Best Fishing Rod and Reel Combos For Beginners

Last Updated: September 15th, 2019

When you are just getting into fishing and looking to buy your first rod and reel, a combo is a good choice. It takes the headache out of matching your rod with your reel as everything will arrive together, nicely balanced, for you to enjoy setting up. There are a lot of options out there all described as the best based on this and that, and it is hard to know as a beginner what all of that fishing jargon means. The last thing you want is to make your first purchase and be disappointed. Not to worry, we have compiled our best fishing rod and reel combos for beginners here for you, so you can make the right choice.



Pflueger President Spinning Combo Fishing Reel Rod

Pflueger PRESSP-4820UL2CBO President Spinning Combo Fishing Reel Rod

This is a lovely little set up for beginners. The rod and reel are lightweight and designed for smaller fish. The fact the combo is so light means you will not get tired casting it all day.

The rod is made from a durable graphite blank, giving it strength and sensitivity at the same time, so you will feel those tentative bites from fish. The reel is made from quality materials, aluminium, graphite and corrosion resistant bearings. It should last in both fresh water and salt water. The drag is smooth and so is the retrieve thanks to their 10 bearing system.

The guides on the rod are a little small but that is not really anything to worry about. This is a great piece of kit and comes in at excellent value with a few size options to choose from.



  • Light, durable rod
  • Rod has a good feel
  • Reel is smooth
  • Reel has good drag


  • Guides on the rod are a little 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 make great kit and they have made this combo specifically for kids. It is super light and easy to use and made from materials that should last in freshwater under not too much stress. I would not advise using this combo in saltwater as it is not made for that.

The rod is lightweight, responsive to casts and is also sensitive enough to feel all the bites you want. It is made from composite, not the best material but ok for starting out.

The reel comes in either a spinning or spincast option, the choice is yours. Spincast reels are easier for kids but all fisherman will upgrade to a spinning reel eventually, so why not start there. It is not of the best quality but it gets the job done. You may find yourself buying a new one in year or so.



  • Lightweight Rod
  • Sensitive Rod
  • Good for kids


  • Reel is not the best quality
  • Hard to switch the reel from left to right hand wind
  • Rod is not that strong
  • Should not be used 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

We all know Shimano are good at what they do and this very basic set up will last you a long time, as it is great value.

The rod is made from aeroglass, it is light and easy to use, very responsive and strong. The reel is made completely from graphite, not much to corrode in there, and is approved for use in both salt and fresh water. It has a rear drag, meaning you adjust it from the bottom and includes Quickfire II for quick easy casting. The anit-reverse on this reel is not the best, but works, which may make it hard for a beginner to get their head around.

This is a light easy to use setup for a beginners and kids alike which will last a long time.


  • Responsive rod
  • Lightweight and durable rod
  • Smooth reel
  • Quickfire makes it easier to cast for beginners


  • Not the best anti-reverse on the reel
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UglyStik GX2 Spinning Fishing Reel and Rod Combo

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

If you are a beginner then you may not know that the UlyStix is a famous rod and has been around for a long time. It is great that’s in a combo for you. The rod is built to last a long time and can put up with a lot. If you don’t treat it well, it’ll still welcome you with a smile and get the job done. It is made from quality materials that will last and comes with a clear tip for extra sensitivity.

The reel is not the best quality but it will do to start out with. It has a good drag and a smooth retrieve and comes with anti-reverse. It can be used in saltwater but I would not recommend it. If you do take it to the sea make sure you rinse it thoroughly.

The rod comes with an amazing 7-year warranty and the reel with a 1-year warranty, that beats anything else out there.



  • Good warranty
  • A strong and flexible rod
  • Great casting rod
  • Good drag on the reel
  • Smooth retrieve on the reel


  • Reel is not of high quality
  • Line can bunch on the reel
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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

This is a high-quality combo that will last a long time. KastKing makes good products and they have paired a good rod with a good reel here.

The rod is made from graphite and is light and sensitive, making for easy casting all day long. It is also strong and durable, so when you hook that big fish, you can confident your rod will back you up.

The reel is great and is made from very high-quality materials that will stand the test of time. The drag is reliable and the retrieve is super smooth,  just be sure to order the correct winding side for you as it can not be switched.



  • Quality rod
  • Good rod for casting
  • The reel is smooth on the retrieve
  • Drag is reliable
  • Lightweight setup


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

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

This combo is made to be on the road. Everything you need fits in the travel case, even your lures, and will stay protected in your backpack or the trunk of your car. Yes, the gear is super light, but that makes catching any fish fun.

