Best Trolling Rods – Top 3 Guide

As we discussed in our guide section, Best Trolling Reels, trolling is a popular method for fishing. No matter what you spend on a trolling reel, you must pair it with a quality rod. Trolling rods are just another important component to the trolling experience.

A poorly made rod will cost you fish, either with breaks, line issues, or poor handling of the fight. It’s very important to choose a rod that fits your trolling reel, and will hold up to the species of fish you intend to catch.

Rather than give you our best trolling rod, we wanted to suggest our Top 3 Best Trolling Rods for various uses and below you will see our traditional Top 3, and below descriptions of each rod will be another table with our honorable mentions.

Trolling Rods are not all made for the same thing, so be sure to understand what fish you intend to target before selecting a rod.

NameLengthGuidesMax Line TestPiecesMakePriceShop
5'6"Roller80LB1Composite Fiber$$Buy on Amazon
Okuma Classic Pro GLT Downrigger Rod
8'Eyes30LB2Fiber Glass$Buy on Amazon
Daiwa Exceler Downrigger Interline 2parts, 8.00ft 12-20lb - Interline Downrigger rod
8'Interline20LB2Fiber Glass$$$$Buy on Amazon
LEGEND: $ = $1.00 – $50.00, $$ = $51.00 – $100.00, $$$ = $101.00 – $150.00, $$$$ = $150+

What to look for in a trolling rod

Trolling rods are broken down very simply to three main differences. The guides are either standard eye, roller-guides, or inner-flow. Let’s identify what each guide means and what it’s best used for.

Standard Eye Guides

Standard Eye Guides are the traditional guides you’ll find on just about any fishing rod. They are circles, either mounted on the top of the rod or the bottom (in the case of spinning rods), and the line flows through them and out a tip. These guides are often lined with a smooth material like graphite or ceramic, to prevent line from getting caught. Most trolling rods, as well as all other rods, are made with Standard Eye guides and are perfectly acceptable for freshwater and saltwater fishing. These rods work great for small to mid size fish.

Roller Guides

For larger freshwater and saltwater fish, roller guides are preferred. Roller guides create less friction on the line when fighting larger fish, particularly when the pole is bent in an arch. For species like Tuna, shark, big salmon and trout, you should consider Roller guided trolling rods. The less pressure on the line will provide even more of an advantage when fighting a big fish.

Inner Flow Guides

A relatively new guiding system for fishing rods, the inner flow guide was developed by Daiwa. Their Interline technology was developed in the 1990’s and has since become a prevalent technology in fishing. Missing guides, the rod releases line down the middle of the blank, in the same manner a bullet travels down a barrel of a gun. This provides torque-free fishing, a smooth bending curve in the rod, and no slack line, among other benefits. If you haven’t used an inner flow rod yet, check one out. You might be very happy when you make the switch

Best Trolling Rods – Top 3


This OKIAYA Saltwater Roller Rod is ideal for big game fishing on the ocean. Constructed with composite fiber, aircraft grade alloys, and stainless rollers, for the money this is your best option for a quality saltwater trolling rod. Some owners have complained of the reel holder being a little on the small side, so just pay attention to the size of your reel mount with the OKIAYA. Overall, we feel any big game angler would be very happy with this budget-friendly big game fishing option.

Okuma Classic Pro GLT Downrigger Rod

The Classic Pro is another quality product at a really reasonable price offered by Okuma. As our most inexpensive rod in the Top 3, the Classic is perfect for freshwater anglers looking for something to pair up with their Okuma reel and hit the waters for a great salmon or trout bite. These poles use aluminum oxide guides on a fiberglass blank. This family of rod is also fitted with stainless steel or graphite reel mounts, for ultra sturdy locking during battle. This rod is perfect for the everyday freshwater angler, especially if you own an Okuma trolling reel.

Daiwa Exceler Downrigger Interline

Daiwa’s Exceler brings Interline rods to the trolling platform. Made with carbon and glass, with a tip overlay, the construction of the Exceler is solid for all types of tough fights. A solid EVA grip gives you a strong grasp and a gimbal butt cap made for strapping into a rod holder. Interline rods have become increasingly popular over the years and the Exceler spearheads the movement for trolling big salmon, speckled trout, and pike. By far our most expensive rod in the Top 3, Daiwa may leave you wondering why you didn’t switch to interline sooner.

Best Trolling Rods – Honorable Mentions

NameLengthGuidesMax Line TestPiecesMakePriceShop
Shimano Piece Trolling Rod

7' - 9'6"Eyes40LB1Aeroglass$
6'Roller200LB1Composite Fiber$$
Okuma Blue Diamond Trolling Rod7'6" - 10'Eyes30LB2E Glass and Graphite$$
Penn Senator Rod
6'6"Eyes60LB1Tubular Glass$$$$
Daiwa BFBT66XHR Beefstick Salt Water Trolling and Bottom Fishing Rod (6-1/2 Feet, Extra Heavy, 30-50 Pounds)
Tica BCMB Boat Trolling Fishing Rod
6'6"Eyes50LB1Graphite Fiberglass$$
Lamiglas Classic Glass Downrigger and Trolling Rod (9' ,Heavy, Moderate, 2-Piece)
Shimano TDR Heavy Trolling Rod, 2 Piece (8-Feet, Black)
LEGEND: $ = $1.00 – $50.00, $$ = $51.00 – $100.00, $$$ = $101.00 – $150.00, $$$$ = $150+

Last update on 2018-10-15 at 08:11 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

About the author


I'm an avid angler who wanted to share my love for fishing with fellow anglers and recommend good quality products to improve their chances catching the fish of a lifetime. Fishing is a passion sport- you love it, you do it for a variety of reasons and you keep coming back because the thrill of catching a fish never, ever gets old. I tried my best to capture that with my content on the site, doing comparisons, reviews, and even an interview with a famous TV angler.