10 Best Rod & Reel Combos for 2021

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Most of the time it can be difficult to get started with fishing with a reel and a rod. First, you have to find a quality fishing reel and then pair it with a matching fishing rod.

The problem is not all fishing reels will fit the same fishing rod. It can quickly become confusing, especially for beginners who are freshly starting out.

This is where the rod and reel combo comes in. It is a combination of a manufacturer fitted fishing reel on a matching fishing rod. Best, the combo is usually more cost-effective than purchasing the reel and the rod separately.

If you are looking for such a fishing tool, our rod and reel combo review below lists some popular and quality models. Let’s see how well they perform!Table of Contents 

Reviews of the 10 Best Rod and Reel Combos

1. Zebco 33 Fish Pistol – Best Spincast Rod and Reel Combo

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The Zebco 33 is a medium-light rod and reel combo that comes at a very attractive price. It is not meant for heavy-duty fishing, but more as a beginner friendly and casual fishing rod for a small-time game.

This is a 2-piece rod that still sports a durable graphite frame and a metal handle. It will not break easily and will definitely last a long time. Moreover, the gear ratio of 3.6:1 is not the best as it is quite slow but for small game it is adequate.

This model comes equipped with a spincast reel that offers a smooth drag and comfortable user experience. The release button sits right at the top and in front of the reel making it easy to reach.

Additionally, the fishing line guides are straight and aligned correctly so as to provide more accuracy when casting and retrieving. All in all, taking into account its low priced and performance, we elect the Zebco 33 as the best casting rod and reel combo in this review.


  • Affordable. Value for money
  • Quality build construction with a graphite frame and metal handle. Long-lasting and durable
  • Easy to change between left and right retrieve system


  • Not fast at retrieving the line with a small gear ratio of 3.6:1

2. Sougayilang – Best Travel Rod And Reel Combo

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This Sougayilang comes with 6 different fishing rod sizes based on user need and preference. It is still relatively affordable and yet sports an impressive high-quality build construction of aluminum for the reel and graphite for the rod.

One of the things that set this model apart is that it is telescopic. Indeed, it can quickly and easily be retracted and it will comfortably fit in the booth of a small car making it portable.

Another impressive feature is the presence of no less than 14 ball bearings, including a clutch that gives this rod a very smooth drag and overall excellent user experience. The reel normally sits at the bottom of this rod and the retrieval system can easily be changed from left to right.

Due to the telescopic feature of this combo, we name this Sougayilang as the best travel rod and reel combo in this review. It really deserves it as it is compact and still delivers heavy-duty performance when necessary.


  • Telescopic fishing rod. Very portable for travel purposes
  • Excellent build construction from graphite and aluminum
  • Spool retrieve system can quickly and easily be changed from left to right
  • 14 ball bearings system for a smoother drag, casting and retrieve


  • None

3. UglyStik GX2 – Best Spinning Rod And Reel Combo

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The UglyStik GX2 has a medium rod power making it a versatile and all-purpose fishing rod. This model comes with 4 stainless steel ball bearings that make the drag smooth as well as an instant anti-reverse system for retrieving your line quickly and easily.

The gear ratio of 5.5:1 is a little above average for a 6 feet fishing rod. It is not meant for heavy-duty marine fishing but intended for small game in rivers and lakes. Due to the higher than average gear ratio, it will be able to retrieve the line quickly.

Additionally, this is a 2 piece rod that can easily be detached for portability. It lacks the sensitivity of a single rod piece but it is definitely more convenient for travel.

What separates this model apart is its ease of use. It is fitted with a spinning reel that is straightforward, beginner friendly, and very easy to use. If you have never used a fishing line before, the UglyStik GX2 combo is an excellent model to get started as it is one of the best spinning rod and reel combo in this review.


  • Very easy to use. Beginner friendly
  • 2-piece system for easy storage
  • Excellent all-rounder for freshwater game
  • Good gear ratio of 5.5:1 for its size


  • Despite being medium power, this rod feels heavy according to its users

4. Wakeman Swarm Series – Best Budget Rod And Reel Combo

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Let’s face it, not everyone has a lot of money to spend on a real and rod combo. This is where models like the Wakeman Swarm comes into action. This combo is an ultralight rod and reel that also happens to be the most affordable model in this review.

Moreover, it comes in 4 different colors for user preference and has a decently sized gear ratio of 5.2:1 for a faster line retrieval speed. Best, it adopts a spinning reel which is very easy to use by even absolute beginners.

The medium rod power of this combo makes it more suitable for freshwater fishing in rivers and lakes rather than saltwater. All in all, if you are on a tight budget then the Wakeman Swarm is the best budget rod and reel combo you will ever find.


