Top 9 Best Bass Fishing Rod And Reel Combos Reviewed

Best Bass Fishing Rod And Reel Combos

Hello! If you’re searching for the best bass fishing rod and reel combos, you’ve come to the right place.

Rod and reel combos offer a fantastic combination of quality reels and matching rods that work seamlessly together. They are a cost-effective option compared to purchasing the rod and reel separately, ensuring a well-matched setup.

Considering the high demand for bass fishing rod and reel combos, we have compiled a list of the top 10 combos based on their strength, durability, sensitivity, and smoothness. Drawing upon my 21 years of fishing experience and my team’s expertise, we have carefully selected these combos.

For those in a rush, the Abu Garcia Black Max Baitcasting Combo stands out as the best baitcasting combo, while the Penn Battle III Spinning Combo takes the lead for spinning combos. Both combos offer durability, smooth operation, and the necessary strength to handle large bass, while still being sensitive enough for smaller ones.

However, we understand that budget may be a consideration for some. That’s why we have included more wallet-friendly options in our list as well. Rest assured, we have options to cater to different preferences and priorities. Let’s dive in and explore the best bass fishing rod and reel combos for you!


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Top 9 Best Bass Fishing Rod And Reel Combos

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  • Blank Material: Graphite
  • Power: Medium Heavy
  • Ball Bearings: 4+1
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  • Blank Material: Graphite
  • Power: Medium Heavy
  • Action: Fast
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  • Blank Material: Composite
  • Power: Medium Heavy
  • Action: Fast
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  • Blank Material: Graphite
  • Power: Ranges from Medium to Medium Heavy
  • Action: Fast
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  • Blank Material: Fiberglass
  • Power: Medium
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  • Blank Material: Composite
  • Power: Ranges from Light to Heavy
  • Action: Ranges from Moderate Fast to Fast
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  • Blank Material: Graphite
  • Power: Ultra Light
  • Ball Bearings: 9+1
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  • Power: Ranges from Medium to Heavy
  • Action: Ranges from Moderate Fast to Fast
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OUR EDITOR’S Pick

Abu Garcia Black Max Baitcasting Combo

Best Bass Fishing Rod And Reel Combos

Abu Garcia Black Max Baitcasting Combo
  • Durable Aluminum Body
  • Versatile Sling Mounts
  • Inline Bolt System

1. Abu Garcia Black Max Baitcasting Combo

Abu Garcia Black Max Baitcasting Combo
Features:
  • Blank Material:¬†Graphite
  • Power:¬†Medium Heavy
  • Ball Bearings:¬†4+1
  • Action:¬†Fast
  • Max Drag Weight:¬†15 pounds

The Abu Garcia Black Max Baitcasting Combo, a top-notch choice for bass anglers. This combo offers a range of features that make it an ideal baitcasting option for bass fishing.

First and foremost, the Black Max Combo boasts a maximum drag of 15 pounds and medium heavy power, providing ample strength to handle even the largest bass. The medium heavy power rating is suitable for most bass fishing scenarios, while still allowing you to tackle bigger bass when needed.

The graphite blank construction of the baitcasting rod contributes to its sensitivity, making it highly responsive to even the subtlest tugs from smaller bass. Graphite is known for being lightweight and sensitive, ensuring an enjoyable fishing experience.

While the reel’s 4+1 bearings may be slightly fewer in quantity compared to some models, their high quality compensates for the lower count, delivering satisfactory smoothness during operation.

Durability is a key aspect of the Abu Garcia Black Max Combo. The machined aluminum spool, stainless steel guides, and stainless steel bearings enhance its robustness and corrosion resistance. With these features, you can trust that this combo will stand the test of time.

What sets this combo apart is its impressive lightness. Weighing only 14.4 ounces, it provides effortless casting and allows for comfortable fishing throughout the day without causing fatigue.

Overall, the Abu Garcia Black Max Baitcasting Combo excels in various aspects, making it a well-rounded choice for bass anglers seeking a reliable and high-performing combo. It’s a fantastic option for handling bass of all sizes while offering durability, sensitivity, smooth operation, and a lightweight design.

2. Lew’s Mach 1 Speed Spool Baitcast Combo

Lew’s Mach 1 Speed Spool Baitcast Combo
Features:
  • Blank Material:¬†Graphite
  • Power:¬†Medium Heavy
  • Action:¬†Fast
  • Ball Bearings:¬†7+1
  • Max Drag Weight:¬†15 pounds

The Lew’s Mach 1 Speed Combo, a true powerhouse in the world of bass fishing combos. This exceptional combo sets itself apart from the competition, even surpassing the highly regarded Abu Garcia Black Max Combo. Here’s why the Lew’s Mach 1 Combo is in a league of its own.

