section, through the reel seat, providing extra fighting power.

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Additionally, the Casting Pro features premium-grade hardware. The KastKing Krome Casting Pro Troller utilizes the finest Fuji K-Frame tangle-free guides with Alconite rings. These guides are tough beyond comparison and will handle any mono, fluorocarbon, or braided line with ease. This provides anglers with the confidence they need to make the most out of their time on the water.

Many anglers should also find favor in the Casting Pro’s custom carbon fiber handle. These grips are extremely durable, yet designed with angler comfort in mind, and are sure to reduce hand and arm fatigue when hitting the water for your next all-day excursion.

3. Daiwa Wilderness Downrigger Trolling

Best Budget Rod: Premium quality, at a cost-effective price

Daiwa Wilderness Downrigger Trolling Freshwater Rod, 8' Length, 2Piece, 8-17 lb Line Rate, Medium/Light Power
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KEY FEATURES

  • Ceramic rings for dramatically reduced friction
  • EVA handle for all-day comfort
  • Constructed of fiberglass for lightweight durability

The Daiwa Wilderness Downrigger Trolling Rod should be the perfect fit for those who are looking for a high-quality rod, at an economical price point. This rod is constructed of resilient fiberglass, offering superb performance, yet retails for less than the cost of a tank of gas. In the world of trolling rods, there are likely few better values to be found.

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The Daiwa Wilderness Downrigger Trolling Rod also features ceramic inserts with shock ring guides, which dramatically reduce line drag when casting and retrieving one’s line. Additionally, the use of these guides serves to minimize line wear, as unnecessary line drag is eliminated. 

Many anglers should find favor in the Daiwa Wilderness Downrigger Trolling Rod’s EVA handle, which provides sufficient comfort for long days on the water. The Wilderness also features a round rubber butt cap, which provides additional gripping power for wet hands, and makes it easier to remove from a rod holder.

4. Lamiglas Classic Glass

Most Comfortable: A rod that is comfortable enough, to keep you fishing at your best for hours on end

Lamiglas Classic Glass, CG86MHC / 8'6' / Moderate / 10-20
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KEY FEATURES

  • E-glass fiberglass construction for ultimate durability
  • Ergonomically designed cork handles for increased comfort
  • Features a 1-year warranty against defects

The Lamiglas Classic Glass should be the perfect rod for those who regularly fish for lengthy periods of time, on any given day. This lightweight, durable rod is favored by anglers trolling for salmon, and plug fishing. The Lamiglas Classic is constructed of E-Glass fiberglass material, for incredible action and durability.

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The Lamiglas Classic Glass fishing rod also features premium quality stainless steel black double foot guides, that are up to the task of handling whatever is asked of them. The strong double foot frames and ceramic ring design combined together allows these guides to hold up to the most rigorous of fishing conditions. 

Long days of fishing on the water are eased by the comfort of the ergonomically designed classic tapered cork handles, featured on the Lamiglas Classic Glass fishing rod. As a result, both hand and arm fatigue are greatly reduced.

5. Okuma Classic Pro GLT & Rods

Most Durable: Durable enough to last a lifetime, even under the most demanding of conditions

Okuma CP-PB-7101M-T Classic Pro GLT and Striper Rods, 7'10'
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KEY FEATURES

  • Fiberglass blank construction for superior strength
  • EVA grips for all-day comfort
  • Titanium oxide eye inserts for smooth, friction-free usage

If you are in the market for an excellent trolling rod that is also extremely durable, then the Okuma Classic Pro GTL Rod should be worthy of your consideration. This rod’s fiberglass construction offers the perfect blend of characteristics. The GTL features a tip-over butt ferrule section, which increases strength and makes it outwardly responsive, yet tougher than the vast majority of similar rods on the market.

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The Okuma Classic Pro GTL Rod also features nothing but the highest quality components, including titanium oxide guide rod eye inserts, and heavy-duty, double foot stainless steel guide frames. This should be highly appreciated by those who are looking for a rod of unparalleled quality.

Also of note, is the Okuma Classic Pro GLT Rod’s comfort-related features. Among these features are EVA grips that offer comfort if you’re planning on fishing for days. The grip’s butt section features a rubberized, shrink tube overlay. This is responsible for providing an additional gripping power if you have wet hands. Plus, it makes it easy to remove from a rod holder. The Okuma Classic Pro also features a one year warranty.


Things to Consider When Buying a Trolling Rod

Friction Prevention

When trolling, proper friction control is paramount to consistent success. 

When the fish of a lifetime is on the line, excess friction can be an angler’s undoing. Many trolling rods feature specialized rod guides, which reduce friction. Many of these guides feature a specialized coating that lets line slide through their interior expenses, in the most effortless of fashions. Such frictionless line guides can greatly reduce the chance of line breakage, when under intense stress or strain.

Manual or Electric

One must choose between a manual or electric line counter when attempting to verify the depth of their presentation.

When trolling, depth control is everything. Most anglers use a line counter to facilitate proper depth control. Both manual and electric line counters are available, each of which presents its own advantages and disadvantages. Electric line counters tend to be more accurate, but typically require the use of batteries. Manual line counters, on the other hand, do not require the use of batteries but can be somewhat less accurate than their electric counterparts.

Sturdy and Heavy Duty

In order to withstand years of use, a trolling rod must be inherently durable, and capable of handling repeated episodes of stress.

To withstand a life of trolling, a rod must be constructed in an extremely durable manner. Trolling rods are subject to additional force at the hands of water resistance, as an angler’s bait or lure is drug through the water. This force is increased exponentially when a fish of sizable proportions takes the bait. Rods of a lesser construction do not tend to fare well under such circumstances.

Butt Ends

The butt end of a rod plays just as pivotal of a role in catching fish, as a rod’s tip.

