The Best Spinning Rod and Reel Combos of 2023

These combos take the mystery out of matching a rod with a reel and save you money
The best spinning rod and reel combos will do everything from win tournaments to catch your first fish

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While some anglers like to mix and match their spinning rods and reels, often the best way to purchase those two items is in a combo form. By purchasing the two items together, you can likely gain a discount over buying them a la carte. You can also be certain they’re balanced and work together well. Here are some of the best spinning rod and reel combos that I recommend.

Best Spinning Rod and Reel Combos: Reviews and Recommendations

Best Tournament Ready: Abu Garcia Veritas Spinning Combo

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Key Features

  • Two rod choices: 6 feet 6 inches (2 piece) and 7 feet
  • Either 1/8 to 1/2 ounces or 3/16 to 5/8 ounce lure ratings
  • 6.2:1 gear ratio
  • 11 total bearings

Pros

  • Excellent balance
  • Light weight
  • Super-smooth drag system

Cons

  • Some anglers may not like white handles

Abu Garcia has multiple spinning rod and reel combos available at a wide range of price points, and this one near the top should get accolades because it won’t become obsolete anytime soon. With a premium drag system, the company’s robotically optimized casting system, titanium guide train, and rocket line management system, this is a combo that excels on local farm ponds and competing for six-figure tournament prizes. It’s accurate and lightweight, and while some anglers may be put off by the all-white components, including closed-cell EVA grips, we found that they didn’t get excessively dirty even when put through repeated stress tests.

Read Next: Best Baitcaster Combos

Best Design Features: Favorite Sick Stick Spinning Combo

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Key Features

  • Length: 7 feet 1 inch 
  • Power: Medium heavy
  • ¼ to 3/4 ounce lure rating
  • 5.2:1 gear ratio
  • Six total bearings

Pros

  • Lightweight yet powerful
  • Comfortable split grip handle
  • Multi-layer carbon blank

Cons

  • Gear ratio not as fast as some others

Relative newcomer Favorite incorporates forward-facing design features into many of their products, and this one is no exception. It lives up to its ninja-like, blacked-out appearance with an aluminum reel spool that’s ported to reduce weight without sacrificing structural integrity. The rod is a little more powerful than those served up in many spinning rod combos. But you wouldn’t know it by lifting the Favorite Sick Stick because it’s remarkably light, and together, the two components balance well. This is a pure and simple bass whipping stick, and while it might be overkill for panfish or trout, it’ll also serve you well for catfish, pike, and light saltwater use.

Read Next: Best Bass Lures

Best Underspin: Zebco 33 Gold Micro Triggerspin Combo

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Key Features

  • Length: 5 feet
  • Lure Rating: 1/64 to 1/8 ounce 
  • 4.3:1 gear ratio
  • Three total bearings

Pros

  • Time-tested design
  • Super-simple to operate
  • Instant anti-reverse clutch

Cons

  • May struggle with larger fish

If you’re just getting started with fishing, or want a zero-hassle combo at a bargain price, this is a time-tested option. It combines the closed-face construction of a spincasting reel with the under-the-handle positioning of a spinning reel. It doesn’t have the line twist problems of the latter, nor will light line billow off an open spool in a heavy wind. Granted, the rod is very light, and you won’t be able to use heavy line, but this is a great place to start for small streams, smaller fish, and diminutive lures. It has a faster gear ratio than most spincast reels, and features like instant anti-reverse that would not have been found in similar products a generation ago. When simplicity of operation and light lures are key, this is a surprisingly fun choice.

Best for Beginners: Shimano Sienna Spinning Combo

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Key Features

  • 7 feet, medium action
  • 6.2:1 gear ratio
  • Four total bearings
  • Full cork rod handle

Pros

  • Graphite composite rod at a fiberglass price
  • Propulsion line management system for long casts
  • Excellent drag system for larger fish

Cons

  • Not as sensitive as some all-graphite rods

Shimano’s spinning reels are world-renowned for their advanced features and premier construction. For a small fraction of the price of even their mid-range reels, it’s possible to get a trickle down of those features, plus a decent rod, in a balanced package that’ll handle a wide range of bass tactics. The striking, red-spooled reel pairs perfectly with the medium-action rod. The nice thing about the rod itself is that it’s excellent with a wide range of finesse techniques, but it’ll handle slightly heavier line and the associated power fishing strategies. Accordingly, for anglers who are just starting out, or who have to stick to a strict budget, this quality combo provides a lot of bang for the buck.