Similar to the Abu Garcia Black Max Combo, the Lew’s Mach 1 Combo features a medium heavy fast action graphite rod and a reel capable of delivering 15 pounds of drag. This combination ensures that you can tackle even the largest bass and detect the most subtle bites.

Both combos incorporate aluminum spools, stainless steel guides, and stainless steel bearings. However, the Lew’s Mach 1 Combo takes it a step further with its double-shielded stainless steel bearings, providing enhanced durability and toughness.

What truly sets the Lew’s Mach 1 Combo apart is its exceptional smoothness. With 7+1 bearings, this baitcasting reel delivers an unmatched level of silky smooth operation from the moment you start cranking. The additional bearings make a noticeable difference in the overall smoothness of the reel.

To top it all off, the Lew’s Mach 1 Combo is impressively lightweight, weighing only 10 ounces in total. This weight reduction of nearly 50% compared to the Abu Garcia Black Max Combo adds to the combo’s overall comfort and ease of use.

With its superior bearing system, remarkable smoothness, and lightweight design, the Lew’s Mach 1 Speed Combo unquestionably claims the title of the best bass fishing combo in the world. Even when compared to outstanding options like the Abu Garcia Black Max Combo, the Lew’s Mach 1 Combo outshines them all. If you demand nothing less than the absolute best, this combo is the one for you.

3. Ugly Stik Elite Baitcast Combo

Ugly Stik Elite Baitcast Combo
Features:
  • Blank Material:¬†Composite
  • Power:¬†Medium Heavy
  • Action:¬†Fast
  • Ball Bearings:¬†2+1
  • Max Drag Weight:¬†12 pounds

Introducing the Ugly Stik Elite Baitcast Combo, a true powerhouse in terms of durability and toughness. Ugly Stik rods have earned a legendary reputation for their virtually indestructible construction, and the Ugly Stik Elite Baitcast Combo is no exception.

The Ugly Stik Elite Baitcast Combo features Ugly Stik’s renowned Ugly Tech Construction, which combines graphite and fiberglass to create an incredibly strong and durable rod. This technology ensures that the Ugly Stik Elite can withstand the harshest conditions and outlast many other rods on the market.

In addition to its durability, the Ugly Stik Elite Baitcast Combo offers the strength needed to handle even the largest bass, while still being responsive enough to detect the subtle bites of smaller fish. However, it’s worth noting that the reel included in this combo provides a maximum drag of 12 pounds, which may limit your ability to target exceptionally large bass.

One drawback of the Ugly Stik Elite Baitcast Combo is its limited number of bearings. With only 2+1 bearings, the reel may feel somewhat choppy and less smooth compared to other combos with a higher bearing count. This can affect the overall fishing experience, especially when reeling in fish.

Despite the limited number of bearings, the Ugly Stik Elite Baitcast Combo shines when it comes to durability and toughness. If you prioritize a rugged and long-lasting rod and reel combo above all else, the Ugly Stik Elite Baitcast Combo is an excellent choice. Its unmatched toughness and reliability make it a dependable companion for any angler in pursuit of bass.

4. KastKing Crixus Baitcasting Combo

KastKing Crixus Baitcasting Combo
Features:
  • Blank Material:¬†Graphite
  • Power:¬†Ranges from Medium to Medium Heavy
  • Action:¬†Fast
  • Ball Bearings:¬†7+1
  • Max Drag Weight:¬†17.6 pounds

the KastKing Crixus Baitcasting Combo, a budget-friendly rod and reel combo that offers great specs at an affordable price point.

The KastKing Crixus Baitcasting Combo provides sufficient power and sensitivity to cover the entire range of bass fishing. With its aluminum spool and double-shielded stainless steel bearings, it also offers durability that surpasses its price tag.

However, it’s important to note that while the combo boasts 7+1 bearings, the quality of these bearings is only average. As a result, the overall smoothness of the reel may not match that of higher-end combos like the Lew’s Mach 1 Speed Spool.

One significant drawback of the KastKing Crixus Baitcasting Combo is its weight. Although the exact weight is not provided by the manufacturer, it is reported to be exceptionally heavy. This weight can impact your overall fishing experience, especially during long fishing sessions, as it may cause fatigue and discomfort. The estimated weight of around 25 ounces makes it significantly heavier than the Lew’s Mach 1 Combo.

