Anglers approach their game in a variety of ways. While some take great care to put together a rod and reel that can cost a mortgage payment, most are happy affordable gear that gets the job done. Other anglers want to take the guesswork out of pairing the perfect combo and let the manufacturers make the recommendation. Thankfully, there are a variety of combo options available to cover everyone from the novice to the avid angler. So we checked out the dozens of available rigs on the market and came up with 10 that are worth your money.
The Revo X combo pairs up Abu Garcia’s new, popular rod and reel. Both are constructed with quality and offered at a very reasonable price point. The Revo X reel is built with seven stainless steel bearings for smooth operation. The Rocket line management system and lip design serve-up impressive casting distance. Revo X rods are built on 30-ton graphite with stainless steel guides finished with zirconium inserts. The materials offer more than enough performance for most freshwater applications. There are two combos offered, a 6 1/2-foot and 7-foot medium action rod paired with a Revo X 20 and 30 reel respectively.
Okuma’s Alaris combos offer the budget-minded angler a solid rod and reel to target a variety of species. The Alaris reel features durable nuts and bolts with four bearings, anti-reverse and quality drag washers. The graphite composite Alaris rods are sensitive and responsive and feature a cork split-grip handle. Stainless steel guides ward off erosion and add to the longevity of the rod. The Alaris combo is offered in two varieties with 20-size reels, a 5 ½-foot light action and a 6-foot medium light. Two 30’s are offered on 6-1/2-foot and 7-foot medium action rods. The set will cover panfish, trout, bass, walleye, and even pike.
Spincast reels hold a special place in the heart of American fishing. Many anglers young and old still prefer their simplicity and affordability over spinning reels and baitcasters. No brand is more synonymous with spincasting than Zebco, and the Zebco 33 has been their cornerstone for decades. Now the venerable reel is offered in a combo with a premium rod, making an all-around package that any angler can appreciate. Rods are made of IM6 graphite that is lightweight, durable and sensitive with a choice of split or full grip. Several 2-piece models are available in lengths from 6- to 6 ½-feet and a single 1-piece model at 6 ½-feet.
Serious bass anglers look for high performance gear that won’t break the bank. Bass Pro Shops has a long history of pairing their quality rods and reels and offering them at reasonable prices. The Pro Qualifier 2 is another example of this approach. Pro Qualifier 2 reels are lightweight and easy to palm, feature seven total bearings and an all-aluminum frame and spool. Pro Qualifier 2 rods are crafted on RT3 graphite blanks with powerwall construction. The sleek, sharp-looking rods also don quality components with Fuji guides, EVA grips with X-Wrap and a minimalist reel seat. Over 40 combos are available matching numerous rod lengths, power and action for any fishing application.
Lew’s Mach Crush was one of the most popular rod and reel series of 2018. Lew’s is known for offering an array of smart combos, and they’ve done so again by pairing the Mach Crush spinning rod and reel. The Mach Crush reels have strong, lightweight aluminum bodies. They’re engineered with a steel main shaft and solid brass pinion gear to offer excellent power and durability. And an 11-bearing system makes for an overall, silky-smooth performance. Reels are paired with Mach Crush rods built on IM8, one-piece graphite blanks with Nano technology. All come equipped with innovative American Tackle Airwave guide systems that increase casting performance.
The success of the Mach I prompted Lew’s to introduce new models to the angling world. A previous ICAST showcase winner, the Mach I baitcaster is constructed of a one-piece graphite frame with graphite sideplates. It’s lightweight and can take a beating at the same time. Ten total bearings include a one-way clutch bearing that produces a smooth retrieve and a solid hookset. Mach I, one-piece IM8 graphite blanks are fitted with stainless steel guide frames with aluminum oxide rings. The rods also feature Lew’s exclusive graphite skeletal reel seats and have EVA grips to reduce weight and increase comfort. A new 7-foot, 2-inch medium-heavy rod has been added to the existing selection.
The Crossfire is the perfect option for a quality spinning combo at a great price point. Daiwa Crossfire reels have a new look and design with aesthetics that appear well beyond its price point. The reel features an ABS aluminum spool, a micro-click front drag system and an advanced level-wind. Four total bearings provide ample fluidity and performance, and assorted Daiwa technologies like Twist Buster and a Lifetime Bail Spring make for a well-round spinning reel. All rods are two-piece graphite blanks and the combo is offered in a 6-foot medium light action and 6 ½-foot and 7-foot medium action models.
The Fuego baitcasting combo from Daiwa matches their hugely popular reel with a quality, graphite rod. The set is perfectly matched for both appearance and balance. The highlight of the combo is the Fuego CT Baitcasting reel with “Magforce Z” Cast Control. The finely tuned baitcaster has six total bearings and a solid aluminum frame. Power and speed are achieved with over 13-pounds of drag and ample line pick-up. The graphite rods are both lightweight and durable. Two cork-handled, 1-piece sticks are available in a 6 ½-inch and 7-foot models with 6.3:1 and 7.3:1 gear ratio Fuego reels respectively.
Quantum’s new Drive spinning reel offers the same rigid, uni-body construction as their high-end models at a very affordable price point. It’s engineered with precision gearing and smoothness that also far exceed its cost. The graphite body houses all hardware in a single gear box and nine total bearings optimize performance. A double-anodized Long Stroke aluminum spool completes the package. All drive reels come matched with IM7 graphite rods that feature EVA foam handles. Other hardware includes D-ring guides and comfortable, ergonomic reel seats. Eight models are available to cover a variety of fishing applications.
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It wouldn’t be fair to this insanely popular series to only include the spinning combo. Lew’s Mach Crush baitcasting combo has the flashy, orange/black design of the Mach Crush series with performance to match its looks. The combo took top honors at ICAST last year as the best new baitcasting combo for 2018. The strong and lightweight Super Low Profile (SLP) graphite frame of the reel features a machined and double anodized aluminum spool. The Mach Crush baitcaster has ten premium, double-shielded stainless steel bearings in addition to a Zero Reverse, one-way clutch bearing. All combos have one-piece graphite blanks with American Tackle Airwave guide trains. Winn Dri-Tac split handles provide excellent grip and comfort.