  • Extremely affordable. Value for money
  • Fast gear ratio of 5.2:1
  • Available in 4 different colors for user preference


  • Single ball bearing system. Drag is not the smoothness when compared to other combos

5. Shakespeare Ez – Best Casting Rod And Reel Combo

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The Shakespeare Ez comes equipped with a baitcasting reel that gives it a lot of accuracy and control. Moreover, this is a high-quality model that is built to last.

It comes with a dual aluminum handle which makes it considerably easier to retrieve a long line, and the spool can quickly and easily be re-spooled. There are technologies at work in the Shakespeare Ez that prevents backlash. Further, the 3 ball bearing system makes the drag and overall usage very smooth which is a nice feature for those who fish for a medium-size catch like bass or tuna.

Further, the rod power is medium-heavy which shows that this unit can be used for heavy-duty and big game fishing in freshwater. However, we do not recommend for saltwater as it is not watertight.


  • Dual handles for better ease-of-use when retrieving
  • Very accurate when casting
  • Can be re-spooled quickly and easily


  • Not recommended for saltwater fishing
  • It is a little bit on the expensive side

6. Daiwa DSK20-B Rod And Reel Combo 

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The Daiwa DSK20-B is a light-medium fishing rod that comes equipped with a spinning reel at the bottom. It is a fairly lightweight model that is very easy to maneuver.

Moreover, one of the main advantages of this Daiwa fishing combo is its ability to be used by both right-handed and left-handed users. This combo is intended for casual and lightweight fishing and exclusively result for freshwater only.

The cork handle is exceptionally nice to hold and provide long-lasting comfort. Additionally, this comes as a 2 piece rod that makes it easier to store. At the end of the day, this combo is a pretty average model but for the price, it remains a worthwhile fishing combo to consider


  • Affordable. Value for money
  • Comes equipped with a spinning reel which is very easy-to-use
  • 2 piece rod makes it easier to store
  • Cork handle. Very comfortable to hold for an extended period


  • Not the smoothness drag with its single ball bearing system

7. Plusinno Fishing Rod And Reel Combo 

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The Plusinno is an impressive combo. This is one of the few models in this rod and reel combo review that is optimally suited for both freshwater and seawater fishing. The spool is sealed and the inner parts are corrosion free making it durable and long-lasting

Moreover, this is a medium rod power which means that it will perform exceptionally well for smalltime to medium-size catch. However, we do not recommend this unit for big game fishing even if you can be used as a heavy-duty fishing rod.

Further, the rod is telescopic allowing you to quickly and easily unfold for portability and storage. You have the choice between different sizes based on your need. In addition, the spinning reel attached to this combo has no less than 13 ball bearings that make the drag exceptionally smooth.

Taking all this into account, the Plusinno is definitely one of the best offshore rod and reel combo you will find, especially for the price.


  • Telescopic fishing rod for more convenience
  • 13 ball bearings system makes the drag very smooth
  • Excellent build construction. Durable and long-lasting
  • Flexible. Ideal for both freshwater and saltwater fishing


  • None

8. Penn Pursuit II Fishing Rod And Reel Combo 

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Penn Pursuit is known for making high-quality fishing accessories. The Penn Pursuit II is one of the most varied combos you will find online. It comes in different shapes, sizes, and prices to fit different needs. All models are equipped with a spinning reel for efficiency and ease-of-use.

At the lower end, we have the 3000 series which is a medium-light rod power good for casual use. But for more heavy-duty users, the 8000 series comes with a long 10 feet rod that has a heavy rod power. This is easily one of the best fishing rod and reel combo that money can buy.

It comes with a 5 ball bearing system for smoothness along with a very durable graphite an aluminum build construction for durability. Best, it can be used in both freshwater and seawater as the spool is watertight.


  • Flexible. Comes in different sizes based on user preference and need
  • Excellent build construction. Can be used for heavy-duty fishing
  • Self-oiling and watertight spool. Ideal for both freshwater and seawater fishing
  • Smooth drag thanks to 5 ball bearing system


  • A little bit more expensive than other models

9. Pflueger Trion Fishing Rod And Reel Combo 

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If the Pflueger Trion is a combo that focuses on user experience and comfort. It has no less than 3 cork handles that provides the user with choices on how and where to hold the fishing rod.

Additionally, this combo can be bought in different sizes to fit different needs and budget. The spinning reel attached to the bottom is very easy-to-use and the handle is exceptionally large to maximize comfort even further.

We find no less than 7 ball bearings in the reel that make the drag ultra smooth. You will have no problem reeling in fish of any size with this combo.


  • Excellent build construction. Durable and long-lasting
  • 3 cork handles for maximum handling comfort
  • Can be purchased under different sizes
  • 7 ball bearings system makes the drag smooth


  • Not suited for saltwater fishing

10. Abu Garcia Ike Dude Spincast Rod And Reel Combo 

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The Abu Garcia Ike is an entry-level rod and reel combo that is intended for beginners and young anglers. This combo focuses on precision and ease of use.