Despite its weight, the KastKing Crixus Baitcasting Combo still offers great value for its price. It remains a reliable and affordable option for anglers on a budget, delivering solid performance for targeting bass of all sizes. If you’re looking to keep costs down and prioritize functionality over weight, the KastKing Crixus Baitcasting Combo is worth considering.

5. Shakespeare Alpha Baitcast Combo

Shakespeare Alpha Baitcast Combo
Features:
  • Blank Material:¬†Fiberglass
  • Power:¬†Medium
  • Action:¬†Fast
  • Ball Bearings:¬†1
  • Max Drag Weight:¬†15 pounds

If you liked the price of the KastKing Crixus but thought it was too heavy, you’ll be pleased with this combo. The reel only has one ball bearing, which makes it a bit difficult to use. However, the rod and reel are lightweight, which is why we included it on this list. We wanted to offer an alternative for those who prefer a lighter option.

The Shakespeare Alpha Baitcast Combo weighs 13.6 ounces, even lighter than the Abu Garcia Black Max Combo. It also performs well in other areas, such as medium power, fast action, and stainless steel guides. If you can overlook the lack of bearings, this is a good combo for bass fishing. Considering the price, it’s hard to find anything better than this.

6. Penn Battle III Spinning Fishing Combo

Penn Battle III Spinning Fishing Combo
Features:
  • Blank Material:¬†Composite
  • Power:¬†Ranges from Light to Heavy
  • Action:¬†Ranges from Moderate Fast to Fast
  • Ball Bearings:¬†5+1
  • Max Drag Weight:¬†9-30 pounds

Now let’s move on to the spinning combos. The Penn Battle III is the winner of the 2020 ICAST Best Saltwater Reel Award, and it’s a bass fishing combo that speaks for itself. Its specifications clearly demonstrate its superiority compared to other spinning combos.

In terms of power, this combo is one of the strongest out there with a heavy power spinning rod and 30 pounds of drag. It can easily handle bass and even larger fish like tuna.

When it comes to sensitivity, the fast action spinning rod of this combo is impressive. It allows for quick and responsive movement.

In terms of durability, the Penn Battle III Combo stands out. The bearings are made of stainless steel and are sealed to prevent debris and water from entering. Additionally, the full metal body and sideplates make this combo one of the sturdiest in the world.

To top it off, the Penn Battle III is equipped with 5+1 bearings. While it may not have a large number of bearings, the high-quality bearings of this combo ensure excellent smoothness.

The Penn Battle III’s recognition as the winner of the 2020 ICAST Best Saltwater Reel Award is well-deserved. It’s evident that this combo is exceptional. Although it is a bit more expensive, it is definitely worth the investment.

7. Pflueger President Spinning Combo

Pflueger President Spinning Combo
Features:
  • Blank Material:¬†Graphite
  • Power:¬†Ultra Light
  • Ball Bearings:¬†9+1
  • Action:¬†Fast
  • Max Drag Weight:¬†8 pounds

Next up, we have an affordably priced spinning combo that offers strength, sensitivity, toughness, and smoothness all in one package.

To begin with, this spinning combo features a medium-heavy spinning rod and a reel with a maximum stopping power of 20 pounds. In simple terms, this means it can handle large and powerful bass. Even those gigantic bass you see in the Guinness World Records can be reeled in with this combo, thanks to its medium-heavy power and 15 pounds of drag.

Moreover, this spinning rod provides excellent sensitivity with a fast action rating, ensuring you can detect even the slightest movements from smaller bass.

Additionally, the spinning reel of this combo is equipped with 8+1 bearings, allowing for smooth and seamless operation.

Of course, none of these features matter if the combo falls apart after a few uses. That’s why Cadence has designed this combo with durable stainless steel guides and an aluminum spool, ensuring its longevity.

Overall, the Cadence CC5 Spinning Combo is a comprehensive solution for all your bass fishing needs. It even exceeds expectations in some aspects, especially when you consider its price. Bass anglers who are looking for a high-quality spinning combo at a reasonable price will find that this combo doesn’t disappoint.

8. KastKing Centron Spinning Combo

KastKing Centron Spinning Combo
Features:
  • Blank Material:¬†Graphite
  • Power:¬†Ranges from Medium to Heavy
  • Action:¬†Ranges from Moderate Fast to Fast
  • Ball Bearings:¬†9+1
  • Max Drag Weight:¬†12-17.5 pounds

The KastKing Centron Combo is designed to be a versatile option, particularly suitable for new anglers.

