Fishing reels for trolling Lake Ontario, we have our opinions! Based on longevity as well as being able to withstand daily use without breaking down, Shimano Tekota reels get the nod for us. We have been running them since they first came out. Its been so long, I can’t remember the actual date we first started using them.

Simano Tekota Reels

Making an educated guess, I would say that we have over 15 yrs on our original 600 Tekotas. The only modification we have made to them, is to switch the drags out to Tournament Master dry drags. We wrote about this a while back in a post entitled wet vs dry drags!

fishing reels for Lake Ontario trolling like Shimano Tekotas

Daiwa and Okuma Reels

We also use other makes of reels for certain trolling applications. Our arsenal includes Daiwa SG 27 lc series along with Okuma Lever Drags size 50. All of these reels have been modified to dry drag systems, as well. The little SG’s have been modified with larger cranking handles along with improved gears. They work well for board set-ups with noodle rods. The large Okuma 50″s are used for our manual 600 to 750 ft copper set-ups.

Shimano and Coppers

For all other copper rod set-ups, Shimano 600-800 Tekotas are used. 500, 450, and 400 ft coppers fill our 800 Shimanos. 350 on down to our 200 ft coppers fill our 700 Shimanos. Our full cores are on 700 Shimanos as well. These set-ups have served us well for many years trolling Lake Ontario.

High Speed Reels

I’m not a big fan of high speed fishing reels for Lake Ontario trolling. Although they may give some advantage to clearing rods with their faster retrieve ratio, they are much harder to reel a fish in on because of the higher gear ratio. Mathematically, a 4.2/1 gear ratio requires less force to rotate the spool around slower than a 6.4/1 gear ratio does faster. The force required to crank the handle on a fishing reel magnifies when weight is added to the end of the line that’s filling the spool.

Daiwa Electric Reels

For the past couple of years, we have been experimenting with Daiwa electric reels, specifically the Tanacom Bull 1000 electric reels. They do have several pluses. Being electric, all one has to do is flip a lever and the reel will wind the line back in on its own. With the correct drag setting, it will fight the fish for you all the way back to the stern of the boat without you touching the reel. In that scenario, it works great for kids and others who have a difficult time with long coppers.

There are a few disadvantages to be aware of. These reels are electric , so they require a power source. Power options include directly attached batteries or hardwired to the main batteries of the vessel. When hardwired, some mobility is lost and is dictated by the length of the cord. Portable batteries can over heat and have finite power availability. These reels when used manually, have a very, very slow line retrieve. The portable batteries as well as the reels are not inexpensive. Lastly, there is no loud audible clicker noise to hear when a fish strikes and runs.

Tanacom Bull Electric Reel

Final Thoughts on Reels

When it comes to choosing fishing reels for Lake Ontario trolling, one must take into account durability, function, and ease of use! On our fishing charters, fishing reels get put to the test daily and sometimes all day, dark to dark. Reels must perform, flawlessly! Our clients and reputation depend on it.

Please see our article on trolling etiquette.