If you’re thinking of buying a rod or a reel for the first time than one of the most daunting aspects of starting to look is the fear of buying a mismatched reel and rod.
If you’ve been used to combos up to now, or never paired a rod and a reel before than it might seem very overwhelming.
But don’t worry, this guide is here to take the stress out of your search. We’ve given you 3 of our top rod picks and we’ve recommended you a reel that nicely complements it too.
We’ve also got a buyer’s guide to take you through some of the things to look out for and we’ll answer some of your questions so that you feel ready to find the right rod and reel for you.
Top 3 Best Fishing Rod And Reel
OUR TOP PICK
OUR TOP PICK
These are both individually great products, so it’s no wonder then when they’re paired together you get a stellar set-up that really any angler would be happy to use. Ugly Stik rods are known to be pretty unbreakable which makes them a popular product with a lot of anglers and they’re generally thought to be a good addition to most amateur’s arsenal.
They’re also a great way to go if you’re a beginner looking for a rod that’s going to serve you pretty well, help you catch some fish and grow your skills, and won’t require much more maintenance than a cursory rinse off. You’re not going to get the same level of performance than you would with a custom-made rod but this is a very high-value rod considering the price, and with Ugly Stik’s record for creating incredibly durable rods you won’t have to replace it unless you want to.
This model pairs well with a Daiwa BG reel, which is one of the only sealed reels that are affordable and widely available. This option requires minimal maintenance so it’s a great first reel for beginners who aren’t sure how much time they can devote to angling. If you’re looking for a great allrounder than this duo is a great place to start getting used to pairing rods and reels together that will be able to catch a range of fish of all different sizes.
These are hardy rods and you can take them on a variety of different trips, and they’re a great way to master different angling techniques and build your style. They’re also both good products to have in your arsenal and you may like to use them as a starting place to build your own collection of rods and reels.
The Ugly Tuff guides on this Ugly Stik Elite model are made from single-piece stainless steel which can take a real battering both from the fish and from the elements which give a real boost to this rod’s ability to function in tougher weather conditions and its overall durability. This rod has graphite and soft fiberglass tip which is far more sensitive than other similar models which makes it an excellent bait fishing rod but also makes the rod less likely to break.
The innovative tip also allows the rod’s high sensitivity without compromising its stiffness. The rod has a pretty good backbone which makes it more than capable of holding its own against the larger and more ferocious fish These features combined with the overall lightness of the rod make it a great option for novices and more seasoned anglers.
With such a dependable rod you really need a reel that can match it, and luckily Daiwa has filled the gap for an affordable spinning reel that gives consistently high performance. The reel is designed to work with all sorts of lines including braided which has had a recent boom in popularity (not recommended to beginners as it’s easy to tangle). The BG reel has a partially sealed drag and is corrosion resistant making it a good option to accompany you on fishing adventures.
These are two great products that work excellently together but are great individual additions to any angler’s kit. This option is a great all-rounder that’s not going to break on you at the first sign of trouble and had more than enough ability to catch you some of the big prizes. If this is the first time, you’re pairing a rod and reel together than this is a great option for you.
Both the rod and reel give you a dependable product to learn on that you won’t outgrow quickly and are easy to maintain. More experienced anglers could have a lot of fun with this surprisingly sensitive model that can take pretty much anything you throw it at.
- Very responsive and sensitive tip
- Very durable
- Sturdy backbone
- Smooth reel
- The reel can be used with braided lone
- The reel isn’t corrosion-proof
- "Hard Bodyz" body and side cover increase strength
- Air Rotor weighs 15% less than ordinary rotors
- 6+1 bearing drive with instant anti-reverse
- Carbon ATD is waterproof for reliable performance
If durability is something you look for in your rods and reels or if you’re looking for something to use in saltwater or to pitch live bait than this pair is worth taking a look at. This reel from Shimano is lightweight enough to toss lures but is explicitly designed for pitching live baits, while the rod from Tsunami is a tough option that can certainly take some punishment but has a truly outstanding casting distance even without a reel.
Many anglers think that it doesn’t get much better than the Tsunami Airwave Elite and it’s easy to see why. This sturdy rod has silicon carbide guides that are kept in place by a strong titanium frame which also helps to protect the guides while you’re on the move. The rod is lightweight and easy to use, while the grip is made from diamond-textured shrink vinyl.
This lasts far longer than EVA and cork which generally comes as standard on most rods and can become quite battered after long periods. It’s easy to get a comfortable, strong grip on the handle of this rod, a strong grip makes controlling rod simple and helps you fish for longer periods. The rod is very sensitive, and the top allows you to feel a great range of bites no matter the size.
There is a lot of live bait reel available and many that are lighter or have a secondary drag that lets the fish strike without detecting the restraint, but this reel stands out because of its versatility. The reel is lightweight enough to be used for other techniques apart from sit-and-wait bait fishing. The reel has no issue with a braided line where other reels might fray or even cut braid as it’s finer than the traditional fishing line and can easily get caught. This reel is streamlined and offers a consistently smooth retrieve.
This reel can cast lures or even do some light trolling if you wanted to give that a go, and it’s a good option for the beginner who wants to try different things or the experienced angler who is always looking to experiment with their technique.
This reel has an oversized grip that makes it more comfortable than other similar options available, and the reel remains easy to use even when flighting fish or retrieving lures. The drag is incredibly smooth, and most anglers will be surprised at the quality of the performance it offers especially considering the price.
If you’re looking for a lightweight, surf rod with a very sensitive tip that’s built to last and will give you some great fishing experiences. Both the rod and reel are high quality and are built to last. The rod has a great amount of strength, and the reel is very versatile and allows you to try a variety of different fishing techniques.
