The Best Fishing Rod and Reel
Why you should trust me
I’m a United States Coast Guard–certified master captain, and I have been fishing since I could walk. I grew up working on charter boats in and around Long Island Sound, and reliable fishing gear has been paramount not only to my profession but also to my life. Having fished on a budget in settings as varied and diverse as the spring brooks of the Adirondack Mountains, the brown sludge that is the Hudson River, and the emerald coastal waters of New Zealand, I can say that a careful selection of the most durable all-around tackle has been essential to me.
To supplement my own expertise, I enlisted the help of veteran spinning-reel reviewer Alan Hawk, and also consulted Salt Water Sportsman contributing editor and Discovery Channel television host George Poveromo on what would be the ideal spinning-rod-and-reel setup for a casual fisher.
Who this is for
Like most fishers, I’m not able to carry, store, or afford a different rod and reel for every species of fish or method of fishing. So I picked an affordable, high-quality spinning-rod-and-reel combo that can work in as many fishing conditions and settings as possible—including saltwater and freshwater. This spinning-rod-and-reel setup is approachable enough for a novice to learn on, yet it performs well enough for a seasoned veteran to depend on.
In researching and testing, I prioritized attributes such as durability and build quality—features that anyone, regardless of skill level and intended use, can appreciate—over more specialized features such as multiple-geared reels for using live bait or especially stiff rods that can handle big fish but not smaller ones.
This spinning-rod-and-reel setup is approachable enough for a novice to learn on, yet it performs well enough for a seasoned veteran to depend on.
At the sub-$ level, our selection for both a rod and a reel represents the most affordable but still reliable pairing we could recommend. You could easily spend $2, on a fishing rod if you’d like something ultralightweight or designed for a specific species you’re targeting, but our pick will get the job done almost as well (if not just as well) most of the time. Similarly, you could go cheaper, but then you’d give up reliability.
If you’re more experienced and looking for a specific rod and reel, apart from the size of the fish you’re targeting, you’ll also have to take into account what kind of fishing you’ll be doing: Will you be casting artificial lures (objects designed to look like fish or other prey with a hook attached), or using bait (smaller fish, worms, or other natural prey, either alive or dead)? Most lure fishers will want a stiffer rod composed of graphite (or mostly graphite) so that they can “work” a jig or plug to imitate the movements of prey, while bait fishers might seek out a rod that’s a little looser or more sensitive, so as to detect the slightest strike. Our rod recommendation can do both things decently, but if you know you’ll be doing only one or the other, you should look into a more specialized setup.
How we picked
First off, I had to decide what kind of rod and reel we would focus on, which was an easy choice—if you’re going to own only one fishing rod and reel, a spinning-rod-and-reel setup is the most versatile and the easiest to use.
Compared with a baitcasting or fly-fishing setup, a spinning setup is more comfortable to use and is usually easier to repair; it also requires less finesse to cast. Think of it as the “automatic transmission” version of a fishing rod and reel. If you’re starting from nothing, a spinning outfit offers the highest chance of success. If you’re a beginner, it’s much easier to pick up than either of the other options, and it’s far less likely to become tangled than a baitcasting setup.
Key features of a fishing rod
In my plus years of fishing, I’ve come to learn that when you’re shopping for fishing rods—as for any tool—paying a little attention to a few key features can be telling before you even pick up one. The rod’s material, flexibility, sensitivity, and line-guide construction all make a difference in how well the rod will perform and last.
As mentioned previously, bait-hucking fishers will want something that’s more sensitive and flexible, while lure fishers will want something stiffer (known as “fast action” in fishing jargon). Most rods are made out of fiberglass, graphite, or a mixture of both. The more graphite in a rod, the lighter and stiffer it is, but such rods are also more brittle, so you wouldn’t want to hand one to a 3-year-old. Fiberglass is heavier but more flexible (“slow action”) and nearly impossible to break. For a beginner or an all-around angler, a combination of both materials offers the most versatile package: It gives you enough stiffness to adequately manipulate a lure, while maintaining enough sensitivity for detecting small bites.
The next most important specification you’ll want to consider is the material that makes up the guides—the loops that lead, or guide, the line from the reel to the tip (the skinny end) of the fishing rod. Lower-end fishing rods (and many higher-end ones, too) usually feature guides made of either thin stainless steel or aluminum oxide (ceramic) frames holding cheap ceramic O-ring inserts (rings designed to protect the insides of the guides and prevent line wear) that chip or corrode, and eventually fail.
Additionally, the more pieces that make up the guide, the more pieces with the potential to fall apart. A design with more pieces means more jointing and fastening, which usually requires glue. Since fishing rods are often exposed to sun, salt, sand, dirt, fish parts, and general wear and tear, glue is simply less than ideal (as is plastic); a single piece of relatively rustproof metal is incomparably sturdier.
More expensive (and usually sturdier) guides include inserts made of higher-quality materials such as silicon carbide (SiC) or titanium-framed silicon carbide (TiSiC), which are usually affixed to rods built for performance (longer casting and lighter weight). While these materials are not necessarily stronger than stainless steel or lined aluminum oxide, they are higher-performance materials, and a lot more expensive. You start seeing these only on rods in the $ range, as opposed to the $40 to $50 range, so they’re beyond the budget of most casual anglers. Also, most anglers won’t even notice the difference—I find that I don’t care one way or the other, and I’ve been fishing my whole life.
The rest, including the grip material and the number of pieces the rod itself breaks down into, is up to you. I will suggest that, if you can accommodate it, a one-piece rod will almost always outperform a two- or three-piece rod. A one-piece rod offers better stiffness and more control—fewer pieces make for fewer problems with durability and performance, although portability suffers.
Key features of a fishing reel
With the rod settled, we looked into reels, which are a lot more complicated since they have so many moving parts. When you’re shopping for a reel, among the first things you need to consider is how much drag you’ll need to handle the type of fish you hope to catch. “Drag” on a spinning reel is provided by a stack of washers, which you can either tighten or loosen against the spool (the part of the reel that holds the line) to build friction to reel in a fish, relieve friction to allow for “play” in the line (so it doesn’t break), or let it swim away in order to let the hook fully set.1
The amount of drag required varies by fishing method and the species targeted—but if you’re not sure, we recommend asking the locals, or going to a bait-and-tackle shop. John Bretza, Okuma’s director of product development, put it into perspective: “Even when we fish North Carolina bluefin [tuna] (which can weigh hundreds of pounds), we use 18 to 22 pounds of drag for the strike and, most of the time, as our full-drag setting as well. That’s still a lot of drag for most” In other words, you don’t need much drag to cover a wide variety of fish. For the average fisher, the to pound maximum drags on any of our picks will suffice. But to make sure you get what you need, look for the “maximum drag rating” on the spec sheet.
One of the most important features is durability. Cheaper reels come with cheaper drag systems made of felt or lower-quality carbon fiber, which disintegrates quickly. This construction, combined with little or no preventative sealing to keep saltwater and grit from entering the mechanical parts, means that most reels less than $50 just aren’t worth the money.
If you're willing to spend $ or a bit more, you’ll get all the makings of a reel that’s built to last. That means a semisealed drag—for keeping out water, dirt, and corrosive salt spray—as well as an all-metal body. It will also be repairable should anything go wrong, whereas with cheaper gear, the cost of a repair can often exceed the worth of the reel.
That said, if you plan to do a lot of bait fishing from boats, buy a conventional open-faced reel with a more dependable dual drag system.
How we tested
I tested all of the rods and reels from beaches, rocks, boats, and riverbanks. I fished with lures in rivers for trout and salmon, and I set 1- to 1½-pound live baits from my skiffs, catching ocean fish up to 20 pounds with each rod and reel. I also tested the gear on smaller bottom fish, including summer flounder, sea bass, and porgies (or scup), as well as red drum and spotted seatrout in Charleston, South Carolina. I spent several days fishing freshwater rivers for trout and smaller salmon, and a couple of days fishing private ponds and lakes for largemouth bass. I beat up these rods and reels, from the mouth of the Hudson River in New York to the Cook Strait of New Zealand.
Our spinning-rod pick: Shakespeare Ugly Stik GX2
If you’re planning to get only one rod and you don’t want to spend a fortune, it should be a 6½- to 7-foot Shakespeare Ugly Stik GX2, available in ultra-light, medium, medium-heavy, and heavy versions. It should be a single-piece model, if you can accommodate it. The size and line rating depend on the species you’re targeting and the type of water you’re fishing (ultra-light, UL, for panfish and small trout; medium, M, for fish weighing 3 to 10 pounds; medium-heavy, MH, for fish in the to pound range; and heavy, H, beyond that). The GX2 is the latest update to a classic line of rods renowned for their versatility and durability for nearly four decades.
The Ugly Stik GX2 was introduced in as the first major redesign of the Ugly Stik series since its debut in Compared with the original, it includes more graphite and less fiberglass, giving the rod more of a backbone for working lures and handling heavier fish, while still keeping the soft fiberglass tip that makes it sensitive enough for detecting subtler strikes and smaller catches.
Based on the GX2’s build and the original’s history of durability, the GX2 could very well be the last rod you’ll need to buy. They are seriously tough rods—a fact supported by their industry-leading seven-year warranty (compared with the typical one-year coverage offered on Penn and Shimano rods, and even on Shakespeare’s own, non–Ugly Stik rods). I haven’t found another $40 fishing rod I would trust this much. In fact, if it costs less than $ and it’s not an Ugly Stik, I’d just as soon use a hand line.
