Best Rods for Trolling: An In-Depth Guide of Our Top 10

September 7, 2021

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Trolling is one of the most exhilarating ways to catch both fresh and saltwater fish. It’s a relaxed and laid-back fishing technique, with its fair share of excitement and thrill. 

With trolling, you never go home with an empty cooler! How great is that! Although, you can’t really fill your cooler when you don’t have the right equipment to help you get the job done. 

Because we know that trolling rods aren’t created equal, we put together this list of the best rods for trolling. Let’s dive in!

In a Hurry? Here’s Our Top Picks…

10 Best Rods for Trolling Product Review

Check out these top choices for the best rods for trolling on the market.

Ugly Stick Spinning Combo: Best Overall

The designer who came up with the name for this line of fishing poles must have had a dry sense of humor. Despite the name, the Ugly Stick Spinning Combo is as far from ugly as a fishing rod can get.

For starters, it has an impressive medium-heavy action for a smooth, user-friendly operation. In addition, it’s made with a combination of fiberglass and graphite. This combination adds strength and enhances the rod’s balance.

We like that it comes with two ball bearings for added efficiency. We were also impressed with the rod’s heavy-duty aluminum spool and its on/off bait clicker. Both just made our lives a bit easier. 

At a little over seven feet long, this pole is a two-piece rod for easy and quick storage. Its line weight ranges between 15 and 30 pounds.

Pros

  • Two-ball bearing system
  • Moderately priced
  • Non-slippery handly
  • Flexible

Cons

  • The handle isn’t as comfortable as some of the others

Okuma Classic Pro Trolling Rod: Best Budget

Okuma is a highly regarded name in the world of fishing. Their products are top-of-the-line and this trolling rod is no exception.

The Classic Pro rod is designed to withstand extreme fishing and weather conditions. This rod is constructed using a glass fiber build, a stainless steel hooded reel seat. Also, don’t forget Okuma’s graphite cushion inserts for added comfort and support.

Another impressive feature is its ergonomic EVA foam handle grips. We like that it comes with a shrink tube that allows you to remove the rod from its holder.

Standing at almost nine feet long, the Classic Pro medium action rod is one of the lightest weighing fishing poles on our list. Even better, it’s a two-piece rod, which makes storage and portability much easier.

Pros

  • Great value for the price
  • Ergonomic design
  • Corrosion-resistant graphite spools
  • Extremely durable and reliable

Cons

  • Doesn’t provide as much flexibility as other rods on our list

Daiwa Tatula Series Trolling Rod: Best for Saltwater

Saltwater fishing needs a super strong rod that can hold up to the rough, harsh ocean. The Daiwa Tatula offers that and more.

Constructed from BRAIDING-X carbon fiber braiding technology, this rod is reliable and long-lasting. It also features Fuji Fazlite guides to increase durability and provide smooth casting.

We like the carbon fiber braiding on this rod. It helped enhance our casting and prevent the blank rod from twisting. We like the natural cork handle, which offers a soft, yet firm, grip.

The Tatula comes in several size choices, from less than seven feet to almost eight feet long. Plus, you have to pick from three casting actions: medium-light, medium, and medium-heavy. All options are solid, one-piece rods.

Pros

  • Made with durable composite material
  • Features a graphite a black sleek finish
  • Ergonomic cork handles 
  • Comes with a 5-year warranty

Cons

  • Pricey

Lamiglas Kokanee and Trout Trolling Rod: Best for Freshwater

This Lamiglas rod is both lightweight and easy to use. Made from a blend of fiberglass, graphite, and aluminum, it’s heavy-duty and hard-wearing. It’s specifically designed for freshwater fishing and offers a medium-heavy casting action.

We were happy to find it comes with stainless steel SeaGuide ring attachments. These stainless steel rings boost the rod’s ability to handle the roughest of conditions.

Another nice feature is the classic cork handle. It provides a soft hold while reducing hand fatigue.

The Lamiglas is a two-piece rod, which means easy transport and storage. It’s seven-foot and a half long with a line weight of six to ten pounds.

Pros

Cons

  • Less affordable than other models

St. Croix Trolling Rod

The St. Croix inshore trolling rod is made with premium quality SCIII carbon graphite. It’s a tough rod, while still being lightweight and easy to carry. It‘s crafted using St. Croix’s proprietary Integrated Poly Curve (IPC) technology, which makes the rod extra sensitive.

The handle felt light and comfortable. We appreciated its contoured design that offered an anti-slip, no-fatigue hold.

