10 Best Rod and Reel Combos for Beginners in 2022
I get how overwhelming it can be to look for a rod and reel combo if you’re a beginner. I was once in the same shoes, struggling to decide on a single product in a sea of them.
Although I’m no longer a beginner, I remember some of the best combos I tried back then. The market now offers more advanced technologies, making these combos even better than before.
The Wild Water Fly Fishing Rod is by far the best option you can continue using even as you build your skills. It’s quality-made and will last you a long time.
But, let’s check some more.
Wild Water Fly Fishing Rod
Best For Beginners
PLUSINNO Fishing Rod and Reel Combos
Best by Budget
Ugly Stik USSP602M30CB Shakespeare
10 Best Fishing Rod and Reel Combos Reviews
1. Wild Water Fly Fishing Rod
This Wild Water combo is one of the most affordable options for beginners. In addition, it comes set and ready for fishing, so you don’t have to prepare anything beforehand.
At first glance, you’ll see that it’s made by experienced anglers and people who know a thing or two about fishing. And they know what beginners need.
The rod itself has just the right amount of stiffness and backbone. It’s well-crafted and durable enough to handle all kinds of fish.
I used it for different species but found it the most efficient with rainbow trout. It easily handled a big 6-pound catch, mainly thanks to the fly reel drag.
It’s a 9’ four-piece rod with medium-fast action and an IM8 black graphite blank. It comes with a machined-aluminum reel seat and double-lock rings.
I loved the 32’’ hard rod case and reel pouch for storing everything. It can fit all the bundle accessories like the flies, line nipper, and more. The Wild Water fly box can carry up to 372 flies and is waterproof.
Another few things that stand out are the cork handle and stainless steel stripper guide. In addition, it has silicon carbide rings and a laser-etched butt cap for added sensitivity.
It works great for beginners because it comes with everything you need. It’s also easy to set up within a few minutes when you’re already at your fishing location.
I suggest it for trout, small bass, and panfish in small streams and ponds. The rod weighs 4.4 ounces, although the entire bundle is heavier due to all the pieces included.
2. PLUSINNO Fishing Rod and Reel Combos
This is another affordable fishing kit, including hooks, lures, line, and other accessories. It includes everything a beginner needs, but it’s also affordable.
The rod is made from fiberglass and carbon fiber. It’s lightweight, durable, and easy to use during extended periods. In addition, it’s flexible enough to handle different fish without it breaking under pressure.
However, keep in mind it has fast action, so think about if this fits your target fish. It has an EVA foregrip that improves the overall comfort and comes in handy as you fight your catch.
It’s a 5.91′ rod that collapses for easy transportation and storage. It fits nicely in my backpack, so you don’t need a special rod case or bag.
Another thing that stands out is the corrosion-resistant reel seat made from stainless steel. This makes the combo suitable for saltwater and freshwater.
It’s excellent for boat fishing as it allows distance-casting and easy retrieving at all times. In addition, the aluminum oxide guide inserts allow the line to run smoothly and with minimal tension.
The reel it comes with has an anti-reverse gear for added control. This is perfect for beginners learning how to fight different fish using all the power drive gears.
It’s made from high-tensile plastic, allowing you to change the handle from left to right. I tried doing this, and it took only a few minutes.
And, you’ll notice how handy the S-curve oscillation system is for line winding, especially if you’re a beginner.
I used it for catfish, ultimately catching an 11-pound catfish about 27 inches long. It handled the battle well enough, bending in the right places to not break under pressure.
3. Ugly Stik USSP602M30CB Shakespeare
This Ugly Stik is a great rod and reel combo that won’t hurt the bank. I chose the 6’ medium rod that breaks into two for easier transportation. At first, you’ll notice it’s sturdy enough to handle rough use. This is important for beginners who might not properly handle a rod.
It’s easy to set up and performs smoothly at all times. Moreover, it casts and retrieves nicely for beginners to get the hang of it quickly. I liked the clear tip design as it improved the sensitivity, making it easy to feel light bites. This rod and reel combo is great to catch fish such as cobia, tuna and bass.
The reel included features a machined anodized aluminum spool and oversized bail wire. It’s not the most heavy-duty reel, but it works perfectly for most beginners since you’re probably focusing on lighter fish. You can probably replace it with another reel compatible with this rod as time goes on.
You can change the handle position from left to right, depending on your dominant hand.
Another thing that helps the life span is its compression bail springs setup. It enables the line to run smoothly while being resistant to corrosion.
This Ugly Stik combo weighs only 14 ounces. It’s comfortable to hold for hours at a time, mainly thanks to the thick EVA handle. It helps to absorb vibrations and provides support as you fight your catch.
4. KastKing Centron Spinning Reel Fishing Rod Combo
KastKing Centron is a quality combo featuring the Toray IMG graphite body and graphite spinning reel. The combo is quite lightweight, so you won’t have any issues during prolonged fishing trips.