What makes the Ugly Stik GX2 so much more durable and versatile than other rods is that it uses both graphite and fiberglass to provide sensitivity and strength without sacrificing too much of either. It features a primarily graphite shaft for stiffness, along with a soft, clear, and flexible fiberglass tip.
That flexible tip means it won’t be ideal for manipulating lures, but we think the added versatility is more valuable to most fishers—especially beginners. While the GX2 isn’t better than a specialist rod in either application, it is a capable performer in both—which can’t be said of the Ugly Stik Tiger or the Penn Squadron.
In addition to having a durable shaft, the GX2 is the only rod in its price category that comes fitted with one-piece stainless steel line guides, which can literally be smashed with a rock and still maintain serviceability. During testing, I accidentally planted my foot directly on the guide of a rod that I’d left in the bottom of my boat—as one does—but it was unscathed. Cheap, flimsy aluminum-oxide guides are the industry standard at this price, so it’s nice to see Shakespeare, the maker of the Ugly Stik, take durability seriously. Apart from higher-end models that cost four or five times the price, I’ve never seen this feature in a spinning rod. This design also represents an upgrade from the old Ugly Stik, which had two-piece pop-out guides that were the only weak spot in an otherwise bulletproof rod.
Just in case anything does go wrong, all you need to submit to take advantage of the Ugly Stik’s class-leading seven-year warranty is photographic evidence of the damage, your receipt, and $10 to cover shipping. That’s far better than the one-year warranty coverage from Shimano and Penn, and even from Shakespeare itself on its non–Ugly Stik models. (St. Croix offers a five-year warranty for its Triumph rod, which we tested as a possible upgrade pick.)
One quick shopping note: Make sure you’re buying the spinning rod, not the casting version of the same rod from the same manufacturer. They’re easy to confuse, and our chosen reel won’t fit the casting version.
Flaws but not dealbreakers
The downsides of the Shakespeare Ugly Stik GX2 are few but worth noting. First, it’s heavier than more high-performance graphite rods (which usually run about 5 ounces for a medium-heavy 6-foot-6 or 7-foot rod), and some people find that tiring. But if you’ve never held a high-end spinning rod before, you won’t notice the difference.
Another problem with the Ugly Stik GX2 is that the guides are not always perfectly placed. This is something you’re likely to find in any mass-produced base-level spinning-rod model; it’s not something children will notice. Guide placement becomes more essential when you’re fighting trophy-sized fish, which is not something the average angler will put their gear through. If you do happen to be fishing big game, you’ll likely have to step up in price range, or find a good deal at a garage sale.
Runner-up rod: Shimano Saguaro
Shimano’s Saguaro series is every bit as versatile as the Ugly Stik GX2, but the guides are nowhere near as durable as Ugly Stik’s Ugly Tuff guides. While I found the rod itself to be more clunky and cumbersome overall—especially when casting lightweight artificial lures—that’s also what made me recognize and appreciate it as a dependable workhorse.
Compared with the similarly priced Ugly Stik models, the Shimano Saguaro is a stiffer graphite composite. While this design can be advantageous for casting plugs, it offers less “play” or give, which can hinder other applications like setting the hook while bottom fishing with bait and a heavy sinker, where some flex is advantageous.
Apart from the Saguaro’s less durable guides, the primarily graphite rod is more brittle, and less likely to survive a spill or a misplaced foot.
If you plan to fish with care (and not with children), the Saguaro can make an excellent rod for medium-weight jigging and topwater fishing, but it is less than ideal for lightweight artificial lures or bait fishing, and nowhere near as sturdy as an Ugly Stik.
Upgrade rod: Shakespeare Ugly Stik Elite
If the Ugly Stik GX2 is unavailable, or if you know you want something stiffer for doing more lure fishing, the Ugly Stik Elite series is a good bet. These rods are available in the same wide range of sizes as the GX2 (for the most all-around versatility, we’d still recommend a medium to medium-heavy rod in the 6-foot-6 or 7-foot range), but they have a cork grip instead of an EVA foam grip and contain 35 percent more graphite, which makes them a bit stiffer and lighter overall. The added stiffness makes the Elite ideal for manipulating lures and giving them “action” (a fishing term for making lures dance or hobble like wounded prey).
The Elite is usually only about $10 more than the GX2 at any given length, which isn’t a lot of money, so you might be wondering why it isn’t our top pick. First off, as a stiffer rod, the Elite isn’t as well-suited to bait fishing for smaller catches. That isn’t necessarily a bad thing if that’s what you know you want, but it’s worth noting if you’re a first-timer trying to start small. Second, while the GX2 is the direct successor to the classic Ugly Stik, which had four decades of acclaim behind it, the Elite series is a whole new line. While that extra 35 percent of graphite sounds appealing on paper, it’s still too early to tell whether that might decrease the long-term durability. For most anglers, however, the GX2 is the better bet.
Our spinning-reel pick: Daiwa BG SW Spinning Reel
The Daiwa BG SW series is our reel pick because these reels are built tougher than any similarly priced competition. Daiwa’s original BG series has been a crowd favorite since its introduction in the s but has fallen short as an all-around choice only because the roller on the bail (which guides the line from the reel to the guides on the fishing rod) was not built to handle braided line. That changed a few years back—in fact, our teardown revealed that it has more in common with $plus reels than with others in its price category. (Consider sizes to for small freshwater and inshore saltwater species, to for medium freshwater and saltwater species, to for surf fishing, and to for larger fish, including some pelagic fish like mahi mahi and small tuna.)
Mechanically, the Daiwa BG SW reels stand head and shoulders above competitors within the same price range for a handful of reasons.
The ball bearings in the BG SW, for one thing, are the very same Minebea bearings that are loaded into Shimano’s Stella SW series of reels, which typically run for $ to $1, The anti-reverse clutch (which keeps the reel from spinning backward) consists of individual metal springs, as opposed to the cheap plastic clips usually featured in $ reels.
The drag or “thrust” disc has a rubber seal mounted to it, and according to expert spinning-reel reviewer Alan Hawk, it’s constructed of the same polymer that makes up the thrust discs of the Penn Slammer III (which usually costs about $).
And finally, one small but brilliant finishing touch: The spool has a small hole drilled in it to prevent rust and allow trapped water to escape. This detail is further testament to the kind of thought that Daiwa put into the research and design of this humble but trusty little $ reel.
Flaws but not dealbreakers
Daiwa no longer states on its website that the BG SW has a machined aluminum gear, but the company avoids mentioning what material the gear is made of. As Alan Hawk discovered, it’s cast zinc. Nevertheless, although machined aluminum makes for a higher-quality, more durable gear, cast zinc still gets the job done and is the industry standard in reels under $
Upgrade reel: Okuma Azores ZS
Okuma Azores ZS
Holds more line
This slightly larger, more expensive reel is durable and has a high drag for targeting larger fish. Its large spool size makes it great for surf-casting and open-water applications where extra line comes in handy, but it’s too clunky for targeting smaller fish.
The Okuma Azores reels are simple but powerful, with a design and drag comparable to those of the Daiwa BG SW, but they can be slightly more expensive depending on the size you select (we recommend the ZS size for all-around use). Next to other reels with similar line ratings, the Azores reel holds a lot of line because it’s a bit bigger. This means it will perform well in the surf or at greater depths (60 feet or more), where excess line is often necessary. It’s also a capable stand-in if the Daiwa is unavailable, but it’s a bit too large to gracefully handle lighter-action artificial lures.
Of all the reels we tested, the Azores had the highest maximum drag rating at 44 pounds (I didn’t quite get it there, but it came in close enough at 40 pounds on the scale). Forty-four pounds of drag (or tension) is about as much drag as any human can handle before being yanked off their feet anyhow. The Azores is equipped with Okuma’s Dual-Force Drag System, which has one set of washers in the top of the spool and another larger, single washer at the bottom. The reasoning is that the two drags work against each other, which theoretically makes sense and might explain the reel’s formidable drag rating.
After putting sand and salt through the reel and taking it apart, I was surprised to find that the spool was just as clean inside as the Daiwa BG SW and the Shimano Spheros SW. That bodes well for the long-term durability of the Azores, despite the relative lack of internal grease compared with other models. However, while the bearings are sealed, the gear is not, and I’m left with doubts as to whether the gear can outlast those of the Daiwa BG SW or the slightly more expensive Penn and Shimano reels.
Overall, the Azores is a capable reel, but its larger size and slightly higher price mean that the BG SW is both more versatile and a better value for most people.
Care and maintenance
Regardless of what rod or reel you get, salt is the enemy—even with gear specifically designed for use in the ocean. At the end of the day, be sure to give everything a solid rinse with freshwater and loosen the drags (to relieve straining pressure), whether your rig costs $20 or $2, If you take this step, our recommended Ugly Stik GX2 and Daiwa BG SW combo will serve you well for years to come.
When rinsing a reel, first tighten the drag, sealing it so that water doesn’t work into the washers. Lay the reel out horizontally so that any water that gets in has an easy path out, and don’t blast a reel with water to avoid blasting out the grease; just make sure it receives a thorough flow. If you want to be particularly diligent when cleaning your fishing gear (it will pay off in the long run), you can soak a cloth in freshwater (even with a little soap—boat soap works) and wipe everything down. Once finished, loosen the drag; if you leave reel drags tight, they tend to get stuck that way and lose their precision.
