Hi, How Can We Help You?


The best rod and reel combos for fishing

This post may contain affiliate links which means Fin Slayer, LLC may receive a commission for purchases made through links. Please contact us if you have any questions or review our Privacy Policy page.

It is recommended to novice anglers to go with fishing combos as an unbalanced gear setup is nothing else but a nightmare. Many anglers hesitate from buying combos as they think that something that affordable must comprises compromising facts somewhere. Our list of best rod and reel combos denies all these allegations and are tested products for different fishing locations.

When you are successful in a search for the perfect fishing rod the next crucial task is finding the right fishing reel that pairs best with it and doesn’t disturb the overall balance. Thanks to those fishing rods and reel combos that save anglers especially the novice from this hectic search for reels. In order to make your decision easier and save respected anglers from endless searches we have listed some of the best fishing rod and reel combos.

Quick Access to Best Fishing combos

Top 3 Picks for the best rod and reel combos

Penn Battle III Spinning Combo
Penn Battle III Spinning Combo
  • Graphite rod
  • Full metal body reel
  • One-piece Stainless steel line guides
  • 5+1 ball bearings
Lew's Mach 2 SLP Baitcast Combo
Lew’s Mach 2 SLP Baitcast Combo
  • Graphite blanks
  • Graphite reel body
  • Shielded 9+1 ball bearings
  • 110/12 Line capacity
Ugly Stik GX2 Spinning Combo
Ugly Stik GX2 Spinning Combo
  • Composite blank construction
  • Aluminum spool
  • 3+1 ball bearings
  • EVA grips

List of Best Rod and reel combos with details

1- Penn Battle III Spinning Reel and Fishing Rod Combo

best rod and reel combo overall

the best fishing combo overall
  • Graphite rod
  • Full metal body reel
  • One-piece Stainless steel line guides
  • 5+1 ball bearings
  • Ht-100 drag washers
  • Front drag adjustment
  • Available as moderate and fast action
  • Available as 1,2 and 3 piece rod

Starting with my favorite fishing combo for almost every type of fishing whether its freshwater or saltwater. Although a sparking price also sparks with its performance but what is better than a fishing rod and reel setup that lasts longer and saves you from upgrading gear again and again for a specific type of fishing?

This combo comprises a graphite rod. So the features you shouldn’t be worried about are the sensitivity to pick the slightest nibbles, stiffness, and the rod’s lightweight structure. PENN delivers the best and this combo is a practical example.

Next, the prominent part is its HT-100 carbon fiber drag washer spinning reel, which is the main hero behind the sturdy and smooth performance of the reel. The reel is also a full metal body so it can bear the wear and tear of saltwater and a reliable companion in rough fishing conditions.

So overall it’s a durable and sturdy combo, you can use it for casting small streams to cast heavy lures on surf fishing. It is available in multiple-length rods from 6.6 to a maximum of 10 feet long you can easily pick the right length according to your fishing type.

For more enhanced performance the rod also comprises special PENN dura guides which are one-piece stainless steel. To guarantee long-lasting smoother performance these line guides are corrosion-resistant and are made durable. Still, I do recommend a little maintenance and cleaning of guides as saltwater shows no mercy upon any gear.

The good part is the rod is available as a one as well as a two-piece rod. So if you’re a moving angler, it is also the best combo for traveling. Overall, it’s a fully rated product from our side. You can target largemouth bass to bigger-sized walleye with these powerful rods.

  • Long-lasting rod and reel
  • Suitable for both freshwater and saltwater fishing
  • Available in multiple lengths
  • Good at quick hook sets
  • The high-quality components cause the appraisal of the price

2- Lew’s Mach 2 SLP Baitcast Combo

best baitcasting combo

the best baitcasting combo
  • Graphite blanks
  • Stainless steel guides
  • Shielded 9+1 ball bearings
  • Graphite reel body
  • Medium-heavy Power
  • 110/12 Line capacity
  • One year warranty

Lew’s fishing gear are popular among the tournament anglers mainly due to their tough performance. If you are an aggressive fisherman, Lew’s products are the optimal pick for you.

Starting with its IM8 graphite construction that means lesser material is used and a lighter, stronger, and more durable rod than before. To ensure durability its features firmly placed line guides of stainless steel with aluminum inserts. The good part about these guides is they don’t bend under heavy loads.