The company offers many rod and reel sizes, depending on the fish you’re targeting. For example, the 6’ model works well for panfish, bass, and trout. However, you might want something larger for other fish like walleye, catfish, and steelhead.
The reel is smooth and easy to work with. Depending on your needs, you can choose between two gear ratios – the 4.5:1 and 5.2:1. However, the triple-disc drag stands out the most, which makes it easy to land the catch without too much struggle.
It paired it with a 10lb braided line and worms, which allowed me to catch an 8.5-pound catfish. It performed smoothly with just the right rigidity you need when fighting heavy fish.
It didn’t feel like the blank was stressed, although it did flex to ensure it didn’t break.
It’s meant solely for freshwater fishing, so don’t expect it to last long in saltwater conditions. Its stainless O-ring guides are durable and smooth but will likely rust if exposed to salty water.
Also, keep in mind you can choose between two action and power options. It’s either moderate-fast and fast for action and medium and medium-heavy for power.
You can choose the reel size between 2000, 3000, 4000, and 5000, depending on the rod you pick.
5. PENN BTLII4000701M Battle
This Penn combo is meant for saltwater gamefish as it has a gear ratio of 6.2:1. The reel has a full metal body, so it’s quite durable and resistant to everyday use. In addition, it has a heavy-duty aluminum bail wire for added ruggedness and resilience.
But, what stands out the most is the HT-100 carbon fiber drag system. It gives exceptional drag without taking away any smoothness, which is crucial when catching big fish.
It’s packed with five sealed stainless steel ball bearings and an anti-reverse bearing. Its maximum drag is 15 pounds, which is more than enough for beginners.
The fast retrieve feature is what I found the most useful. And, I loved the rod itself for its increased sensitivity, which allows you to feel even the lightest nibbles.
I went for the 4000 combo for inshore fishing, and it worked nicely. The cork handle makes a massive difference in comfort even when it’s wet. It doesn’t become slippery or cold to hold.
I paired it with a 20lb test braid and landed several small Jacks and other small species. However, you choose among several rod and reel sizes, depending on the fish you’re targeting. The rod I picked was a 7’ model, which worked excellent for inshore fishing.
The blank is made from graphite composite, featuring aluminum-oxide rings. As a result, it offers excellent responsiveness, sensitivity, and backbone.
6. Zebco Roam Orange Spincast Reel
This Zebco Roam Orange combo contains a 6’ two-piece rod and a durable spincast reel. It’s designed to catch panfish, walleye, trout, bass, and more.
It has moderate-fast action and medium power, so it’s pretty easy for beginners to use. It works well with an 8-12-pound line and lures between 1/8 and ¾ ounces.
The rod blank is made from fiberglass, featuring a comfortable ComfortGrip handle. In addition, it has texture, so it won’t become slippery when wet.
The reel has a dial-adjustable drag and the anti-reverse function you’ll find useful when casting and retrieving. It stops the handle from going backward, allowing you to make a solid hookset.
And, it comes pre-spooled with a 10-pound Zebco line, so you don’t have to buy any to start with. Keep in mind that you can also change the position of the handle, depending on what’s your dominant hand.
It runs smoothly thanks to its all-metal gears and dual-ceramic pick-up pins. The gear ratio is 3.6:1, ensuring smooth retrieve and high abrasion resistance.
Zebco Roam Orange combo is simple and without too many features. Although this might seem like it’s lacking some important things, that’s really not the case. Instead, it’s an all-around combo tailored specifically for beginners who don’t have much skill.
It feels balanced in hand, so I think it would be easy and comfortable to use for hours. And it weighs only 12 ounces, so it’s unlikely you can end up with hand fatigue.
You can pair it with different lures and lines, depending on the fish you’re targeting. It’s pretty versatile, and you can even replace the reel once you gain more experience.
7. Wild Water Fly Fishing Rod and Reel Combo
Wild Water Fly rod and reel combo is a bundle of things you need to start fishing. It’s fully equipped with everything you could need so you don’t have to buy any extra things just yet.
It contains a 7’ four-piece rod with medium-fast action and an aluminum reel seat. It also has double lock rings and a laser-etched butt cap for increased sensitivity if you’re into smaller fish.
What stands out the most is the cork handle with compressed cork accents. It makes the design stand out while also making the rod more comfortable to hold for an extended period.
It’s equipped with stainless steel guides, and silicon carbide rings for the line to run smoothly. Each of its four sections is 22.5’’ long, while the entire thing weighs 2.9 ounces.
Everything comes in a 26.25’’ hard case with side storage and reel pouches. You’ll also get a cloth bag for storing the rod before placing it in the hard case. This allows safer transportation, especially until you learn how to safely handle a rod.