In terms of strength, both the rod and reel are built for heavy power, offering a drag capacity of 17.5 pounds. This ensures that you can handle larger and more powerful bass.

For sensitivity, the combo features a graphite blank that provides the fast action required for detecting movements from smaller bass.

To enhance toughness and durability, the rod and reel combo is equipped with stainless steel guides and an aluminum spool.

When it comes to smoothness, the combo includes 9+1 bearings of average quality. While they may not be high-quality bearings, they still provide decent smoothness comparable to what you would experience with 4+1 high-quality bearings.

Overall, the KastKing Centron Combo may not be the most eye-catching option, but it performs well at a relatively high level. This makes it an ideal choice for beginners who want a solid bass fishing combo without having to spend a fortune.

9. Ugly Stik GX2 Spinning Reel And Fishing Rod Combo

Ugly Stik GX2 Spinning Reel And Fishing Rod Combo
Features:
  • Blank Material:¬†Composite
  • Power:¬†Ranges from Ultra Light to Medium Heavy
  • Action:¬†Fast
  • Ball Bearings:¬†2/3+1
  • Max Drag Weight:¬†7-8 pounds

Wrapping up our list is our budget recommendation for bass spinning combos ‚Äď the Ugly Stik GX2 Combo.

By now, you’re familiar with the features we’ve discussed, so I won’t delve into too much detail.

In terms of affordability, this combo is the most budget-friendly option we found suitable for bass fishing.

Typically, rod and reel combos in this price range are of poor quality and not suitable for actual fishing. However, the Ugly Stik GX2 Combo stands out as one of the rare exceptions.

Without a doubt, if you have the means, it’s recommended to invest in a better rod and reel combo. However, for those with limited funds, the Ugly Stik GX2 Combo is a decent choice that surpasses many alternatives in its price range.

Choosing A Good Bass Fishing Rod And Reel

My favourite thing about rod and reel combos is that they’re guaranteed to mesh well together. This is one less thing to worry about when choosing your bass fishing rod and reel.

That said, both the rod and reel in the combo should be great on their own. This section will go over how exactly to ensure you find a rod and reel combo with both a great rod and a great reel for catching bass.

Baitcasting VS Spinning

Deciding between baitcasting and spinning rods and reels is an important first step before exploring available combos.

Baitcasting gear allows for precise casting accuracy and works well with heavier lines and lures above 10-pound test. However, mastering baitcasting gear can be more challenging compared to spinning gear.

On the other hand, spinning rods offer less casting accuracy but are better suited for light lures and lines. They are also easier to handle and learn for beginners.

For new anglers, I recommend starting with a spinning rod and reel. Baitcasting rods and reels are better suited for experienced anglers who are familiar with their intricacies.

It’s worth noting that you can still catch large bass using spinning gear. While they may be less compatible with heavier tackle, you can pair them with heavier lines and lures. They have some limitations but are still capable of handling larger bass.

Power

Rod power refers to the stiffness of the rod, or how much force is required to bend it. A stiffer rod can handle larger fish.

Bass are generally medium-sized fish, so a rod with medium power is typically sufficient. However, if you’re specifically targeting trophy-sized bass, it’s advisable to use a medium-heavy rod for the added strength and ability to handle larger fish.

Action

Rod action refers to how much the rod bends when pressure is applied to the tip. The higher up the rod bends, the faster the action and the more sensitive the rod becomes.

If you want to detect even the slightest tugs from small bass, a fast action bass rod is necessary. However, if you’re not particularly interested in smaller bass and prefer targeting larger ones, moderate or even slow action rods will be sufficient.

Length

Rod length is important because it affects your casting distance.

However, for bass fishing, you don’t need an excessively long rod for casting purposes. I recommend using a bass rod that is around 6-7 feet in length. Anything longer than that is unnecessary and only adds extra weight, making it less comfortable to handle.

The only situation where you might need a longer rod is if you plan to go surf fishing for bass. In that case, you should consider using an 8-12 ft bass rod. The specific length will depend on how far out you’ll be fishing in the surf. The farther you need to cast, the longer your bass rod should be.

Handle

Rod handles are commonly made from three materials: cork, EVA foam, and rubber shrink tubing.

Cork handles offer the least secure grip among the three options but are the most durable.

EVA foam handles provide a secure grip and are highly durable.

