Welcome to our review of the Best Fishing Rod and Reel Combos for Beginners.
If you are learning how to fish, it’s important to pick easy-to-use gear. So, we have reviewed some of the top fishing rods and reels out there to help you choose!
If you are in a hurry:
Ugly Stik GX2 is the Best Fishing Rod and Reel Combo for Beginners.
- Ugly StikGX2 spinning rod
- 3 ball bearings plus one-way clutch instant anti-reverse...
- Machined double anodized aluminum spool with oversized bail...
Last update on 2023-09-23 / Paid links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
Without further ado, let us move on to our hands-on reviews.
The 10 Best Fishing Rod and Reel Combos for Beginners
Here is our pick of the top 10 best beginner fishing rods and reels.
- Shakespeare Ugly Stik GX2 Combo – Best Overall
- Plusinno Spinning Combo – Alternative/ Runner-up
- Penn Battle III – High-end Option
- ShinePick Starter Fishing Kit – Budget Pick
- Penn Fierce III – For Saltwater
- Daiwa D-Wave – For Surf Fishing
- Sougayilang Fishing Combo – For Travel
- Wild Water Deluxe – Best Fly Fishing Combo
- NetAngler Fly Rod Combo – Budget Fly Combo
- Abu Garcia Black Max – Best Baitcasting Combo
1. Shakespeare Ugly Stik GX2 Combo
Ugly Stik GX2 is one of the most popular fishing combos on the market. It is an all-around combo that is neither too extreme nor too costly. And, when it comes to ease of use, we couldn’t find anything better in our tests.
The GX2 rod comes in different lengths, actions, and power ratings. But we recommend beginners go for the 6′ medium power 2-piece rod which comes with a 30-size reel. It offers great balance and versatility for beginners.
Whether lake, river, or pond, you can use this rod everywhere. You can use it to catch fish like bass, walleye, and trout. It works surprisingly well for catching saltwater fish as well.
The rod is built with a combination of graphite and fiberglass. It makes the rod durable, sensitive, lightweight, and flexible. Yet it is tough enough to deal with big and powerful fish.
The rod comes with a matching spinning reel. The reel has a 5.5:1 gear ratio. It features a strong aluminum frame and carbon side plates. The frame, rotor, and side plates are corrosion-resistant. The reel is very smooth thanks to the 3 ball bearings plus a one-way anti-reverse bearing.
2. Plusinno Spinning Combo
The Plusinno is one of the top-selling fishing combos on the market. It comes with a spinning rod, reel, case, lures, and extra line. So you don’t need to buy any extra pieces or worry about matching gear.
The rod is built using high-density carbon fiber mixed with fiberglass. It makes the rod lightweight, flexible, and sturdy. The build quality is better than most other fishing rods at this price.
In fact, during our tests, we found it to be one of the most durable rods. We anyway like telescopic rods as they are easier to handle. There is no need to assemble or disassemble the rod, which is great for beginners.
The rod comes in 4 different sizes from 5.91 feet to 8.86 feet. We recommend beginners go for the middle-of-the-road 6.89 feet rod. It is a great choice for catching freshwater fish like trout, redfish, and bass. It is so sturdy, you can use it even for saltwater fishing.
The rod comes with a 3000-size spinning reel. The reel features a 5.2:1 gear ratio, an instant anti-reverse, and power drive gears. The stainless steel hooded reel seat is resistant to saltwater. The aluminum spool has a large line capacity so that you can avoid the hassle of changing lines.
3. Penn Battle III
Penn Battle III is a good choice for beginners as well as experienced anglers. You can use it for freshwater as well as saltwater fishing. You can fish lakes, rivers, shores, or piers with this combo. It is perfect for catching all kinds of fish including trout, crappie, panfish, perch, walleye, and catfish.
The rod and reel come in different sizes. We suggest you go for the 7′ medium 2 pc rod that comes with a 4000-size reel.
