Spinning rod and reels are a favorite option for experienced and beginner anglers alike. Thanks to their versatility and ease of use.
But there are several factors you must consider when choosing the best combo for your needs. That’s why we have compiled this guide to make your buying process easier.
We’ve also reviewed what we think are the top 5 spinning rod and reel combos in the market today. Whether you are a seasoned angler or are just beginning, there’s something for you!
Top 5 The Best Spinning Rod and Reel Combo – Review
Our Top Pick
Shakespeare Ugly Stik GX2 Fishing Rod and Spinning Reel Combo
Best Spinning Combo for Saltwater
Penn Battle II & Battle III Spinning Reel and Fishing Rod Combo
Okuma Tundra Surf Spinning Combo
Cadence CC5 Spinning Combo Lightweight
Best Combo for Kids
Zebco Dock Demon Spinning Reel or Spincast Reel and Fishing Rod Combo
Shakespeare Ugly Stik GX2 Fishing Rod and Spinning Reel Combo – Our Top Pick
Shakespeare has a solid reputation in manufacturing top of the class fishing equipment, and the Shakespeare Ugly Stik GX2 Fishing Rod and Spinning Reel Combo is up to par.
With seven different rod lengths and action, four ball bearings, and a machined double anodized aluminum spool, this combo is designed with both beginner and seasoned anglers in mind.
- 5:5:1 gear ratio
- 4’8” to 7’ rod lengths
- Ultra-light to medium heavy rod action
- 3 + 1 ball bearings
The Shakespeare Ugly Stick GX2 Fishing Rod and Spinning Reel Combo come in a wide range of sizes and rod action to suit every angler need.
There are seven rod lengths and actions available in either one or two-piece rods, depending on your choice. And while ultra-light 4’8” rods are great for high precision in casting shorter distances more extended options are great for experienced anglers. The rod action ranges from ultra-light to medium-heavy.
Ugly rods are famous for their durability. They are super-strong and almost impossible to break. On top of that, this combo has 3 + 1 ball bearings to ensure a smooth casting and flawless reeling.
The handle, too, is comfortable and will offer a firm grip.
- Sturdy and durable fishing pole
- Comfortable handle
- Available in 7 different sizes and actions to suit every angler’s need
- 3 + 1 ball bearings ensure smooth casting
- Decent 5:5:1 gear ratio that balances both speed and the reel’s cranking power
- The reel quality could have been better
Penn Battle II & Battle III Spinning Reel and Fishing Rod Combo – Best Spinning Combo for Saltwater
If you are searching for a sturdy spinning reel and fishing rod combo for use in both saltwater and freshwater, Penn Battle II & Battle III Spinning Reel and Fishing Rod Combo may be the right answer. The rod is rigid and will withstand corrosion in saltwater.
- Carbon fiber drag system
- 5 + 1 stainless steel ball bearings
- Best for saltwater fishing
- One-piece or two-piece rod (depending on the size of the rod)
- Up to 13 different rod size and action options
Thanks to its HT-100 carbon fiber drag system, this spinning rod and reel combo provides exceptional yet smooth drag. And the 5 + 1 stainless steel ball bearings ensure powerful cranking power without compromising on speed.
What’s more, the combo is available in a whopping 13 different rod sizes ranging from light to medium-heavy action for catching large fish. The body, rotor and side plate are all made of durable corrosion-resistant materials making it the best spinning rod for saltwater.
- A super-smooth but powerful drag system
- Corrosion-resistant spinning combo perfect for saltwater fishing
- Versatile sizes to suit all anglers’ fishing needs
- 5 + 1 durable stainless steel ball bearings provide smooth reeling
- Easy to clean
- The rod is not of the best quality, but the reel is excellent
Okuma Tundra Surf Spinning Combo – Best Value
The Okuma Tundra Surf Spinning Combo is one of the most durable options out there. It is available in 7’ to 10’ foot long rods fitted with comfy EVA foam handles for an excellent and firm grip.
- 7’ to 10’ foot long rod
- Glass fiber blank
- One ball bearing
- EVA foam handles
Although this is not the best of the best spinning rod and reel spinning combo in the market, it comes in at a very fair price point. The rod has durable glass fiber blanks, which are a favorite choice for many seasoned anglers.
Additionally, the ceramic guide inserts ensure a smooth flow of your line. And the EVA foam handles ensure your ultimate comfort when fishing.
- Glass fiber blanks are long-lasting
- Has EVA form handles for best comfort on your hands
- Decent reel with relatively smooth casting
- The reel could have been better
Cadence CC5 Spinning Combo Lightweight – Most Versatile
A common challenge to most anglers is finding the best spinning rod and reel combo ideal for use with almost all water types. But, at least, with the Cadence CC5 Spinning Combo, you’ll have something that you can use in both saltwater and freshwater.