Rubber shrink tubing handles offer the firmest grip, although they are slightly less durable compared to cork and EVA foam.

If you come across two bass fishing rods that are evenly matched in all other aspects, the handle can be a deciding factor. However, when selecting rod and reel combos, we didn’t give significant attention to the handle as it is not a major consideration.

Rod Material

The material of the rod blank, which is different from the handle material, plays a significant role. There are three common materials for rod blanks: graphite (also known as carbon fiber), fiberglass, and composite.

Graphite is the lightest and most sensitive material, but it is also the least robust.

Fiberglass is the strongest and most durable material, but it is heavier and less responsive.

Composite is a combination of graphite and fiberglass, providing a balance between the two. It is moderately light, sensitive, strong, and durable.

There is no definitive “better” material among these three. The choice ultimately depends on personal preference.

Additionally, it’s important to note that a carbon fiber rod is not automatically lighter than a fiberglass rod. If you desire a lighter rod, it’s advisable to examine the specifications rather than solely relying on the rod material. Similarly, instead of solely focusing on the material, it’s better to consider the power of the rod and ensure it aligns with your preferences for strength.

Drag System

Moving on to the reel, the first important aspect to consider is the drag system. The drag system consists of small steel plates in the reel that prevent your fishing line from being released.

When a fish pulls harder than the weight set for your drag, the spool will release line to prevent the line from breaking. The strength of your drag system should correspond to the weight of your fishing line.

For larger bass, which require stronger fishing lines, you will need a stronger drag system. As a general rule, set your drag to about 1/3 or 1/4 of the pound test rating of your fishing line.

When it comes to bass fishing, a maximum drag weight of 15 pounds is typically sufficient. This takes into account the possibility of encountering large bass. However, if you prefer to target smaller bass, you can opt for a reel with lower maximum drag weight.

Ball Bearings

Ball bearings are essential components of a reel as they reduce friction and ensure smooth operation.

The quality and quantity of bearings both play a role in the performance of the reel. Even if a reel has 9+1 bearings, if the bearings themselves are of poor quality, the reel may still operate in a choppy or less smooth manner.

On the other hand, if the bearings are of high quality, having 5+1 bearings is sufficient to achieve a smooth reel. In fact, some reels with 4+1 bearings can still provide smooth operation. However, it is generally not recommended to go below 4+1 bearings for optimal performance.

Gear Ratio

Gear ratio refers to the number of times the spool spins per handle rotation on a reel.

A higher gear ratio means the spool spins more times with each rotation of the handle. This results in faster retrieval of the fishing line, requiring less effort to reel in the fish.

However, when considering the gear ratio, it’s important to also think about the type of lures you’ll be using. Lures that require slower retrieves are better suited for reels with lower gear ratios, while those that require faster retrieves are more compatible with higher gear ratios.

As a general guideline, a gear ratio of 6:1 is considered fast, while 4:1 is considered slow.

For bass fishing, I have found that a gear ratio of 5.5:1 is a good balance. It leans more towards the faster side, which aligns with the tendency of anglers to use faster lures when targeting bass.

Reel Construction

Bass can be found in both freshwater and saltwater environments. Whether you’re planning to fish for bass in freshwater or saltwater, it’s crucial to have a durable reel. This becomes even more important if you’ll be fishing in saltwater. Therefore, it’s essential to consider the construction of your reel.

For reel parts such as the frame, sideplate, and handle, it’s important to choose materials that are durable and resistant to corrosion, even when fishing in freshwater. Options range from aluminum and stainless steel to carbon fiber and titanium.

When it comes to bearings, although not mandatory, it’s beneficial to have additional protection. This can be in the form of a sealed bearing system or shields that help reduce the amount of debris that enters the bearing system. These features can enhance the longevity and performance of your reel.

Final Verdict

In conclusion, opting for a rod and reel combo is a cost-effective way to ensure compatibility and performance between your rod and reel.

Among the top ten bass fishing combos listed, you’re bound to find one that suits your preferences. If you’re having difficulty deciding, the Abu Garcia Black Baitcasting Combo is a recommended choice for baitcasting, while the Penn Battle III Spinning Combo is a great option for spinning. Both combos offer the strength for large bass, sensitivity for smaller bass, and durability and smoothness.

Now that you have found your ideal bass fishing combo, it’s time to head out and catch some bass in your local waters!

P.S. If you prefer to create your own custom rod and reel pairing, we also provide information on the best bass fishing rods, best spinning reels, and the best baitcasting reels to assist you in making the right choices.