Picking out the rod and reel combo isn't easy these days. Whether it's a baitcaster or a spinning combo, there's a bevy of options on the market and it can be difficult to decide which one is going to work the best for you. Finding a rod with the right reel, action, retrieval ratio, and bearing count for the baits you plan on fishing is challenging. It seems like almost every type of fishing requires a different setup to be effective. Short of buying dozens of different rod and reel setups, it pays to pick up something that's versatile straight out of the box.
Not to worry, we've done some of the tough homework on these combos for you already. We didn't take this lightly. And we have picked a variety of combos to fit different fishing scenarios and budgets. There is sure to be something for everyone on this list, from the serious tournament bass angler to the weekend warriors who only get out a few times a year. These combos have all proven themselves to be some of the best in the business, sometimes even winning major awards to prove it.
1. A Baitcasting Combo For Serious Anglers
Abu Garcia Veritas Low Profile Combo, Abu Garcia, $299.95
This combo really is a beauty, but it also has the performance to back that up. This combo didn't win best of category at ICAST 2021 for nothing. Abu Garcia offers this combo in a 7 and 7' 3" length and heavy and medium heavy powers. This combo is silky smooth to reel thanks to a 10+1 bearing system. The Infini brake system is extremely easy to operate and this one casts like a dream, even with lighter weight lures. The Veritas excels with crankbaits and spinnerbaits. This is also a great option for anyone concerned with ergonomics. The closed cell EVA grips are very comfortable in the hand and easy to handle even when wet. It's not a cheap combo by any means, but it is worth every penny.
2. A Classic Baitcaster With Great Looks
Bass Pro Shops Johnny Morris Signature Series Bass Caster, Bass Pro Shops, $279.89
The reel impressed users, as did the sensitivity of the baitcasting rod. It's hard to go wrong with a classic if you're looking for a combo that can do it all. Bass Pro Shops offers excellent variety with this combo. It is available in three different rod lengths, medium, medium heavy, and heavy actions, three different gear ratios, and three different reel sizes. So, there's an outfit for fast retrieving spinnerbaits and crankbaits and another for working a big Texas-rigged plastic worm through the heaviest of grass mats. These combos normally go for around $359, but Bass Pro Shops frequently has them on sale and you can save close to $100. It's not often you can catch sales like that for a combo of this quality.
3. A Combo That's Great For Finesse Fishing
Pflueger Trion Spinning Rod and Reel Combo, Bass Pro Shops, $99
Finesse fishing requires a deft touch and a light setup so you can work the lure and detect strikes appropriately. This lightweight combo from Pflueger is a great option for that. This combo is offered with five different reel sizes and six different graphite rod lengths. Actions include ultra light, light, medium light, and medium. This one gets excellent user reviews thanks to the 9 stainless steel ball bearings and anti-reverse bearing making it extremely smooth on both casting and retrieval. This would be a great option for working Ned rigs or drop shots for stubborn suspended bass that are ignoring all other presentations.
4. A Versatile Multi-Species Option
While most anglers are going to purchase this combo for bass, this one has the versatility for tackling other species quite easily. Bass Pro Shops offer this combo in six different rod lengths and medium light, medium, medium heavy, and heavy actions. You can work this combo for larger species like pike or muskie on the higher ends. These combos also offer three different gear ratios so you can find the perfect setup for slowly working soft plastics or ripping crankbaits during the early spring. The reel features 10 bearings for smooth casting and reeling. There's also a six-disc carbon fiber drag system to ensure you can keep steady pressure on the big one once it is hooked. Many users felt this was the best combo they had ever purchased.
5. The Best Option for Younger Anglers
Abu Garcia designed this one in conjunction with professional bass angler Mike Iaconelli. When it comes to fishing tackle for kids, the Ike Dude is top of the class. Kudos to Abu Garcia for recognizing there are some skilled young anglers out there who want something serious. This six-foot spinning combo is rated for six to 12-pound line. Abu Garcia pre-spools these with eight-pound line, which should be perfect to start. The rod is a medium power, fast action rod. It features an ambidextrous reel handle and tough guides set on a graphite body rod. The combo is also extremely light, making it easy for kids to handle during a long day of fishing.
6. The Best Choice For a First-Time Baitcaster
Abu Garcia Max Pro Baitcasting Combo, Abu Garcia, $119.95
This is a great option for any angler's first serious baitcasting combo. The price point is excellent at $119. Abu Garcia offers this graphite rod in medium and medium heavy actions and two different lengths that should fit everything from topwaters, and jigging, to crankbaits. The reel has seven stainless steel ball bearings and one roller bearing for smooth casting. The guides on the rod are also stainless steel for a little added strength and durability in bad weather. We also just love the ergonomics of this combo's molded polymer grip system. Working a baitcaster is very different from a spinning rod and it takes some time to get used to it. This grip helps make that an easier transition.
7. Versatility Is This Combo's Middle Name
PENN Pursuit IV Spinning Rod & Reel Combo, Amazon, $68
Penn Fishing makes some top quality gear this combo is no exception. Penn has a real penchant for making some of the lightest equipment on the market and this combo comes in under a pound in weight. At the same time, it's extremely durable and built for the elements you are sure to encounter while out fishing. This is an inshore saltwater rod, but it has some extreme versatility for bass and a bevy of freshwater fish too. Penn offers this combo in heavy, medium, medium heavy, and medium light rod powers. The 6' 6" and 7' models are probably your best options for serious bass fishing with soft plastics. This combo is built to last.
8. Performance At Budget Prices
This combo is one of the best kept secrets in the fishing world. At $89, it's highly affordable, yet offers many great features found on much more expensive combos. The reel is available in four different sizes and features a 10-bearing system for ultra-smooth casting and retrieval. It's also ambidextrous and the spool is braid-ready. The drag washers are sealed, which should extend the life of the reel even further. Pflueger offers eight different graphite rod lengths with actions varying from ultralight to medium. The guides are stainless steel and should last an incredibly long time. This is another great option for finesse anglers, especially the drop shot and Ned rig enthusiast.
9. An Affordable Baitcaster With Modern Looks
As you've seen by this list, baitcasting combos can get quite expensive. Which is why we like this one for anglers on a budget who still want a quality setup. This is a great option for anglers all over the country. The rod is available in medium and medium heavy powers and two different lengths. The reel has an anti-reverse system and seven bearings for smooth retrievals. The dual braking system helps you make the adjustments to avoid backlashes. We especially like the one-piece machined aluminum frame. This feels like a much more expensive combo than it really is. This is another nice option for a first baitcaster, or a combo for someone who wants to upgrade from cheaper combos without totally breaking the bank.
10. Our Favorite Spinning combo For Bass
Abu Garcia Veritas Spinning Combo, Abu Garcia, $299.99
We first got our hands on this combo near Abu Garcia/Pure Fishing's headquarters in Iowa and we've been in love with it ever since. The Veritas spinning combo just offers unbelievable balance. It's easily the most ergonomic spinning rod we've ever used thanks to the closed cell EVA grips. Abu Garcia builds this rod in three different lengths and medium, medium heavy, and medium light powers. The reel has an extremely light aluminum frame and has a 10+1 bearing system. We love this reel for braid. Abu Garcia built the spool specifically for that line type. It's just a pure joy to fight a big bass on this rod. This is probably going to be our go-to combo for bass for some time to come.
Enjoy the outdoors?
Sign up for daily stories delivered straight to your inbox.