Additionally, keeping your reel packed with grease will reduce corrosion and improve longevity. You can find reel grease in almost any outdoor-sporting store, but if you’re not confident in taking your reel apart to apply grease, having it done in-store would be worthwhile.
What about tackle storage?
Although a good rod and reel are crucial for the beginning angler, managing the necessary tackle (hooks, lines, sinkers, floats, and so forth) for your fishing expedition can also make or break your experience. The amount of tackle carried to the boat, watering hole, or river will vary depending on what kind of fishing you’re doing. But to keep things flexible and give yourself room to grow and try out different environments, we think investing in a simple yet multipurpose tackle bag is a good place to start. In comparison with the tackle boxes of old—whose fold-out compartments resembled hardware storage more than outdoors equipment—a well-constructed tackle bag with individual compartments, carabiner loops, and a supportive shoulder strap will lessen the load of hiking to remote spots or bringing necessities with you while wading into a river.
We spoke with senior editor and lifetime angler Grant Clauser about his preferences for tackle storage. And though he agreed that there is likely no single bag that will suit anything from fly-fishing to deep-water trowling, he had a few suggestions for what to look for. His tackle splits its time between a classic (and unfortunately discontinued) L.L.Bean tackle bag (which straps easily to the front of his kayak) and a similarly vintage side-sling number from Piscifun. Costing around $30, the updated version of Clauser’s side-sling model features supportive, padded shoulder and waist straps, as well as enough compartments to easily sort bait from gear, while not overburdening you. The numerous loops and side compartments make it easy to keep essentials like pliers and multi-tools within reach, alongside a convenient water-bottle holder.
As our former runner-up pick, the Penn Battle II reel offers build quality and durability comparable to those of models costing $ or more. It’s compact enough to handle small fish gracefully, but it has enough drag to land saltwater fish, as well. Unfortunately, we’re noticing consistent stock issues with Penn’s reels, potentially related to the coronavirus pandemic.
I brought my cheapo Shimano FXS rod on several trips to test beside the others. Though I’ve owned and used these rods for nearly two decades, I won’t recommend them. They’re functional, and I’ve managed to land fairly large fish on them, but they’re brittle and unreliable. If you’re paying $13 to $35, you shouldn’t really expect much, but if you need to have a fishing rod and want to spend less than $20, the FXS will do the trick for smaller fish—just take it for what it’s worth and don’t expect it or its guides to last.
We also considered several high-end models to determine if paying a lot more would get you a much better product. I was a big fan of St. Croix’s Triumph spinning rod as an all-around inshore stick—it’s featherlight, well-balanced, and a pleasure to cast all day long. I found that the tip was just sensitive enough to pass for a bait-fishing rod (though I’d still primarily designate it as a lightweight artificial/jigging rod). I’ve left it soaked in salt and sand, and even in a bit of marsh mud for two weeks, and I’ve seen no rust stains or any other signs of degradation.
The only issue I have with the Triumph (as with almost all other rods that aren’t Ugly Stiks) concerns the guides. While generally sturdy, they still don’t come anywhere close to Ugly Stik’s Ugly Tuff guides.
We also tried the Penn Battalion and the Shimano Teramar SE, which are both great rods. I found the Battalion to be somewhat lightweight for its action and recommended line weight, which you could easily solve by ordering the next weight up (for example, if you want a “medium action” rod, order the Battalion in “medium heavy”). I’m also a fan of the Teramar, which is extremely well-balanced—both in weight and in guide placement—but Shimano rods come with only a one-year warranty, and I prefer the high-end cork on the Triumph and Battalion anyway. On the other hand, if you’re going to spend the majority of your time bait fishing, consider the Teramar, which offers a little more play and would be a delightful tool when you’re fishing cut bait for striped bass from a boat in Long Island Sound.
Shimano’s Spheros SW is among the smoothest spinning reels I’ve ever held, out of the box. It has the same three-part pinion/clutch seal (the most important seal in a spinning reel, protecting the very center of the reel, which is virtually irreparable) as Shimano’s $1,plus reels. The line lay is impeccably even, and despite being largely plastic, the Spheros is sturdy where it counts. If you’re looking to spend $ on a reel, the Spheros is it, with the Quantum Cabo PTSE (more on that model below) so close behind that I’d recommend trying both before making a decision based on your own personal preference. (Note that the Cabo PTSE sizes 60 and up are superior to the 40 and 50 sizes, which have inferior anti-reverse clutches.)
We also tested Shimano’s Saragosa, a supposed upgrade, but didn’t find anything particularly advantageous about it over the Spheros SW.
The Shimano Baitrunner performed well, but its lack of durability took it out of the running after we did our teardown test. After just a few weeks of use, it showed some early signs of corrosion. We expected more out of a $ reel. Ultimately, I’ve had to repair the secondary (freespool) drags on the Baitrunner, which is another reason why I suggest buying a conventional setup if you’re going to fish bait.
Shimano introduced another $range line of spinning reels, called the Nasci. I’m thoroughly impressed, especially with the fact that Shimano includes a cold-forged drive gear (usually cast zinc in reels within this price range), though according to spinning-reel guru Alan Hawk, it’s made more cheaply than the higher-end drive gears. The major issues I immediately had with the Nasci were the slightly uneven line lay (line doesn’t seem to collect on the spool as neatly as on other reels) and the tiny crank handle, which is bolted on and cannot be changed. This design might not affect other fishers as much, but I find it to be a nuisance to have to grab something so small when you’re hurrying to set the hook.
The Quantum Cabo PTSE, which I picked up only after reading a rave review by Alan Hawk, was delightful to cast. It’s featherlight, and I paired it with two higher-end rods, which made for the lightest spinning-rod-and-reel combos I’d ever held; as a result, I didn’t grow tired casting into a stiff breeze from a rivermouth jetty for several hours. The and sizes are absolute brutes. My friend Captain Colin Kelly spent the better part of the fall bluefin tuna run off Cape Cod relying on these modestly priced reels, which compete with the $ to $ reels that have generally been the only options for catching fish over pounds on spinning gear. Toward the end of the season, a pound bruiser burned up the clicker on the spool, which isn’t a huge deal but worth mentioning. That said, most or size reels are probably outmatched by pound fish.
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25 best fishing gifts for Father's Day
Father’s Day is almost here — this year, the holiday arrives on June 20 — and you might be searching for a gift for your hard-to-shop-for dad. If your dad likes to spend his time in the great outdoors — whether that’s grilling for a backyard barbecue or hiking along hills — it can be even harder to know what to get him. If fishing is one of his favorite activities to do on his days off, you can add rods, reels and more to his fishing collection — he’s sure to appreciate them on his next waterside adventure. Alongside any fishing-centric gift you give this Father’s Day, you could also consider something like sunscreen or a portable speaker for him to use while he’s waiting for his next catch. To help, these are great Father’s Day fishing gifts designed to give your dad or father figure an excuse to venture out to the lake, river or park.
SKIP AHEAD Best fishing tools | gear and footwear | lures | rods and reels | boats and kayaks | tech | personalized gifts | subscription boxes | bags and coolers
Best Father’s Day fishing gifts
For Father’s Day, these are a few gift ideas to consider for the dad who loves to fish.
Best fishing tools
1. Original Boga Grip
This grip can be operated with one hand and provides the user with a simple way to catch and release without harming the fish. It’s made with stainless steel and is designed for continued use in fresh or saltwater. The rubberized clamp fits around the jawbone of most fish species and won’t rub off the fish’s protective slime layer.
2. Boomerang Tool Company Line Cutter
This tool is designed to snip a fishing line with a clean and smooth cut and it’s equipped with a spring-loaded retractable leash that attaches to a belt loop or boat. The stainless steel blades and heavy duty body are designed to resist rust over time.
Best fishing gear and footwear
3. Salomon Crossamphibian Swift 2 Water Shoes
These sustainably-built amphibious shoes are made of plastic bottles, corn and bamboo fibers that are all made of post-consumer materials. They have a flexible sole and a breathable mesh construction, making them a comfortable shoe for hours on the lake.
4. L.L.Bean Ultralight Packable Wading Jacket
While this jacket is crafted for the fisherman, it can also generally work for rainy or windy weather. This lightweight jacket is designed to protect them from the elements without weighing them down. It has a waterproof nylon outer structure that’s stretchy enough to fit over a vest or chest pack and a full-coverage hood with an adjustable plastic cord lock.
5. COSTA Fantail Polarized Sunglasses
To keep his eyes protected, these sunglasses are polarized, which helps reduce glare from reflective surfaces like water, one expert previously explained to us. On this pair, the polarization is designed to reduce 99 percent of visible glare from the water or ground. These are also mirrored and co-molded, for comfortable wear.
Best fishing lures
6. Sptlimes Fishing Lures Kit Set
This colorful set includes 77 pieces of bait that fall into six categories — crank bait, topwater lures, plastic worms, soft fish bait and shrimp — and each one is made with plastic that’s designed for durability. The bait is meant for bass, trout and salmon. It’s a popular pick with Amazon shoppers as well, boasting an average star rating over more than 2, reviews.