- Two-piece rod
- 24-ton graphite blanks
- Has a Carbon fiberglass drag system
- 8 + 1 ball bearings
- 5 rod lengths and actions
Next up is yet another well-made spinning rod and reel combo for saltwater and freshwater fishing. It is made of durable yet sensitive 24-ton graphite, carbon composite frame & side plates. All these materials are corrosion-resistant and will stand the test of time.
But what makes this combo to stand out among the rest is its super smooth reel. It has 8 + 1 ball bearing and a carbon fiber drag system that ensure casting and retrieval is as smooth as possible.
The oversized EVA handle knob is also gentle on hand and provides a firm grip even when fighting stubborn fish.
- Made of durable graphite blanks and carbon composite frame and side plates
- Carbon fiber drag system provides powerful drag yet smooth reeling
- Top-quality stainless steel guides ensure smooth flow of line
- Available in different rod and length actions for all your fishing needs
- Two section rods that are easy to pack and carry
- Drag setting could have been better
Zebco Dock Demon Spinning Reel or Spincast Reel and Fishing Rod Combo – Best Combo for Kids
Do you want to introduce your kids to fishing? You’ll need a rod and reel combo that is light and easy to use. And because you can never be too sure whether your kid will love the sport, you shouldn’t plunge all your money in a kid’s starter spinning reel and fishing rod combo.
Luckily, this one by Zebco is designed with kids at heart and is also reasonably priced.
- Fiberglass blank
- 30-inch long rod
- Pre-spooled with a 6-lb fishing line
- Interchangeable right/left hand retrieve
Thanks to the durable fiberglass rod, the Zebco Dock Demon Spinning Reel and Fishing Rod Combo is strong enough to withstand some mishandling by kids.
It also has a comfortable EVA handle, and it comes pre-spooled with a 6-lb line. Plus, the reel is ideal for both right and left-hand users, making it one of the best combos for kids out there.
- Durable fiber glass rod
- Comfortable rod handles
- Interchangeable right/left reel retrieve
- Great light and compact starter combo for kids
- The pre-spooled line keeps on tangling
How to Choose the Best Spinning Rod and Reel Combo – Buyer’s Guide
When choosing the best spinning rod and reel combo, there are several factors you must consider. And to make it easier for you, we’ve broken down all the details just for you.
What kind of fishing will you be doing?
Where will you be fishing? Is the water salty or fresh? What is your target type of fish? By answering these questions, it will be much easier to choose the best spinning rod and reel combo.
A spinning rod and reel combo for freshwater fishing is not ideal for use in saltwater. Similarly, a spinning rod and reel combo for smallies cannot be used to target bigger fish.
Your spinning rod’s length will determine maximum casting distance and the amount of control you’ll have when tackling fish (or casting).
Ideally, the best length of your spinning rod depends on the bait type, your preferred casting distance, and the type of water you’ll be fishing.
The longer the spinning rod, the farther the casting distance. Longer rods also have a quick tip speed and are better at absorbing shock when battling larger fish. Your line is less likely to break. Thus, if you intend to hunt the big game in large waters, go for a combo with a longer spinning rod.
Shorter poles, on the other hand, have a slower tip speed and offer shorter casting distances. But on the bright side, they’ll give the angler better control and precision, especially in areas with thick vegetation. Spinning rod and reel combos with shorter poles are an excellent choice for anglers looking for high accuracy or boar fishers casting medium or small lures.
The weight of a spinning rod shows the amount of weight its tip can handle without breaking. Rods are either extra heavy, heavy, medium-heavy, medium, medium light, light, and ultra-light. But the ideal weight of your spinning rod will depend on the size of fish you’re pursuing, the weight of your lures and line, and the fishing technique you’ll be using.
If you’ll be using heavy lures and lines to target the big and bulky fish, or are interested in surf fishing or deep-sea fishing, or you’ll be fishing in areas with thick and heavy vegetation, go for a heavy spinning rod. It will be powerful enough for the job.
On the other hand, light or ultra-light spinning rods are best when fishing in clear waters using light lines and baits or battling panfish and other small fish species.
But for anglers looking for versatility, medium weight fishing rods are the most ideal. These can handle a broader range of fish, different types of waters, and lures and lines of various weights.
Some cheap and poorly made poles will snap after a few uses – total waste of money. Instead, ensure your choice of rod is durable and well-made. It should also be strong enough to handle the fish you’re pursuing.
Fiberglass blanks win the best spot for their durability. Graphite blanks are also durable but must be handled with extra care, especially when transporting.
Another great indicator of your rod’s strength and durability is its power. Heavy power spinning rods are the most durable, while light options are the easiest to break. And although heavier and stronger rods last longer, they’re often more challenging to master.
Also ensure that the reel seat, line guides, and other rod components are durable and of top quality.
