Best Fishing Rod and Reel Combos For Beginners

Last Updated: March 9th, 2020

A rod and reel combo is an excellent choice if you’re just getting into fishing and thinking about buying your first rod and reel. The last thing you want is to be put off by the technical jargon and the stress it can cause before you’re fully committed to this amazing sport.

Buying a combo makes life very easy and you won’t have to worry about balancing this reel with that rod and making sure it all lines up. The rod and reel will be matched, everything will come together, and you can simply set it up quickly to get to the fun part, fishing.


At A Glance: Top 3 Beginner Rod & Reel Combos


There are a lot of combos out there and picking the right one for you can be a tricky task in itself. Not to worry, we have put together a review of some of the best rod and reel combos for beginners so you can make the right choice.

OUR TOP PICKS

Cadence CC4 Spinning Combo Lightweight with 24-Ton 2-Piece Graphite Rod Strong Carbon Composite Frame & Side Plates Ergonomic EVA Handle Knob Reel & Rod Combo
Best Overall
Cadence CC4 Spinning Combo
  • Lightweight
  • Great for casting
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KastKing Crixus Fishing Rod and Reel Combo, Spinning, 5ft 6in, Light, 2pcs, 2000 Reel
Best Allrounder
KastKing Crixus Fishing Rod and Reel Combo
  • Quality, strong rod
  • Great for casting
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Daiwa Mini System Minispin Ultralight Spinning Reel and Rod Combo in Hard Carry Case
Best Travel/Kids Combo
Daiwa Ultralight Spinning Reel and Rod Combo
  • Good kids combo
  • Perfect for travel
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Pflueger PRESSP-4820UL2CBO President Spinning Combo Fishing Reel Rod
Pflueger President Spinning Combo Fishing Reel Rod
  • Light rod
  • Durable rod
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Abu Garcia Ike Dude Spinning/Spincast Fishing Reel & Rod Combo
Abu Garcia IKE Dude Spinning/Spincast Fishing Reel & Rod Combo
  • Light setup
  • Great for freshwater
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SHIMANO IX2000R Rear Drag Spinning Reel with CBS 6'0' Medium Action Rod
Shimano IXR Rear Drag Spinning Reel with CBS Rod Combo
  • Rod is responsive
  • Lightweight
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Ugly Stik USSP502L/2SC GX2 Spinning Combo, 5'
UglyStik GX2 Spinning Fishing Reel and Rod Combo
  • Great warranty
  • Strong, durable rod
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PLUSINNO Fishing Rod and Reel Combos - Carbon Fiber Telescopic Fishing Pole - Spinning Reel 12 +1 Shielded Bearings Stainless Steel BB,Travel Saltwater Freshwater Full Kit 6.89FT
PLUSINNO Fishing Rod and Reel Combo
  • Light, strong rod
  • Perfect for travel
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Best Beginner Fishing Rod & Reels


Cadence CC4 Spinning Combo

Cadence CC4 Spinning Combo Lightweight with 24-Ton 2-Piece Graphite Rod Strong Carbon Composite Frame & Side Plates Ergonomic EVA Handle Knob Reel & Rod Combo

Cadence has made a really high-quality combo here that any pro fisherman would be happy to own. If price isn’t a concern, this is a combo well worth thinking about. Even though a pro might use it, it’s still just as easy as the other setups for a beginner to start their fishing career with.

The rod is made from carbon fiber making it light and perfect for long days of casting. It’s durable, powerful, casts well and you can take it into saltwater without any worry. It’s also sensitive and you won’t miss a bite with it.

The reel is made from graphite and stainless steel. It’s durable while being light and includes a high gear ration, 12 bearings, and a multi-disc drag. The retrieve is quick, smooth and the drag is solid. You’ll be able to target most species in fresh and saltwater with it.

Overall this is a top-quality combo but it is a little expensive.

Pros

  • Lightweight
  • Great for casting
  • Powerful rod
  • Quality reel
  • Smooth drag
  • Fast retrieve
  • Sensitive rod
  • Good for salt and freshwater

Cons

  • A little expensive
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KastKing Crixus Fishing Rod and Reel Combo

KastKing Crixus Fishing Rod and Reel Combo, Spinning, 5ft 6in, Light, 2pcs, 2000 Reel

KastKing pride themselves in making high-quality gear at affordable prices. This combo is made up of a solid rod and reel that will last a long time that’s also great value. The rod is made from graphite which is one of the best materials. It’s strong, durable and will stand the test of time. The rod is light for easy casting and is quite sensitive to bites. Once you hook nice fish, you’ll be able to put some pressure on it with confidence.

