Fishing rod and reel combos are a great investment for those who don’t want to mess with numerous amounts of gear, particularly beginners who have never used any fishing gear before.
As brands have become more innovative in their designs, rod and reel combos have become even more popular because of their convenience and ease of use and maintenance. But what is the best rod and reel combo of 2022?
With so many options on the market, it can become overwhelming, but that’s why you’re here. We have done the research, so you don’t have to.
Who should buy a rod and reel combo?
Rod and reel combo is best for beginners (see excellent spincast rods by Zebco here) who have never used fishing gear before. This is because a combo means that you’re spending less time setting up various pieces of equipment and more time fishing and expanding your skillset.
The combo design also means that it’s all by one brand, so beginners can find it easier to become accustomed to their gear as different brands will have their products manufactured differently.
By having one brand throughout, it means that you’ll have more consistent results and performance.
Another reason beginners will benefit from a rod and reel combo is that they provide everything you need to get started with your fishing career (see the best salmon and steelhead fishing rods here), so you don’t have to worry about purchasing extra gear, meaning that it is a financial saving and a convenience.
For example, purchasing a fishing rod by itself may not have a reel seat which is an extra cost in itself, whereas a combo will include this.
As well as beginners, rod and reel combos can be a good choice for more advanced anglers who want consistency in the brand they purchase.
Similar to our previous point, purchasing gear within one brand will produce performances and results without the stress of using differing gear that may get in the way of a good experience.
It also means that you will only have to go to one tackle shop rather than numerous stores, which is another convenient aspect.
Who shouldn’t purchase a rod and reel combo?
As with most products, bass rod and reel combos are not for everyone. More experienced anglers who will have already garnered experience using various types of fishing gear will probably not see the use of purchasing a rod and reel combo.
Also, advanced anglers probably have an array of gear in their collection already, and a rod and reel combo may be incompatible with current gear and will never be used.
Rod and reel combos are also a handy investment in finance, but those who are advanced and like to invest in high-quality gear may find that rod and reel combos are more of a hindrance compared to the products they already own.
They will also be used to using various equipment so, they will not need the ease of using a rod and reel combo.
Rod and reel combos usually follow the advanced technology of the high-end products released prior, which experienced and professional anglers will have already purchased, meaning that the latest rod and reel combos are behind the technology they are using.
Advantages of a rod and reel combo
As mentioned above, rod and reel combos have an array of advantages according to who is looking at purchasing one.
The main advantage of purchasing a rod and reel combo is the financial savings that come with them. This is because manufacturers combine various components, meaning they can market and sell the products for less than if they were selling the rod and reel separately.
It also ensures consumer loyalty as they purchase various components within one brand, meaning that it is more likely that they will purchase more gear from them when they want to upgrade their gear or when it’s time to buy more gear.
Another important advantage is the amount of time you will save when purchasing a combo. If you buy a separate rod and reel, you will have to spend time combining the two, which can be intimidating to beginners, especially those who have never encountered fishing gear before.
As combos are made by the same brand, you can be assured that the combo is designed to be used together. Buying separate pieces from differing brands can be frustrating and confusing when trying to fit them together.
For those on a strict budget, combos are great because you’re getting more gear for your money. With most of them coming with a warranty and unlimited customer service, you can purchase with peace of mind that you will receive support or assistance should you need it.
You will also be able to save time and stress by looking at a variety of independent manufacturers. You can be assured that the combo is easy to use and maintain in most weather conditions and saltwater and freshwater.
You’ll also see that combos can avoid incompatibility, which can often happen when purchasing separate pieces of gear. This is likely to happen for beginners who aren’t familiar with the various types of gear.
Certain rods cannot be used with particular reels, and vice versa, as fishing gear isn’t designed to be mixed and matched. A combo means taking away the stress of figuring out if separate pieces can be combined at all and are less intimidating to the beginner.
Disadvantages of a rod and reel combo
As with most products, there are some disadvantages to purchasing a rod and reel combo. As discussed previously, more advanced and professional anglers probably won’t reap the benefits from a rod and reel combo.
