Among the essential pieces of equipment for an angler are a fishing rod and a fishing reel. While you can easily purchase these items differently, acquiring the best rod and reel combo is often a plus. Notably, manufacturers make these combinations to ensure that you have a pair of equipment that can complement each other.
Of course, your choice of rod and reel combo can make or break your chances of hooking and catching the kind of fish you want. Rod and reel combinations are available in various sizes, types, brands, and models. So, you will have a myriad of choices ranging from lightweight spinning reels to traditional trolling configurations.
Finding a good rod and reel combination is a complex undertaking. And this is irrespective of whether you are new to fishing or a seasoned fishing enthusiast with decades of expertise. The market has hundreds of models, and this can be confusing.
Buying a combo is also an excellent method to save money on equipment while ensuring that the gear is built to function together.
We have compiled a list of standard configurations and given a thorough evaluation of each to help you narrow down your search to the one that’s perfect for you.
Top 9 Best Fishing Rod and Reel Combo
Best spinning: The Ugly Stik Elite spinning rod
For casual spinning excursions, the Ugly Stick Elite spinning rod is excellent. When coupled with one of Daiwa’s BG reels, the Ugly Stik Elite spinning rod is an unbeatable combo. The combo is suitable for both saltwater and freshwater fishing. Depending on the kind of fish you want to catch, you may adjust the rod length and power.
Some of the rods are made of one piece, while others are made of two parts. Panfish, trout, and other small fish species respond well to the smaller ultra-light and light power rods. A 6-7-foot medium to a medium-heavy rod is ideal for big bass and fish weighing up to 20 pounds.
Key features and characteristics
The Ugly Stik Elite features a soft fiberglass and graphite tip. The construction makes the rod more break-resistant and provides a bit more sensitivity that’s perfect for bait fishing. Interestingly, it does these without sacrificing the rod’s stiffness, making it a potential lure fishing rod.
Ugly Stik’s Inshore Select model is more accommodating to lure fishers seeking a more robust alternative. However, it is less likely to withstand abuse.
The Shakespeare Ugly Stik Elite has Shakespeare’s innovative single-piece stainless steel “Ugly Tuff” guides. These innovative guides can withstand much abuse, unlike other rods in this price category.
Although it may be used in saltwater, this may reduce its lifespan. But we must admit that the Ugly Stik Elite is one of the best freshwater fishing rods on the market. The rod is made of excellent quality, and the reel is essentially a free bonus. To catch average-sized fish, you don’t necessarily need the most costly rod and reel: this is a well-known spinning combination.
- The rod is sensitive at the tip for bait fishing, yet it has a robust backbone for powerful hook settings and lures fishing.
- The reel is very smooth and can accommodate a braided line.
- Best suited for usage as a freshwater reel rather than a saltwater reel.
- It has a smooth casting
- It features a decent drag and a smooth retrieve, and anti-reverse is included.
- The reel is not completely sealed and may allow in saltwater and debris.
- It is not effective when used to catch big fish.
Daiwa is one of the biggest fishing gear brands. So, finding a fishing rod that perfectly matches Daiwa’s BG reels is a plus. In addition, the rod and reel combo is reliable, and the fact that you can easily adjust the system is an incredible measure of versatility.
Best for Beginners: PLUSINNO Fishing Rod and Reel Combo
These fishing rod and reel combinations are well-made and suitable for both beginners and experienced anglers. The fishing rod and reel are both of excellent quality and are excellent for fishing. The rod is telescopic, ranging in length from 17 inches when closed to up to 8 feet when fully extended.
Key features and benefits
The reel is constructed of high-quality materials and can be simply converted from left to right hand. With 12 bearings, it’s designed to be smooth on the retrieve, and the drag is solid.
A stainless steel frame made of carbon oxide wireline guide is included with the rod. The line outlet is smoother and simpler to use, making it much easier to catch fish.
The rod’s stainless steel design makes it ideal for use in saltwater since it provides dependable corrosion resistance. Therefore, this can make or break a rod, and in this instance, saltwater resistance is a plus. Anglers prefer its fiberglass structure since it’s the best material for making contemporary fishing rods.
The rod’s handle is constructed of EVA material, making it pleasant and easy to grip for long periods. Holding on to a rod with an unpleasant handle for hours may cause blisters and hand fatigue, but with the PLUSINNO rod, you won’t have to worry about that. In addition, on hot days or in rainy circumstances, the handle absorbs sweat effectively, making it the ideal combo.