7. Man Crates Lure Making Kit
For the hands-on type of dad, this lure-making kit could be a fun and helpful project to do at home. The kit includes a measuring cup, three molds for shapes that resemble a crawdaddy, mudbug and worm, plastisol and other essentials needed to create lifelike bait to reel in the big ones. Inside, there are step-by-step instructions for designing (and for re-molding if he makes any mistakes) and deploying the lures.
Best fishing rods and reels
8. Berkley Lightning Rod
This all-purpose casting rod is suited for a variety of fishing techniques. The graphing construction makes for a lightweight body and the stainless steel guides with aluminum oxide inserts are designed to resist corrosion. The rod also has a double-locking reel seat and a rubberized cork handle for more precise control.
9. Penn Battle III Spinning Fishing Reel
Available in multiple sizes from to (although some sizes have limited availability now), this high-range spinning reel is crafted to provide powerful drag without sacrificing smoothness. It’s designed for catching big saltwater game fish. The reel has five stainless steel ball bearings and an instant anti-reverse bearing that’s designed for effortless cranking.
Best fishing boats and fishing kayaks to gift
Classic Accessories Colorado Inflatable Fishing Pontoon Boat With Motor Mount
Fixed with two aluminum oars, this inflatable fishing boat is an option for those looking to ride rugged waters. It has multiple storage areas, including mesh pockets, drink holders and a rear storage rack. There's also a detachable fly patch that provides a way to easily access fishing gear.
Intex Excursion Pro Kayak
This inflatable kayak is meant to be lightweight while still withstanding any abrasion. It comes with two removable skews for both deep and shallow water, along with a mounting bracket for GPS systems or fish finders. It includes two aluminum oars and a pump as well.
Lifetime Teton Angler Kayak
Made with a UV-protected polyethylene, this sit-on-top fishing kayak is designed to offer stability and durability when on the water. Your dad can secure paddles on the included paddlekeepers. It includes rod holders and luggage-style handles to make the kayak easier to carry around.
Best fishing tech
Garmin Striker 4 Fish Finder
Your dad will be able to more easily find fish in the water with the Striker 4. It has a high-sensitivity GPS system that finds fish with a sonar transducer and features a built-in flasher and swivel mount that can attach to the side of a boat.
Piscifun Fishing Line Winder
This handy tool helps fishers load reels without hassle thanks to its rotor, which easily attaches to the base of a rod. The graphite frame is meant to be lightweight while still providing strength for fishing trips that require much more power. It’s a popular pick on Amazon, earning an average star rating over close to 6, reviews.
Cambridge Soundworks Waterproof Bluetooth Speaker
The No.1 bestselling portable Bluetooth speaker on Amazon, this affordable model boasts a star rating with close to , reviews. It’s water-resistant, making it useful for anyone wanting to take their music along with them on an outdoor journey. It has a foot wireless range and a Bluetooth antenna design that is crafted to give you faster connection to your device. The speaker also offers a playtime of up to 14 hours.
DemerBox Bluetooth Speaker
This speaker is specifically designed for the rugged outdoors. It can withstand drops, water and other elements that come from daily outdoor use. Featuring over 40 hours of continuous battery life, the speaker could be a practical choice for those going on long weekend trips on the water. In addition to the speaker, the box also includes an internal dry storage compartment for keys, phones or other valuables your dad or father figure might need during their day out fishing.
Jackery Explorer Portable Power Station
This portable power station features a watt-hour lithium ion battery pack, one AC outlet, two USB-A ports and one DC cart port. It’s designed to handle the outdoors and comes with an easy- to- carry handle. It boasts an average star rating with over close to 7, reviews on Amazon.
Best personalized fishing gifts
Personalized Waxed Canvas Fishing Lure Caddy
This personalized fishing lure caddy is a one-of-a-kind gift that can house lures, baits and jigs in style. It has multiple internal pockets designed to eliminate tangling and a waxed-canvas exterior that gives the caddy durability.
Sit ‘N Fish Personalized Bucket Cooler
This cooler is a fun way to upgrade any fishing trip. The bucket has a quart capacity and is insulated to hold drinks, fish or anything that needs to be kept cool throughout the day. The bucket also doubles as a seat thanks to the hard plastic outer shell.
Best fishing subscription boxes
Freestone Fly Fishing Company
You can sign them up for a fishing subscription that is designed for newbies and season fishers alike. Each box includes over $80 of premium flies, essential fishing items, fun stickers and more. The box is shipped directly to your dad’s door every fifth of the month.
Mystery Tackle Box
Whether you choose the regular subscription or the pro or elite versions, this subscription box is sure to be appreciated by your fish-loving dad. Included in each box is a variety of items including fishing-themed products, lures, tackle and more. You can also customize the boxes by different species of fish and opt for a monthly, three-month, six-month or yearly plan.
Best fishing bags and coolers
YETI Tundra 35 Hard Cooler
This quality cooler has extra-thick walls and permafrost insulation that are designed to keep ice solid for hours on end. It also includes a latch and hinge system that keep the lid sealed, a form-fitting barrier to keep heat out, double haul handles that make for easy transport and a vortex drain system that minimizes the hassle of cleaning. It has earned an average star rating over more than 1, reviews on Amazon.
Wild River Tackle Tek Backpack
This backpack is designed for those who need to keep their fishing gear in order. It features an integrated LED light system for all-day fishing and is crafted with internal and external pockets to keep tools and devices safe throughout the fishing journey. It also includes a protective rain cover in case of temperamental weather.
Patagonia Stealth Atom Sling 8L
Compact and durable, this multi-function performance backpack is designed with the active fisher in mind. The external material is crafted from a nylon-polyester blend and is coated in a durable water-repellent finish. It has a pocket to hold large fly boxes and interior storage pockets for smaller tools.
REYLEO Portable Rotomolded Cooler
From camping to fishing, this cooler is meant to handle the outdoors with insulation that’s designed to keep ice cool for hours. It comes with a built-in bottle opener and slip-proof rubber feet. For a trip to the lake, your dad can put it right in the back of a boat. It boasts an average star rating over more than 1, reviews.
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Fish can easily outsmart you if you dont have the right fishing gear. So, we have reviewed some of the top-rated fishing combos on the market to find you the Best Fishing Rod and Reel Combo for Beginners.
If you are in a hurry:
Plussino is the Best Fishing Rod and Reel Combo for Beginners.
Plussino is the Best Fishing Rod and Reel Combo for Beginners.
Now, let us move to our in-depth reviews.
Best Fishing Rod and Reel Combo for Beginners Reviews
Here is our list of the Best Fishing Rod and Reel Combos for Beginners:
Last update on / Paid links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
Plusinno Rod and Reel Combo
The Plussino Fishing Kit is an excellent rod and reel combo for beginners. Plussino has a fantastic market reputation. It is affordable, and you will be hard-pressed to find a better rod and reel combo. The package includes a reel, rod, six hooks, four sinkers, six lures, and a line, among other accessories.
Its built with fiberglass and high-density carbon fiber. You get a lightweight, handy, durable fishing rod that you can use it for a long time without getting tired. The rod is very flexible, so you do not have to worry about your fish winning the fight. The fast action spinning rod adds to the enjoyment. It features an EVA Foregrip that is comfortable to use even in high tension situations.
The corrosion-resistant reel seat is made with stainless steel. So you can use the combo even in saltwater. The spool and line capacity are ideal for efficiency during your fishing trip. I like the anti-reverse power gear because it gives me extra strength and control. Combined with the power drive gears, you have a fantastic fishing rod and reel combo.
If you are looking for a starter fishing rod and reel combo, Plussino is a fantastic option.
KastKing Centron Spinning Combo
With the KastKing Centron Spinning Combo, you get quality and durability. The Toray IMG graphite body is strong yet lightweight. The rod has high modulus carbon fiber graphite construction. The spinning reel has a graphite frame and spool is aluminum.
You have the option of different rod and reel sizes. You can pick one as per your skill level or the type of fishing you are going for. If you hope to catch panfish, trout, or bass, go for the 6-feet rod with compact size reel. If you add walleye to the list, go for the 76 rod with size reel. For Salmon, catfish, and steelhead, the 8 feet rod with size reel will work best.
The spinning reel allows for fluidity due to how smooth it is. It has two gear ratios, which are or depending upon the reel you choose. The triple-disc drag is excellent, allowing for a struggle-free, more pleasurable fishing experience.
KastKing has paid a lot of attention to the skill level of the users. The spinning reel suitable for beginners as well as more experienced anglers.
Penn Battle II Surf Fishing Combo
If you plan to go for surf fishing, then the Penn Battle II is the ideal rod & reel combo for you. Penn has a solid market reputation for saltwater fishing gear. Its been on the market for over 75 years.
The rod is graphite composite, and comes in different lengths, from to 10 feet. The reel comes with the carbon fiber HT drag system. It gives you power without compromising on smoothness.
You also enjoy a smooth intake, larger drags, and a longer casting range making it ideal for heavy loads. It has a full metal body, rotor, and side plate for durability. The spinning reel has five sealed stainless steel ball bearings and an instant anti-reverse bearing. It allows you to pull in your fish without any pullback.
The spool is anodized aluminum. You can tie the line without having to use backing. The reel has line capacity markings that allow you to know exactly how much of the line is off the spool. The markings are 1/3, 2/3, and full capacity. This is a nice feature for someone who may not have too much fishing experience.