Best Workhorse: Lew’s American Hero Spinning Combo

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Key Features

  • Three Rod Lengths: 6 feet, 6 feet 6 inches and 7 feet
  • Two piece graphite rod construction
  • 6.2:1 gear ratio
  • Split grip EVA handle

Pros

  • Three rod choices
  • Sensitive IM6 graphite rod blanks
  • Quick retrieve ratio

Cons

  • No medium-heavy or heavy option

Over the last decade or so, Lew’s reestablished itself as an industry leader by giving serious tournament anglers what they want and need, at a wide range of prices. These three combo options continue that trend, and they do so in a package that is both durable and refined. I found that you could take these rods pounding through waves, use the tips to dislodge snagged lures, and boat flip big fish, and all they did was come back begging for more like a Labrador retriever puppy. The blue accents stand out among a sea of bland copycats, and while I’d generally prefer one-piece construction, the ferrule created no meaningful loss of sensitivity or fluidity. Indeed, some anglers may prefer that it makes it easier to transport.

Best for Travel: Daiwa Revros LT Travel Pack (Medium)

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Key Features

  • Four-piece, 6-foot 6-inch rod
  • ¼-3/4 ounce lures
  • Full cork handle
  • 5.2:1 gear ratio

Pros

  • Briefcase style travel case for easy transport
  • Includes small tackle box for terminal tackle
  • Lightweight but strong tubular air bail design

Cons

  • Four-piece design necessarily sacrifices some sensitivity (but not much)

The included briefcase-style carrying case says it all—this is a combo made for business. Tuck it into your suitcase, under the seat of your vehicle, or in a backpack, and you’ll be ready to fish at a moment’s notice. Daiwa also makes this in lighter powers, but the medium is best for serious bass anglers or anyone who expects to tussle with larger species on the go. It’s not the fastest reel in creation, but at 5.2:1, it’s fast enough, and the five-bearing construction will survive repeated abuse by baggage handles and big fish alike. The mini tackle box won’t hold much, but it can contain certain basics that you’ll want everywhere. With the addition of a few lures you have an on-the-go option that means you’ll never have to look out at an inviting lake and wonder “What if?”

Read Next: Best Travel Fishing Rods

How We Chose the Best Spinning Combos

If you’re buying two items together to be paired up, the goals are twofold: First, to save money over buying them individually, and second, to ensure that they’re perfectly matched. Not all manufacturers heed these twin targets, failing on one account or both. We wanted combos that provided value and service. Otherwise it’s easier just to pick one from Column A and one from Column B. Most combos are meant to be mid-range powers to serve as jacks of all trades, so when we found something outside of that mold, we also considered whether that was a feature or a bug.

Final Thoughts on the Best Spinning Rod and Reel Combos

I’ll admit to a certain internal resistance when it came to testing combos. I had the prejudice that these pre-packaged pairings were dumbed down and made for the lowest common denominator angler. In some cases, especially where you need a staple remover to get them out of the packaging, that’s still true, but if you look carefully there are some premium packages—and other still-decent pairings at bargain prices—in this category. You might not only save money, but also save time and brain cells by choosing what those in the know believe is a perfect setup.

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Pete Robbins

Fishing Writer

Pete Robbins is one of Outdoor Life’s fishing tackle specialists and angling travel experts. He has written extensively about the bass tournament scene for nearly two decades. Recently, he’s expanded beyond that niche to include adventure travel and bluewater angling. He lives in Vienna, Virginia, with his wife Hanna (who often outfishes him) and their Australian Shepherd Rooster, who is now banned from their bass boat for pressing too many buttons at inopportune times. The Robbins family calls the Potomac River their home water, but they (minus the dog) have also fished in Africa, Brazil, Guatemala, Mexico, Panama, and Alaska, as well as most of the United States.  

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