The Best Fishing Rod And Reel Combo For Beginners With Reviews


The first rod and reel combo I ever owned was a gift from my uncle. It was a 6’6” medium heavy Eagle Claw rod paired with an open faced spinning reel. I don’t recall the brand of the spinning reel, although I can only assume it was an Eagle Claw as well.  The rod was yellow and it was awesome, and was one of the best gifts I had ever received in those first 12 years or so of my life. That rod and reel lasted me a long time, and I caught a lot of trout and a lot of bass on that combo. But alas, nothing lasts forever, and one day my trusty rod broke in half and was no more.

But it was that rod and reel combo that got me started, and that’s exactly what I want to help you do.  The reason I put this post together is to help you choose the best rod and reel combo for beginners...because if you’re reading this...that’s what you are. We all begin somewhere, and now is the perfect time to start fishing.  And choosing a good quality rod and reel combo is the best way to do just that.

Best Rod And Reel Combos For Beginners (Quick List)

How I Chose The Best Beginner Fishing Setup

There are many different types of fishing rods and reels in the world of fishing. All you have to do is do a quick Youtube or Google search for fishing, and you’ll see so many different kinds of setups that your head will spin.

But as a beginner, don’t worry about all of that.  That’s something you can read about and learn about while your catching fish with a rod and reel combo that’s basic and easy to use.

With that said, for this post and for my recommendations, I have included 3 different types of fishing rod and reel combos to review and share as the best for beginners. The combos I review and recommend in this article are based mostly from the type of reel the combo has. The three types of fishing reels mentioned are:

  1. Spinning 

  2. Baitcaster

  3. Spincast

The Reels


Of these three, I highly recommend using a spinning reel combo as a beginner angler. The reason is because spinning reels are very versatile and are pretty easy to use once you spend about 30 minutes practicing casting and retrieving with it.  In short, you can get out on the water and start fishing, and catching fish, a lot sooner. And that’s what we all want to do!


Baitcaster reels on the other hand require a lot more practice to get the hang of. If you’re new to the world of fishing and casting and retrieving, you can count on spending more time untangling “backlashes” than you’ll spend actually fishing. But at the same time, if you want to take the time to master these reels, then definitely do it. Baitcaster reels are arguable the best and most versatile type of fishing reel.  But if you’re asking for my opinion, wait on the baitcaster.


The third type of fishing reel I’m including in this post is the classic spincast reel.  This is the type of fishing reel you very well might be familiar with, and is a very good option for both young and older anglers alike.  The spool on these reels are fully enclosed and casting is a breeze and is done with the simple touch of a button.

The Rods

A spinning rod is a great fishing pole for beginners. It’s the type of fishing rod you want to use when you’re targeting species of fish that are up to 6 to 7 pounds or smaller. Spinning rods are available in a variety of different lengths, but as a beginner, I recommend using a fishing rod that’s between 6 and 7 feet in length. With a rod that’s between 6 and 7 feet is ideal for learning how to cast as well as maintain control of your fishing line.  

You'll also notice that fishing rods can come in one piece, two pieces, three or even more.  Some rods are collapsible and other don't break down at all. For you, I recommend going with a fishing rod that comes apart into two pieces.  The reason I recommend this is because they are much easier to transport this way.  And for a beginner, packing around and transporting a long one piece rod can be burdensome, and is a good way to break the tip of the rod.  However, that's not to say once you gain some experience a one piece rod isn't the right choice. Because there are many excellent one piece rods, and chances are, you'll eventually end up with one yourself.

The Best Fishing Rod And Reel Combo For Beginners (Reviews)

The Rod

Ugly Stik fishing rods are very well known for taking a beating time and time again, and they just keep getting back up to fight. If you want a good quality all around fishing rod, this is it.

The GX2 is the next generation of Ugly Stik spinning rods that combines the heritage and tradition of the original Ugly Stik spinning rod.  All while maintaining the high level of performance and reliability the Ugly Stik brand is known for.

The Ugly Stik GX2 features graphite and fiberglass construction which equals a very light weight rod which also allows for increased sensitivity when compared to other spinning rods.

The Ugly Stik GX2 spinning rod features dual EVA handle grips that are extremely lightweight, durable and very comfortable. In addition, the handles on the GX2 perform well in wet conditions and are very easy to clean.

The guides on the rod are made from one piece “Ugly Tuff” stainless steel and are  designed for durability and smoothness to allow fishing line to easily glide through.

The Reel

The reel that’s paired with the GX2 rod is a great spinning reel for beginners. The movement of the reel is incredibly smooth and extremely quiet.

The drag on the GX2 reel is also very smooth, especially when compared to other fishing reel with a similar price point. The drag doesn't surge and it handles deep runs really well.

Now, if you think a baitcasting reel is going to be more your speed, then I recommend the Abu Garcia Black Max baitcasting rod and reel combo. Keep in mind, however, that these kinds of reels will take a little more practice to become proficient with.  But with this baitcaster rod and reel combo, you’re going to get much more than you pay for.

The Abu Garcia Black Max Fishing Rod and Baitcast Fishing Reel Combo delivers the durability, smooth drag, and sensitivity that you want in a good quality baitcasting rod and reel combo.

The Rod

A great fishing rod for beginners, this baitcasting combo comes equipped with a lightweight and durable graphite fishing rod. The graphite construction allows for increased sensitivity to feel those almost imperceptible strikes.  The stainless steel guides are designed to resist rust and corrosion. This is good news if you believe saltwater fishing is in your future.

The Reel

This baitcaster reel features an ergonomic bent handle as well as a recessed reel seat which helps keep you comfortable on those all day fishing trips.

The reel also features the MagTrax brake system which applies consistent brake pressure resulting in increased castability and accuracy. This powerful drag perfectly complements the rod's exceptional sensitivity, which allows you to easily perceive even the lightest nibbles from trout, bass, crappie or even steelhead.

The spincasting rod and reel combo is a great option for beginners, especially for the younger anglers. But don’t misunderstand me, because this rod and reel is not just for kids. When it comes to spincast rod and reel combos, the Zebco/Quantum 33 is probably one of the most popular. And Zebco continues to make this classic reel even better.

The new line management system provides better casting, improved line retrieve and control. The Zebco 33 includes a hook holder that hides the hook point and is accessible from either side of the reel. Another reason it’s one of the best rod and reel combos for kids.

A new Gear Train provides a smoother feel and better durability, incorporating better bearing support to enhance the feel and retrieve. And all of this results in a smoother and quieter performance.

Final Thoughts

One of the first things you'll do after picking up the fishing bug is getting a hold of a rod and reel combo that will not only catch fish, but will also help you get better at doing it. In fishing, like in most other things, practice is the name of the game. The more time you spend out on the water, the better you'll become. 

These are the three fishing combos that I feel are the best for beginners.  But of the three, think about going with the Ugly Stik spinning rod and reel combo.  Spinning reels are easy to master, are versatile, easy to control and most importantly, will help you catch fish.

Tight lines!

Products Mentioned In This Post

About the Author

When I'm not bass fishing or looking for steelhead in my home state of Oregon I can be found working on house projects dreaming of my next fishing adventure. I started this website to share just some of the things I've learned along my fishing journey, and the many things I'm still learning. Enjoy!