The rod is tiny but well made and will put up a good fight against a good fish. Being small you may not get the best casting distance but it is great for beginners and kids to use.

The reel can be a little stiff but that is no biggie for the price point. It is made with quality materials and has a good drag and retrieve.


  • Great rod for kids
  • Good travel combo
  • Super lightweight setup
  • Comes with a travel case
  • Well balanced


  • The rod is very small
  • Anti-reverse can stop working on the reel
  • The reel can feel a bit stiff
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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

This is a well-made combo for beginners and advanced fishermen, the rod and reel are both of high quality and are great to fish with. The rod is telescopic and goes from 17 inches when closed to up to 8 feet when opened, how great is that for a travel rod. It is made from carbon fiber which keeps it light but still strong, durable and sensitive. The rod does not have the best casting the segments can twist when you fish with it. Make sure to tighten them when setting up.

The reel is made for quality materials and can be switched from left to right had easily. It is made to be smooth on the retrieve with its 12 bearings and the drag is solid.

The combo comes in a few different size options and one option that includes a bunch of lures, the line for the reel and a case.



  • Strong and durable rod
  • Great travel rod as it folds down small
  • The reel is made with quality materials
  • Great drag on the reel
  • Nice casting combo


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

This combo is made for advanced fishermen in terms of quality but is just as easy to use for a beginner, and it fits that price point too. If you want a high quality set up from the get-go, this may be the option for you.

The rod is made from carbon fiber, keeping it light, durable, strong and sensitive. It is made for both salt and freshwater use, is great for casting all day and it will last a long time.

The reel is smooth as butter on the retrieve and has an excellent drag. It is made for both satl and freshwater and can handle sharks and bonefish, so you won’t have to ever worry when you hook that monster with this setup.


  • Lightweight combo
  • Casts far
  • Rod is strong
  • High quality
  • Sensitive rod
  • Great drag and retrieve on the reel


  • A little expensive but great value for what you are getting
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What To Look For

There are a few key things to consider when you are buying a rod and reel combo. Luckily the rod and reel will already be matched for you in terms of weight but one of the hardest things is to make sure you get a good rod and a good reel, rather than one or the other. 

What are you trying to catch?

This is important. Do you want a combo for a specific species or do you want a one that you can use for many species and in multiple environments? This will have quite a big influence on the size and type of combo that you buy.

If you are going for trout, you will not need a combo that can handle a 20kg fish or one that will handle saltwater, a simple freshwater setup will do. If you want a reel you can catch a trout with today and striped bass with tomorrow, you’re going to need something a little sturdier.

Line Capacity

Every reel out there comes in different sizes which will affect a few things, one of them being line capacity. This is defined by the weight and diameter of the line you are using. You will need enough line to make a long cast, with some to spare, and enough line to fight a fish without running out. All reels come with line capacity specifications. You should follow them, as the manufacturer has already thought about this for you.

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 does have issues when being put on a spinning reel as it tends to slip and bunch up when you are winding it on. Nowadays a lot of reels come with braid ready spools, meaning they are designed for braid. This helps to avoid bunching and overwinding that in the end cause a lot of tangles and headaches.

If you plan on using braid, which is recommended due to its longer life and increased castability, this is a must.

The Most Important Factor – Corrosion & Durability

Each combo will have its little differences to get to know when you first start using them. The more you use them, the more you may end up loving them.

If your combo is not built with corrosion and durability in mind, it will need a lot of maintenance.  You could suffer from a lot of issues meaning you won’t get to use it very often. It should be made of quality corrosion-resistant materials and should be protected. 

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

This combo is the allrounder of the line-up. The rod and reel are both of good quality and you can be confident in using them in both freshwater and saltwater. Anywhere you want to cast a line, this setup has got your back. Make sure you order the reel with the correct side for you, as you can not switch from left to right-hand wind with it.

This is the combo for youngsters and adults who like to travel to fish, or love fishing with super light gear. The rod and reel are of good enough quality for the value and will last a while. It comes in a super handy hard case, great for kids to have everything they need in one place and great for the road.

The overall winner is this combo. It is the highest quality rod and reel combination, it will be a joy to use and will last a long time. You can use it in salt and fresh water and if you are a beginner looking to get better then this is a great setup. The equipment will back up your skill levels as you improve and you won’t have the need to upgrade.