Can You Use a Spinning Reel for Trolling?

Can you use a spinning reel for trolling? – Anglers who want their gear to serve multiple purposes often have this question. In this manual, we’ll answer the question head-on: Can you use a spinning reel for trolling? Learn the ins and outs of using a spinning reel for this standard fishing method so you can choose your gear with confidence. Let’s dig in and find out everything you need to know about trolling with a spinning reel.

Understanding the Basics of Trolling

Let’s take a step back and define trolling so we’re all on the same page before we continue. Fishing by trolling involves dragging a baited line or lure behind a moving boat. Trolling’s primary purpose is to cover more water and tempt more fish to bite the bait. The more of a body of water you are able to investigate, the higher your catch rate will be.

The Versatility of Spinning Reels

Spinning reels are well-liked by anglers because of their adaptability and general usefulness. Casting and retrieving with them is second nature, making them a top pick for fishermen in fresh and salt water. Spinning reels provide a high level of control and versatility due to their user-friendly design and fluid drag system.

Spinning Reels for Trolling: A Viable Option?

So, can you use a spinning reel for trolling? The short answer is yes. Spinning reels aren’t made for trolling, but they can still be helpful in the right circumstances. Let’s talk about some things to think about if you’re thinking of trolling with a spinning reel:

  • Line Capacity: The line capacity of your spinning reel is an important consideration. The use of heavier lines is every day when trolling, and while spinning reels may manage somewhat heavy lines, their capacity may be limited in comparison to specialized trolling reels. Make sure the spinning reel you plan to use for trolling can handle the line weight you intend to use.

  • Drag System: When trolling, fast-moving fish create a lot of resistance that needs to be handled by a reliable and smooth drag system. While the drag systems on spinning reels are often quite good, they may not be as precise or powerful as trolling reels. Make sure your spinning reel can withstand the stress of trolling by testing its drag system.

  • Twist and Tangle: The continual motion of the boat during trolling can twist and tangle fishing lines. Line twists should be kept to a minimum in order to avoid any aggravating circumstances. A swivel or other solutions designed to prevent line twists can be used to aid with this problem. Check out this insightful guide on how to stop fishing lines from twisting when trolling for more detailed tips.

  • Lure Selection: Spinning reels can cast a wide variety of lures and are very adaptable. However, when trolling, it is critical to choose interests appropriate for the species of fish being pursued and the trolling speed. Pick lures that won’t cause too much line drag while trolling at the correct depth, so your spinning reel can do its job.

  • Trolling Speed: When trolling, the most effective way to lure fish is to keep your speed constant. Spinning reels may not have speed adjustment devices like trolling reels. For the best lure presentation and attraction, strike a balance between your boat’s speed and the capabilities of your spinning reel.

  • Pro Tip: The flexibility to adjust is essential in fishing gear. While there are benefits to using a dedicated trolling reel, a quality spinning reel can be just as effective. – FishingSaga.

If you keep these things in mind, you may use a spinning reel for trolling successfully and increase your fishing options.

Tips for Using a Spinning Reel for Trolling           

Even while spinning reels weren’t designed for trolling, they nonetheless have many uses. Here are some things to keep in mind if you want to get the most out of your spinning reel when digging:

  • Choose the Right Line: Pick a monofilament or fluorocarbon line that is strong enough to land your prey and has little memory. Line twist is reduced in these braids compared to the braided lines typically used in spinning reels.

  • Use Swivels: Make sure your mainline and leader are connected with high-quality barrel swivels to prevent twisting. To prevent the lure or bait from sending too much rotating force to the mainline, swivels are used.

  • Optimize Speed and Depth: You can control the depth you reach by adjusting your trolling speed and the number of lines you use. Try using a variety of rates and lure depths to see what works best for the fish you’re after.

  • Regularly Inspect Line: Inspect your line often for twists, wear, and abrasion. If your trolling cable is damaged, you need to get a new one.

Benefits of Trolling with Spinning Reels

  • Versatility: For fishing at specified depths or around specific obstacles, a spinning reel is a must-have. To improve your chances of catching fish, you may alter the line tension and modify the depth at which your bait or lure is presented.

  • Ease of Use: Spinning reels are simple and don’t need as much muscle power as traditional reels. They work well for fishermen who are just getting started or prefer a less complicated method of fishing.

  • Casting Capabilities: When trolling, spinning reels shine in casting applications because they let you cast farther. This is helpful in general, but it’s beneficial while searching for fish across a body of water.

