Save yourself from the confusing and overwhelming challenge of picking out which rod works best for your reel and vice versa. These best baitcaster combos are a match made in heaven, and best of all, they’re highly recommended to beginners.
What You Should Consider Before Buying a Baitcaster Combo
Opting for a baitcaster combo than purchasing a separate reel or rod can be more convenient. But that doesn’t mean you can just pick out any combo. There are certain features like rod power rating and line capacity that you should look out for.
Line capacity indicates the maximum line length the reel can hold on its spool. However, that rating will fluctuate based on the diameter of the line installed — fishing line diameter increases with higher weight ratings. An example would be a reel with a line rating of 160 yards using a 30-pound monofilament line. The same reel might only hold 100 yards of a 50-pound braided. That said, the heavy lines come off of bait casters smoothly.
Many modern separate reels have an ambidextrous hand crank. However, in a baitcaster combo, you will typically only have right or left options. As a general rule of thumb, always choose the hand orientation based on your dominant hand for pole control and power while reeling a fish.
Rod Power Rating
Power ratings tell you how much pressure is needed to trigger the rod’s action. Power ratings also help match the best line weights and tackle ratings. Rods are rated in four categories:
- Medium light
- Medium heavy
Light power uses lighter line weights and lures ratings for small species. Conversely, heavy power rods use heavy-weighted lines and big lures for large trophy fish.
The best baitcaster combo requires durable materials for the reel and the rod to provide continued performance over time.When it comes to your baitcasting reels, you will find most designs in either aluminum or graphite. Aluminum is cheaper and more durable. On the other hand, graphite is more lightweight and provides resistance to things like corrosion. Any metal parts should be coated or stainless steel.
As for the rod, you have three options — fiberglass, carbon fiber and graphite, and composite. Fiberglass rods are cheap while lacking sensitivity. Carbon fiber and graphite rods are sensitive and lightweight, but they can break. Composite rods are a compromise between the other two material types.
Ball Bearings and Braking System
Ball bearings help reel components rotate or spin. They accomplish this by reducing the amount of friction between moving surfaces. Likewise, ball bearings lower the amount of heat generated between moving parts.
Stainless steel ball bearings are the standard in most of the best baitcaster combo designs. Ceramic is another ball-bearing material. It is more expensive but it is five times more durable. The braking system helps reduce backlash and the tangles it causes. It does this by slowing the spool down at the end of the cast. Braking systems can be centrifugal, magnetic, or manual in design.
- Weight: Product weight is affected by the materials used in its construction. You will likely want to compromise between durability and weight when shopping for the best baitcaster combos.
- Rod Length: The best baitcasting rod and reel combo uses rods 6.5-8.0 feet in length. That range is ideal for casting rigs or lures.
- Handle: Shorter handles are more common and provide comfort when working bait and tackle. A longer handle is best for large fish when you need both hands on the pole.
What Are the Best Baitcaster Combos?
High-quality baitcaster combos should be durable, easy to use, and offers the best value. We’ve found these baitcaster combos the top choices in terms of features, usability, and price point.
1. KastKing Crixus Fishing Rod and Reel Combo
If you prefer to have the best baitcaster combo under 100 dollars, you can grab the KastKing Crixius. This budget-friendly combo has a reel that has a 6.5:1 gear ratio that perfectly works with its 6’6″ pole for fast reactions.
Comfort-wise, the Crixus’ super-polymer handle grip ensures no pressure point digging into your hand even when you cast several times. Plus, its carbon-infused frame keeps the weight down. However, the pole’s fast action and power rating will be less effective in detecting smaller fish or strikes.
2. Shakespeare Alpha Rod and Baitcast Reel Combo
The Alpha Rod is another cheap baitcaster combo that should be on your radar. This combo boasts a 6.0-foot pole and a reel with a 3.1:1 gear ratio. The gear ratio is perfect if you are working tackle that needs a slow retrieval. Don’t worry; its magnetic brake system avoids the backlash as the spool slows. Plus, the reel is made from a glass blank, offering the sensitivity needed to detect light strikes.
Another consideration is the medium power rating that bass and walleye activate consistently. However, you want to keep in mind that the reel handle is right-sided. As a result, you will be using your left hand to control the pole. Its EVA materials provide simple comfort but can be less durable than other handle materials.
3. Lew’s Mach 1 Speed Spool Baitcast Combo
For starters, you can use the 7’2″ long pole on this combo to cast long distances. Couple that with the fast retrieval of a 7.5:1 gear ratio, and you can cover a lot of water.
Its graphite frame keeps things as light as possible while remaining somewhat rigid. You will also get a smooth retrieval with the eight ball-bearing systems within the reel housing. Equally important is the zirconia line guide that transitions the line back onto the spool without creating a mess.
Unfortunately, the handle is not adjustable for either hand. You will need to buy a right or left-sided crank from the start. You might find a long pole makes casting less accurate unless you have experience with them already.
4. Abu Garcia BlackMax Reel and Fishing Rod Combo
The BlackMax combo is good for an all-around freshwater workhorse that is also useful as a saltwater baitcaster combo.
You will find the 6’6″ pole length manageable under most conditions. In addition to that, the 6.4:1 gear ratio creates plenty of pace on your tackle. Plus, its one-piece graphite frame provides durability without drastically increasing weight.
You also get a four-ball bearing interior that offers smooth motion while keeping weight down. Its medium power rating is a compromise since it is less sensitive to softer bites. Also, you might find the EVA used on the handles to be very dense.
5. Ugly Stik GX2 Baitcast Combo
The Ugly Stik GX2’s 6’6″ pole uses a combination of fiberglass and graphite for optimal durability. In terms of gear ratio, you have 6.2:1 for retrieval at a good pace without blowing past your target. It only has a single ball bearing, but it does come with a seven-year limited warranty. It is also worth noting that the spool can hold up to 150 yards of a 10-pounds line. That coverage should be a fair indicator of the strength of materials used in its construction.
The Next Level
Getting the best baitcaster combo lets you start fishing without worrying about reel and rod compatibility. If you feel that you’re ready to take it to the next level, you can always make a Shimano Curado DC combo. Remember that reels are not universal, so you need to match them with a compatible pole.
Give one of the above baitcaster combos a try and improve your time on the water!