The hook keeper is also present there to save the rod’s cosmetics from hook scratches. It is a very well thought design keeping in view the nitty gritty of a high-quality rod and reel.

Its reels are buttery smooth and have a solid reason for this level of smoothness, it’s the 10 ball bearings inside the reel system. These are shielded stainless steel guides that even the salt particles make their way to the internal components of the reels, the shielded components are guides all life-saving.

As it’s a baitcasting setup so more speedy line retrievals, longer distance casts, and the recommended rod and reel combo for bass. The only room for improvement we found is the reel body which can be made more durable.

Generally, baitcasting rods and reels aren’t easy to practice but this combo with its smooth drag and retrievals made it easy to learn baitcasting casts.

The oversized grips on both rod and reel handles offer a firm grip even with wet hands. The reel with attractive performance and attractive cosmetics and top of all that at an affordable price attracts many professional anglers towards it.

Those anglers who don’t want to spend an amount and searching for an alternative to PENN battle combo, Lew’s Mach can be a good option if you are easy to swap from spinning to baitcasting setup.

These are medium-heavy fishing rods with fast baitcasting reel of 7.5:1 gear ratio.

  • Affordable price range
  • 10 ball bearings for buttery smooth drag
  • Attractive Cosmetics
  • Reel body needs improvement

3- Ugly Stik GX2 Spinning Reel and Fishing Rod Combo

best spinning rod and reel combo

the best spinning combo
  • Composite blank construction
  • Aluminum spool
  • 3+1 ball bearings
  • EVA grips
  • Clear Glass Tip

Ugly Stik claims to deliver the indestructible rods which I wouldn’t say is 100% guaranteed but true to some extent. The GX2 series rods are durable rods and sometimes land fish more than their capacity.

Its spinning version is top recommendation to beginners while professional anglers who demand more perfection and longer casts with fast and speedy retrievals can switch to its casting version.

This combo is the perfect balance of performance and budget. The combo is easy on the pocket and tough in the water against aggressive fish. It features all the premium quality features that sometimes it forces me to rethink that why PENN battle if GX2 is available.

First of all it’s a composite rod, the rod with graphite sensitivity, lightness and stiffness with the fiberglass durability. The rods performs where you don’t even expect. The famous Ugly Stik clear tip design isn’t breakable easily.

The spinning reel’s aluminum spool and oversized bail wire are all corrosion-resistant to bear saltwater bruises but make sure to give it a freshwater wash as this isn’t the PENN battle’s durable reel.

The reel is no doubt smooth but if there were a greater no of ball bearings I think no other reel can compete with its performance. It’s just a suggestion, not a con. This doesn’t cancel the deal as its 4 ball bearings are performing their best and unmatched for their price.

Besides its performance, I am also a fan of Ugly Stik GX2 cosmetics. Its matt black body with a cross-design right above the butt area on the pole makes it a charming thing to gift someone.   

Overall it’s a great addition to the arsenal as it delivers the performance and price the other can’t beat. If you are looking for some bang for the buck Ugly Stik GX2 is the right choice.

  • Durable rod and reel combo
  • Budget-friendly combo
  • Suitable for both beginners and professionals
  • Multiple models are available to cast multiple size lures
  • No reverse switch present in reel

4- Orvis Clearwater Fly Rod Outfit

best combo for fly fishing

the best rod and reel combo for fly fishing
  • Graphite rods
  • Aluminum reel
  • Orvis Fly line included
  • Cork handles
  • 9’-5wt long
  • Fast Action
  • Medium-heavy
  • Aluminum reel seat

Once you are trained with the skills especially fishing, then you can manage if by any chance you didn’t get the perfect rod for your fishing. The main sufferers are beginners. So I mostly prefer and recommend those rods and reels that are suitable for both beginners and highly skilled anglers.

Orvis Clearwater Fly rod passed its difficulty level test with promising marks. This fly rod is fast enough, handles dry flies, and is great with finesse techniques with smaller flies.

To be honest, I wasn’t expecting much from Clearwater but as I said before we should give anything a chance before making remarks. But the built quality of the Orvis fly rod is better than any other entry-level rod.

