Tackle Test 2017: Super Rod and Reel Combos | Outdoor Life

Tackle Test 2017: Super Rod and Reel Combos

Great rods, great reels paired together for popular species

Super rod and reel combos.

Five top rod and reel combos.

Nathaniel Welch

Here are our top picks for species-specific tackle combos that are great performance and great value.

TROUT

ROD: ST. CROIX TRIUMPH TRAVEL SPINNING ROD TRS56ULF4

REEL: SHIMANO NASCI 1000

The four-piece Triumph rod, with its travel case, is compact—great for packing in and out of remote trout haunts. Pair it with Shimano’s NASCI1000 and you have a formidable team, up to any trout task, including throwing the lightest inline spinners.

(Rod: $120; reel: $100)

PANFISH

**ROD: **BASS PRO SHOPS CRAPPIE MAXX CMA1066MLS

REEL: BASS PRO SHOPS CRAPPIE MAXX CMA 1000

The BPS Crappie Maxx combo is a lightweight pair that proved perfectly matched for going head-to-head with big slabs. The 6-foot rod has enough tip to cast light baits and sufficient butt to drag large crappies out of thick brush.

*(Combo: $40) *

WALLEYES

ROD: G. LOOMIS E6X 782-2 WUR 6'6"

REEL: SHIMANO STRADIC C14+ 2500 HG

This Loomis two-piece rod offers a supple tip for detecting timid strikes, while the Stradic reel manages line as well as any spinner on the market. Its smooth drag swiftly tamed hard-charging fish. The combo made our wish list despite the sticker price.

(Rod: $190; reel: $230)

MUSKIES

ROD: LEW'S ISD3 SUPER DUTY 3 7'11"

REEL: LEW's SUPER DUTY SPEED SPOOL

This top-flight pairing seems eager to take on the meanest of muskies. In our test, the 7-foot 11-inch rod easily threw hefty baits, while the Super Duty Speed Spool’s massive drag proved more than capable of breaking big fish.

(Rod: $180; reel: $200)

CATFISH

ROD: ZEBCO BIG CAT XT BCKTS 802B 8'

REEL: ZEBCO BIG CAT XT

If your game is chasing monster blue and flathead cats, then consider the Zebco Big Cat combo. Together, the stout 8-foot rod and 60-series reel are beefy enough to handle large lines, big baits, and super-sized catfish.

(Combo: $70)