The reel is made of a carbon fiber blend with an aluminum spool. It’s super light while being corrosion resistant and durable. The drag is powerful, smooth and made from a carbon fiber multi-disc system. Carbon fiber is one of the best drag materials and will ensure your reel stays smooth and doesn’t corrode for a long time. The retrieve is solid on this reel too.

The reel comes in either left or right-hand wind and can’t be switched. Be sure to order the right set up in the beginning. If you’re not sure which side is right for you, try to borrow a reel and see what feels best.

Pros

  • Quality, strong rod
  • Great for casting
  • Good drag
  • Quick retrieve
  • Light setup
  • Good value

Cons

  • Reel comes in left or right-hand retrieve and can not be switched
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Daiwa Ultralight Spinning Reel and Rod Combo

Daiwa Mini System Minispin Ultralight Spinning Reel and Rod Combo in Hard Carry Case

Daiwa has made a cool travel kit here that’s great for beginners. Everything comes in a solid travel case, the rod, reel and it even has space for your lures. You can literally arrive on the water with 1 bag, get set up and start fishing. It’s a very light setup and made for smaller freshwater fish, ideal for a starter kit.

The rod is very small but perfect for kids or fishing in tight situations. It does cast well but you might not get the distance you would from a longer rod. Although the rod is tiny, it still packs a punch and will do well against strong fighting fish.

The reel has a strong, smooth drag and a solid retrieve. It comes with anti-reverse, a high gear ratio and a good number of bearings to handle a heavy load. It can be a tad stiff sometimes but that’s not a big issue at this price.

Pros

  • Good kids combo
  • Perfect for travel
  • Super light
  • Great travel case
  • Smooth drag
  • Quick retrieve
  • Great value
  • Casts well
  • Well balanced

Cons

  • Small rod
  • Anti-reverse can fail
  • The reel can feel a bit stiff
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Pflueger President Spinning Combo Fishing Reel Rod

Pflueger PRESSP-4820UL2CBO President Spinning Combo Fishing Reel Rod

This is a perfect little setup to start your fishing career with. The rod and reel are beautifully matched and overall create a nice lightweight combo. The combo is made for targeting smaller fish and overall will be light and easy to cast with.

The rod is made from graphite which is one of the best materials out there. It’s strong, durable and will last a long time. It’ll stand up well to bumps and scrapes while being able to handle some good fish. The rod is also quite sensitive which is key to seeing those delicate bites you might miss otherwise.

The reel is also made from graphite, so it’s tough and durable too. It has a good gear ratio giving it a fast retrieve and the 10 bearing system means it will manage well under a heavy load. The drag is made up of a carbon multi-disc system, it’s strong, smooth and will be reliable against a strong fish.

The guides on the rod are made from stainless steel with ceramic inserts, these will reduce friction and ensure you casts go as far as possible. The guides are quite small but this shouldn’t cause any issues, especially with light line.

Overall it’s a great combo with a good price and comes in a few different size options.

Pros

  • Light rod
  • Durable rod
  • Rod casts well
  • Reel has a smooth retrieve
  • Reel has a strong smooth drag
  • Sesitive

Cons

  • Guides on the rod are a bit small
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Abu Garcia IKE Dude Spinning/Spincast Fishing Reel & Rod Combo

Abu Garcia Ike Dude Spinning/Spincast Fishing Reel & Rod Combo

Abu Garcia are known as one of the top fishing manufacturers and this a great little combo that’s been specifically made for kids. The setup is really light, easy to use and perfect for targeting freshwater species like trout and bass. This setup is not made for saltwater and I’d advise looking at something else if sea fishing is your game.

The rod is made from a composite, casts well and will last a while if you look after it. It’s not as sturdy as graphite or carbon fiber but it’s perfect for light freshwater fishing. The rod is light and sensitive, perfect for those subtle bites small fish tend to give.

The reel comes in two options, a spinning or a spincast reel. Spincast reels are similar to spinning reels but they have a closed hood to help avoid tangles, perfect if you’re a beginner or buying this for a young fisherman. Every fisherman will eventually upgrade to a spinning reel eventually, so it’s up to you where you want to start, both are easy to use.

The reels have a good retrieve and a smooth drag but they are not the best quality, you may find yourself buying a better one after a season or two.