It’s a high modulus graphite rod, so this 9 feet long rod is lighter in weight to support smooth and versatile casting with stiff rods but not as light as a feather. Moreover, it is fast enough then its previous version, good at setting fast hooks, and quick feedback on each flex.

You can make longer and more accurate casts with the Orvis Clearwater Fly rod. The anglers searching for an affordable combo or a reliable entry-level setup this one is fully recommended and a proud addition to your best rod and reel collection. 

The Clearwater package also contains the aluminum reel with stainless steel stacked disc drag system. Again beyond the expectations results. The reel operates smoothly and performs well in tough fights.

There is also Clearwater Fly Line included which is perfectly not overweight to maintain the rod balance and load properly when casting long. What’s more perfect than a fly rod and reel combo that also includes the best compatible fly line?

Something that we missed in this rod is the hook keeper as the matt black pole was scratched by the hook. Next, if you are fly fishing deeper than 30 feet then this might not be an ideal pick.

This rod and reel plus fly line is also backed up by 25 years of warranty so fish with no worries. I haven’t seen another fly fishing combo better than this at this price. Orvis did great work producing the premium quality rod and reel for entry-level anglers.

The good part is it is all ready to go. Just grab it, set it and make a cast. You don’t have to search line and leader for this combo.

  • Excellent quality gear construction
  • Budget-friendly fly fishing combo
  • No hook keeper
  • Not ideal for deep-depth fishing

5- Zebco Dock Demon Spincast Reel and Fishing Rod Combo

best cheap rod and reel combo

the best budget rod and reel combo
  • Fiberglass blank
  • Metal reel
  • 4.3:1 gear ratio
  • EVA handles
  • Anti reverse switch
  • Pre-spooled reel with Monofilament Line
  • Available in two different colors
  • No-tangle design reel
  • 30 inches length
  • One piece rod
  • One year warranty

Getting a rod and reel combo under $30 isn’t it’s a treat? The rod that has the capacity to targeting panfish to skittish trout, aggressive bass, and strong musky fish. It is a suitable rod for medium sized fish.

The combo is easy to operate and soft on budget. This combo is recommended for beginners and also for kids learning fishing. It’s fiberglass rods so these rods flex more than pure graphite ones and load significantly under pressure.

Although it’s a one-piece rod, a portable smaller-sized rod and reel are easy to carry at any fishing location and also suitable for ice fishing. A 30 inches long rod with a 4.3:1 gear ratio reel makes sure to deliver its best in different fishing situations.

The Zebco no-tangle design reels are durable, made corrosion-resistant to last longer, and offer tension-free fishing to novice anglers without the fear of any line twists and tangles.

If you are searching for a rod and reel combo that is always present in your truck then Zebco Dock Demon is recommended because if any chance you broke it go for a new one it’s just a few bucks.

  • Suitable for kids as well as beginners
  • Best spinning combo under $30
  • Available in multiple colors that is an attractive thing for kids to learn with interest
  • One piece construction
  • Anti-reverse switch

6- Abu Garcia Jordan Lee Baitcast Combo

best baitcasting combo for bass

the best rod and reel combo for bass
  • Graphite blanks
  • 5+1 ball bearing
  • Stainless steel line guides and bearings
  • 7 feet long rod
  • Medium-heavy power
  • Fast action
  • Star Drag type
  • One piece rod
  • 6.4:1 gear ratio
  • Machined Aluminum spool
  • Split grip handle design

Are you a bass angler and searching for the right bass combo? Abu Garcia Jordan Baitcasting rod and reel is there to offer the impressive performance to handle bass and cast crankbaits, pitch jigs and even frog fish with this rod.

I am a fan of this rods’ smoothness the rod’s sensitivity. The prefect rod to detect the slightest nibbles by fish. The vibrations are so clear that the chances are bare to miss a catch.

The rod is 24 Ton graphite rod to deliver fast hook sets, comfort, and enough backbone to tackle tough fight catches.

When we mention any product to the list of best fishing rods and reels then it must have something that is worth mentioning. This combo’s showstopper is the Baitcasting reel. The reel is built with high-quality materials to offer long-lasting smooth performance.

