Moving to the sea: Best Trolling Reels

Most people think fishing as holding a rod, casting a lure and retrieving the lure. Trolling, however, done differently.

Instead of holding the rod, trolling consists of pulling lures behind a moving boat. This allows anglers to cover vast amounts of water in a relatively short time, and some species of fish will only strike a swiftly moving lure.

Anglers can troll in fresh and saltwater. There are special trolling reels and rods for each milieu, but most think of trolling in deep, pelagic saltwater.

This fishing is not for the faint of heart of thin of wallet. Trolling, particularly offshore trolling, requires large boats, lots of fuel and specialized equipment. The most prized fish, marlin, are notoriously difficult to catch. One angler described marlin fishing as, “standing in the shower with the water spraying directly into your face while ripping $50.00 bills for an hour.”

It may seem comical, but the fact remains offshore fishing is expensive. This is why many choose a charter boat service for offshore fishing.

Those who are looking into starting a charter service or have the desire to upgrade current equipment will certainly want to look at the reels first. A reel is the primary tool for fishing. A charter or offshore boat is only as good as the captain, and the captain is only as good as his equipment.

Here are some of the best of the best trolling reels available.


There is no equal for the serious offshore angler. Penn is the hands down best in the business and for good reason. These reels are built of solid aluminum frames with oversized cranks for bringing in the biggest and baddest fish in the sea. This world record was brought in with a Penn reel, and this record, likely to stand for a very long time, fell to an angler with the Penn.

International VSX

Penn International 130VSX ReelThis is the best reel in the world for deep sea trolling. The reel will hold almost 1,000 yards of 130 lb. test line, the highest class line commercially available. Both of the above mentioned fish were reeled in with this reel and line.

There are no pros or cons for this reel. If you are serious about serious fishing and want to be taken seriously, you get this reel and the rod to match. Anyone who says otherwise has not been fishing against fish that weigh over 1,000 lbs. and well over 10 feet in length.


Penn Senator ReelThis line is designed for trolling, but it is not designed for the same species as the International line. Built with the same quality standards of all Penn products, the Senator is considerably cheaper but will not take the same punishment or stand up to the behemoths, but this reel will certainly handle its share of recreational trolling. Again, there are no pros and cons to speak of with Penn outside of the expense of a reel that will last for several lifetimes.


Shimano, as you have likely learned, is a well-respected reel manufacturer. The Talica line for salt water trolling is both economical and robust.

Still expensive, the Talica line has more options than the Penn Senator.

Trolling, particularly offshore trolling, is not for the average angler who is heading out on the weekends once and a while. It is for the professional angler who lives on or very near the water who is guiding clients over 100 days a year or the commercial fisherman making a living with rod and reel. The rewards, however, are timeless memories to be cherished for a very long time.