Shakespeare Ugly Stik GX2 Combo
Shakespeare Ugly Stik GX2 is a durable, yet budget fishing combo. You get to enjoy the tradition and heritage of the original Ugly Stik spinning rod. You get high performance and reliability that is a trademark of the company.
Shakespeare Ugly Stik GX2 is a lightweight rod with a lot of sensitivity. The construction is graphite and fiberglass. The EVA handle is comfortable to use, even over a long period. The GX2 material gives you excellent performance even in wet conditions. Best of all, it is easy to maintain, and cleaning it is a breeze. You also get stainless steel guides on the rod for smoothness and durability.
The 4-bearing reel is very quiet, and you get a level of performance you would not expect from that price point. The anti-reverse bearing comes in handy when youre handling larger fish. The drag is excellent, meaning that you will win the fishing battle. The spool is aluminum and the rotor is plastic.
ShinePick Spinning Rod & Reel
ShinePick fishing set comes with a telescopic spinning rod, a powerful spinning reel, line, lures, hook, and a carrier bag. For a beginner, it is a good option as you get everything you need. The telescopic fishing rod is made of carbon-fiber composite. It offers both sensitivity and strength. The ergonomic ABS handle is comfortable, meaning you can fish for longer. The spool is made of anodized aluminum.
The DS spinning reel has a precision gear and gear ratio of , making it very powerful. You can apply more pressure on your catch with the front drag system on the spinning reel. You will appreciate the instant stop anti-reverse bearing if you catch big fish. The short body, large spool, and longline are other features that will help when fishing.
The fishing kit is lightweight. You can store and travel conveniently. It will fit into your vehicle, backpack, or boat. The carrier bag is especially helpful in such cases. ShinePick Spinning Rod & Reel is lightweight and will work well for saltwater fishing. It has everything you need and is fantastic for beginners.
FishOaky Starter Fishing Rod
FishOaky Starter Fishing Rod is made of carbon fiber for flexibility and durability. The rod has a hooded reel seat that will not corrode even in seawater. The rod is easy to use and quite comfortable to handle. The guides are stainless steel ceramic inserts that make them ideal for longer casts.
The telescopic collapsible rod is easy to store and perfect for travel. It fits into the carry case that comes with it. The case also has two extra pockets that you can use for storing your tackle or line.
FishOaky is a high quality yet affordable starter fishing rod. It comes with a ton of accessories including lures, tackle kit, lure box, and hooks. I also like the range of baits, including artificial, octopus-shaped, and fluorescent baits.
I like that the kit can hold its own even in demanding waters. The S curve design of the oscillation system baseline makes winding very easy. The spool is large, but the body is a bit short. I love that it is great for beginners, and has everything to get started. It saves you the time and money of shopping the gear separately.
Wild Water Starter Fly Rod Combo
Wild Water Starter Fly Rod Combo has everything you need to get started with fly fishing. You get a fly fishing rod, floating line, reel, lures, and an extra ladder. You also get a line nipper, retractable zinger, and knot tying tool. It is a very convenient fly fishing combo to have, whether you are a beginner or have some experience.
I like the fact that it is easy to transport and store because it is easy to disassemble the 9 foot, four-piece rod. The manufacturer has thrown in a zippered pouch for the rod. It is lightweight, coming in at only ounces. I also like the sturdy design, flexibility, and durability. All thanks to the graphite composite material. You can easily pull in trout, small bass, and panfish, among others, without fear that it will break.
The arbor casting reel has a cast aluminum construction and is very light. It features a disc drag system that you can adjust as you wish. It also has a quick-release spool that will make your fishing more fun.
The design of the casting reel allows for a left or right hand retrieve. It doesnt matter whether you are left or right-handed, you can use the rod. Quite a nice touch, if I may say so. It is pre-spooled, and you can use weight lines on the IM8 graphite rod.
To make it even more convenient for beginners, the pack comes with a reference guide. You get to learn more about fishing by learning from the experts. You get lessons on how to assemble the rod, tie a fly, casting tips, how to care for your equipment, among others.
Abu Garcia Black Max Baitcasting Combo
Abu Garcia is a brand that many people know for the quality of their products. Their fishing gear is some of the best you will get in the market. You can expect a fantastic product with Abu Garcia Black Max Baitcaster Combo. What you get in the package is a baitcasting rod and reel combo for beginners at a friendly price point.
I love the fact that the rod comes in three different sizes and power options. If you prefer fast action, go for the 7 feet medium-heavy power rod. If you are still learning how to fish, then start with the 66 medium power moderate action. Once you learn the ropes, you can graduate to the 6’6” medium power fast action. The latter has two pieces, which is an excellent value add.
Another fantastic feature is the ton graphite rod construction. Graphite is a fantastic material because it is light and very sensitive. You can go for hours without feeling any strain due to the weight.
The reel is lightweight with graphite side plates and a one-piece graphite frame. The one roller bearing and four stainless steel bearings make it smooth. You also get the power disc system that helps with the drag performance. It is a fantastic combo for some casual fishing, making it ideal for beginners.
Types of Fishing Rods for Beginners
The type of fishing rod you buy will depend on the kind of fishing you will be doing. The fishing location will also influence the beginner fishing rod you buy.
Fishing rods that work well in seawater may not work as well in freshwater. Seawater will corrode, so you must ensure that you buy the type that does not rust. If you are fishing in icy water, you need shorter rods that are about two feet in length. Spinning or casting rods work well for almost any type of fishing. Specialty surf rods are excellent for deep ocean casting.
Heres a look at different types of fishing rods.
Spinning combos are popular, easy to use, and allow for long casts. They also tend to be more affordable. If you want to cast, open the wire bail on the spool, and use your index finger to hold the line. You will then release it as you move the rod forward.
Most telescopic rods are collapsible spinning rods. They are great for hiking or camping trips.
Spin cast combos have a lot of similarities with spinning combos. But the spool is stationary and is in an enclosure. You use a thumb button to release the line.
Baitcasting is the casting of lure using the revolving spool reel. You will need to learn how to use it because it can be a bit more challenging. But you will get better accuracy and control, especially with the line.
Surf fishing combo is a baitcasting combo that you need to fish from the shore, boat, or jetty.
Fly Fishing Rods
Fly casting is a more difficult kind of fishing. You will often find it in sport or tournaments. Since you are using an artificial fly, you need to use the weight of the line and not lure when casting.
Fly fishing rods are typically long and thin and specific to fish sizes.
How to Choose a Fishing Rod & Reel Combo
It is not uncommon to find that experienced anglers buy the reel and rod separately. Some beginners may also do the same. But it mostly depends on your knowledge level. But it makes more sense for a beginner to buy a combo because you get everything you need in the kit. It is more cost-effective and convenient.
As a novice, you may end up buying items you do not need or do not match with the rest of your fishing gear. In most cases, there is a lot of guesswork in trying to determine what goes where. You, for example, have to match your rod and reel perfectly.
You must also understand terms such as casting gear, spinning, and gear ratio, among others. A fishing combo eliminates the guesswork. The manufacturers have made it easy for you by supplying everything you need.
The rod action refers to the flex of the rod along the length, and how quickly it goes back to the neutral position. The length, taper, and material will influence the action. You get a more even rod action with a tapering design.
If you are going for smaller fish, look for a long thin lightweight rod in the range of 7 to 10 feet. The slow action will allow you to adjust accordingly. For bigger species, you need a short rod of between five to seven feet. They are stiffer, heavier, and give you more power.
Other factors that may influence rod action include whether it is a one or two-piece. It will also depend on whether it has many pieces, like in the case of travel rods. Telescopic rods also have a role to play.
One of the features to look for in the handle is comfort when handling. That is why some have ergonomic designs. Also, consider the ambidextrous ones so that you can use either hand. You want a good grip and have a range of options with regards to material such as synthetic, wooden, or metal.
You want a smooth, vibration-free, and noise-free fishing reel. Generally, the more the bearings, the smoother a fishing reel.
The body of the reel is also a crucial component. Consider the material so that you get one that is lightweight and durable. Some are graphite, aluminum, plastic, or a combination of materials. Aluminum reels are durable, ideal for seawater, but you have less flexibility. Graphite is lightweight, while still giving you durability.
The drag is critical because it will allow for less resistance when youre trying to reel in the fish. The two major types are rear and front drag systems. The reel seat should be compatible with the reel. You also want a material that does not rust or stain.
You will find many people using spinning reels because they are handy. Ensure that you understand the compatibility of the rod when looking at the capacity of the line. Those that are lightweight will cast further than the heavier ones.
You can get graphite, plastic, aluminum, or stainless steel spools. They also come in different sizes, which will help determine the length of the line.
Here is our list of the 8 Best Fishing Rod and Reel Combos for Beginners:
- Plusinno Fishing Rod and Reel Combo
- KastKing Centron Spinning Combo
- Penn Battle II Surf Fishing Combo
- Shakespeare Ugly Stik GX2 Combo
- ShinePick Spinning Fishing Rod and Reel Combo
- FishOaky Starter Fishing Rod
- Wild Water Starter Fly Rod Combo
- Abu Garcia Black Max Baitcasting Fishing Rod and Reel Combo
Fishing, successfully, is not as easy as you might think. Selecting the right fishing rod and reel combo can be a bit daunting for beginners. We have given you a comprehensive review of some of the top-rated rod and reel combos for beginners. We have also looked at what you should consider when purchasing one.