The rod is extremely solid and lightweight. Thanks to the awesome sensitivity, you will feel even the lightest of nibbles. Yet, it is flexible enough to catch big fish without snapping.
The spinning reel comes with 5+1 bearings and an HT-100 carbon fiber drag system. The stainless steel ball bearings make the reel extremely smooth. The HT-100 carbon fiber drag system provides all the power and control you need.
4. ShinePick Starter Fishing Kit
The ShinePick is a complete starter fishing kit. It comes with a telescopic rod, a spinning reel, 100 meters of fishing line, and a carrier bag. The kit also includes line connectors, lures, and hooks. All this for an unbeatable price.
The telescopic rod is available in two sizes: 2.1M and 2.7M. The carbon fiber construction is consistent with the newer spinning rods on the market. The spinning reel has 13 stainless steel ball bearings, an instant anti-reverse, and a front drag.
The DS 3000 reel and 5# (328ft/100M) line included in the kit are ideal for light freshwater fishing. But if you plan to go saltwater fishing, we suggest you pick a bigger size reel and heavier fishing line.
We tried this rod and reel combo with a 15 lb test in both saltwater and freshwater. And it worked well! It is a strong combo with a good drag, a lightweight rod, and a solid reel.
The full kit comes with lots of lures, hooks, and line connectors. It gave us a chance to try several of these lures and hooks during our tests. If you are a beginner, there’s no way to tell which lure will work for you without trying.
5. Penn Fierce III
Penn Fierce III is a solid and powerful fishing combo designed for use in both freshwater and saltwater conditions. It offers dependable performance even in the toughest fishing conditions.
The 7 ft 2-piece spinning rod is one of the best saltwater fishing rods for beginners. It is very strong due to its superior build quality. Yet, it is flexible enough to catch even a big bass or catfish. It has a whole lot of tensile strength and impact resistance.
You can use the medium-fast rod to catch large game fish in both saltwater and freshwater. During our tests, we took it for saltwater pier fishing. We paired it with the 4000-size reel to catch speckled perch and redfish with ease.
The spinning reel comes full of grease. It is one of those things that you most appreciate while using. The 4+1 stainless steel ball bearings make the reel extremely smooth. The HT-100 carbon fiber drag system makes it powerful.
6. Daiwa D-Wave
Daiwa D-Wave is one of the top surf fishing rods to have in your arsenal. It comes in multiple sizes from 7 feet to 10 feet. We suggest you go for the 7-feet option as it’s the right size for catching fish like pike, bluegill, tuna, or bass.
For our tests, we put the 15lb braid on it and took it out to fish. We caught a nice size black drum, a small mangrove red snapper, and then a large snook.
The two-piece fiberglass rod is sturdy yet flexible. The full graphite blank construction makes it strong and sensitive. You can use this rod for both saltwater and freshwater fishing.
You can use the 7 feet rod for heavy freshwater as well as saltwater. But it will not be enough for surf fishing. You will need a bigger 9 feet or 10 feet rod.
The rod comes with a matching size 40 spinning reel. The stainless steel hooded reel seats are corrosion-resistant to make them suitable for saltwater use.
7. Sougayilang Fishing Combo
The Sougayilang fishing combo comes with a telescopic rod, reel, spare spool, and 110 yards of fishing line. It also includes 3 fishing lures, accessories, and a carrier bag.
The rod comes in three sizes, 5.91 ft, 6.89 ft, and 7.87 ft. But we recommend beginners pick the 6.89 ft rod. It is the right size, action, and weight for even new anglers to throw accurate casts.
The fishing rod is built from carbon fiber and fiberglass composite. It makes the rod strong and durable. Yet it is so sensitive that we could feel minor nibbles during our tests. You catch even light-biting fish like trout, walleye, and panfish with ease.
The spinning reel comes with 13 + 1 ball bearings, precision gears, and a 5.5:1 gear ratio. It can easily pull in fish weighing up to 15 lbs. The stainless steel hooded reel seat adds to the durability.