They will more than likely be familiarized with how the separate components work by themselves already. This means that the combo will act as a hindrance and may not give the stellar performance that more high-end separate rods and reels provide.
Another disadvantage of a rod and reel combo is that you will not be able to customize or choose your combination.
Because a combo is manufactured by one brand with all of the components made together, this means that you won’t be able to put your spin on how your gear looks. This isn’t the worst thing in the world, particularly beginners, but more advanced anglers may want to switch things up.
As combos are made for certain fishing types, it limits what you can and can’t do.
Therefore, if you’re a beginner and plan on fishing in the same kind of water, you will likely be unaffected by this, but for those who want to be more versatile with their fishing careers, a combo may not be the best choice.
The last disadvantage of purchasing a combo is that you won’t get a chance to learn about the singular components or expand your skill set as much as if you were to buy the rod and reel separately.
As mentioned before, you won’t have the choice to mix and match, which can hinder you in terms of learning how different rods and reels work and how to construct and combine the equipment yourself.
Another aspect is that you will also be restricted to certain types of water with a combo, whereas learning how to combine a rod and reel yourself will give you access to fishing in whatever waters you want and allow you to have a wider skill set.
OUR TOP PICK
OUR TOP PICK
The best rod and reel combo on the market is the KastKing Crixus KastKing Crixus Fishing Rod and Reel Combo which boasts exceptional spinning and baitcasting reels thanks to the lightweight, carbon-infused frames and CNC aluminum spools.
Featuring KastFlex IM6 Graphite Blanks, this rod and reel combo has been designed to deliver incredible performance at a great price point.
The powerful and sensitive fishing rod allows you to set your rod to a light or medium power, meaning that you can catch various fish, including bass.
The golf-style super polymer handle is comfortable, durable, and slip-resistant, meaning that you will have complete control over the fishing rod no matter what the weather condition is like,
The materials used in manufacturing make this the best on the market. Thanks to the high-quality frames, it consists of a stainless steel guide with zirconium oxide rings for durability and reliability.
The fluorocarbon assures that you will use the rod and reel combo for many years to come.
The two-piece structure means that this product is easy to store and transport so that beginners won’t feel intimidated by its design. Made with unique PTS technology, this rod will perform just like a one-piece rod but without the high risk of breaking, making it incredibly easy to use and maintain.
- The lightweight, carbon-infused frames and CNC aluminum spools have exceptional spinning and baitcasting reels.
- It has been designed to deliver incredible performance at a great price point. The powerful and sensitive fishing rod allows you to set your rod to a light or medium power, meaning that you can catch various fish, including bass.
- Made with unique PTS technology, this rod will perform just like a one-piece rod but without the high risk of breaking, making it incredibly easy to use and maintain
- The drag system does not have a distinguished clicking sound like most combo models.
Our second selection is another combo from KastKing and is their Centron Spinning Reel – Fishing Rod Combo.
As expected from KastKing, their products are made from the highest quality materials with intricate designs and details, and this model is no exception.
The lightweight and sensitive graphite blanks mean that not only is this product sold at a great price point, but the performance that it brings will satisfy anglers of all abilities.
This is a particularly ideal combo for catching bass, trout, and panfish and can even withstand larger fish such as catfish, so the possibilities are endless. Made with stainless steel guides and O-rings, you can be assured of the durability and reliability of the product.
This rod can perform brilliantly with both mono or braided lines depending on your personal preference. The contoured EVA handles and fighting butt comfort your hand and a strong grip assures that you won’t feel fatigued during long fishing trips.
The medium and heavy power settings mean that you can catch bass and trout and heavier fish such as salmon or catfish.
This model comes with a central spinning reel that matches the rod perfectly, meaning it is already ready to catch the fish intended for.
This combo is sure not to disappoint, a great model for bass fishing, particularly for those who like to hunt for bigger fish, thanks to the strong power maximum of 5000.
Overall, what makes this product so popular and suitable for bass fishing is the premium reel specs at a great price point, making it accessible to those on a strict budget.