The rod action refers to where and how fast your rod bends when the tip is loaded. Rod action can either be slow, medium, fast or extra fast. And your choice will affect the performance of your rod in different fishing scenarios.
A rod with extra-fast action is very stiff and bends just at the tips. On the other hand, fast-action fishing rods bend only in the top third of the rod. Both of these options are super-sensitive and will transmit the slightest strikes and bites.
Extra-fast and fast action rods are best for casting long distances and will store large amounts of power, making them perfect for trolling and jigging.
Medium action spinning rods balance flexibility and casting distance. They are relatively sensitive and are best for casting lighter and medium-weight lures.
And unlike medium action rods that bend only in the top half, slow action rods bend throughout and uniformly to achieve a curve. These are incredibly flexible and are best for fishing small fish species.
What material is your spinning rod’s blank? The material used determines the performance, ease of use, and durability of your rod. Ideally, your spinning rod should be light, flexible, and sensitive enough to tackle the fish you’re targeting. And it should be able to stand the test of time.
The best spinning rod blanks are made of carbon fiber or graphite. These two materials are strong, flexible, durable, and flexible. What’s more, they are light and comfortable to use all day long.
However, most seasoned anglers prefer fiberglass blanks. These are heavier, more powerful and will last longer than graphite or carbon fiber blanks making them perfect for heavier and larger fish. On the downside, they are less sensitive.
Number of Pieces
Spinning rods are often either one-piece, two-piece, or four-piece. One-piece spinning rods are highly responsive and offer better performance. On the downside, these are cumbersome to pack and carry.
Two-piece rods pack down into a size that is easy to store and transport. But the most portable type is telescopic spinning rods. These will collapse into a super compact length. In fact, telescopic spinning rods can collapse from up to 30 feet long to a mere one foot.
The best option, of course, will depend on your needs. If you are looking for a highly portable option, telescopic rods are the most ideal. Two-piece rods are also often more comfortable to carry but will still offer outstanding responsiveness when assembled.
Freshwater vs Saltwater Fishing Rods
Saltwater is notorious for its high corrosion power even on strong metal. Thus, you must ensure that your saltwater spinning rod is durable, robust, and corrosion-proof. Freshwater rods, on the hand, are strong but are often lighter than saltwater options.
The comfort and grip of your rod handle determine the control you’ll have over the rod. That’s why you must ensure that your choice of rod offers a good grip and is also comfy to hold for prolonged periods, even with wet hands.
EVA foam and cork are some of the best materials for making spinning rod handles. These are comfortable to hold, kind on your hands, and offer a firm grip with better control. But regardless of your choice of handle, ensure that it has an ergonomic design. It will be more comfortable to hold, cast, and tackle stubborn fish without hurting your hands.
Also, remember to pick the right handle length fit for the job. Longer handles are best for casting long distances while shorter handles are best when fishing in smaller water bodies.
The drag system comprises several washers/discs joined to the spool. Its primary purpose is to minimize the strain on your line and rod when you’re fighting stubborn fish.
If you’re targeting bigger species such as Marlin and Tuna, you’ll need a spinning rod and reel combo with a powerful drag system.
Plus, it should be made from a strong material that loses any heat quickly to prevent overheating. One such material is carbon fiber.
You must also ensure that your spinning rod and reel’s combo’s drag is as smooth but firm. Most finesse anglers prefer front-mounted systems for fighting heavier and larger game.
The gear ratio refers to the number of cycles of the spool for every turn of the spinning reel’s handle. This ratio determines the speed at which you can retrieve the line and the reel’s cranking power.
A spinning rod and reel combo with a 6:1 gear ratio is faster and is perfect for retrieving small, lighter fish. Lower ratios such as 3:1 are slower but are best for retrieving more massive fish since they provide better cranking power.
A 5:1 ratio offers more versatility by balancing both speed and cranking power.
The best bearings are either ceramic or stainless steel. These minimize the noise, friction, and vibrations, in your reel’s mobile part. Your combo’s performance will significantly depend on the quality and quantity of the ball bearings.
The higher the quantity and quantity of the ball bearings, the smoother it is to cast and retrieve your spinning rod and reel combo. As a general rule of thumb, chose combos with four to six ball bearings for the best performance. And if you’ll be fishing in saltwater, ensure that the ball bearings are corrosion-proof for better performance and longer life.
Lines guides help to control the movement of your fishing line by allowing a flawless and smooth flow and a better cast. The best guides should be of top quality and well-positioned for optimum casting with the least friction.
Fishing rod and reel combos with more guides offer better casting distances with minimal line twists.
That’s it for this review of the best spinning rod and reel combo. Hopefully, we’ve answered all the questions you had to help you make an informed pick of the best spinning combo.
Remember to check the rod action, rod length, rod power, materials used, drag system, quality and quantity of the ball bearing, and other vital features reviewed above.