Fisherman Using a Casting Reel

Fishing Combos: The Ultimate Buyers Guide [For 2020]

Combos are a great way to buy everything you need in one fell swoop. You won’t be left  thinking ‘will this size rod match this size reel?’, the decision is made for you. 

Just set up the rod, attach the reel and start fishing as soon as it arrives on your doorstep…

It’s about as simple as buying angling gear can get. 

To help home in on the right reel we’ve broken down the key first steps to making your decision…

  1. Which type of fishing combo do you want to buy?
  2. Which style of fishing will you use your combo for?
  3. Which fishing combo brands should you consider?

So lets get to it…

1. What Are The Different Types Of Fishing Combos?

As you’d expect, combos come in different shapes and sizes to suit all kinds of fishing styles.

Whether you’re a die-hard baitcaster, can’t make your mind up about baitcasting vs a spinning reel, or you sing ‘fly or die’ when you’re on the water, the best fishing combo is out there waiting for you. 

Fly Fishing Combos

Fly rod reel combos are a great choice for anyone who’s new to the game. They come with a rod, reel, backing, fly line, some even include flies and a fly box, and they all come with a rod case to store all your gear in. 

Anyone can get on with practicing right out of the gate without the technical hassles of matching the gear properly.

 “Does this reel balance this rod?, and what weight fly line works with it?” are questions that can be answered later as you get everything you need to fish with straight from the start.

Baitcaster Combos

Baitcasting is the cream of the crop when it comes to conventional fishing as it needs a lot more skill than using a spinning setup. 

It requires feel, and way more timing to get right. Hence why most people start with spinning and then progress to baitcasting – this is where a baitcasting combo really comes into its own as a product. 

When you’re ready to take one toe out of the spinning world and dip into baitcasting, you’re going to need some new gear. 

Why pay a high price for an individual rod and reel when you’re likely to find a quality, more affordable option in the best baitcaster combos?

You’ll get a nice rod with solid power and action, plus a durable baitcasting reel that does the business. 

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Spinning Combos

Finding the best spinning combo is a tough task. There are so many to choose from and they range in quality drastically to the point where using a broomstick and grandmother’s cotton would be a better option..

It’s a tricky category to navigate and you may need some help to find the right gear for you. Most spinning combos account for the ultralight side of fishing, as bigger burlier rods and reels are a tad too expensive to bunch together in an exclusive deal. 

The good news is there are loads of the best ultralight spinning combos to choose from, so you’re likely to find a quality set-up, free of the pain of maintenance, and listening to the calling menu of the customer warranty repair service. 

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2. Choosing a combo for your fishing style...

Rod and reel combos aren’t just made for types of fishing, they’re made to match the power and size of specific species and styles. 

You can go into a store and on your left, you’ll find travel combos, on your right saltwater ones, and at the back ones for this fish and that. 

Travel-Friendly Fishing Combos

When you’re on the road or backpacking through the mountains to your favorite trout lake, you’re not going to be dragging a big rod and reel with you. 

You want something small that you can store away neatly with all your other fishing items. 

The best ultralight spinning combos meet all of these needs. All the products that arrive will be able to store away into a handy carry case that’s perfect for traveling with. Being ultralight, the gear won’t weigh you down either. 

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Picking The Right Combo For Your Environment

When you stop and take stock of the environments you fish in, you can see how they can affect a product, and like any other product, this applies to a combo too.

Not all combos are made equal in terms of rod power, or reel size, and this applies to freshwater and saltwater durability. 

The best surf combos can handle a beating, but a dainty freshwater version is going to last about 10 minutes in the sea. 

Before you fill in your payment details and sign up for a combo that’s not going to survive, check it can handle the life you want to lead.

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Picking The Right Combo For Your Catch

It only ends in tears when you show up to you a fresh angling spot and hook that monster you’ve been dreaming about, only to have your rod and or reel fail. 

It’s happened to me too many times… but let’s not think about that. 

To turn those frowns upside down, let’s think about actually landing the fish of our dreams, and to do so, you have to select a combo that can handle your intended target. 

Whether it’s a blue marlin or crappie, your combo needs to deliver the goods. 

If you love catching bass, and most of us do, you’re going to want the best bass fishing combos for the job. Luckily, bass are so popular that finding a good combo isn’t so hard and they’re updated and improved year after year. 

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3. What are the top combo brands you should consider?

Brand loyalty is taken pretty seriously in angling, it’s almost like a members club, and it makes sense why. The joy you experience when landing a fish compared to losing one is indescribable. 

If one manufacturer helps you have that joyful feeling, well you’re going to remember them and buy again, rather than risk jumping ships only for it to sink like the titanic and your emotions when losing a fish. 

Sougayilang Fishing Combos

Sougayilang is a Chinese company that is all about delivering a quality product at better than store prices. Each product, whether a rod or reel, that they send out has little left to be desired for the price, and their combos are the same. 

You’re not getting a Porsche at VW prices with Sougalilang though, you’re getting a run of the mill car that’ll have enough power and turns left and right so you can drive to the store without being late. 

Shimano Fishing Combos

Shimano has been around longer than almost any other (they’ve been in business since 1921) and when you read pages of their reviews, it’s smiles all-around for anyone who’s bought their gear. 

Every time I hold a Shimano rod or reel, I fill with confidence. They hit the nail on the head in terms of quality and their store range, and this goes for their combos.

Penn Fishing Combos

Penn has almost been in the game as long as Shimano and have left behind thousands of happy anglers who’ve wound in grander marlin or their biggest tarpon thanks to a Penn reel. I only have good things to say about Penn, they have never let me down and I’m sure they won’t let you down either. 

KastKing Fishing Combos

KastKing are the USA wonder boys of sending out a solid rod and reel combo that everyone can afford. Only recently founded in 2013, their mission is to make angling accessible to all with products full of power that aren’t just going to fall over and die because they’re ‘budget’. Their rod and reel combos are some of the best you’ll find in a store for the price. 

Shakespeare Fishing Combos

Shakespeare is the true grandfather of the fishing world. They have been churning out angling gear since 1897 and my god does each rod and reel have some Shakespeare power inside it. 

Their rod, the UglyStik, is about as famous as a rod can be, and if you don’t know why, it’s because they’re almost unbreakable but affordable enough for everyone to own one, and they feature in their combos too. 

Check out our latest combo reviews...​

I hope you have got everything you needed from this article to find the right combo for you. It’s always worth taking your time and doing your research as much as possible. There are some more reviews and archives below that are full of fishy knowledge to add to your database, which might also help with your decision making too.