The reel’s smoothness is very much due to its 5+1 ball bearings. The reduced backslashes and smooth and accurate casts are mercies of these ball bearings. As greater the number of ball bearings the better the bait caster performs.

Features brass gear, MaxTrag brake system, and the disk drag system are all indications of powerful performance for both freshwater and saltwater fishing. 

This medium-power Abu Garcia rod combo has enough backbone to be a perfect rod for tournament anglers. Use 15lb. monofilament fishing line for perfect casts with 3/8 to ¾ lure weight.

Overall the rod is of great quality with braided line-friendly guides, firm grip handles, and a hook keeper. The best rod and reel combo with advanced features to serve as all-rounder.

  • Well balanced rod
  • Comfortable to hold
  • Tough fishing and fighting rod
  • Corrosion resistant components of both rod and reel
  • Heavy rod

7- PLUSINNO Fishing Rod and Reel Combos

best telescopic rod and reel combo

the best telescopic rod and reel combo
  • Carbon fiber rods
  • Aluminum spool
  • Stainless steel line guides
  • EVA handles
  • Stainless steel hooded reel seat
  • 5.2:1 gear ratio
  • 3000 size reel

Telescopic reels are always underrated, no doubt they are more destructible than 2 or 3-piece rods but if you are right with the line and lure weight, you will be a big fan of these combos.

Plusinno Fishing combo is the perfect balance of portability and durability. First of all, they are carbon fiber rods, the enhanced form of graphite rods to deliver graphite stiffness but fiberglass flexibility.

The combo is all durable to resist saltwater bruises and corrosion. To target larger saltwater fish the reel has a deep aluminum spool with enough line capacity to tackle those fish who run far enough when get hooked.

With a 5.2:1 gear ratio, it’s a fast-spinning reel and retrieves plenty of line on one turn of the handle. For a firm placement of the reel on the rod, its stainless steel reel seat marks its importance in a successful retrieval.

The rod setup with a 3000 reel size has enough capacity to land 3-4 lb. largemouth bass and other same-sized species.

Its line guides do not bend under pressure or any other tough conditions. They are stainless steel with aluminum oxide inserts which are braided line friendly. The line guides are durable enough to bear braided abuse.

Select the length from various length options from 5.9 ft. to a maximum of 8.86 ft. The best traveling combo for moving anglers. Moreover, it’s a big relief from giant-size reels as it’s a smaller sized reel with enough line capacity.

Pair it with lighter 15-20 lb. light line weight for enhanced performance.

  • Affordable spinning combo
  • Portable rod
  • Smaller-sized components that are easy to carry
  • Lightweight rod and reel structure
  • Not an ideal rod for bigger-sized fish
  • The reel handle quality needs improvement as it’s a plastic body

8- Daiwa BG Saltwater Spinning Combo

best saltwater rod and reel combo

the best saltwater rod and reel combo
  • Carbon Fiber rods
  • Diggi gear
  • Aluminum Spool 
  • Full Aluminum reel body  
  • 6+1 ball bearing 
  • Aluminum oxide line guides
  • EVA handles
  • 5.7:1 gear ratio

Saltwater fishing requires durable gear set up, tough bodies, and enough backbone as saltwater fish are stronger fish to catch.

When discussing the best rod and reel combos how come Daiwa can not be included in the list? Daiwa makes sure to deliver the required toughness and not to disappoints its users. Daiwa knows how to win the heart of anglers and the BG Saltwater series is the proof.

The rod and reel specially designed to bear saltwater bruises are no doubt durable enough. At first, I thought it must be hype, next I got a chance to cast with a Daiwa rod and reel.

Its 3000-size reel with 6+1 ball bearings and 5.7:1 gear ratio is so smooth with the cast, the smoothest drag, the durable performance, and longer casts for inshore fishing are all the prominent features of this reel.

Then, often saltwater fishing gear is heavier in weight as compared to regular fishing rods and reels. As you go higher with the price the features are also polished.

But Daiwa BG combo rods are carbon fiber constructed they are all lighter in weight still durable and sensitive to detect fish strikes to lures. The rod also features aluminum oxide guides that are also great with durability. Use a 30 lb. braided line to target exciting catches.