This trolling rod features SeaGuide Hero Hi-Grade slim aluminum-oxide rings. They’re capable of handling all kinds of fishing conditions. Plus, they help provide hassle-free casting and a premium finish.

Available as either a 7-foot or 7.6-foot pole, depending on your personal preference. Both guarantee no-fuss casting with a line weight of 15 to 30 pounds. You can also choose line actions that range from extra heavy to heavy to medium.

Pros

  • Constructed with premium SCIII carbon graphite
  • Proprietary IPC technology
  • Comes with SeaGuide Hero Hi-Grade guides
  • Ergonomic, contoured handle design

Cons

  • Pricey

Penn Squall II Trolling Rod and Reel Combo

Another great choice for saltwater fishing, the Penn Rampage is stylish and easy to use. This is why it’s usually recommended for beginners.

Even though it may seem flexible with soft side plates, it still manages to offer a maximum drag power of 15 pounds. You can depend on it to roll in those big fish, such as steelhead and salmon, thanks to its medium-heavy action.

We like the two-ball bearing system on this rod. Its stainless steel build offers durability while its anti-reverse action reduces rotor backlash. We also like the high-quality design of both the main and pinion gears.

The Penn Squall II is slightly longer than six feet. It’s a one-piece fishing pole with a reel designed for right-handed anglers.

Pros

  • Fiberglass design is lightweight and durable
  • Great for big saltwater fish
  • Two-ball stainless steel bearing system
  • Marine-grade bronze alloy gear

Cons

  • Expensive

Jenko Spider Trolling Rod

The Jenko Spider rod is made with heavy-duty materials that can handle all types of fishing situations. Featuring a premium graphite build, this rod is firm and sturdy, while still offering a comfortable hold.

Jenko claims that its fishing rods are highly receptive to bites. So, we decided to test out their claims, and boy; were they right! We were extremely pleased with its performance and easy maneuvering.

We also like its impressive backbone or spine. Made from graphite and fiberglass, the backbone of the Jenko is pretty flexible. Yet, it’s still firm enough to provide the strength you need to pull in either fresh or saltwater fish.

You can use the Jenko Spider trolling rod in two sizes:12 feet or 16 feet. They usually come as a two-piece rod, but you can find one with three pieces for easy storage.

Pros

  • Reasonably priced
  • Designed with high-grade material
  • Sensitive operation
  • Stainless steel guides

Cons

  • The handle isn’t as well designed as other models

Fiblink Offshore Heavy Trolling Rod

This powerful trolling rod is everything you need in an offshore fishing pole. Its medium-heavy action is handy, particularly when you’re battling big, stubborn fish. It provides you with all the strength you need to get the job done.

Made of a blend of glass fiber, carbon, and graphite materials, this Fiblink is a sturdy pole. Still, we like that it still felt pretty lightweight. The EVA high-density foam handle and foregrips made it easy to handle and control.

The roller guides are another impressive feature of this trolling rod. Their high-quality build helps reduce pressure and strain on the line, as well as on your back and arms.

This rod is available as one-piece or two, with lengths that range from five to almost eight feet. The line weight also varies from 30 pounds and can reach up to 100 pounds in some rods.

Pros

  • Durable
  • Moderately priced
  • High-quality guides
  • EVA foam handle and foregrips

Cons

  • Can be tricky to remove from the holder

Okuma Tundra Trolling Rod and Reel Combo

The Okuma Tundra trolling rod and reel are a nice combo for freshwater and saltwater fishing. It’s made of premium glass fiber and aluminum oxide for optimal durability and strength. At the same time, it’s pretty lightweight for such a heavy-duty fishing pole.

We like the multi-disc oiled felt drag system on the reel. It’s a handy feature for boosting the rod’s reliability and smooth medium-heavy action.

Another convenient feature is the EVA foam that covers both the fore and rear handle grips. It also has reinforced double-foot guides. Combined together, these are exactly what you need when you’re going after larger types of fish.

The Tundra is nine feet long. The spinning reel is capable of holding 260 yards of line with a line weight of twenty pounds.

Pros

  • Durable guide inserts
  • Affordable
  • EVA foam rear and foregrips
  • Reinforced double-foot guides

Cons

  • Might feel too stiff for some anglers to control

Ugly Stik Bigwater Trolling Rod Combo

This is one of those fishing rods that come with everything you need to start from scratch. It comes with a rod and a reel, which are easy to set up even for novice anglers.

The Bigwater trolling rod is crafted from fiberglass and carbon graphite. It offers exceptional durability and strength with a medium-heavy action suitable for moderate to large-sized fish.