- The combo is one of the most pleasing combinations available, particularly considering the price.
- This rod is flexible enough to provide mild to moderate action, but not too much.
- Convenient for saltwater anglers.
- This rod is flexible enough to provide mild to moderate action, but not too much.
- The longer handle offers you a lot more leverage and control over the rod.
- There isn’t a separate carrying case for the reel.
- With specific models, faults may emerge rapidly.
There are various rods available for all kinds of fishing settings and fishing gear, and if you are a saltwater fisherman, this might be the one for you. Plusinno is renowned for producing low-cost fishing equipment. With this budget-friendly rod, you’ll get the most bang for your money. Therefore, you should include it in your fishing types of equipment.
Best Spincast: Zebco 33 Fish Pistol Spincast Combo
The Zebco 33 Fish Pistol Spincast Combo is a classic from one of fishing’s most famous brands. It is perfect for novices on a budget. It includes a 5’6″ medium-light action rod made of sturdy Z-glass.
The pistol grip is intended for easy one-handed casting, and the two-piece construction makes transportation and storage a breeze. The reel has a metal handle with comfortable rubber knobs and a lightweight graphite frame.
Key Characteristics and Features
An upgraded line management system allows for more precise casting and better line retrieval with a ball bearing drive. As a result, the casting and retrieval are smooth, and there are no chances that the line will tangle.
The retrieval rate is relatively rapid, at 23″ for each turn of the handle. In addition, a 4.1:1 gear ratio powers the system, making it quicker than most other spincast versions. It’s also lighter than the rest of the spincast reels, at 9.3 oz.
The anti-reverse feature lets you hit without losing line tension, and the 3.6:1 gear ratio is ideal for high-resistance lures. Such a feature ensures that you can confidently confront and handle the large marine game.
It has a switchable right or left-hand retrieve, making it ideal for left and right-handed users. It also features an in-built hook holder to securer your hooks. Besides, it comes with up to 100 yards of 10-pound Cajun line pre-spooled on the reel.
- While some spincast reels are even less expensive than the 33, this model offers the best value for money.
- Take-up pins made of ceramic
- Casts well, particularly when re-pooled with a high-quality monofilament line.
- It is very responsive and easy to use.
- The drag isn’t subtle at all.
If there’s one term that comes to mind when thinking about closed-face reels, it’s Zebco. Zebco Spincast reels are the most popular, with more people using them than any other brand of spincast reels. This particular model gives you value for money and delivers unbeatable performance.
Best lightweight: Pflueger’s President Spinning Rod and Reel Combo
This spinning rod and reel combo are ideal for anglers who are often on the go. This reel and rod combo, made of lightweight anti-corrosive graphite, can handle 4- to 17-pound test lines and 1/8- to 1/2-ounce lures.
The spinning reel comes with nine stainless steel ball bearings and a single anti-reverse bearing. It also features a 5:1:1 gear ratio, making it simple to throw out bait and reel in anything you capture. Either right or left-handed people may use the soft and comfortable handle.
Key Features and Benefits
The Pflueger President Spinning Combo is highly smooth and lightweight. So, you can conveniently use it for long hours. And with an IM8 blank with high sensitivity levels, the rod allows you to feel every stroke.
The stainless steel guides provide a corrosion-resistant guiding system, while the aluminum handle ensures long-term reliability. The President Spin Combo’s reel has a sealed drag system and a braid-ready spool to get you on the water and start fishing quickly.
The spinning rod is constructed of a robust graphite blank, which gives it strength. But even with this sturdy build, the combination exhibits amazing level of sensitivity. The sensitivity allows you to feel even the tiniest nibbles from fish.
It also features ball bearings made from aluminum and graphite. Interestingly, one of the greatest qualities of these elements is corrosion-resistance. It should be able to withstand both fresh and saltwater.
The Braid Ready Spool enables the braid to be attached to the spool directly, which makes this fishing reel very easy to use. It will not take you several hours to master and use the skill. In fact, you can successfully venture into the waters on your first day with the fishing reel.
The aluminum handle is made of aircraft-grade metal and is very durable. It will not break or bend even with consistent use. Besides, the I-M8 graphite used in this fishing reel is lightweight and exhibits a remarkable sensitivity level.
- Rod is lightweight and long-lasting with a good feeling.
- The reel is very smooth.
- The drag on the reel is excellent.
- Because the combination is so light, you won’t fatigue from casting it all day.
- The drag on the reel is excellent.
- The rod’s guides are a bit narrow.