You get Maxi Dur ball bearings, an anti-twist line roller, a lightweight graphite frame, and an aluminum spool, providing you with everything you need to guarantee years of consistent performance.
- The lightweight and sensitive graphite blanks mean that not only is this product sold at a great price point, but the performance that it brings will satisfy anglers of all abilities.
- The contoured EVA handles, and fighting butt provides comfort in your hand and a strong grip assuring that you won’t feel fatigued during long fishing trips.
- It comes with Maxi Dur ball bearings, an anti-twist line roller, a lightweight graphite frame, and an aluminum spool meaning that you will have everything you need to guarantee years of consistent performance.
- The rod’s tip can be quite fragile, especially when hunting for heavier fish, so be sure not to pull back too hard.
The final recommendation for the best rod and reel combo is the Daiwa DSK25-B/F662M D-Shock Freshwater Spinning Combo which is the perfect alternative for those who want to venture away from the KastKing brand.
With a maximum power of 2,500, this rod and reel combo is perfect for those who want to go bass fishing as it is suited for medium power fishing.
The two-piece structure of the rod means that it isn’t intimidating to beginners putting the pieces together while also reducing the risk of any breakage that comes with a single-piece rod.
The single-bearing reel means that you won’t get confused when using your combo, so you can familiarize yourself with the equipment faster and expand your skillset by spending more time fishing and less time messing around with the equipment.
This model is great for beginners who have never used fishing gear before, thanks to the Digigear Driver system, which makes it incredibly easy to use and maintain.
The twist buster line roller means you have a reduced chance of backlash when fishing for heavier fish like bass or trout.
It will also ensure less chance of the line getting tangled when casting, so you can have long fishing trips with little to no fuss. The abs machined aluminum spool is extremely durable and reliable, thanks to the high-quality material.
- With a maximum power of 2,500, this rod and reel combo is perfect for those who want to go bass fishing as it is suited for medium power fishing.
- The two-piece structure of the rod means that it isn’t intimidating to beginners putting the pieces together while also reducing the risk of any breakage that comes with a single-piece rod.
- The twist buster line roller means you have a reduced chance of backlash when fishing for heavier fish like bass or trout. It will also ensure less chance of the line getting tangled when casting, so you can have long fishing trips with little to no fuss.
- Not suited for catching heavier fish such as catfish or salmon
Best Bass Fishing Rod and Reel Combo Buying Guide
Different kinds of rods
When looking at rod and reel combos, it’s important to learn about the different types of rods.
It is important to learn about the different elements of equipment and gear to understand how fishing works, but it can help you understand what kind of rod will be best for you rather than just buying the cheapest model that you see.
As fishing is a complex sport to learn and become accustomed to, it’s essential to know what kind of water you’ll be fishing in and what rod to look out for. In the long run, this will be a financial saving as well as less time-consuming.
Baitcasting vs. Spinning Rods
So what are the different types of rods? The most common choices are either baitcasting or spinning rods, and combos can be bought with either one depending on which one is the best one for you.
These rods differ in their construction with baitcasting rods containing a metal loop that the line is threaded through the reel to tip, which then faces upwards, whereas a spinning rod has a face down thread and tends to be larger.
Spinning rods are also equipped with a trigger on the handle, which assists with reel placement.
What these differences result in is a different handling technique. Spinning rods are more suited for beginners as they need an overhead cast controlled by the reel and the line moving off the spool (learn about the parts of a spinning reel here), whereas baitcasters require more initiative, timing, and fingerwork.
These techniques come with time and experience as you become more familiar with actually fishing.
It probably comes as no surprise that the most popular combo choice for beginners is a spinning rod and reel combo because of how much easier it is to use and maintain.
However, more experienced and advanced anglers prefer to use baitcasters as they have a faster casting time and more fishing bass specifically, baitcasters tend to see more success. This is because they can handle heavier weights and cast further.
As stated previously in this article, even if you opt for a combo, try to gain experience in constructing a rod and reel together yourself so you can feel and see the differences between the different kinds of rods.
This will allow you to become accustomed to the mechanisms of the equipment faster and give you more confidence when fishing.