Comprising EVA grips and EVA handles makes sure the rod doesn’t slip from the angler’s hand during a fight. A nice grip and nice hold are offered by these rods.

Overall a 2-piece high-quality fishing rod with a premium featured reel and all this within the budget. This Daiwa combo is all available under $200 and suitable for almost every skill level angler.

  • Durable saltwater fishing combo
  • Lightweight structure
  • Corrosion resistant
  • Powerful drag
  • Suitable for larger sized fish catches
  • N/A

How to choose the best fishing rod and reel combo

The buying guide for the spinning combo is different from baitcasting same is the case for fly fishing and telescopic. So to make it easier we will discuss the guide for each combo type separately.

How to choose the best Spinning Combo?

Spinning rods and reel Combos are highly recommended for beginner anglers mainly due to their ease of use. In this setup, the spinning reels sit underneath the spinning rod with line guides facing downwards a totally opposite set to bait casters.

Spinning rods


The length of the rod indicates how long you can cast. So selection of the rod length is done on the basis of fishing location and more importantly skill level. A long 9 ft. spinning rod is an ideal rod for surf fishing but a strenuous task for novice anglers to handle this length rod.

For beginners, a 7 ft. long rod is an ideal pick. These length rods are easy to hold and also offer pinpoint accuracy as the shorter the length of the rod the more accurate the lure drop is. 

Overall, for inshore fishing 6-8 feet rod length, for surf fishing, as a beginner it is recommended not to exceed 10 feet, 7-9 feet long rods are perfect for beginner surf anglers, however, the anglers master in their fishing skills can pick 10-15 feet long rods for targeting big muskies, salmon, and other bigger saltwater catches.

Spinning reels

The main thing to consider in a fishing reel is the gear ratio how many times the spool rotates on one turn of the handle. The higher the gear is, the more line will be retrieved per crank.

The reason why spinning reels are the optimal pick for startup fishing as they feature a front drag system with easy adjustment. The angler has more control over the line and lure speed and hence lessens the chances of line tangles.

Gear ratio of spinning reels

With spinning reels, the maximum gear ratio you can achieve is 7.0:1. 6.2:1 to 7.0:1 gear ratio reels are the fastest-spinning reels perfect for lure fishing, deep vertical fishing, jigging, casting far. and other finesse fishing techniques. These ratio reels are good at setting fast hooks.

4.9:1 to 5.2:1 gear ratio reels are relatively slower reels when you are fishing with heavy lines and lures, casting live baits these ratio spinning reels are a perfect choice.

How to choose the best baitcasting combo?

The baitcasting setup is again totally opposite to the spinning rod and reel, the bait caster reel sits on top of the casting rods with line guides facing upward. The nightmare that resists anglers to go with baitcasting rods and reels is the bird nests with these setups.

But baitcasting combos are more accurate with casts and casts lure longer than spinning reels.

Baitcasting Rods

The same rule applies to baitcasting rods just like the spinning rods, the longer rod might be tricky to handle, however, the 7-8 feet length rods are the optimal pick for different types

Bait casting reels

Baitcasting reels are more professional in working and feature a braking system to control spool speed. You can tighten or loosen the magnetic braking plates to control and adjust the tension on the line spool.

Gear Ratio

Baitcasting reels are faster in speed than spinning reels. They also feature larger diameter spool diameters and come in higher gear ratios up to 9.1:1. These reels have a free spool system, and the line casts out speedily.

As the line comes out directly off the spool so you have to place your thumb on the line to control line speed. That’s why it is a bit difficult to master the baitcasting reel setup.

Selecting from various gear ratio options, the ratios range from 4.5:1 to 5.0:1 are slow-moving reels that are ideal picks for heavy lines, lures, and fishing at deeper depths. These gear ratio reels are easier to master than faster speed i.e. 6.2:1 to 9.1:1 ratio reels.

Pick faster baitcasting reels when casting spinnerbaits, buzz baits, or when fishing in small strike zone areas.   

Hand Orientation

One of the benefits of using spinning reels is the ambidextrous handle you can easily shift the handle from one to another while baitcasting reels are either right or left-hand. You have to select the specific hand orientation with these reels.

Rod Power

The power of the rod is its backbone, it’s the strength of the rod against the target fish. The power of the fishing rod either spinning, baitcasting, or any other type, indicates the pressure required to make the rod bend.