The fishing rod and reel combo’s guides are tiny, but that isn’t a big deal. The combo is a beautiful small beginning fishing rod and reel set, available in various sizes. The fishing rod and reel set is intended for smaller fish and is lightweight. Because the combination is so light, you won’t tire of casting it all day.
Best Bottom Fishing Combo: Tsunami’s Airwave Elite with Shimano Baitrunner D Series reel
It’s strong, despite its low weight, and the silicon carbide (SiC) guides, which are kept in place by a solid titanium frame. The frame prevents them from being twisted out of position.
The diamond-textured shrink vinyl grips on the Airwave Elite are a pleasant surprise on such a low-cost rod. While most fishing rods have a soft EVA foam or cork grip, both of these materials can readily eat up over time.
Key Features and Benefits
Many good live bait reels with a lighter, finely-tuned secondary drag enable a fish to strike without sensing the restriction. Still, the Shimano Baitrunner D series remains my favorite and longest-surviving reel. Of course, it’s robust, but it’s also sleek and light enough to be used for purposes other than sit-and-wait bait fishing, which is why it gets my recommendation.
With this reel, it has no problem with braided lines. However, it is more refined than conventional monofilament or fluorocarbon fishing line, has a propensity for fraying or being cut clean off in any crevices or snags.
The oversized handle makes this reel far more comfortable than others, particularly when battling larger fish or retrieving lures all day.
- The Airwave Elite is made of high-quality materials and is designed to last
- The Baitrunner D Series is elegant and flexible, and Shimano offers replacement parts if you need them.
- For convenient traveling, it’s collapsible.
- The Baitrunner D has a graphite frame rather than a complete metal frame. The frame is ok as long as it doesn’t suffer a catastrophic fall, in which case it is much more likely to shatter.
If you are looking for a surf rod, Tsunami’s Airwave Elite 11’4″ spinning rod will do the job, and the Shimano Baitrunner D Series reel will still do the job. The Shimano Baitrunner D Series reel is designed specifically for pitching live baits, but it’s lightweight and streamlined enough to toss lures. In addition, the Tsunami’s Airwave Elite is a robust rod.
Best in baitcasting: Lew’s American Hero Baitcasting Rod and Reel Combo
The Lew’s American Hero Baitcasting Rod and Reel Combo is a good option for experienced anglers who want to improve their casting accuracy.
It comes with a 6’10” medium-heavy one-piece rod constructed from multilayer IM6 graphite for additional structural strength and sensitivity.
Stainless steel guides, foam split-grips, and the brand’s proprietary no foul hook keeper are all included on the rod. These qualities are essential for comfort, convenience, and precision. Apart from the aforementioned features, this combination has a graphite composite frame, an anodised aluminum spool, and a solid brass main gear and crankshaft characterize this baitcasting reel.
Key Features and Benefits
The reel weighs just 7.2 ounces and features a 7.1:1 gear ratio for lightning-fast line recovery. Four corrosion-resistant ball bearings enhance smoothness, while the zero-reverse clutch bearing minimizes back to play for the greatest possible catch.
The drag mechanism is entirely adjustable, with a drag force of up to 15 pounds. In addition, the unique paddle knobs on the aluminum handle are ergonomically built for extended days on the lake or river.
This rod has nine guides, including the tip, which is a lot for a rod at this pricing point. However, there are no significant gaps on the blank where guidelines are absent or scarce. Stainless steel guides with stainless steel inlays are used.
When retrieving a lure, the gears are so silent that you won’t hear any ticking or loud sounds from them meshing. Of course, if you reel very quickly, you may hear them winding. However, it’s nothing more than you’d expect to hear when spinning a reel at that speed.
- Affordable costing about $89.99
- It’s well-made and works well, providing excellent value for money.
- Has an accurate casting
- It’s on the light side, weighing just 7.2 oz. So it’s not one of the lightest reels on the market, but it’s also not one of the heaviest.
- It’s easy to fish with for extended periods, and its palms nicely.
- Not suitable for inexperienced anglers.
- The rod has a hook keeper that after you’re done fishing for the day, you’ll need to remove the soft plastic from the hook’s tip to utilise the keeper.
Reviews are always based on the product’s value vs. the price. The Lew’s American Hero Baitcasting Rod and Reel, on the other hand, gets a respectable 5 stars. Buy this reel and rod if you’re looking for a decent, reliable, budget-friendly baitcasting combination. You will not be sorry.
