In the midst of a tough economy, tackle companies have put together some great bargain spinning rod and reel combinations. We found the six best spinning rod and reel combinations on the market in 2012. All of these combos can hold their own on the water and cost $100 or less.
1. – Cabela’s Tournament ZX/Tourney Trail
Best of the Test With its monolithic cast-aluminum body, machined handle, EVA knob, and eight bearings, the ZX reel is fantastic. It’s saddled to a two-piece IM7 blank. The split-grip handle is all-day comfortable, and the fast tip flicks baits with ease.
2. – Gander Mountain GSX Titanium
$80 Monster Spooler The GSX reel touts 11 bearings and is devoid of rotor slop; the cast-aluminum chassis is solid. The cavernous spool holds 205 yards of 10-pound-test. The eight-guide, IM8 one-piece 6-foot 6-inch rod handles responsively.
3. – Quantum Q-Vex
$60 Ergonomic Dream The 10-stainless-steel-bearing system was the tightest in the test, offering solid hooksets. A two-piece, IM8, 7-foot medium-action rod ably handles feisty fish. A power hump on the handle is comfortable, as is the EVA split-grip.
4. Abu Garcia Orra S
$100 Tough Customer The buttery Orra S reel has six stainless-steel bearings, plus an instant anti-reverse bearing. A one-piece gearbox and solid aluminum chassis make for a rugged package. It’s paired with a 7-foot graphite rod with plush EVA handles.
5. Shimano Zeric 2500F
$80 Smooth Operator The four stainless-steel bearings in the Zeric 2500F are classic Shimano smooth. The one-piece gearbox is solid, but we found the bail to be a bit temperamental. The two-piece, six-guide rod mates well and has a nice feel.
6. Browning Fishing Stalker Gold
$60 Drag King The Stalker is a friction-free line manager with a best-in-test drag system. The two-piece, IM6, 7-foot rod has stainless guides and a full-cork handle. Given its low price, the combo impressed, but it’s rather large and somewhat unwieldy.