Another important aspect is the length of the rod. It’s so easy to become overwhelmed by the variety of choices when looking at different rods. After all, don’t they all just do the same thing?
The answer is simply: not at all, and this is certainly important to understand when it comes to picking a rod length. The easiest way to think about it is that the longer the rod, the further it will cast out in the water.
Shorter rods may have the blatant disadvantage of having a shorter casting distance; however, they also have many advantages. The main one is complete control, thanks to the mobility provided for the angler who will have to pick up and move more often due to the distance.
They tend to be lightweight, so they are portable, and their shorter length means that they are easy to store away and handle as well.
As expected, longer rods have their advantages and disadvantages as well. They are more suited for more experienced anglers who can maintain control as the long length means that they can be difficult to maneuver than shorter rods.
The main advantage for longer rods is that they can cast a much longer distance than short rods meaning that you are more guaranteed to find success on your fishing trips.
What kind of fishing technique you’ll be applying also depends on the length of the rod as well. For example, fly fishing is a particularly popular kind of fishing which means that you are fishing on the top of the water with weightless lines.
Because of the amount of control needed for this kind of fishing, the rods tend to be very short in length as it is an incredibly difficult technique to master. On the other hand, longer rods are used when fishing for larger, fighting fish such as bass and trout.
Being aware of what waters you’ll be fishing in and what kind of fish you want to catch can be determined by the length of the rod, so bear this in mind when looking at the various combos.
You’ll see that many combos on the market have a variety of rod lengths, so know your expectations and what you want to get out of your fishing career before determining what rod length is best for you.
We’ve discussed the different types of fishing rods and their length; now, it is important to consider the rods’ materials. This can determine whether you’ll have a successful or unsuccessful fishing trip depending on what kind of fish you want to catch.
Bear in mind that you cannot choose the type of material that the rod is made from with a combo, so always look for a combo with the material you want.
As materials can be affected by the weather over time, always think about the weather in places you want to fish to ensure that you’ll be using the fishing rod over many years.
If you’re a beginner and are unfamiliar with the feel of a fishing rod, then try to opt for a lightweight rod as this will be easy to use, and you won’t get fatigued from using a heavier rod.
A lightweight material also allows you to experience the rod’s sensitivity as you’ll be able to feel a bite easily. Materials such as graphite are recommended for beginners for this reason.
If you’re a more advanced angler and want a rod with more weight, then a fiberglass rod is the right one for you. Not only can they handle heavier fish, but they are also designed for trolling (see the best trolling rods for salmon here) techniques.
A baitcasting or spinning rod is ideal for catching bass because they have the flexibility needed and the lightweight design to gain control.
When you research combos, you’ll see that the materials used in making the rods will differ depending on what kind of fish you want to catch, so you can weigh up your expectations against what the rods can give you.
Another important aspect to learning about the various kinds of rods is the handles which fall into two categories: split grip and single grip. They have different structures and advantages, but the end result won’t make a major difference.
However, it’s important to know this information to choose a rod and reel combo that will have everything you want.
Split grips allow you to switch out reels in an easier way than single grips, but because they are made with more than one piece, they can be trickier to become accustomed to, and if not slotted together correctly, they will break.
On the other hand, single grips are great for beginners who want to minimize the number of pieces of gear that they incorporate, although they do compromise the amount of customization that you can apply as it is one piece.
You’ll see that the rod handle can vary in terms of the material they are made from. Cork tends to be popular because it is the most comfortable material, thanks to its flexibility and softness.
In contrast, a foam or EVA handle tends to be cheaper and more durable in the long run as it is a tougher material. Many anglers like the look of cork handles more as the foam and EVA handles can look bulky.
It’s important to understand how the rod is constructed as they can be made from a single piece or multi pieces in their structure.
With rods made from multiple pieces, you’ll be spending more time assembling and disassembling before and after every fishing trip, but it also makes it much easier to transport and store when not in use.
Many beginners like to opt for a single-piece rod because they are intimidated by the multiple pieces and the idea of having to assemble the rod every time it is used.