Your budget will influence the rod and reel combo you buy. We have reviewed fishing combos that are affordable, without compromising on quality.
Plussino is the Best Fishing Rod and Reel Combo for Beginners as per our reviews. It is affordable, portable, durable, and easy to use, making it ideal for novices. If you have a suggestion for some other combo then please let us know via the comments section. We will try to include it in our next update.
While opinions on fishing lures are easy to come by, relatively few people spend as much time thinking about their choice of reel—and that might be a mistake. While of course choosing the right lure for the fish and water you’re on is super-important, having the wrong reel (or rod for that matter) can make a difference in your fishing experience.
Spinning reels are the most common type of reel and will make up the majority of the options you see on the racks at Walmart, Bass Pro Shops, or your local outdoors store. And there are plenty of reasons why they’re popular. They’re fairly easy to use for beginners, they adapt well to a wide variety of fishing applications, and they’re generally cheaper than other, more specialized reels such as baitcasters.
Within the spinning reel category, however, there are plenty of options, and I’ll break down what to look for and highlight some picks based on the type of fishing and the angler.
What to Consider
The first thing to look at is size. Spinning reels are rated based on the weight of the line they are designed to handle, so if you are primarily fishing 6- to 8-pound test line, simply look at reels that are rated for those weights. You don’t need to concern yourself with the actual size dimensions here, just the weight ratings. This rating may not be a range, so if one number such as “6” or “6 lb. test” is indicated, you can safely assume that indicates the ideal line weight but that it can handle a few pounds less or more. The size rating may also appear as “6/” or “6 lb./ yards.” This spec is listed for each of our picks below.
Gear ratio is another common spec listed for spinning reels that can be confusing, especially for beginner fishermen and women. The ratio will appear as “,” for example, which means nothing without a point of reference. What the ratio means for your fishing experience is that lower ratios reel in slower while higher ratios reel in faster. Most reels fall in the to range with 6 being the faster reel. If you’re not sure if you want a faster or slower reel (different fishing techniques call for different reeling speeds), go for a medium or fast reel of and up. The main advantage of slower reels is that they provide more torque for slowly cranking in monster fish, but faster reels are more versatile since you can always reel a fast reel more slowly but you can’t make a slow reel crank faster.
Spinning reels also have drag systems, and while the differences between the various drag systems don’t affect your average angler’s experience too much, front drag systems (vs. rear) tend to be more robust and longer-lasting. Some more expensive reels offer sealed/waterproof drag systems, which will also extend the life of your reel. If you’re lucky enough to fish somewhere that you regularly haul in extra-large fish, just be sure you buy a reel that’s built to handle the extra poundage.
Bearings count is another common spec, and you’ll see some of the cheapest reels around touting 11 or more bearings. While more bearings generally indicate a smoother-operating reel, quality is more important than quantity, so don’t assume that more bearings equals better reel. Numbers are usually listed as “6+1,” for example, which indicates 6 ball bearings and one roller bearing.
Weight is another concern, as extra ounces can wear on your hands and arms after long days on the water. This is especially a concern for children, older folks, and beginners worried about fatigue. Lighter reels are generally more expensive, but it may be worth it to let you fish longer.
Finally, materials come down to two primary options: graphite and aluminum. Both materials are lightweight, but aluminum generally is cheaper and more durable while graphite is slightly lighter. Graphite should be your choice if you’re fishing saltwater frequently, since it is more corrosion-resistant than aluminum. Anodized aluminum is more corrosion-resistant and is common in higher-end reels.
How We Selected
My selections here were based on my years of experience fishing across the U.S. as well as several years repairing reels for one of the largest fishing rod and reel companies in the U.S. (where I repaired and replaced a lot more plastic parts than metal ones). I grew up fishing mostly bass in New York’s Finger Lakes region, shorecasted and spearfished for saltwater species while living in Hawaii, and now I fish almost exclusively for trout in Colorado’s Rocky Mountains.
While there are many great reels available, we focused our selections on the most commonly available brands in North America that anglers will find stocked online and in the more popular big-box stores. Any of these reels will catch fish, but beginners should start simple with one of our budget or beginner picks. If you’ve been fishing for a while and know what type of fish and technique you prefer, you can select one of the reels that are more purpose-built.
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Best Budget Spinning ReelOzark Trail 5+1 Ball Bearing Spinning Reel
• Gear ratio:
• Weight: lb.
• Size: N/A
Walmart might not be the first name you associate with high quality, but you shouldn’t be surprised to see it as our budget pick. Over the years, I’ve been surprised at the quality of some of the products from its house outdoors brand, Ozark Trail. This basic spinning reel features a graphite and anodized aluminum frame that’s corrosion-resistant and machined aluminum internal parts that will help it last longer than a summer.
The specs make it a good middle-of-the-road option for beginner and intermediate anglers, and the sub-$20 price makes it palatable to buy one for each member of the family. And if you need a replacement, it’s easy to walk into a Walmart anywhere in the U.S. and get the exact same reel for the same low price.
- Fraction of the cost of similar name-brand reels
- Heavier than more expensive competitor options
Best for PanfishShimano Sienna SNFG Spinning Reel
• Gear Ratio:
• Weight: oz.
• Size: 4 lb./ yards
I own this Sienna for ultralight fishing, and it’s a smooth-running, quality Shimano reel despite its budget price tag. The reel casts farther than its light weight would lead you to believe, and the front drag and Super Stopper II anti-reverse system stops any back play quickly without any play in reverse.
At around $30, it makes it easier to justify owning a separate setup for ultralight fishing specifically. The Sienna also comes in a range of sizes, so if you’re fishing for a mix of species, you can go a bit heavier with models up to the size, which can handle pound test line.
- Ultralight for long days casting
- Limited to smaller fish; may need another reel for fishing larger species.
Best High-End ReelShimano Vanford F Spinning Reel, VFHGF
$ (20% off)
• Gear ratio:
• Weight: oz.
• Size: 8 lb./ yards
There are some features you can expect with a higher-end reel: smooth casting, light weight, quality internal parts, corrosion-resistance, and trademarked names for just about every feature and part on the reel. The Vanford has all that, but the main reason to spend over $ on this reel is that it’s versatile enough to be your one-reel quiver. As Shimano’s product description touts, it can be your reel “from ice fishing to inshore.”
Beyond the reassurance of Shimano’s reputation for engineering and quality (especially in high-end reels such as the Vanford), you get a two-year warranty period, though the reel should hold up for much longer.
- Ultralight but can handle a wide range of fishing types in saltwater or freshwater
- Fast retrieval makes some techniques harder
Best All-AroundBass Pro Shops Pro Qualifier 2
• Gear ratio:
• Weight: 9 oz.
• Size: 8 lb./ yards
Bass Pro Shops sells enough fishing reels to have its own house brand line of spinning reels, and the quality is on-par with other name brand reels. They’re also likely made in the same factories with the same or similar parts. Because of the sub $ price tag, this may feel like a run-of-the-mill reel, but it offers all the features and build quality of more expensive reels without the name brand.
The gear ratio is a good medium retrieval speed, and the lb. maximum drag is enough for your average angler’s pursuits. Still, the reel is light and precise enough to handle a range of applications from panfishing to bass.
- Affordable performance features
Best for BeginnersDaiwa Regal LT Spin Reel
• Gear ratio:
• Weight: oz.
• Size: 8 lb./ yards
While it makes sense to keep the cost of your first reel low while you evaluate if you are going to stick with fishing as a hobby, you actually don’t want to go too cheap. A bad reel equals a bad time on the water, and problems with your line will drive beginners away from the sport since they don’t have the skills (yet) to quickly resolve problems. A good balance of price to performance is ideal and for that we recommend the Daiwa LT (light but tough) reel, which offers smooth operation and spooling without breaking the bank.
The light weight and high-speed retrieval make for easier fishing for novices. And if you find that fishing isn’t for you, Daiwa reels hold their value and you should be able to sell the reel for a decent price to an angler that knows what he’s getting with the brand.
- Still need a rod, line, and lures, so startup cost still high compared to cheap all-in-one kits
- Retrieval too fast for some techniques
Best for SaltwaterDaiwa BG Saltwater Reel
• Gear ratio:
• Weight: oz.
• Size: 10 lb./ yards
The roughly $ sticker price might feel steep to folks used to buying cheaper rod’n’reel combos off the shelf, but this is a quality reel meant to last more than a summer or two of light fishing, and it has features usually reserved for higher-end reels such as a sealed drag system and anodized aluminum meant to resist corrosion.
- Long-running model/design that’s stood the test of time
- Chrome bail can corrode and looks out of place with the otherwise black anodized metal
- Some plastic parts; to be expected at this price point
Best for Bass FishingShimano Stradic FL XG Spinning Reel
• Gear ratio:
• Weight: oz.
• Size: 12 lb./ yards
The aggressive strikes and difficult habitat of freshwater bass make them a somewhat difficult case to buy a reel for. Some anglers prefer the precision and simplicity of a baitcasting reel for bass fishing, but as spinning reel tech has improved, their popularity for bass fishing has grown. For precision casting and fighting a determined bass, the Shimano Stradic FL is a pricey but capable option.