Best Baitcasting: Lew’s Mach Crush Baitcast Combo
The Lew’s Mach Crush Baitcast Combo is a new combo that competes with other premium baitcasting combos by offering various attractive features. Moreover, it is built using nanotechnology-infused IM8 graphite blanks; this rod is likely to be one of the most sensitive markets. It also has the highest-quality stainless steel guides with titanium oxide inlays. Finally, it results in being one of the smoothest casting experiences available from any manufacturer.
When it comes to creating well-made, efficient baitcasting rod and reel combinations, there’s no disputing the fact that Lew’s is at the top of the fishing business. As a result, you may anticipate spending a bit extra for a much better quality product like Lew’s Mach Crush Baitcast Combo, as with most other fishing gear and equipment.
Key Features and Benefits
Stainless steel double-shielded ball bearings in a ten-bearing system
A high-quality one-piece IM8 graphite blank provides the ideal balance of strength and sensitivity. Rod handles are Winn Dri-Tac split grips, and rod guides are American Tackle’s revolutionary Airwave system.
This reel’s grip is very comfy and straightforward to grasp when a fish strikes. The handle is 95mm in length and is constructed of solid aluminum, making it lightweight yet very durable. In addition, the grips are constructed of Winn Dri-Tac, which allows you to keep your hold even when they’re wet.
The reel has ten stainless steel double-shielded ball bearings and Lew’s multi-setting brake mechanism to keep your line from backlashing. It’s simple to understand why this rod and reel combo should be at the top of every angler’s wish list.
With orange accents on black finishes, the Mach Crush combinations are striking. It is a piece of fishing gear that you will be proud to carry while fishing with your peers.
However, it is not all about the looks with substandard functionality. The manufacturer includes a speed fiber drag system for excellent smoothness and performance in all weather. The drag system is also reliable against all fish sizes.
- Winn Dri-Tac knobs on the reel’s handle provide a secure grip.
- One-way clutch bearing Zero Reverse.
- The reel has a smooth, sturdy feel about it and works well.
- For casting and retrieving lures and battling fish, it’s as powerful as it is smooth.
- The wire keeper is so far down on the rod that it prevents lure wraps from being used.
- It has a vivid, brilliant orange hue.
Overall, though, this combination exudes excellence in every aspect. When it comes to dialing in the reel, there is an extra learning curve. It will cast with precise precision wherever you direct it with only a flick of your wrist. However, if you follow the instructions, you should have no issues.
Best Freshwater Fishing Combo: Orvis’ Clearwater IV
The Clearwater IV is an excellent all-around trout rod at a reasonable price. Yes, you can spend ten times as much on a fly rod, but it may take just as long to see any meaningful changes apart from physical weight.
The weight of the line thrown by fly rods and reels is directly proportional to the size of the fish they’re intended to catch.
Key Features and Benefits
The Clearwater IV 9-foot 5-weight fly rod is about as flexible as a trout fly rod gets, and its mid-flex rating makes it ideal for both surface (or “dry”) and subsurface (or “wet”) fly fishing, which benefits from softer and stiffer flexibility, respectively.
The cork handle lasts a long time, which is typically where other low-cost fishing rods fall short. But, even if your cork handle begins to deteriorate, Orvis has you covered.
The reel isn’t particularly impressive, but sophisticated fly reels aren’t required for most trout fishing situations. As long as you keep it clear of saltwater, the Clearwater IV should last as long as any other. If you must put it in the brine, be sure to dismantle it first and then correctly rinse it with fresh water, leaving the reel and spool apart to dry completely before reassembling it.
Furthermore, the reel’s drag isn’t very impressive, but it can easily handle big fish (up to around 10 pounds) in rapid water, which is about all I’ve ever requested of a 5-weight reel. There’s a fly line, backing, and even a leader supplied. This bundle is even more of a bargain since they are typically individual expenditures that quickly add up to over $50.
- It’s versatile since it comes with a backing and a 25-year guarantee.
- The tip is softer, and it protects the tippet well.
- Short-distance performance and excellent dry fly presentation are aided.
- There’s also an Orvis travel protection bag included making transporting your rod to the finest fishing locations a breeze!
- The reel is not well-lubricated when it arrives, be sure to disassemble it and add reel oil before using it immediately after buying it.
- It has a relatively high price.
There’s no need to go any farther for a trout rod. Still, if you’re looking for something a bit more lightweight and technical, the Sage X rod and reel combination is a worthwhile upgrade, and the partly sealed reel it comes with will certainly outlive Orvis’ Clearwater IV.