However, the amount of time is not that significant, and lots of rods made from multiple pieces nowadays simply slot together or have collapsible structures for convenience.
Although single pieces avoid this aspect that can be time-consuming at first, single-piece rods have a higher chance of breaking apart because they tend to be more fragile in their structure.
However, there are many occasions when beginners do not tighten the pieces properly on a multi-piece rod, and it breaks. Single-piece rods are easier to become accustomed to and are easy to use and maintain.
The action on the rod is the part on the rod shaft where the bend is pronounced. When looking at the different rod and reel combos, you want to ensure that there are multiple options of its action. This is all dependent on the angler’s personal preference.
When it comes to bass fishing, you want to ensure that the action is situated in the medium (closer to the middle) or fast (closer to the rod tip) range, as this is the most sensitive area of the rod.
You’ll see that most baitcasting and spinning rod and reel combos will fit within this range (see our review of the Abu Garcia Black Max rod and reel combo here), meaning that they are suitable for bass fishing. We go in depth on the differences between baitcasting vs spinning reels in another article.
If you have the rod set at the slow range at the other end of the rod, you’ll find that the wrist can easily become strained, but it’s also important not to have the action at the very end of the rod tip because it will become too sensitive and can cause backlash.
The rod power is in reference to the degree of a bend regardless of its location. The power is measured from light to heavy, meaning that the heavier the power is, the rod has less bend.
If you are bass fishing, you will need a rod with light or medium power rods because you will need the bend and flexibility to counter its fighting and catch it fast.
If you have a light power rod, you’ll be able to cast a longer distance thanks to the amount of flexibility, whereas a medium power rod will have a stronger pull when fighting with the catch, meaning that you will have a higher chance of success.
Professional and advanced anglers tend to use heavier powered rods to catch larger and heavier fish such as catfish and marlin, so for beginners, it’s best to avoid this strength and work on your basic skill set rather than immediately diving into catching difficult fish.
You may have come across the term gear ratio followed by a sequence of numbers and felt a bit confused. However, it’s not that hard to understand overall.
The gear ratio refers to the single turn of the reel handle against the times the spool turns. This will help you to understand how fast the rod and reel will work.
The lower the number ratios indicate that the reel works slower than higher-numbered ratios.
When it comes to bass fishing specifically, the speed isn’t a major game-changer, unlike other fish, such as smaller fish which require slower speeds but always choose your bait (find the best buzzbait for bass here) according to the speed of the ratio.
If your gear ratio is lower, opt for crankbait, and for a higher gear ratio, use jerkbait as it is more sensitive.
When purchasing your rod and reel combo, always look at the gear ratio and think about how slow or fast it will work when you are fishing.
One thing that you will see when researching what rod and reel combo is the best for you is the drag system. The rod’s drag system is in reference to the friction plates that adjust when a fish takes your lure.
When you’re calibrating your drag settings, you’re going to find that you have more success in catching fish. It will also help prevent your line from breaking under higher tension.
The most successful rod and reel combo (see our in-depth review of the Abu Garcia Veritas casting rod and reel combos here) will allow you to configure the drag accordingly before you cast and while you are fighting the fish. The adjustment button on a combo means adjusting the drag system depending on how easily the line can be released using your hand.
When it comes to spinning, such as Shimano reels, and baitcasting reels and parts, setting the drag is slightly different. This is because the baitcasting reel has a mechanism that can be adjusted next to the reel rather than using an adjustment button on the spool.
Most rod and reel combos come with instructions but make sure you always read your instruction manual thoroughly before using your rod so you can familiarize yourself with the equipment to avoid it breaking.
To conclude our guide, there are so many options to choose from. Still, once you do your research thoroughly before you decide, you will find satisfaction by saving money and time in the long run and will be able to enjoy many years of consistently successful fishing trips.
Make sure to follow the guidelines closely and consider your ability. You may want to consider reading about the different types of fishing lures now that you’ve learned about the best rod and reel combos for bass.
Below are some videos about the best rod and reel combo for bass fishing.