Pros

  • Light setup
  • Great for freshwater
  • Sensitive rod
  • Solid retrieve
  • Smooth drag
  • Great for kids

Cons

  • Reel is not the best quality
  • Not easy to switch the reel from left to right-hand wind
  • Rod is made for smaller fish
  • Not made for use in saltwater
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Shimano IXR Rear Drag Spinning Reel with CBS Rod Combo

SHIMANO IX2000R Rear Drag Spinning Reel with CBS 6'0' Medium Action Rod

This is a lovely little setup from Shimano. It’s simple, easy to use and will last you a long time. Shimano makes quality kit and this combo comes in at a great price. The rod is made from aeroglass, meaning its strong, light, durable and powerful. You’ll be able to cast well, feel every lite bite that comes along and fight some solid fish with it.

The reel is made entirely from graphite, making it corrosion-resistant, durable and for use in both fresh and saltwater. The drag is smooth, string and is easily adjustable from the rear of the reel. The reel also includes Quickfire II which will assist with your casting. The retrieve is quick and smooth thanks to the gear ratio and ball bearings, you’ll be fine putting some solid pressure on a fish with it. The anti-reverse on the reel is not the best out there but it will be fine for beginners to start off with.

Overall this is a great combo that will stand the test of time.

Pros

  • Rod is responsive
  • Lightweight
  • Casts well
  • Quick retrieve
  • Smooth drag
  • Quickfire makes it easier to cast for beginners
  • Good value
  • Use in salt and freshwater

Cons

  • Anti-reverse is not the best
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UglyStik GX2 Spinning Fishing Reel and Rod Combo

Ugly Stik USSP502L/2SC GX2 Spinning Combo, 5'

Shakespears UglyStik is known the world over and most fishermen have owned one in their time. It’s an unbreakable rod and part of an awesome combo to get you started on the water. The rod is made from graphite, is super strong, durable and sensitive. It’ll be part of your fishing gear for life. It comes with a clear tip for extra sensitivity so you won’t miss any bites. It’s truly a rod you can rely on and be confident using every day.

The reel is made from graphite and aluminum. Both are great materials and will stand up well to corrosion. The spool is braid-ready and will easy to fill when you get it. There are some reports of the line bunching up unevenly on the reel but these are few and far between. The retrieve is quick, the drag is smooth and it includes anti-reverse. You can use the reel in saltwater but make sure to clean and rinse it thoroughly as it’s not sealed.

The rod includes a 7-year warranty and the reel a 1-year warranty. Overall it’s a pretty perfect starter kit.

Pros

  • Great warranty
  • Strong, durable rod
  • Sensitive rod
  • Good for casting
  • Smooth drag
  • Quick retrieve
  • Good value

Cons

  • Line can bunch on the reel
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PLUSINNO Fishing Rod and Reel Combo

PLUSINNO Fishing Rod and Reel Combos - Carbon Fiber Telescopic Fishing Pole - Spinning Reel 12 +1 Shielded Bearings Stainless Steel BB,Travel Saltwater Freshwater Full Kit 6.89FT

Plusinno has made a great combo here that features a quality rod and reel. There’s even an option to buy the combo ready with line and lures which makes life a lot easier as a beginner.

The rod is telescopic and made from carbon fiber. It’s light, strong, durable and will stand up well to corrosion. The rod stores away to 17 inches and opens up to 8 feet, perfect for traveling with and getting fishing quickly. It casts well but be sure to set up the rod correctly. The sections can twist while you’re using it but if you open it up correctly this should be avoided.

The reel is made from graphite with an aluminum spool which is braid-ready. It’s easy to use, has a great drag and a smooth retrieve. The graphite makes it light but durable and it’ll last a while if you look after it.

Pros

  • Light, strong rod
  • Perfect for travel
  • Good value
  • Easy to set up
  • Reel is well made
  • Smooth drag
  • Quick retrieve
  • Casts well
  • Option to include line and lures
  • Great travel kit

Cons

  • Rod doesn't have the best action
  • Segments can rotate on the rod during casting
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What To Look For

There are some important things to think about when you’re looking for a rod and reel combo. The rod and reel will match, so you won’t have to worry about that but quite often the combo’s consist of a good rod and a not so good reel or vice versa. Be sure to try and get one where both the rod and reel are of good quality.

What are you trying to catch?

What you’re trying to catch and where you’re fishing defines what kind of combo you’ll need. Are you looking for a freshwater combo or one that can be used for multiple species in a few different environments? This will make a big difference to the type of kit you’ll need to buy.

If you are only fishing in freshwater for smaller fish like bass and trout, then a super light combo will be perfect. If you plan on fishing in saltwater, you’re going to need something more robust that can handle the conditions and some bigger fish.

