fishingoutcast header logo

Top 4 Best Rod and Reel Combo for Cobia Fishing in 2022

Cobia fishing is becoming a very popular sport. This fish is known for its fighting abilities, and it can grow pretty big! When fishing for this species of fish, having the best rod and reel combo for cobia fishing is essential. And for us, we found that the Penn Battle II rod and reel combo to be the best one.

The Penn Battle II has 50 pounds of drag pressure, which ensures that when a cobia starts to fight, you will have plenty of power to draw it in. This cobia rod comes with a 10 ball bearing system. The 10 ball bearing system is great because you get smoother fish handling, more line capacity, and longer casts. In addition to this, it’s made from aluminum alloy and graphite with a cork grip for good comfortability while cobia fishing all day long.

If you’re looking for other options, we’ve recommended three other rod and reel combos for cobia fishing. The way we came up with these products is through our own research and experience with them. We’ve looked over specific features for each product such as what is the material made from, what weight is it recommended for, and a few extra features.

Each of these four products have been ranked according to what fits best with our criteria. We put effort into making sure that these reviews are unbiased and that they provide you with accurate information about each product so you can make an informed decision when it comes time to buy your cobia rod and reel combo.

Best Overall

4.6/5

PENN Battle II

Best For Beginners

4.6/5

Ugly Stik Bigwater

Best by Budget

4.4/5

Lews Mach Medium

1. PENN Battle II

Best Overall

Standout Features:

Penn is one of the most popular brands out there, so it’s no surprise they have a fishing rod for cobia fishing. This combo includes a graphite composite fishing rod and a 6000 Battle reel. 

Although I used it for cobia fishing only, I assume you can use it for many other species and fishing techniques. This is because the fishing rod is durable, strong, and resistant but still comfortable to use for hours on end. 

It feels light and balanced but has plenty of backbone stored for reeling the heavy fish. The graphite blank has aluminum oxide guides with a line rating of 15-30 pounds. 

It’s a medium-fast fishing rod with medium-heavy power that breaks into two pieces for easier transportation. And, it features a resilient finish, so it won’t show any signs of use as quickly. 

The EVA foam handle is quite long, so you have enough space when battling the fish. It’s a split grip, but the foregrip isn’t as long. 

The reel it comes with has a braid capacity of 490/30, 390/40, and 335/50 yds./lbs. It has a retrieve rate of 41 inches, which is excellent for cobia and other similarly large fish. 

Its full metal body is durable and can take quite a beating. Plus, you can change the handle from right to left, depending on your dominant hand. 

Another thing that stands out is the superline spool combined with carbon fiber drag washers. The combo allows you to use everything from monofilament to braided, although the latter is better for cobia fishing. 

Overall, this fishing rod is heavy-duty, and you’ll probably find it useful for other fish and fishing techniques such as cobia. The combo performs smoothly, although the two pieces together weigh nearly 3 pounds.

This might not seem like a lot, but it can be a bit tiring if you’re out on the water for a long time. 

2. Ugly Stik Bigwater

Best for Beginners

Standout Features:

This Ugly Stik combo is one of the best options if you’re into larger gamefish. Right of the bat, you’ll notice the heavy-duty Ugly Tech construction utilizing both fiberglass and graphite. 

Both materials give it strength but help to balance it out so that it’s not too heavy. As a result, the combo is light and comfortable to use for longer fishing trips. 

The Ugly Stik cobia rod clear tip gives it even more strength while also adding responsiveness. This might not be so important for cobia but will do wonders for other gamefish with a lighter bite. 

One thing you’ll notice is that it lacks flexibility. It’s almost too stiff for many gamefish, but I didn’t find this a problem with cobia. 

The 7’ two-piece medium cobia rod has Ugly Tuff guides that won’t rust, but you should still take the time to rinse it all after use. 

The guides are smooth, and you’ll notice the braid running with minimal friction, so there’s minimal chance of it snapping. 

You may notice the first eyelet is much larger than on other rods. This is because the Ugly Stik Bigwater is made specifically for big water, as its name implies. 

And, I’d say the EVA handles are long enough for people with larger hands to use comfortably. Of course, they’re slightly thicker, but that’s precisely what gives that extra cushion and comfort. 

The reel included has an aluminum spool with a one-way clutch anti-reverse bearing. This allows reliable hook sets we all appreciate in cobia fishing. 

It’s a graphite spinning reel with an aluminum spool and an oversized handle knob. I found it slightly difficult to turn at first, but it does get easier once you get used to it. 

Overall, this fishing rod does well. It’s smooth, easy to use, and equally easy to carry since it breaks into two pieces. 

3. Lews Mach Medium

Best by Budget

Standout Features:

This bright green combo features a one-piece IM8 graphite fishing rod and a high-quality reel. It’s packed with features and specifications useful for cobia once you get past the green design. 

The two items feel light and comfortable, so you won’t have any issues reeling cobia. Plus, the 6’9’’ medium rod has plenty of backbone you need for this large species. 

It comes with durable stainless steel guides with aluminum oxide inserts. This eliminates pop-outs and makes for more comfortable use. 

Apart from strength, you’ll notice it also has the pinpoint level of flexibility to work different gamefish.

Both the guides and the reel are included specifically for braided lines. Although you can use any other you like, I found the 50-pound braided line to work well for this fish. 

This is especially thanks to the reel’s solid brass pinion gear and stainless steel main shaft. In addition, the double-anodized knurled spool is made from aluminum and is braid-ready. 