8. Wild Water Deluxe
Wild Water is a complete fly fishing kit for beginners. When it comes to performance, this is as good as it gets. Wild Water is the Best Fly Fishing Combo for Beginners as per our reviews.
It includes a 9-feet fly rod and a lightweight fly reel. The 85mm fly reel comes preinstalled with backing, a 5-weight line, and a monofilament leader.
The medium-fast action rod is ideal for fishing in streams, rivers, ponds, or lakes. It is made of IM8 graphite which makes the rod lightweight, and versatile. You can use it to easily catch small freshwater fish like trout, panfish, or bass.
The 4-piece fly rod is ideal for traveling. You can easily screw the sections together when it’s time to fish. And then take them apart and put them in your backpack when it is time to go.
9. NetAngler Fly Rod Combo
NetAngler comes with a fly fishing rod, a fly reel, a fly box, and 28 flies. The 4-piece fly rod is one of the best fly fishing rods for beginners as it is lightweight and easy to use. It is an excellent rod for catching trout, sunfish, and small bass.
You can assemble and disassemble the sections quickly. The assembly process is among the easiest we have seen during our tests.
The reel comes pre-loaded with backing, a 6-weight fly line, and a 9ft leader. The reel features 2+1 ball bearings, a one-way roller bearing, and a Teflon disk drag.
The middle-of-the-road size 10 flies are great for getting started. But you can upgrade if you are something in mind that works better for your target fish.
We usually test the fly fishing rods in ponds or small streams. But we took this one out to the San Juan river on the Colorado site.
It seemed easy to feed the line out and cast and gently lay down the fly. We got fighting crappie on the line the first time and ended up with six trout in all.
10. Abu Garcia Black Max
Abu Garcia Black Max comes with a baitcasting fishing rod and a low-profile fishing reel. The 2-piece medium power rod is ideal for long casts. You can cast close to fba100 yards. The 24-ton graphite construction makes it lightweight, strong, and durable.
Even big trout won’t be able to break this rod due to its build quality. It is easier for beginners to catch big fish without having their rod snap. The sensitivity makes it easy for beginners to feel even the smallest of nibbles.
We put the 30lb Power Pro braid line on it and took it out 2-3 times for testing. We mainly use it for top-water fishing. We pulled in about 15 bass fish in the range of 3-5 lbs. This combo held up great and we haven’t had a problem yet.
You can take apart the 2 piece rod easily and put it in your backpack when it is time to go home. It is easy to carry due to its lightweight.
Types of Fishing Rods for Beginners
A fishing rod is any device used to catch fish. It can be anything from a stick with a string to a handheld rod with a fishing line. But the most common types are spinning, baitcasting, fly fishing, and trolling.
We recommend that beginners start with a spinning combo as spinning rods are the easiest to use. They allow even beginners to maintain a firm grip and control.
Most telescoping or collapsible rods are spinning rods. They are easy to store and transport. But telescoping rods need more maintenance to ensure the joints stay functional.
Spinning rods match with spinning reels. The reels do not have a cover, which reduces the line friction. Most spinning reels come with an anti-reverse mechanism.
Baitcasting rods are great for catching bigger fish. They are strong and durable compared to other fishing rods. You can use them for fishing in rivers and lakes.
But casting rods need a little more skill and ability. They are usually chosen by experienced anglers. Casting rods are a great choice if you’re fishing for sport or going after large game fish.
Baitcasting reels are mounted on the upper side fishing rod. You use a trigger button to release the line. Baitcasting reels use low gear ratios so the retrieval is a bit slower.
Fly Fishing Rods
Fly fishing uses small colored flies to lure fish. The flies are pretty light and don’t have much weight. So a fly rod enables you to cast the flies using the line weight and the length of the rod as a pivot.