This is a great option for all different skill levels and if you’re an angler who enjoys looking for the next challenge and needs a rod that will be able to keep up with you then this could be a great option.
- High quality and durable
- Excellent reel with a lot of power
- Versatile reel suitable for a variety of techniques
- Very sensitive and lightweight rod
- The reel is suitable for braided line
- The reel could have a metal frame for more protection and to make it less likely to break accidentally e.g. in transit
- Gear ratio: 4,8:1, weight: 21.70 ounce, Ballbearings: 3 S ARB and 1 rollerbearing
- Mono line capacity (lbs/yds): 14/295,17/250,20/195
- PowerPro line capacity (lbs/yds): 40/295,50/290,65/180
- Line retrieve: 36 inch, max dragforce: 20 lbs
- Retrieve: reversible
If you’re looking for the best rod and reel for freshwater fishing than this is a great option for you. This high-value package includes everything you need to start catching fish as soon as it's out of the box. This is an affordable model from Orvis, perfect for catching trout and other freshwater species without breaking the bank.
This model is a bit heavier than some of the other higher priced fly-fishing rods that are available at the moment, but apart from a slightly lighter rod, it’s difficult to see what you would gain from spending more when this rod is available. At 9-foot-long this is a very versatile option that is suitable for both wet-fly-fishing, which requires a stiffer flex and dry fly-fishing where a softer flexibility is needed.
This rod has a nice mid-flex that accommodates the needs of both types of fly-fishing which gives you a few more options for the kinds of new techniques you can try out. The cork handle is comfortable and makes it easy to find a good and sturdy grip that helps relieve some of the pressure put on the wrists and hands by the slightly higher weight of this rod.
The handle is very durable and should last for years, unlike other similar options.
You don’t need the fanciest reel in the world with this rod, especially if you’re a beginner or like to target trout particularly. The included reel is definitely not the highest performing, but it will get the job done easily enough. It is a shame that the reel isn’t that suitable for saltwater, but as long as you keep it out of brine it is pretty sturdy. If needed the reel could survive saltwater if you completely disassembled it than rinsed thoroughly with fresh water.
Note the reel could not withstand this regularly and the spool and the reel need to be fully dried separately before reassembly. The reel will be able to handle large fish in fast water if you need it with very little trouble, and it’s a pretty decent reel when you consider the full package you’re receiving. Fly line, backing, and a leader are all included in the package.
Buying these separately would incur a heft separate expense and having them in one pack is a pretty good deal. There are better reels available, but this is still a decent option that includes everything you need to get started and to bag your first big fish.
This is a great reel for novices who are wanting to put a bit more time and effort into the sport and want something dependable that will help them catch some good-sized fish.
If you’re looking for a nice, dependable rod and reel that will help you pursue large fish and that will last you a long time. If you’re a beginner then this is a great freshwater option that’s a lot of fun to use, the weight and flexibility of this option make it easy to cast and to improve your skills quickly.
This is a great rod to take out and practice the technique with, but it’s also a great option for the seasoned trout angler. If you’re an angler with more experience looking for a freshwater rod and reel that’s just a lot of fun to use than this might be just what you’re looking for.
- Well-built and durable rod
- Versatile, suitable for both wet and dry fly-fishing
- Great for a range of skill levels
- Easy to cast
- Well-made reel
- Reel might need to be lubricated before first use
Best Fishing Rod And Reel Buying Guide
You hopefully will now have more of an idea of the kind of rod and reel you might like or that might suit you if you’re a beginner. Putting a rod together with the right reel is a daunting task for any new angler. This section of the guide is here to take you through some of the features that are important when picking out a new rod and reel so that no matter what you’re looking for you can find the right option for you.
The most important thing to remember is that whatever you end up buying needs to work for you so keep in mind your primary needs to make sure the rod or reel suits them. For example, if you primarily fish in saltwater than you need to find a rod that suits saltwater. There’s no point in getting a freshwater rod, even if it’s a very good one if it’s not treated for saltwater.
Most rods are made from either fiberglass or graphite or a combination. Fiberglass rods are generally cheaper than graphite rods, but there’s no reason to think that you should go for the more expensive option. An excellent fiberglass rod often functions better and is more fun to use than a cheap graphite rod.
A graphite rod is generally stiffer and lighter, but a fiberglass rod is normally stronger. You have to compare these characteristics against your needs and make sure that what you end up with suits you the best.
Make sure the rod you buy has a power rating that suits the fish you want to go after. The power rating of the rod controls what fish you can pursue, so think about the species and the size that are your priority and adjust accordingly. The lighter and medium-light rods are generally more suited to small and medium-sized species like bass, heavier rods are better for larger gamefish like catfish or pike.
Matching your rod and your reel
If you know what you’re looking for than matching your rod and your reel should be pretty easy. The most important thing is to get a combination that’s not too heavy and won’t affect your casting distances too badly either. As long as you pair a rod and a reel that balanced the reel well and sits comfortably in the hand and lets the line leave the spool and flow up the rod without getting caught in the guides.
Making sure you have some idea about what you want is the best way to ensure that your rod and reel pairs up well. Realistically getting a great quality product is a good way to find a great combo.
Best Fishing Rod And Reel FAQ's
Should I just get a combo rod and reel instead of separate products?
If you’re a beginner than a combo is not a bad idea, but there should come a point in every angler’s life where they decide to try pairing up their rod and reel. This gives you a bit more control over how your set-up will perform and is a step up for any angler. But don’t feel pressured to do this before your ready, feeling comfortable, and having fun is most important.
How much does a decent rod and reel cost?
There are so many options available now that you can find a quality rod and reel whatever your budget. Have a good idea of what you’re looking for going in and you won’t go far wrong.