The fly box is waterproof, so all the things inside are protected. It contains 372 flies of different sizes and types. And, the rod and reel combo bundle has several other accessories like the line nipper, hook eye cleaner, and an instruction manual.
This Wild Water reel has a 75mm diameter spool, adjustable disc drag, and is a die-cast aluminum frame. It comes in left-hand retrieve, but you can change this in only a few minutes.
The whole combo feels very balanced and light, so it’s easy for beginners to handle. It acts almost as an extension of your forearm, allows smooth and quick casting and retrieving.
8. NetAngler Fishing Rod
Net Angler is another convenient fly fishing kit with a rod, reel, and a bunch of useful accessories. Again, it’s good for beginners because it already contains everything you need for your first fishing trip.
The reel comes with a preinstalled fishing line, and you’ll also get four fly fishing tools, sixteen flies, twelve bright flies, and a carrying case for all these things.
The rod has four sections and is made from carbon fiber. It comes with a tip specially designed for beginners, allowing you to feel even the lightest nibble. This is perfect for fishing in a small pond where you can catch crappies, bass, and bluegills.
I managed to get crappie on it, fighting pretty hard to land it without breaking the rod. And, it didn’t break, although it bent quite a lot. This is due to its construction since it’s designed to have this much flexibility and backbone.
Another thing that helps is the hardware. Net Angler has advanced guides that reduce friction, especially since they’re combined with chromed stainless steel rings.
The reel has a die-cast arbor spool design and highly resistant aluminum construction. It’s pre-loaded with a 20-pound line that works great for all kinds of species.
And, it comes with a comprehensive instruction manual explaining how to set up the combo within a few minutes. Finally, everything comes in a bag that’s easy to carry on your shoulder.
9. FISHOAKY Kit
Fishoaky is a full rod kit made for beginners. It includes everything you need, from a rod and reel to a fishing line, hooks, and baits.
The fishing rod included is made from carbon fiber. It’s a telescopic rod with blank pieces that collapse into one another to make its portability much more convenient.
However, you should remember that telescopic rods aren’t the most durable. The high-density carbon fiber is strong, but the blank’s connecting points are often not.
So, make sure to check the weight you can put on it. I caught solid-sized bass and trout, and I’m sure it can easily handle other freshwater species.
It comes with stainless steel guides and ceramic inserts. This allows the line to move smoothly and without as much friction, so there’s less chance of it snapping.
The reel has sealed waterproof bearings along with zinc material gear. It also features the S-curve oscillation system for better line winding, crucial for novice anglers.
And, you can change the handle from left to right, depending on your dominant hand.
The whole Fishoaky kit is easy to use and set up, and you can also pack it in your car trunk. In addition, it contains several accessories you need for your first trip, so you don’t have to buy things separately.
10. ShinePick Fishing Rod Kit
This ShinePick fishing kit comes with a bag packed with everything a beginner would need. But, when I first took all the pieces out, I was slightly overwhelmed. And, I’m not a novice angler.
So, it might be tricky to assemble, but you’ll be fine with a little help from the internet or an experienced angler you know.
The ShinePick kit comes with a 6.8′ fishing rod, a spinning reel, line connectors, hooks, lures, and a 328′ fishing line. As a result, you don’t have to make any additional purchases.
The rod is telescopic, so it packs into a compact shape easy to carry around. It’s made from carbon fiber composite, sporting excellent sensitivity I noticed with the first fish I hooked.
And, its ergonomic handle adds to the overall power and efficiency. In addition, it’s comfortable and remains non-slippery even when wet.
The DS3000 spinning reel comes with precision-matched gears and a gear ratio of 5.2:1. In addition, it features an anti-reverse switch, which you’ll find useful when fighting big fish.
And, it’s also important to note that all the hardware is corrosion-resistant. However, give it a quick rinse after each use to prolong its lifespan.
All its contents are packed neatly in a small bag. This way, the kit is easy to carry around and pack in a car.
Types of Fishing Reels for Beginners
The market offers two types of fishing reels: spinning and baitcasting reels. Baitcasting reels might be too complicated for beginners when compared to spinning reels. But, it all depends on your rod and the fish you’re after.
Spinning reels aren’t as precise as baitcasting ones, but they’re easier to operate. This makes them a better starting point for novice anglers.
Fishing rod and reel combos for beginners usually come with a spinning reel. It’s a great option to start with, and you can always replace it with a baitcasting reel later on.
Types of Fishing Rods for Beginners
When buying a fishing rod, you get to choose between several types like telescopic, surf, baitcasting, fly, and overhead rods. These are the most common, although several others exist as well.
Choosing between these options can be a bit overwhelming for beginners. But, the best way to go about this is to consider your fishing style and targeted fish.
Also, will you fish in freshwater or saltwater? It’s an important question to answer because not every rod can handle saltwater conditions.