We found the EVA foam handle grip comfortable and well-designed. It provided us with ample support as we were fishing.

Standing at seven feet long, this Ugly Stick rod is a two-piece rod. It provides a line weight range of 15 to 20 pounds.

Pros

  • Easy to set up rod and reel combo
  • Made from hard-wearing materials
  • Well-designed handle
  • Clear, sensitive tip offers quick response time

Cons

  • Not as budget-friendly as other trolling rods

What to Look for in Trolling Rods

By knowing what to look for in a trolling rod, you’ll be able to boost your fishing skills. It’ll also allow you to enjoy fishing with more ease and finesse.

When choosing the best rod for trolling, keep the following features in mind.

Durability

Standard fishing rods come in a variety of shapes and sizes. The tougher and stronger it is, the better it’ll be at catching any type of fish species you may come across.

Rust Resistance

It’s always a good idea to go for fishing rods that are resistant to rust and corrosion. This makes them better at handling the rigors of the water, particularly saltwater.

Another benefit is that rods with rust-resistant parts last longer and perform better. They also require little maintenance and upkeep.

Handle

The type of handle you pick out depends largely on your personal preference. Although, speaking from experience, the best handle is one that provides a firm grip while reducing pain and injuries. Some great examples are EVA foam, cork, and carbon fiber handles.

Keep in mind that a long handle gives you better control of the rod as opposed to a shorter one. In addition, it eliminates muscle strain which tends to creep up if you’ve been fishing for several hours.

Length

Generally, the average trolling rod should be between six and eight feet long. If you’re looking for something to give you a longer casting distance, it’s better to use a nine or even a 10-foot rod.

Action

To ensure you’re using a trolling rod suitable for a wide variety of fish, you have to consider the rod’s action range. This runs typically from slow action all the way up to heavy action.

In short, the action of a rod refers to its level of flexibility under great pressure. So, if you’re trolling saltwater, it’s better to have a medium to heavy action rod. This makes it easier to keep up with the strong and fierce big saltwater fish.

How about when you’re trolling from the shoreline or in calm freshwater conditions? This is when you can use a rod with a slow to medium action.

FAQ

The following questions can help shed light on troll fishing.

Q: What’s trolling?

A: Troll fishing is a fishing technique that uses one or two fishing lines at the same time. Each line is attached to a lure or bait, which is then dragged through the water to attract as many fish as you can.

Another difference is that trolling is considered more leisurely and relaxed. If you’re trolling from a moving boat, you’d typically be moving at a slow, unhurried pace.

Q: Are trolling rods the same as other fishing rods?

A: Yes, the big difference between the two is that trolling rods are typically longer. You can find them in the range of six and nine feet long. Nevertheless, you can find rods starting from five up to 10 feet long.

Another difference is that trolling rods are designed to control the fishing bait and lures as they’re pulled through the water, which is why they need to be super sturdy. This is what attracts large fish species, such as salmon, tuna, and walleye.

Q: What are different ways to throw trolling rods?

A: There are three basic ways to throw fishing troll rods into the water. One way is from offshore from a stationary position with minimal movement.

The second way is by slowly winding the line as you cast from your boat. Finally, the third method is throwing your troll rod from behind a moving boat.

Q: What’s the average trolling speed?

A: On average, lures and bait are both trolled at a speed of up to nine knots. Some even go up to 15 knots.

This largely depends on the type of water you’re trolling in, as well as the weather conditions. Additionally, the size of the fish you’re after is an important factor when deciding on the ideal speed.

Conclusion

As you try your hand at troll fishing, you’ll quickly realize it’s all about perseverance, determination, and skill. It’s also about knowing how to pick the best rods for trolling.

After all, a flimsy rod can break under pressure, giving time for your catch to escape. No one wants to waste their time and energy on something like that.

In our opinion, the best overall trolling rod is the Ugly Stick Spinning Combo. We like that it’s an ideal option for beginners and experts alike, mainly because it’s easy to use and maintain.

It’s a heavy-duty rod that will last through many fishing seasons in both fresh and saltwater. Plus, its two-piece design makes it easy to transport and store.

If you’re looking for something more affordable, we recommend the Okuma Classic Pro Trolling Rod. The good news is that being budget-friendly doesn’t take away from its ability to handle strong fish and rough waters.

The Okuma Classic Pro comes with a wide range of features that provide comfort and support. Also, similar to the Ulgy Stick spinning Combo, it’s a two-piece rod that offers easy storage and handling.

Happy Hunting!

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