It has 2 ball bearings that make the drag smooth. However, it is not as smooth as other combos we have reviewed so far, but for the price, it is good enough.

Furthermore, this is a 2-piece system that can be pulled apart for easy storage. The handle on both the fishing rod as well as the spinning reel is quite large and comfortable to hold for an extended period.

If you have never owned a combo before, this model from Abu Garcia is definitely one of the best rod and reel combos for the money.


  • Easy to use but even absolute beginners
  • 2 piece system for easy storage
  • Comfortable handle on both the reel and the fishing rod


  • 2 ball bearing system. The drag is not as smooth when compared to other models

How to Buy the Best Rod and Reel Combo

Photo: bestfishingrodbrands

Before purchasing a rod and reel combo, there are some important aspects to take into account. Here they are:

1. Rod power

The rod power or rod action is one of the most important aspects to take into account. It comes as ultra-light, light, light-medium, medium, and medium-heavy.

Basically what rod power means is the “backbone” of the fishing rod. The lighter the rod power, the less backbone it has and therefore the more it bends.

Your choice of the rod action will directly depend on the type of fish you are trying to catch. The bigger the catch, the higher the rod power must be.

Therefore, for fishes like tuna, salmon, and bass you need to choose a medium or medium heavy rod power. For smaller catches, you can go with a lighter rod power. For big game fishing in the marine open, a heavy rod power is usually your best bet.

2. Ball bearing

The reel in a rod and reel combo has a ball bearing system that usually controls the braking, casting, drag, and retrieval system. For maximum effectiveness and smoothness during fishing, go with models that come with a series of metal ball bearings.

As a general rule, the higher the bearing count in a reel, the smoother the drag can be assumed to be. Additionally, ensure that the metal will not rust in contact with water and is corrosion-free as this will affect the performance over time.

3. Sealed spool

Not all fishing reels come with a sealed spool. A sealed spool will make it watertight thus preventing water from entering and diminishing the performance of the fishing reel over time.

Look for terms like “watertight” and “sealed spool” to ensure that you are getting a quality model that will last a long time. Furthermore, a sealed spool fishing reel is more flexible as it will allow you to fish in both freshwater and saltwater.

4. Tip Speed

There are 2 types of tip speed in a fishing rod. The fast speed and the slow speed. The fast speed is when only the tip of the fishing rod bends. Therefore, a fast fishing rod is ideal when catching a small game as it offers better maneuverability.

On the other hand, the slow tip will bend the fishing rod throughout the fishing rod. It has more backbone and is ideal for catching larger prey.

We recommend a slow tip speed when using crankbaits and a fast tip speed for anything else.

5. Fishing rod size

One of the most obvious things to keep an eye out when purchasing a fishing rod and reel combo is the rod size.The longer the fishing rod, the more “backbone” it has. This will allow you to catch larger prey with greater ease.

Additionally, you can cast at longer distances with a long rod. On the other hand, a shorter rod will provide you with greater maneuverability, accuracy, and control over your line. Choose a rod size based on your need.

6. Gear ratio

The gear ratio is essentially the speed of the fishing reel. The higher the gear ratio, the more fishing line the reel can retrieve.

So, if you are performing long-distance casting then it is always better to go with a higher gear ratio. Additionally, those who usually use castbaits will prefer a fishing reel with a higher gear ratio as well.

6. Drag system

The drag is the minimum amount of force required on the fishing line to make the spool spin. The higher the maximum drag, the more resistance the spool offers, making it better suited for big game fishing.

Moreover, the drag system offers the user with comfort and ease of use during fishing as it absorbs the tension of the fishing line.

We recommend you choose fishing reels that have carbon fiber discs and ball bearings that are known to provide a smooth drag. It will greatly enhance the fishing experience.

7. Handle

The handle is where your hands will be most of the time. It needs to be coated with a soft material so as to provide comfort as you may potentially be holding this handle for long hours. Fishing rods that come with a cork handle are known to be exceptionally comfortable.

By BigTunaOnline/shutterstock


As we have seen, the rod and reel combo is a fantastic combination that allows you to get started with freshwater or seawater fishing right away. It is very beginner friendly and you do not need to have a lot of experience to operate it.

Most manufacturers do a good job by calibrating and pairing the reel with a matching rod for maximum efficiency and ease of use. If you have still not found the best rod and reel combo in our review above, then we recommend that you go through it one more time.


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Jack Bollinger
Born in Massachusetts, Jack is an avid fisherman most of his life. He is currently a fishing guide in the bay of California. He has been fishing for more than 40 years and fly-fishing for more than 30. His favorite fish to catch is the rainbow trout and small-mouth bass. He has earned many top places in different lake fishing competitions.

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