  • Light Tackle Advantage: Light tackle fishing is best done with spinning reels because of their responsiveness and sensitivity. Because of this, you may confidently use them while fishing for species that need delicate handling.

Spinning Reels vs. Conventional Reels: Key Distinctions

Spinning reels are designed and used differently from traditional reels. Both spinning and conventional reels are designed to facilitate various fishing methods, each with advantages.

  • Design: The spool on a spinning reel stays put when you throw. A bail, which can be flipped back and forth to release or recover the line, acts as a guide for the line as it is wound onto the spool. Traditional reels, on the other hand, use a spool that spins to unwind the line as you throw.

  • Line Management: Spinning reels have a stellar reputation for efficiently handling lines. The line will not tangle or backlash as much, thanks to the bail mechanism that keeps it uniformly dispersed on the spool. This makes spinning reels easier to operate for everyone, particularly novices. Although conventional reels are effective, they need more outstanding expertise to control the line.

  • Casting: Casting lightweight lures or baits is a spinning reel’s forte. The lengthy, accurate casts are made possible by the fixed spool. They work well for delicate procedures and when pinpoint precision is required. When casting larger lures and baits, however, conventional reels come into their own. They are perfect for casting heavier lures or going for larger fish due to the spinning spool and the ability to regulate the release of the line.

  • Drag System: Anglers may adjust the amount of resistance fish encounter while drawing the line using a drag mechanism used on both spinning and conventional reels. Traditional reels, on the other hand, often include a more powerful drag mechanism, making them suited for fighting bigger, more vital fish.

  • Versatility: In comparison to traditional reels, spinning reels provide more flexibility. They’re versatile enough to be utilized for both fresh and saltwater fishing, as well as for light tackle and finesse approaches. While conventional reels may be used for a variety of fishing techniques, they are most often associated with trolling, bottom fishing, and heavy offshore fishing.

It’s worth noting that traditional reels built for trolling may be more effective than spinning reels while trolling. Trolling with a spinning reel presents unique challenges, but it is possible to catch fish if you have the correct equipment, know how to use it, and are aware of its limits.

Keep in mind that the trolling speed, the size and weight of the lures or baits, and the species being pursued all play a role in determining the best reel for the job. When in doubt about which fishing gear will work best for you, ask a local pro or seasoned fisherman for advice.


In conclusion, Can you use a spinning reel for trolling?” has been researched extensively, providing information to anglers. You may use a spinning reel for trolling, but you should be aware of its restrictions. The strength of the line, the efficiency of the drag system, and the longevity of the system are the most important considerations. Before you go out on the lake for your next fishing trip, make sure you’ve got everything you need, including the reel, by doing some careful planning. Now that you know what you’re doing, go out and have a great time trolling with your spinning reel.


1. Can I use a spinning reel for trolling in saltwater?

When trolling in saltwater, a spinning reel may be used. Keep in mind, too, that saltwater trolling often necessitates more muscular lines and bigger lures than what a standard spinning reel can handle. A spinning reel designed in saltwater must have an extensive line capacity and a solid build.

2. What types of fish can I catch while trolling with a spinning reel? 

Trout, salmon, walleye, bass, and muskie are just some of the fish that may be trolled using a spinning reel. It’s crucial to choose lures and fishing lines suited to the species you’re after while using a spinning reel.

3. Do I need additional equipment to use a spinning reel for trolling?

Some extra gear may be needed while trolling with a spinning reel. A downrigger or planer board, for instance, may assist you in managing the depth at which your bait or lure is delivered to the fish. You’ll have a better time trolling and have more success if you use these tools.

4. Can I troll at high speeds with a spinning reel?

Most spinning reels can’t handle the strain of fast trolling. They are better suited for slow to moderate trolling speeds due to their drag systems and line capacity. The best reel to use for trolling at fast speeds is a traditional trolling reel, which is built for the task.

5. Are there any specific techniques I should follow when using a spinning reel for trolling?

Trolling with a spinning reel requires letting out fine lines behind the boat to achieve depth. Counting the line’s colors or making use of a line counter will get you there. You may increase your chances of catching fish by trolling at varied speeds, trying out different lure presentations, and keeping an eye on the fish’s activity and water depth.

Emma is the wordsmith behind the insightful articles and guides on our website. Her extensive research and passion for fishing shine through in every piece she creates. Whether sharing angling tips or delving into the latest conservation efforts, Emma is dedicated to providing valuable and engaging content.