Fly fishing rods are generally longer than spinning or casting rods. I say generally as there are some very short fly rods made for casting in tight spaces. But, generally, a fly rod will measure 8 feet to 9 feet.
Fly fishing uses a heavy line that sinks into the water. So you need a monofilament line to reduce the line visibility underwater.
A trolling rod and reel combo is great for catching big fish in the sea or lakes. Trolling rods are usually rigged at the back of the boat to pull the bait underwater.
The line on trolling reels is stronger for handling big catches. Most reels feature an automatic system to pull in catches while the boat is on the move.
How to Choose a Fishing Rod and Reel Combo
There are many different types of fishing combos available on the market. Whether you are targeting specific fish or fishing in a specific environment, there is a fishing combo that will suit your needs.
Some are suitable for beginners, while others are great for experienced anglers.
So, you must take your time and find one that is right for you. Knowing about target species, size of the rod and reel, build quality, balance, budget, etc. will help you.
Here is a summary of things you need to consider before picking a fishing rod and reel combo. We hope it helps you choose the right fishing combo to get started.
Type of Fish
The first thing you must consider is the type of fish that you will be fishing for. There are rods designed for specific types of fish. If you know your target fish species then your job becomes much easier.
You must also keep in mind the fishing conditions, the size of the fish, and the place of fishing. It will help pick the fishing rod and reel that will work for you.
Fishing rods are usually 6-12 feet long. The size of the fishing rod determines how further you can cast.
A longer rod means you can cast further. But it is harder to cast with a long rod. If you plan to make short casts and try to catch smaller fish, then you can pick a 7-foot rod or smaller.
We recommend beginners go for a medium size rod, about 6 to 7 feet. It will allow you to balance casting distance, accuracy, and ease of use.
If you are going to travel and need to fit your rod in a small space, then go for a smaller rod for easier storage.
Power & Action
Rod power is usually measured as ultralight, light, medium, medium-heavy, and heavy. Medium power rods are ideal for beginners as they allow you to catch different fish species.
There are three common types of action: fast-action, medium-action, and slow-action. Fast-action rods are the hardest to learn while slow-action rods are the easier to get started.
Medium-action rods are good for catching small to medium-sized fish. You can use them to catch fish such as trout. If you are looking for trout fishing, then we suggest you read our reviews of the Best Trout Fishing Rods and Best Trout Spinning Reels. We recommend beginners go for a fast-action ultralight rod for trout fishing.
Most premium fishing rods use graphite as it can be engineered into any shape and taper. Experienced anglers go for graphite fishing poles as they are rigid, strong, and more sensitive. But they also run the risk of breaking under stress.
Fiberglass rods are heavier but last longer. They also make your fishing experience better.
We recommend beginners go for composite rods – graphite combined with fiberglass. Such rods are strong, durable, and lightweight. They have some of the pros of each material.
The rod size, power, and action must ‘balance’ with the reel. This is why we recommend all beginners buy a rod and reel combo to get started.
A rod and reel combo always comes with a matching rod and reel. It ensures all pieces work well together and feels balanced in your hand.
It’s always a good idea not to spend too much upfront. Buying a fishing rod and reel combo is an affordable way to get started. You can buy a fishing combo for less than $100 and in some cases even less than $50.
Starter fishing kits offer even more value than only rod and reel combos. You get most things you need for your first fishing trip.
Some fishing kits also include lures, hooks, swivels, and other accessories. Sometimes, the reel even comes pre-spooled with a fishing line. It saves you money and takes out any guesswork.
All the fishing combos that we have reviewed are great for beginners. But choosing the right option depends on a variety of factors. So, understanding how to choose can help you pick the right one for you.
Feel free to contact us at any time if you have questions or comments about our reviews. We are always happy to answer any queries we get.
We hope you like our pick of the Best Fishing Rod and Reel Combos for Beginners. Let us know if you need a hand choosing the right combo. We have been reviewing fishing gear for many years. So, we can help you pick the right option as per your specific needs.