The 8 Best Fishing Rod and Reel Combos to Buy in 2018

We are committed to researching, testing, and recommending the best products. We may receive commissions from purchases made after visiting links within our content. Learn more about our review process.

Fishing rod and reel combos are a cost-effective and convenient option especially suited to anglers looking to find a perfectly matched rod and reel pair without having to break the bank. There are countless combos to choose from, each with subtle differences. Some are specifically intended for certain kinds of angling (like ice fishing or fly fishing), while others cater to different reel preferences. Whether you’re a baitcasting pro or a deep sea enthusiast in need of a new trolling rod and reel, this article looks at the best combos on the market today.

01 of 08

Best for Kids: PLUSINNO Kids Fishing Rod and Reel Combo

The PLUSINNO Kids Fishing Rod and Reel Combo includes a telescopic rod and an easy-to-master spincast reel. At 3’9” in length and 2.2 ounces in weight, the rod is perfectly sized for smaller hands, while the foldable design makes it easy to transport and store. The combo also includes fishing line and an impressive set of lures, including crankbaits, float bobbers, jig heads and soft lures. A variety of sinkers, swivels and stoppers completes your child’s first fishing set. A handy tackle box can be added to your purchase for a small extra fee.  

02 of 08

Best for Portability: Daiwa Minispin Ultralight Spinning Reel and Rod Combo

Perfect for fishermen on the move, the Daiwa Minispin Ultralight Spinning Reel and Rod Combo includes a 4’6” ultralight rod. Intended for two- to six-pound test line and 1/16- to 1/4-ounce lures, the five-piece rod packs away into a compact hard case complete with built-in tackle compartments. Strap the case to your backpack or stash it in your vehicle for long-distance road trips.

The included spinning reel boasts a smooth single ball bearing drive and a speedy 5.1:1 gear ratio. Respectively, Daiwa’s Twist Buster and GyroSpin technologies reduce the chance of line twists and afford the reel flawless balance. The fold-down handle is compatible with right or left-handed use.

03 of 08

Best Spinning: Ugly Stik GX2 Spinning Fishing Reel and Rod Combo

Ugly Stik GX2 Spinning Fishing Reel and Rod Combo
Amazon

For casual spinning excursions, you can’t go wrong with the Ugly Stik GX2 Spinning Fishing Reel and Rod Combo. Praised on Amazon for its excellent value, the combo comes in seven different models, ranging from an ultralight set-up with a 4’8” rod to a medium heavy combo with a seven-foot rod. Whichever you choose, your purchase includes a two-piece Ugly Stik GX2 spinning rod, famous in fishing circles for its strength and durability. The rod’s graphite and fiberglass construction also help to give it superior balance and sensitivity.

The stainless steel guides are compatible with all fishing lines (including braid), while the EVA foam grips ensure your hands don’t slip while reeling in your catch. The included spinning reel features a double anodized aluminum spool and compression bail springs, both of which increase its lifespan. Two or three ball bearings (depending on which reel size you choose) make for smooth line retrieval; while an additional anti-reverse bearing allows the hook to set instantly. Soft-touch knobs on the handle protect your hands from blisters and calluses.

04 of 08

Best Baitcasting: Lew’s American Hero Baitcasting Rod and Reel Combo

Experienced anglers looking for increased casting accuracy should consider the Lew’s American Hero Baitcasting Rod and Reel Combo. It includes a 6’10” medium heavy one-piece rod made from multilayer IM6 graphite for added structural strength and sensitivity. The rod also boasts stainless steel guides, EVA foam split-grips and the brand’s patented No Foul hook keeper. The baitcasting reel features a graphite composite frame and side plates, an anodized aluminum spool and a solid brass main gear and crankshaft.

Weighing just 7.2 ounces, the reel has a 7.1:1 gear ratio for super fast line retrieval. Four corrosion-resistant ball bearings add smoothness, while the zero-reverse clutch bearing eliminates back play to give you the best possible chance of landing your fish. The drag system is fully adjustable, providing up to 15 pounds of drag power. The custom paddle knobs on the aluminium handle are designed for comfort throughout long days at the lake or river.

Continue to 5 of 8 below.
05 of 08

Best Spincast: Zebco 33 Fish Pistol Spincast Combo

Spincast combos are ideal for beginners on a budget, and the Zebco 33 Fish Pistol Spincast Combo is a classic from one of fishing’s most popular brands. It includes a 5’6” medium light action rod, made of durable Z-glass. The pistol grip is designed for straightforward one-handed casting, while the two-piece construction makes for convenient transport and storage. The reel features a lightweight graphite frame and a metal handle with comfortable rubber knobs.

An updated line management system makes for more accurate casting and improved line retrieval, aided by a ball bearing drive. The anti-reverse function allows you to strike without losing tension on the line, while the 3.6:1 gear ratio is perfect for high resistance lures. Other reel highlights include the changeable right or left-hand retrieve; the in-built hook holder and the fact that it comes pre-spooled with 100 yards of 10-pound Cajun line.

06 of 08

Best for Offshore Trolling: Penn Squall Level Wind Combo

Intended for both recreational and charter use, the Penn Squall Level Wind Combo is ideal for targeting big game fish in a variety of saltwater conditions. There are two different models to choose from: a 20-size reel with a six-foot medium action rod or a 30-size reel with a 6’6” medium heavy rod. Both reels have a large enough spool to accommodate the amount of line necessary for deep sea trolling.

With a graphite frame and a bronze alloy main gear, the reels are both light and strong. The level wind distributes line evenly over the spool, while the carbon fiber drag system creates the perfect blend of power and smoothness. Both reels have 2 + 1 corrosion-resistant ball bearings and a powerful 4.9:1 gear ratio. The rod is a one-piece tubular glass blank with a solid tip.

07 of 08

Best for Fly Fishing: L.L. Bean Quest II Boxed Fly-Rod Outfits

Most fly fishers use a bespoke rod-and-reel combo, with each element purchased separately to fit best how they fish; however, beginners new to fly fishing will benefit by starting out with a ready-made combo as they begin to figure out their own preferences. L.L. Bean, famous for its outdoor and fishing products, makes just the thing in its Quest II boxed outfits. For the price, it pretty much can’t be beat, either.

This starter outfit comes with a rod, rod case, and fly reel that comes kitted out with fly line, backing, and leader — so you can hit the stream pretty much the moment you unbox it. The medium-fast action rod itself is made of hardy graphite, and the four parts are easy to put together, while the weight-forward floating fly line has a smooth inline drag, making it easy to learn with. And if it winds up really not working for you? L.L. Bean has a 100-percent Satisfaction Guarantee.

08 of 08

Best for Ice Fishing: Frabill Fin-S Pro 30” Medium Ice Fishing Combo

There’s more to the Frabill Fin-S Pro 30” Medium Ice Fishing Combo than its impressively affordable price-tag. The medium action rod is made from solid carbon fiber and is loved by Amazon reviewers for its heightened sensitivity. It features special stainless steel, single-foot ice guides, as well as a reel seat with a comfortable cork grip.

The included spinning reel has a machined aluminium spool and three ball bearings that help to make your line retrieval smoother. An anti-reverse bearing allows for instant hookups, while the front-loaded drag is fully adjustable. Treated with Sub-Zero lube, the reel operates flawlessly in the coldest of temperatures, while the handle is interchangeable for left or right-handed use.