When deciding on a type, you should also consider several other factors like the length, handle, and reel seat. Combos come with a suitable reel meant to work with the rod in question.
Buying Guide: Rod and Reel Combo for Beginners
Choosing the right rod and reel combo for beginners is easy to consider several factors. Ease of use is probably the most critical part, but you shouldn’t forget the action, power, line capacity, and more.
Here’s what you should consider before making a decision.
Rods come at different lengths, all of which are meant for different fishing styles. So, it’s hard to tell which length you should go for without knowing where you’re fishing and how.
If you’re into longer casts, you should go for a longer rod. However, think about the location because these are only meant for open spaces.
A short rod is more suitable for casting in a closed area. Also, it’s easier to handle when battling fish near the shore, dock, or boat.
When buying a combo, you should think about what both reel and rod are made from. Rods are typically made from graphite, fiberglass, or carbon.
A carbon fiberglass blank is durable and reliable. It’s also cheaper than graphite, which is important for beginners.
However, graphite is stiffer and more sensitive, which might work better for certain fishing styles. It’s also easier to break due to the stiffness we mentioned.
For reels, you’ll get to choose between aluminum, graphite, and carbon, all of which have their pros and cons. You might also come across a combination of several materials.
Graphite is your best bet if you’re fishing in saltwater conditions because it’s corrosion-resistant. Aluminum is a good choice if your focus is on lightness, but it all falls to your preferences.
The action of a rod refers to how easily it can flex when you apply force to it. I think fast action would be the best for beginners, but this depends on the fish you’re after.
Fast action rods are meant for large species because the top third of the blank bends. This allows you to fight the fish with ease.
Medium action bends towards the top. These are equally popular among beginners, while slow action isn’t so common. However, it bends from the lower third, so it’s only suitable for small fish most novice anglers don’t find fun.
Power indicates the pressure needed for the rod to bend while in action. It’s described as ultra-light, light, medium-light, medium, medium-heavy, heavy, and extra-heavy.
Heavy types need more pressure applied to them to bend. Lighter ones require less pressure, so the best way to choose is to consider the fish you’re after.
Medium power rods give you the best of both worlds, which is why they’re typically recommended for novice anglers.
You probably don’t want to spend too much money on a rod and reel combo if you’re a beginner. This is especially the case if you’re still figuring out your preferred fishing style.
However, there’s a difference between cheap and expensive rods, mostly in the feel. When jigging the bait, you want to feel its movements and all the bites that follow. And, this is only possible with a sensitive rod that reacts accordingly.
Now, I’m not the one to tell you to get the cheapest rod and reel combo. Unfortunately, these often don’t perform so well, especially since you need all the support you can get as a beginner.
Luckily, the market is packed with mid-range combos that work great for various fishing styles. And, you can always invest in something more expensive once you gain more experience.
A fishing reel has its line capacity defined by the weight and diameter of the line. Naturally, you want the line to be long enough for long casts and fights; otherwise, you could run out.
This is why you should always follow the line capacity specifications. However, if you’re after smaller fish, you can do with a lighter line that has a smaller diameter. This is a good fit for a small reel.
So, a 6, 8, or 10-pound line is good for small fish, whereas you need a 20-pound line for something larger.
Durability is critical regardless of your skill level or experience. It depends on several things like materials and manufacturing quality.
For this reason, focus on durable and corrosion-resistant materials, especially if you’re fishing in saltwater. You’re likely to use this combo for some time, so the last thing you want is for it to break.
This is an important factor for all the parts, so make sure to check both the rod and reel.
Although most beginners are advised to use braided line, it can be a bit tricky to use with a spinning reel. In addition, it often slips and bunches up as you try to wind it, so you might want to get a pre-spooled reel.
This way, your combo is ready for use right when it arrives. This helps you avoid having to spool it yourself, possibly tangling the line in the process.
Remember that you don’t have to use braid if you don’t want to. However, it’s recommended due to its endurance.
Effective Tips for Beginners
The first tip I can give you is to stick to reputable manufacturers. Surely, you don’t want to spend a fortune, but saving a couple of bucks might not get you anywhere.
Focus on durability and quality since these two factors matter the most. Fancy features are a nice touch, but you want the combo to last with what it has.
Take the time to consider what each material brings, especially focusing on sensitivity and endurance. Check what the rod and reel come with and whether that fits your fishing style. Consider the power, action, and ball bearings and whether these things will work for your needs.
Final Thoughts on the Best Rod and Reel Combos for Beginners
It won’t be long before you stop thinking of yourself as a beginner, but you need good equipment to advance even the most basic skills.
The Wild Water Fly Fishing Rod is my favorite due to its overall quality, endurance, and performance. It feels comfortable and works for most fishing styles, which is why I like it for novice anglers.
Which one do you think it’ll fit your needs the best?