The ultra-smooth casting permits more precision placement working in common bass habitat such as downed trees, vegetation, and other structures. The stiffness of the reel results in greater transfer of cranking power into actual line retrieval when fighting bigger bass.
- An expensive reel that costs 4 times what other decent reels from Shimano and others cost
Best for KidsUgly Stik GX2 Youth Rod and Reel Combo
• Gear ratio:
• Weight: oz.
• Size: 6 lb./ yards
Like most youth fishing reels, this offering from Ugly Stik comes as a rod & reel combo with a 5-footinch rod. Unlike most youth setups, however, this combo comes with an open-faced spinning reel, which lets young anglers learn how to use the bail system early rather than trigger-operated spincast setups that can teach bad habits for life.
And while it’s smaller to fit smaller, weaker hands and arms, it has all the same features as the adult GX2 models. It’s a medium-speed and medium-weight reel that should serve a young angler until they’re big enough to graduate to adult-sized reels.
- Includes an appropriate rod so no additional cost outside line and lures
- Some learning curve compared to the popular trigger models
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Fishing gear walmart best at
Does Walmart sell fishing rods?
Spinning Fishing Rods - Walmart.com. onn.
Moreover, how much does a good fishing pole cost?
First, you can enjoy great fishing with a $20 rod, and that $20 rod is going to perform much better and probably last longer than a $20 rod from 40 years ago. As technology improves, prices come down, and you can purchase fine equipment at affordable prices these days.
One may also ask, what is the best fishing rod brand?
- Best Spinning Rod: Shakespeare Ugly Stik Tiger.
- Best Baitcasting Rod: Okuma CELILO Graphite Rod.
- Best Rod and Reel Combo: PENN Spinfisher VI Spinning Combo.
- Best Surf Fishing Rod: Team Daiwa Surf Rod.
- Best Trolling Rod: Shimano Talora.
- Best Saltwater Rod (Baitcasting): Shimano Sojourn 1-Piece Casting Rod.
Are telescopic fishing rods any good?
Telescopic rods are a compromise and not a very good one at that. If you need a compact rod, a multi-piece rod is much better for the reasons above. Telescopic poles collapse completely into each other which makes them less susceptible to the contamination problem that telescopic rods have.
Does Target sell fishing rods?
Fishing Rods, Gear, Tackle & Equipment : Target.
What is the best fishing rod and reel combo?
- Best for Kids: PLUSINNO Kids Fishing Rod and Reel Combo at Amazon.
- Best Lightweight: Pflueger President Spinning Rod and Reel Combo at Cabelas.
- Best Spinning: Ugly Stik GX2 Spinning Fishing Reel and Rod Combo at Bass Pro Shops.
- Best Spincast: Zebco 33 Fish Pistol Spincast Combo at Tackle Direct.
What should I look for when buying a fishing rod?
Tips For Buying A Fishing Rod
- Learn about the different types of rods. The most popular types are spinning rods, which have eye guides on the bottom, while casting rods generally have guides on top for more accurate casts.
- Learn about the Speed of the Rod.
- Learn about the Power of the Rod.
- Check the info on the Rods.
How long of a fishing rod should I get?
The length of a fishing rod typically ranges from feet, so to choose a measurement for your needs, consider the type of fishing you plan to do, the species you are after and your fishing environment. A good length for beginner anglers is usually around 7 feet.
What times does Walmart open?
Walmart U.S. stores will adjust operating hours to 7 a.m. to p.m. Stores that open later than 7 a.m. will continue their regular starting hours.
How do I start fishing?
Follow these simple steps!
- STEP 1: For gear, KEEP IT SIMPLE.
- STEP 2: Bait.
- STEP 3: Cut off a length of line about a foot longer than the length of your pole.
- STEP 4: Match a hook to your bait.
- STEP 5: You're ready for the fishing hole.
- STEP 6: Try bobber-fishing.
- STEP 7: Wait for the fish to bite.
What size hooks for trout fishing?
Use size 14 to size 8 hooks for trout. Don't use anything bigger than a size 8 hook because trout are really finicky and if the hook is too big, they won't bite. Size 8 to 10 hooks are for bluegill, sunfish, and other panfish. Downsize hook and bait size if fish are stealing the bait.
What is a combo fishing rod?
A combo is a matched rod and a reel set, configured for a specific type of fishing. A combo has a matched rod and reel, so you don't have to worry about the action of the rod (and whether it has the right flexibility) or the gear ratio of the reel (and whether it has enough mechanical advantage).
What are the different types of fishing rods?
What Are The Different Types Of Fishing Rods?
- Fly Rods. These rods are made of variety in both shapes and sizes; they innately are premeditated for fly fishing.
- Casting Rods.
- Ice Fishing Rod.
- Spinning Rod.
- Sea Fishing Rod.
- Trolling Rod.
- Telescopic Rod.
- Surf Rod.
What do you need to fish?
Checklist for Fishing in Fresh Water:
- A state fishing license (depending on your age)
- A fishing rod and reel.
- 4- to pound-test monofilament fishing line.
- A package of fishing weights.
- Fish hooks (Number 610 size)
- A plastic or cork bobber.
- A selection of live bait or fishing lures.
What is a baitcaster?
Baitcast Reel DefinedA simple definition for a baitcaster is a reel that has a revolving spool and sits on top of a casting rod with a trigger handle. This is exactly opposite to a spinning reel, which sits underneath a spinning rod and with the line guides facing down.
What are spinning rods?
Spin casting rods are rods designed to hold a spin casting reel, which are normally mounted above the handle. Spin casting rods also have small eyes and, frequently, a forefinger grip trigger. They are very similar to bait casting rods, to the point where either type of reel may be used on a particular rod.
Is an expensive fishing rod worth it?
Expensive rods are more sensitive, able to detect smaller bites, and generally more fun to use than their cheaper counterparts. With that said, the law of diminishing returns definitely applies. There's much more difference between a $50 rod and a $ rod than between a $ rod and a $ rod.
What is the most expensive fishing rod?
Here are five of the most expensive fishing rods that can be found on the market:
- 10 Kentucky Derby Experiences Enjoyed By the Wealthy.
- Oyster Bamboo Fly Rod $4,
- Combo Bent Butt Fishing Rod $1,
- Orvis Helios 2 Fishing Rod $
- Daiwa Rod Over $
- Crowder Rod $
How To Get A Fishing License At Walmart
Fishing is a wonderful way to relax and to enjoy the great outdoors. Before you drop a line in the water, however, it’s a good idea to make sure you have everything you need. This includes your favorite rod and reel, and the right kind of bait. You should also make sure you have a valid fishing license.
Though some people might view a fishing license as a nuisance, they have a purpose that benefits all of us.
Money collected from the fees help pay for the management and protection of marine resources and education programs. They even maintain things like boat launches and fishing piers.
Regulations vary from state to state, but fishing licenses are typically good for a year. For those who fish only on occasion, there are short-term licenses available, too.
So how do you go about getting a fishing license? It might be easier than you think.
Where to Buy a Fishing License Near Me
In many areas, you can purchase a fishing license at a local tackle shop or at the same government office where you get your driver’s license or car tag renewed.
But there’s another option that a lot of folks don’t know about. And that’s the same place where you get many of your household staples. Yep, you can easily obtain a fishing license from a Walmart store, as long as it’s one that has a Sports & Outdoors section.
A Walmart fishing license is the same kind that’s issued by the state. It affords you the same rights and privileges on public waters.
How Much is a Fishing License at Walmart?
Prices vary from state to state, and there are other factors, too, such as a person’s age, whether he or she is a resident or non-resident of the state, the duration of the license and whether it’s for freshwater or saltwater fishing.
Also, Walmart does charge a small processing fee.
In several states, senior citizens, people with disabilities, veterans, active military personnel and kids under the age of 16 (or in some places, age 14) get discounts or do not require a license.
Here is some general pricing information for a Walmart fishing license:
- For a resident of the state between the ages of 16 and 65 – $19
- For a resident of the state who is 66 or older – $10
- A single-day license for a resident or non-resident – $11
- Yearly fishing license for a non-resident – $40
- Three-day fishing license for a tourist – $19
- Duplicate license to replace one that’s been lost or stolen – $4
How to Get A Walmart Fishing License
Getting a Walmart fishing license is as easy as stepping up to the counter in the department that sells fishing and hunting supplies and showing a photo ID, but there are other ways to get one from Walmart, too:
Online: Go to walmart.com and submit your application, and use a debit card or credit card to pay for it. Once it’s approved, just print it out. (This isn’t an option in all states)
Phone: In some states, Walmart allows you to apply by phone by providing the necessary information and payment method. Once it’s approved you can print it at home or pick it up from the store.
Mail: This method takes some time, but it’s another option if your fishing trip is not right away.
What Hours Can I Get A Walmart Fishing License?
You can get a Walmart fishing license in person any time that the store is open, and the same is true over the phone. Just check your local listings for the store’s regular business hours, and apply for your license during those times.
Be sure you have a photo ID on hand (most people simply use their driver’s license) as well as something that shows where you live. A driver’s license does this, but so does a utility bill.
Shelling out a few dollars for a fishing license is a small price to pay for something that has such big rewards. And it sure beats having to show up in court and pay a fine. Now that you know about a Walmart fishing license, you have one less excuse for not being properly licensed to legally indulge in one of our favorite pastimes.