On top of that, this one comes with an aluminum handle and a large Dri-Tac handle knob. So you can adjust it for left or right hand depending on what’s your dominant one. 

It comes with a 10- bearing system and a Zero Reverse one-way clutch bearing. This allows smooth performance and comfort you’ll find highly needed when targeting cobia. 

Plus, the C40 carbon skeletal speed rotor features heavy-duty aluminum bail wire. It helps to keep everything running properly and for a long time.

The rod and reel work well together, allowing comfortable casts and retrieves. This is especially the case thanks to the Winn Dri-Tac split handles that remain sturdy even when wet. 

Although I didn’t get a chance to test it in the winter, I see these handles holding up in the cold as well. As always, make sure to rinse your gear after each use to avoid rust.

4. Ugly Stik Shakespeare GX2

Standout Features:

The Shakespeare GX2 combo is a great combination of quality and affordability. It’s good for casting at long distances, especially if you’re using light lures.

However, the reel might not live up to everyone’s expectations. It performs well with both casting and backlashes, but you don’t have the option of reversing the bail when changing lures.

This seems to be the biggest problem, but it has more to do with the kind of reels you’re used to. It has three ball bearings and a one-way clutch anti-reverse bearing. It allows an instant hook set you’ll appreciate with cobia fishing and other gamefish.

The double anodized aluminum spool has an oversized bail wire. This helps to improve the durability and universal quality feel you’ll notice right off the bat.

Compression bail springs are included to increase the life span of the reel. And, I see it lasting a long time even if you’re regularly after heavy-duty fish like cobia.

The rod included is a 2-piece 6’ blank made from graphite and fiberglass. It has a sensitive tip that makes it easy to target other fish with a lighter bite than cobia.

And, its EVA grips are long enough for people with large hands. You have enough space to maneuver and work the fish into your net.

Overall, it feels strong and durable while still providing sufficient flexibility and backbone to not break under pressure.

Use it with different lines to find the best combination that works for you. For example, I went for the KastKing SuperPower braided line I already had, and it worked excellently.

Mine was low-vis gray, but it does come in several colors you can pick from. However, low-vis seems to work well with cobia.

If braided isn’t your thing, you can use monofilament on this reel without any issues. In this case, go for clear color and at least a 6-pound test.

Buying Guide

Cobia is a unique fish that doesn’t play once it’s hooked. You probably know the battle it throws if you ever had a chance to hook one. 

For this reason, you need a special rod that can handle the weight and pressure. And, the same goes for the reel since not every reel will work. 

Here’s what you should pay attention to when buying both pieces at once.

Power

The power of a rod refers to the amount of pressure you have to apply for it to bed. For cobia fishing, it’s best to go for a heavy rod. 

Heavier rods require more pressure to bed, so you can easily handle heavy-duty cobia. A light rod would bend too much too quickly, eventually breaking under pressure. 

Luckily, most brands make different variations of the same rod. This allows you to find pretty much any rod with both heavy and light power.

For cobia, I’d suggest focusing on heavy power to get the best out of both the rod and reel. 

Action

The action refers to where the rod flexes under pressure. This rating is relatively similar among most manufacturers using light, medium, and heavy categories. 

You might also find ratings like moderate fast, fast, extra fast. This describes how fast the rod stops bending before it transfers power from the tip to the handle. 

Since cobia is quite heavy, you might want to go for a fast-action rod. It’s what we use for most gamefish of the same weight and size.

Length

The best length for cobia fishing is between 7 and 9 feet. However, this very much depends on your preference and the water you’re fishing in.

Some of the best rods I tested are shorter, allowing a more precise cast. This is especially important for beginners, so you might want to hold back on going for a 9’ long one.

Either way, you should also consider the cobia fishing technique you’re using. For example, jigging requires an 8’ rod that might not work with other techniques. 

Material

As you may have noticed, most rods for cobia are made from fiberglass, graphite, or the combination of the two. 

These are the best options because cobia is strong and will easily break a rod unless durable enough. On the other hand, fiberglass is relatively affordable, lightweight, and durable. 

It’s the best for beginners since it can withstand quite some tugging and ripping. In addition, it’s forgiving, which is why we recommend it for inexperienced anglers. 

Graphite, on the other hand, is meant for more serious anglers. It’s even lighter but stronger, which allows graphite rods to be longer. This is perfect for distance-casting. 

But, you should also think about the reel, hardware, and grips. Check the materials used in these components to ensure the best quality. 

FAQ

What is the Best Bait to Use for Cobia?

Cobia is aggressive and likely to bite on anything you present in front of it. Anything like baitfish (mullet), cramp, and shrimp will do the job. 

You might also want to try catfish and eels as well. These two are considered favorite cobia snacks, so you can’t go wrong with either. 

What’s the Preferred Size Hook for Cobia?

The best hooks to use for cobia are the 5/0 and 9/0 circle hooks. But, make sure you go for a quality-made one to avoid hook bends. 

Focus on well-known brands because cobia will easily bend the hook if it’s not strong enough. Also, this fish has a hard mouth, so you need something reliable. 

Can You Catch Cobia Inshore?

Cobia is an inshore/nearshore fish found around pilings, buoys, and wrecks.

The species spawns in the spring and early summer, but you can find it near the shore throughout the summer months.

Final Thoughts on the Best Rod and Reel Combo for Cobia Fishing

Which one of these combos do you like the best? I’m still holding onto my PENN Battle II as it’s the best I found for cobia. 

It performs smoothly and will probably work for other species and fishing techniques just as easily. However, the other three are equally useful but have different specifications and features you may like better.