Line Capacity

Reels come in different sizes and usually the bigger the reel the larger the line capacity. Think about what you’re trying to catch and how far you might need to cast. If you’re planning on casting far or catching fish that run long and hard, you’ll need enough line to manage them.

All reels come with line capacity specifications and make sure you check them before you buy to ensure you’ll enough line for what you’re planning to catch. If you are planning on targetting bass and trout, then almost every reel out there will have enough line for you. You’ll only need to worry about line capacity if you plan on targeting catfish or large saltwater species.

If you are fishing for smaller fish, then you can use a lighter line with a smaller diameter, and therefore a smaller sized reel. When fishing for trout, a reel specifying 6 or 8 or 10-pound line is about right. If you plan to go for monsters, then you may want a larger reel that can accommodate 20-pound line.

Using Braid

Braid is one of the best lines out there and most fishermen are using it these days. It has a small diameter, lasts a long time and helps you cast further. It can be quite tricky to get onto your reel as it can slip. Most reels today are made with a braid-ready spool which makes them much easier to fill up and if you plan on using braid, make sure your reel has this. You’ll avoid a lot of wasted time and headaches removing tangles an overwinds.

The Most Important Factors – Corrosion & Durability

Corrosion-resistance and durability are the two things that are going to ensure your combo lasts a long time. Make sure the combo you choose is made from quality materials like graphite, carbon fiber, fiberglass, brass, and stainless steel. This will save you a lot of time and money in the long run, plus you’ll have a combo that you can fall in love with and pass on to the next beginner.

The Rod

The rod should be made of some kind of graphite, carbon or fiberglass, which all the rods mentioned in this article are. This means they will work in the elements and last a long time. There are some options out there in terms of weight and action, be sure to get a rod that matches your ability and what you want to catch, whether it is one or a multiple of species of fish. Then there is the choice of 1/2/4 piece rods, they all work well, but the rule is the fewer pieces the better it will be for casting. However, a 4-piece rod is far easier to store and travel with, so you need to weigh up your options here.

Our Favorites

The allrounder prize goes to the KastKing combo. Both the rod and reel are of good quality and you can use it in saltwater as well as freshwater. Make sure you order the reel with the winding side for you as it can’t be switched.

KastKing Crixus Fishing Rod and Reel Combo, Spinning, 5ft 6in, Light, 2pcs, 2000 Reel
  • Exceptional Spinning & Baitcasting Reels – Fish like a gladiator! KastKing Crixus fishing reels feature lightweight, carbon infused frames, CNC aluminum spools, 5+1 double shielded stainless ball bearings, powerful carbon drags and many more performance features. These are simply the best value in fishing.
  • KastFlex IM6 Graphite Blanks - KastKing Crixus spinning and casting rods are designed to deliver incredible performance for any budget. Crixus powerful and sensitive IM6 Graphite 2-pc fishing rod blanks range in power ratings from light to medium heavy in 5’6” to 6’6” lengths.

The top travel/kids combo is this lovely setup from Daiwa. It’s the perfect size for light line enthusiasts, traveling fishermen and for small children to use. The reel and rod are easy to use, well made and will last a long time with the proper care.

The overall winner has to be the Cadence combo that features the best rod and reel in the review. You’ll be able to use this setup anywhere for loads of species and it’ll last a long time too. If you know you love fishing and aren’t just testing it out, I’d start with this setup. It’ll take you from being a beginner to a pro without the need to keep upgrading your kit.

Cadence CC4 Spinning Combo Lightweight with 24-Ton 2-Piece Graphite Rod Strong Carbon Composite Frame & Side Plates Ergonomic EVA Handle Knob Reel & Rod Combo
  • WHAT MAKES THE CC4: The Cadence CC4 is constructed of 24-ton graphite and features corrosion resistant stainless steel guides & inserts, a strong carbon composite frame & side plates, a lightweight & comfortable oversized ergonomic EVA handle knob and reliable stainless steel main shaft and aluminum pinion gear. The CC4 series of combos include our CS4 spinning reel and our CC4 spinning rod in a variety of sizes and actions to accommodate most any fishing situation.
  • QUALITY MATERIALS: The CC4 combo series offers quality components and materials that surpass the competition. The blanks are made from 24 ton carbon and come in a variety of lengths, actions and power ratings to adapt to a variety of fishing. The carbon composite frame and side plates make the CC4 strong and corrosion resistant. The 7 ball bearings + 1 instant anti-reverse bearing make the CC4 smooth and resistance free. The CC4 combo series from Cadence provides best in class value.