After all, it’s literally as easy as picking up a few groceries, shopping for a new smart TV, or getting a prescription filled.
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A couple of weeks ago I went on the search to try and find my nephew a fishing pole at Walmart because he said he wanted to go with me. I didnt want to break the bank for him, but still wanted good quality, and here is what I found
All these poles are good or better for different reasons. Each one is made for different types of fishing. Here is a little more about all those poles.
1. Carbon Fiber and Cork Rod and Ambidextrous Reel Combo with Carry Case by Wakeman Outdoor
This rod and reel combo features a compact, telescoping design with a fully extended length of 65 inches and just inches when completely collapsed. Making it super easy for your kids to make things nice and neat putting them away. Also if you are going camping or just to the river, it makes backpacking really easy and accessible.
The telescopic rod is made of carbon fiber so it is going to be really light as well, making it easy for the kid. It is still strong, so dont worry. It can handle a lot more than you might think after feeling it.
This is really nice because it comes with a reel as well. The rod is also going to be really durable being made out of aluminum.
Like I said it is going to be easy to carry, not only because it is light but because it comes with a carrying case. This great because it means it is easy for the young ones to carry instead of you.
I really like this rod reel combo because it is made by a well-trusted brand and you know you can count on them. It has a more professional look to it as well so if you have a kid that says those are for kids/babies, then this is going to be really good for them
Plus it is only about $40, making it easy on you too. To take a closer look at our number one choice, click here.
2. Shakespeare Ugly Stik GX2 Spinning Reel and Fishing Rod Combo
Shakespeare is another great company that will take well care of you if you ever had anything go wrong with your equipment. This rod and reel combo actually comes with a 7-year warranty, which I dont think you will ever have to use in the first place, but if you do it is there.
This Ugly Srik GX2 makes fishing easy and fun for both you and them. It comes in either a one or two-piece set. So it isnt as easy for carrying around or storage, but still a great rod and reel. It comes from as short as 5 feet to as tall as 7 feet.
It is made with a combination of Graphite and fiberglass, making it strong and light once again. the spinning reel is where I like this rod a lot. it is made really well and will last a really long time. I dont think you will really have any issues with it. Yes, your line will get tangled up but that is from the technique of the user, not the rod or reel.
This rod and reel combo is a little more expensive at $ And between that and not being able to break down like number one is really the only reason why I put this at number two. If you dont care for either of those, then this is a great option for you.
This rod really is an amazing option. To get a closer look, you can click here.
3. Shakespeare Amphibian Youth Spinning Reel and Fishing Rod Combo
Okay, I will be honest, I did not know much about this rod at first. It looks pretty cheaply made. But I did know it is made by Shakespeare, it is rated really well by other users, and it is stinking cheap.
With all of those three factors, I think it is great. It is sitting at 5 and a half feet long and breaks down into two pieces. For a basic rod, I think that this is a great option. Its got everything that a beginner needs, and it comes in two different colors.
There are a ton of reviews about this one. They say it has lasted them forever and for that they love it.
If you just want a cheap set up so your kid can come tag along and you know they really dont care all that much, this is a great option and will save you money.
If you are interested in this rod, you can find it by clicking right here.
4. Strike Series Spinning Fishing Rod and Reel Combo by Wakeman
Another great combo by Wakeman in my opinion. This Strike Series is one that is at a great price and will also last you a good amount of time.
This rod and reel combo is actually one for bigger fish. So if you are going out on a boat or just a place where there might be some bass, walleye, pike, catfish and more.
It has a really nice handle that will make sure your kiddos are comfortable and will make it so you dont have to hold it for them.
This is a fiberglass rod and a medium action, meaning it can bend but doesnt bend too much. This is how you know what type of fish it is capable of handling. The reel has a spool adjusting drag and a forward/reverse switch and you will come to appreciate it. Well, maybe not you, but at least your kid.
This setup comes in 4 different colors which may not make a lot of difference for you, but will definitely help your kid pick the one that he/she wants. It adds a little bit of fun. Plus, if you are planning on taking more than one kid, you can get a couple of rods in different colors and you can tell them apart.
It comes in one size and is 78 inches. I think you can find them in more sizes, but the link that I provided you takes you to this one.
5. Abu Garcia Cardinal Bruiser Spinning Reel and Fishing Rod Combo
This Cardinal Bruiser is made for saltwater fishing. The reel on this thing is really durable and you can trust it wont break and can take some heavy fish, maybe heavier than your kid can even handle. (Kidding for the most part)
This combo is good for those that are going into saltwater and looking for a challenge with bigger fish. It comes pre-spooled with pound high-performance monofilament line.
It comes is 7,8, and 9 feet long, so it is really good for a bigger kid, maybe not your 6-year old.
This rod and reel combo is going to last you a long time and it wants you to push its limits, so have fun with it. It is still a decent price at $ It is more expensive than some of the other options, so its best if you are really planning on getting your kid into fishing!
To take a look at this awesome rod and reel combo, click here.
6. Spawn Series Kids Spincast Combo and Tackle Set by Wakeman
Okay unlike number 5, this one is not meant for bigger kids. It is only 51 inches tall and cant handle big fish. It can take fish that are roughly 10 pounds or less. This is great for a kid that wants to tag along with you though and doesnt care too much if he/she actually catches anything. Its basic and comes with all youll really need.
It is great because it comes pre-spooled with 65 yards of line. My guess is if its the kiddos first time out, they will get it caught on things left and right, so it wont be too annoying to have to cut the line.
It is a fiberglass rod as well, so not extremely durable, but it will be really light.
They can really feel like they are doing it all with the tackle box it comes with. Tackle Set includes 3 hooks, 3 sinkers, 1 bobber float, and 1 practice cast weight.
And hey, for just $12, Ill take 3.
To take a closer look at this set, you can click here.
7. Fly Fishing Pole – Reel Combo with Carry Case and Accessories by Wakeman Outdoors
This is a rod that is most different and if your kid wants to get into fly fishing, I think you found the right one here. It comes with almost everything they will need and at a really good price as well. This is not the easiest rod to use, but it is for fly fishing, which is naturally harder anyway.
It breaks down into 3 pieces and fully extends at 97 inches. If you think it is too big for your kid, it really just depends. If they actually want to get into it and have fun but learn, I would stick with this.
The collapsible rod is made of fiberglass material. This makes the fishing rod durable and strong without making it heavy.
The included reel comes pre-spooled with 45 feet of line and 2 dry flies, so its ready to fish right away. It can be mounted for right or left-handed use as well so it can work for anyone.
It comes with a carrying case as well, keeping it well protected and easy to store and carry around, even for a youngster.
It is made by Wakeman, so like I mentioned, you are getting good quality.
I would have put this much higher on my list, but I figured most people arent coming here looking for fly rods. But hey if you are HERE IS THE ONE.
8. Shakespeare Ugly Stik Catfish Spinning Reel and Fishing Rod Combo
This 7-foot spinning rod comes in 2 pieces and has a super durable aluminum spool. This also comes with a 7-year rod warranty, which I once again do not think you will ever need to use.
This is another one I dont know have a ton of experience with, but it has such good reviews I couldnt leave it out.
I bought 1 of these combos because we were catching some good size cats that we were loosing on 12 lb line and smaller rod/reel combos. Used it the first weekend I had it and it far exceeded my expectations. I went back and bought 2 more No complaints at all.A customer on Purefishing.com
Overall a really great combo and really good for that price as well. Its about $ If you want to get your kid really into fishing, invest in this rod. Plus you cant really go wrong with a 7-year warranty.
To take a closer look, you can click here.
9. Zebco Quantum Splash Junior Spincast Combo
Here is a rod that is well-loved by customers, is pretty simple, and inexpensive. The rod definitely designed for a young audience. It has an easy cast system as well as quick anti-reverse.
The rod comes with wristbands that helps keep the rod in your kids hands without them having to grip it super hard. Zebco has also designed it be lightweight so it wont be too hard for your child to carry around. The less complaining, the better the experience for everyone, right?
The rod itself is pretty short with a length of inches.
This is the kind of fishing pole that you get for your kid who just wants to get into fishing but has little-to-no experience. If you get this option, you wont have a ton to worry about.
There are two fun colors, one designed for pink and one blue.
For around $25, your kid will be able to enjoy his/her time and will be able to get the hang of the basics before moving onto a more sophisticated rod.
If you are interested in checking out this nice rod and reel combo, you can click here.
Inch Fiberglass and Stainless Steel Rod and Reel Combo by Wakeman Outdoors
And finally last but not le.well I guess it is the least in this list, but hey it still made top
This rod is really good for those just looking to go out to the pond and catch some smaller fish. Really anything less than 10 pounds or so.
It is 64 inches so it would fit a good amount of kids and is spin-cast which I think is a really good reel for kids. It comes pre-spooled with 50 yards of line, which is nice. One of the best things about this rod is that it is really cheap, just about $ If you are not sure if your child will love fishing, this is a great set up to get.
This is a good rod still, it is pretty cheaply made and only comes in one size, and for this reason, it is lower on my list. But, it still does have color options!
If you want to check out this rod and reel combo, you can click right here!
Hopefully, all of this was a little helpful to you and you can get the right rod for you or your kids! Overall those are all good rods but find out which best fits him or her! Most importantly have fun and help them love this new hobby of theirs!