Unbeknownst to many, the butt end of a trolling rod is just as important as a rod’s outward-facing end. Moist angler’s position their rods in rod holders when trolling. When a fish strikes, the rod is hoisted from this rod holder, as the fight commences. A trolling rod’s end should sit snugly in a rod holder, yet be capable of being pulled from such a holder at a moment’s notice, with little excess friction. This allows an angler to make much swifter hook sets, thereby increasing their chances at a successful catch.

Roller Guides

The use of roller guides drastically reduces the chance of untimely line breakage.

Many premium trolling rods feature roller guides. These specialized guides minimize line friction, while providing additional securement for the line itself. This is of significant value when trolling for large saltwater species, which often put up an intense fight, and are more than capable of breaking an angler’s line with little effort.


Benefits of Buying a Quality Trolling Rod

Efficient

A quality trolling rod will make an angler far more efficient in their on-water endeavors. This stems from the fact that the use of a rod of this nature allows anglers to cover significant expanses of water, thereby increasing one’s chance at receiving strikes in the process.When trolling, an angler is moving about, constantly searching for the hot bite. This is in direct contrast to other forms of fishing, which often see an angler stationed at a singular location.

Trolling can be among the best ways to entice suspended fish to bite, which often proves difficult in itself, with the use of other various tactics. The use of one or more trolling rods makes it possible to locate willing biters, even on days when success can be hard to come by.

One-Time Investment

If properly taken care of, a quality trolling rod can last years, or even decades, into the future. Rods of this nature are engineered to be extremely durable and can withstand a significant amount of wear and tear, without showing any ill-effects. 

This is of significant value, as the purchase of such a rod serves as a one-time investment. While there is certainly some expenditure associated with the purchase of a trolling rod, any money spent should be seen as an investment, as an angler will benefit from this investment well into the future.

Durable

Trolling rods are inherently durable, and are designed to withstand the pressure imparted upon them by water resistance as an angler’s lure or bait is drug through the water. This is perhaps the single most significant reason for the use of such a rod, as opposed to a standard rod when trolling.

However, this durability also plays well into a trolling rod’s overall longevity. Because these rods are designed for such a purpose, they are typically engineered in a rather robust fashion, thereby making a trolling rod less susceptible to normal wear and tear.


Questions & Answers

What is trolling fishing?

Trolling is the act of moving slowly across a lake while trailing a baited line behind a boat. This is done in a bid to draw strikes from awaiting fish of numerous species. Trolling is looked at as a favorable strategy, due to the fact that it allows an angler to cover a significant amount of water during any given outing. Trolling is commonly employed as a tactic when fishing for walleye, trout, striped bass, crappie, and various saltwater species.

What is a trolling rod and when should I use it?

A trolling rod is a rod that is used for the specific purpose of trailing a baited line behind a boat. Rods of this nature tend to be of greater length than standard spinning rods, and are typically heavier than those used in other applications. This comes as a natural adaptation to sustain the increased stress placed upon a rod when trolling, due to resistance caused by water drag.

Do I need a specific rod for trolling?

In all actuality, a standard rod of any type can be used for trolling. However, many such rods are not of sufficient length or rigidity to produce optimum results. Trolling rods are designed to present an angler’s bait or lure at a particular depth, which comes partially as a product of a rod’s angle in correlation to the boat from which it is fished. Additionally, many standard rods are not rigid enough to remain resolute when being pulled through an onslaught of current.

What’s the best trolling speed?

The exact speed at which trolling should be conducted varies from one particular application to the next. Some species of fish are far more receptive to fast presentations, while others simply are not. However, in the majority of cases, a speed of 1.5-3 MPH, as measured by a GPS, is conducive to quality fishing.

How do I troll for bass?

Those who troll for bass most often do so with a crankbait. Crankbaits are ideally suited to this application, as they are capable of running at a predictable depth when one maintains a steady speed. To catch bass in this manner, one must determine the depth at which bass are holding in a given body of water, and then select a crankbait that dives to an appropriate depth. After doing so, finding success tends to involve covering large expanses of promising water.

How fast should I troll for stripers?

For most anglers, the speed at which they troll when fishing for stripers depends on whether they are using live bait or artificial lures. When fishing with live bait, most troll at speeds of around 1 MPH. When fishing artificial lures, 2-3 MPH tends to be more of the norm. However, these speeds can vary, depending upon the day’s water conditions.

How fast should I troll for Mahi?

Mahi tends to be rather aggressive, making it possible for anglers to travel at greater speeds than that which would be considered typical when fishing for other species. In many instances, speeds of 2-9 knots are considered optimal when fishing for Mahi. Anglers should vary their speed within this range, in order to determine the exact presentation that the fish are favoring on a given day.

How fast should I troll with ballyhoo?

Ballyhoo, or any other natural baits for that matter, is bet trolled at slower speeds. When using a bait of this nature, a significant amount of trolling occurs at 1-2 MPH. Beyond these speeds, success tends to fall off rather sharply. 

How long should a trolling rod be?

In the vast majority of cases, trolling rods fall into a size range of 6-9 feet. However, both longer and shorter variants are also used. Rods of a moderate length provides greater versatility when attempting to present bait and lures at a particular depth, while also striving to maintain a consistent presentation.


Conclusion

Trolling can be a highly productive way to catch fish. However, one must have the proper gear at their disposal. Without the proper rod in hand, an angler can face significant difficulty when attempting to make the most out of a day spent trolling. 

By carefully considering the attributes of a quality trolling rod, an angler is able to make an informed buying decision, which will likely end in a satisfactory purchase. If you currently find yourself in search of such a rod, any of the above-listed products will serve as an excellent addition to your equipment selection. The utilization of a rod of this nature will not only expand your capabilities but make you far more efficient at putting fish in the boat.