5 Best Trolling Rods: 2021 Buying Guide

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

Last Update:

The Rundown

Best Overall: Fiblink Saltwater Trolling Rod (click to see)
“The Fiblink Trolling Rod is made with E-glass graphite composite blanks for applying extra pressure when battling those huge saltwater fish. Its heavy-duty roller guides minimize strain on your line.”

Most Durable: Okuma Classic Pro GLT (click to see)
“The Okuma Classic Pro features a blank fiberglass construction for superior strength with EVA grips for all-day comfort. This should be highly appreciated by anglers looking for a rod of unparalleled quality.

Best Budget Rod: Daiwa Wilderness Trolling Rod (click to see)
“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 dragline.”

Check Other Models on Amazon

Trolling is a highly effective method of covering water to increase one’s success while on the water. However, this fishing tactic also typically requires quality gear, including a high-grade trolling rod.

The best trolling rods are constructed with longevity in mind. They tend to be longer than standard fishing rods and are made from top-tier materials to enhance their longevity.

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

Sources researched
21
Sources researched
Customer reviews
17,625
Customer reviews
Hours spent testing
18
Hours spent testing
Products tested
5
Products tested
Product Name
Most Durable
Best Budget Rod
Our Ranking
Ranked #1
Ranked #2
Ranked #3
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)
Okuma CP-PB-7101M-T Classic Pro GLT and Striper Rods, 7'10"
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
Fiberglass blank construction for superior strength
Constructed of fiberglass for lightweight durability
Feature 2
EVA handle provides comfort for all-day excursions
EVA grips for all-day comfort
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
Most Durable
Product Name
Our Ranking
Ranked #2
Thumbnail
Okuma CP-PB-7101M-T Classic Pro GLT and Striper Rods, 7'10"
Our Grade
Our Rating 92/100
Feature 1
Fiberglass blank construction for superior strength
Feature 2
EVA grips for all-day comfort
Buy Now Button
Best Budget Rod
Product Name
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 2021

  1. Best Overall: Fiblink Saltwater Offshore Heavy Trolling Rod
  2. Most Durable: Okuma Classic Pro GLT Trolling Rod
  3. Best Budget: Daiwa Wilderness Trolling Rod
  4. Most Comfortable: Lamiglas Classic Glass Trolling Rod
  5. Best High End: KastKing Krome Casting Pro Troller

Fiblink Saltwater Offshore Heavy Trolling Fishing Rod Big Game Conventional Boat Fishing Roller Rod Pole with All Roller Guides (Heavy Power, 5-Feet 1-Inch)
Check Price on Amazon

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.

CLICK TO SEE MORE

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.

Okuma Classic Pro GLT Trolling Rod

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

Okuma Classic Pro GLT & Rods
Check Price on Amazon

Check Price on FishUSA

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 Trolling 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 most similar trolling rods on the market.

CLICK TO SEE MORE

The Okuma Classic Pro GTL Trolling Rod also features 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. In addition, the grip’s butt section features a rubberized, shrink tube overlay. This is responsible for providing 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.

Daiwa Wilderness Trolling Rod

Best Budget Trolling 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
Check Price on Amazon

Check Price on FishUSA

KEY FEATURES

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

The Daiwa Wilderness 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.

CLICK TO SEE MORE

The Daiwa Wilderness 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 Trolling Rod’s EVA handle, which provides sufficient comfort for long days on the water. The Wilderness also features a round rubber beasily utt cap which offers additional gripping pot hands and makes it easier to remove from a rod holder.

Lamiglas Classic Glass Trolling Rod

Most Comfortable Trolling Rod: 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
Check Price on Amazon

Check Price on Bass Pro

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.

CLICK TO SEE MORE

The Lamiglas Classic Glass fishing rod also features premium quality stainless steel black double foot guides that are up to handling whatever is asked of them. The solid double foot frames and ceramic ring design combined allow these guides to hold up to the most rigorous 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 significantly reduced.

KastKing Krome Casting Pro Troller

Best High-End Trolling 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
Check Price on Amazon

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 a highly durable trolling 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. In addition, the Casting Pro Troller is reinforced with genuine Kevlar fabric from the butt section through the reel seat, providing extra fighting power.

CLICK TO SEE MORE

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 easily handle any mono, fluorocarbon, or braided line. 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.


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. The best trolling rods feature specialized rod guides, which reduce friction. These guides feature a specialized coating that lets lines slide through their interior expenses in the most effortless fashions. Such frictionless line guides can significantly 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 advantages and disadvantages. Electric line counters tend to be more accurate but typically require the use of batteries. On the other hand, manual line counters do not require the use of batteries but can be somewhat less accurate than their electric counterparts.

Sturdy and Heavy Duty

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 a highly 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 trolling rod plays just as pivotal in catching fish as a rod’s tip.

Unbeknownst to many, the butt end of a trolling rod is just as crucial as a rod’s outward-facing end. Most anglers position their rods in rod holders when trolling. When a fish strikes, the trolling rod is hoisted from this rod holder as the fight commences. A 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 best 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 using a rod of this nature allows anglers to cover significant expanses of water, thereby increasing one’s chance of receiving strikes in the process. In addition, 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 particular location.

Trolling can be among the best ways to entice suspended fish to bite, which often proves difficult in itself, using other various tactics. Using 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. This is because the best trolling rods are engineered to be highly 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 undoubtedly some expenditure associated with purchasing 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

The best 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 using such a rod, as opposed to a standard rod when trolling.

However, this durability also plays well into a rod’s overall longevity. Because trolling rods are designed for such a purpose, they are typically engineered relatively robustly, 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 seen as a good strategy because it allows an angler to cover a significant amount of water during any given outing. Trolling is commonly employed 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 used for the specific purpose of trailing a baited line behind a boat. The best trolling rods tend to have a 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. The best 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 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. This is because some fish species are far more receptive to fast presentations, while others are not. However, in most 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 can run 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 good water.

How fast should I troll for stripers?

For most anglers, the speed at which they troll when fishing for stripers depends on 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 more incredible speeds than what is considered typical when fishing for other species. In many instances, speeds of 2-9 knots are considered optimal when fishing for Mahi. However, anglers should vary their speed within this range to determine the exact presentation that the fish favors on a given day.

How fast should I troll with ballyhoo?

Ballyhoo, or any other natural baits for that matter, is best trolled at slower speeds. When using this type of bait, 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 most cases, the best trolling rods fall into a size range of 6-9 feet. However, both longer and shorter variants are also used. Trolling rods of a moderate length provide greater versatility when attempting to present bait and lures at a particular depth while also maintaining 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 appropriate 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 can make an informed buying decision which will likely end in a satisfactory purchase. If you currently find yourself searching for such a rod, any of the above-listed products will serve as an excellent addition to your equipment selection. Using the best trolling rod will expand your capabilities and make you far more efficient at putting fish in the boat.