Orvis’ Clearwater IV outfit has everything you need to go out on trout streams at a fantastic price right away.
Best Deep-Sea Bottom Fishing: Shimano Triton Lever Drag (TLD) rod and reel combo
Whether you are merely dragging a single lure behind your boat or actively fishing a spread of six or eight lines, it’s critical to have a trolling rod and reel capable of handling large fish. However, this can severely damage under-equipped gear and leave you with an even more giant hole in your pocket once the necessary repair(s) or replacement is completed.
Trolling gear fails when traveling through a very isolated area of Fiji, forcing the anglers to rely on hand lines. Along the way, they lose more fish, thus making them invest in all new gear. Choosing the proper trolling gear may be difficult: too light, and you risk damaging your tackle or leaving a fish with a lure and spool of line attached; too heavy-duty, and recovering (most) smaller fish won’t be much fun. Consider where you’ll be trolling most of the time and if the additional weight is worth it in terms of catching a prize.
Key features and benefits
Shimano’s Triton Lever Drag (TLD) reel is paired with a 6′ Star stand-up rod for a lightweight and dependable traditional combination.
The Shimano TLD rod and reel combination will work well if you’re trolling inshore and your catch is expected to be in the 50-pound range (think inshore species like salmon, and maybe tiny mahi-mahi and tuna offshore).
The gears and main shaft are made of stainless steel, making it lightweight.
The rod is made of titanium fabric ball-bearing drag with a graphite composite blank with a lot of punch.
Reinforcement of the rod using Carbon Coil Technology makes it ideal for those looking for a reasonably priced, vital, and reliable stand-up rod to fish for giant tuna.
- Both setups will work for bait and bottom fishing in most cases.
- It is both cost-effective and suitable for trolling.
- Convenient for fishing in the seawater.
- It is a hassle to stow since it’s so heavy.
- Relatively expensive.
When it comes to reels, the Shimano TLD is your best bet. With an open-faced, or conventional, reel, it’s not only simpler to battle fish at a vertical angle, but it’s also a lot easier to change your drag, retrieve, and drop your bait.
These reels are built to last, and you won’t have any difficulty finding new components in the future. They are also quite reasonably priced for the quality, and you will not find anything else in this price range that is both dependable and readily accessible (or repaired).
Factors to consider when buying a Fishing Rod and Reel Combo
First and foremost, you must determine what kind of fishing you wish to undertake. You need to know where and how you will be fishing before you start buying since specific rod and reel combinations are built especially for certain kinds of fishing, such as fly fishing or ice fishing.
Fishing rod and reel combinations are often intended for beginners who want to go out on the lake as soon as possible. If you’re a more experienced angler, you may want to shop for your rod and reel separately, but the combinations offered are worth considering. Not all fishing reels are the same. But with a variety of choices available, you may be able to get all of the sophisticated features you need in one buy.
In general, rod and reel combinations are cost-effective, but that doesn’t imply they’re always dirt cheap. There are some budget-friendly choices to get you up and running fast if you’re just getting started, but if you’re more experienced, it’s usually worth it to pay a bit more for longevity and the specific features you desire.
You may believe that saving $20-30 is simple and that you can get the “same” goods for less money. The vendor may mention all the bells and whistles but bear in mind that material quality and durability can vary greatly. A new purchase will be made, and this will cost you more in the long run.
Graphite Is Sensitive
Because graphite rods are more sensitive and may cause you to hook the fish too early, you may need some practice.
It’s not only about the quantity; it’s also about the quality. For example, when having four high-quality ball bearings is preferable to having eight low-quality ball bearings.
Test how it feels.
If you get the chance, try holding the rod in your palm to see how it feels. Try out a couple of different beginning choices and choose the one that seems most comfortable to you. Of course, with the rod in your hand, you’ll be spending a lot of time.
Now that you know what to look for in the best fishing rod and reel combination, you can choose and purchase the most excellent choice for your requirements. Purchasing a package offers many advantages that will make your life simpler and eliminate the need to make numerous decisions.
There is a choice for everyone, regardless of which fishing style you want to practice or where you want to fish when it comes to rod and reel combinations. Any of the choices mentioned above is a great pick. But, before you choose a piece of gear from our list of the finest fishing reels and rods combo, have a look at our quick purchasing advice.
Anthony has been an angler for the past 15 years. His experience makes him an invaluable asset to FISHING GEN and writes on fishing expeditions as well as fishing gear.