Power is categorized as ultra-light, light, medium, medium-light, medium-heavy, heavy, and extra-heavy power. Light and ultra-light power rods are used to target panfish, while medium to heavy rods is used for heavy fishing, inshore, and surf fishing conditions to land bigger-sized fish.

To learn more power of the rods and when to use which rod with lure ratings check out this guide.

Rod Action

As power is the strength, the action indicates the position of the rod from where it bends. How fast the rod returns to its original position is also defined by rod action.

Three main categories are available Slow, moderate, and fast action rods. Again many in-between options like moderate-fast and extra-fast are also available.

Fast action rods only bend from the tip, moderate action rods bend from the middle section to the tip while slow action rods bend throughout their whole length right above the butt to the tip.

Fast action rods are great with sensitivity and so as moderate action rods. Slow-action rods act as shock absorbers and are good for smaller-sized fish catches.

To learn more about rod action and when to use check out this guide. 

Rod guides Material

Rod guides play their part in maintaining the rods’ overall wait, allows smooth casting of line, prevent line from touching the rod, and prevent line tangles. Lines guides are important component of fishing rods and are made from different materials.

The titanium alloy and ceramic guides are the top quality materials for line guides both are corrosion and heat-resistant but their presence increases the rods’ price.

However, their best alternative is stainless steel guides which are heat, impact, and corrosion resistant, and retain their shape for a longer time period. Stainless steel guides are also budget-friendly line guide material.

Regarding the line guides number, more is always better as they distribute the power equally. The best quantity is one line guide per rod foot.

Handle Material

The handle of both rod and reel matters and influence your cast. If both aren’t high quality and do not offer a firm grip then it’s all a game of missed catches.

The two commonly found rod handles are cork and EVA. Cork handles are stiffer than foam and are good for ice fishing as they feel warm to the touch. However, they might get affected if roughly used.

Whereas, EVA foam is softer than cork handles and is also cheaper. This type of handle retains its shape for a longer period of time even placed in a rod holder.

Fishing reel handles are graphite, aluminum or other metals. Graphite handles are light in weight while aluminum ones are great with durability. These handles have an EVA grip on them for comfort.

How to choose the Fly Fishing combo?

When you are aware of your target fish, the rod and reel selection becomes easier. As we are discussing the best rod and reel combos so it is better to focus on the rod as the paired reel is its best compatible paired by the gear brands themselves.

So when you fishing in big streams and larger rivers, pick fast action rods, when fishing in smaller streams to target medium to bigger-sized fish medium action fly fishing rods are a perfect choice. Slow-action fly rods bend all their length, these rods are only for pan fishing.

It’s recommended to pick medium action fly rods as it has the capability to land both medium and larger sizes of fish.

Regarding fly rod length going with an all-rounder option, an 8 ft. long rod is an optimal pick for trout, bass, and same-category species. Medium power and fast action fly rods with 8 ft. length are perfect you can cast dry and wet flies with these rods! 


The price factor matters a lot. The main reason why rod and reel combos are a great choice as they are great with prices. Even some of the best rod and reel combos are available for under $50. These combos deliver excellent performance in different fishing situations.

As you go higher with the prices, the quality of the components raises because you can’t deny that you get what you paid for. At the startup level, we do not recommend novice anglers exceed 100$.

Target Fish

By picking the right rod and reel according to the type of fish you are up to, half of the problem about the gear selection is resolved. Obviously, you can’t cast with a 6 feet ultra-light rod to land a big saltwater fish. Each rod with a specific rod and action is designed to target a specific size and habitat specie.

The same is the case for reels, the reels for longer rods and bigger species are reels with more spool capacities. Luckily with a fishing rod and reel combos, the selection of the right size reel isn’t your headache anymore.

Frequently Asked Questions


It is clearly misinformation about fishing rod and reel combos that the manufacturers reduce the quality over quantity. I personally own two rod and reel combos and found no issues at all. So it is recommended to at least give it a try before any comments. 

Just like individual gear, rods, and reel combos are also available in different varieties from freshwater to saltwater, even telescopic combos are also available. Just pick confidently from the best rod and reel combos list that you found is matching your requirements.