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Saltwater fishing requires fishing gear that’s specifically designed for saltwater. Take your freshwater fishing reel for example. Get saltwater inside the reel, and there’s a good chance you can kiss that fishing reel goodbye.
Sure, you can use your freshwater fishing rod and reel in saltwater, but it’s probably not the best idea. I learned quickly that no matter how well I cleaned my fishing equipment after using it in the salt, it’s just never lasted very long. Freshwater rods and reels and their internal components simply aren’t designed for saltwater or made to withstand the incredible corrosive power of salt.
So, if you’re going to be spending any significant amount of time saltwater fishing, then it’s a really good idea to have a high quality saltwater rod and reel combo. That’s exactly what I did, and now I have separate gear for saltwater and freshwater.
But acquiring all this fishing gear can be expensive. That’s why I want to share with you the best saltwater rod and reel combo for the money.
1. PENN Battle II Combo (Top Pick)
It would be impossible to start this post about the best saltwater rod and reel combos and not mention Penn. Penn is one of the most recognized brands when it comes to saltwater fishing gear manufacturers. They’ve been designing and manufacturing fishing rods and reels for over 75 years.
The Penn Battle II is PENN’s most popular saltwater rod and reel combo. This combo has a reel with a full metal body, side plate and rotor for the durability we need as saltwater fishermen. The Superline Spool is constructed from machined and anodized aluminum and allows you to tie superlines directly onto the spool without having to use backing.
The reel is braid ready and has line capacity rings marked at 1/3, 2/3, and full capacity to make sure you’re aware of exactly how much line is off the spool.
The PENN Battle II drag system provides a silky smooth drag when you need it, especially under heavy loads, which is what we all are hoping for!
The fishing reel also features a fluid cranking with 5 sealed stainless steel ball bearings and an instant anti-reverse bearing.
The rod that’s part of this combo is a graphite composite Battle rod that features aluminum oxide guides which all types of fishing line will simply glide through. Available fishing rod lengths are from 6.5 ft to 10 ft.
If you want the best saltwater rod and reel combo for the money, then invest in the PENN Battle II fishing combo. For the money spent, you won’t find a better saltwater fishing combo that will last as long.
2. Penn Pursuit III Fishing Rod and Spinning Reel
It’s no surprise that PENN has made its way onto this best saltwater rod and reel combo list yet once again. PENN is without a doubt the best saltwater fishing reel brand out there. And their Pursuit II Rod and Spinning reel combo is a great example of PENN’s superior quality.
The PENN Pursuit III spinning combo is a great choice for those who like to fish inshore, off a boat or even surf fishing. This saltwater rod and reel fishing combo combines the Pursuit II spinning reel with a graphite composite rod for an affordable setup that makes this one a great rod and reel combo for the money.
The Pursuit III spinning reel features an ultra lightweight graphite body that is corrosion resistant, which means a long lifespan for this fishing reel. The body of the reel also features an aluminum side plate which is also resistant to corrosion. The spool is made from machined and anodized aluminum.
Inside the reel is a fluid cranking with 4 shielded stainless steel ball bearings and an instant anti-reverse bearing.
The drag system on this reel is a dependable oiled-felt drag that according to the PENN website makes, “...the Pursuit II the best value for the money for saltwater anglers.”
The fishing rod that’s paired with the Pursuit III rod and reel combo is a graphite composite rod which features aluminum oxide guides. These guides are not only resistant to corrosion, but will also allow all types of fishing line to easily glide through. The rod also features comfortable and durable EVA grips.
The fishing rod is available in lengths ranging from 7 ft up to 10 ft.
According to the PENN website, “...the Pursuit III is the best value for the money for saltwater anglers.”
3. PENN Squall Level Wind Combo
The PENN Squall Level Wind Combo is a little different than the other saltwater rod and reel combos I listed on this post because it’s the first that’s not a spinning reel.
The Squall combo comes with a level wind reel that’s specifically designed for trolling big game fish in a variety of saltwater conditions, and in my opinion is the best saltwater level wind rod and reel combo available.
The PENN Squall Lever Drag fishing combo is the perfect choice for those of us that enjoy the seek and thrill of trolling or jigging for big game fish, like dorado and Kings. This setup is not only lightweight and ergonomic, but is strong enough to handle these massive fish. This setup is designed in a way that ensures your money spent provides you with a rod and reel that’ll last a very long time.
The reel that comes with this saltwater fishing combo is a lightweight level wind reel featuring a graphite frame and side plates. The stainless steel gears have a higher speed gear ratio compared to the other brands.
The Dura-Drag washers in this reel almost completely eliminates all hesitation, even under very heavy and extreme drag settings.
The main and pinion gear are constructed out of stainless steel, which equals less corrosion and longer life.
The fishing rod included with the PENN Squall Lever Drag combo is a durable and ultrasensitive 6 ft one piece tubular fiberglass rod with a solid tip.
This is the rod and reel combo you want to have if you’re looking for a strong multi-purpose saltwater rod and reel combo. Its works perfect for inshore trolling as well as bottom fishing and jigging.
4. PLUSINNO Fishing Rod and Reel Combo
This is the only telescoping saltwater rod and reel fishing combo that’s on my list of best combos for the money. I’m generally not a huge fan of telescoping fishing rods, but I make an exception for the Plusinno saltwater combo.
The spinning reel that’s included with this rod and reel combo features a durable plastic body casing that has a short body with a very large deep aluminum spool that has a high line capacity.
The handle is interchangeable for both left and right handed fishermen. Each turn of the handle results in an S-curve oscillating motion that results in excellent spooling of the fishing line. The gear ratio of the Plusinno reel is 5.2.1.
The Plussino combo features an incredibly strong and durable telescoping rod which is available in lengths of 5.9 to 10.8 ft. The rod is constructed out of sensitive graphite that allows you to feel even the smallest of strikes.
The telescoping rod reel seats are made out of stainless steel and are completely resistant to saltwater corrosion.
The guides are constructed out of aluminum oxide and are not only resistant to corrosion, but also allow all types of fishing line to easily glide through.
This rod and reel combo is the perfect choice for those of you that want to fish off the jetty, piers or off the rocks.
5. Ugly Stik Saltwater Spinning Combo
The final saltwater rod and reel combo I want to introduce to you is the Ugly Stik saltwater spinning combo made by Shakespeare. Ugly Stik has made an incredible name for themselves over the years, and they’re my go to for freshwater fishing. And now that they offer a saltwater setup, I’m excited to list them here as one of the best for the money.
This rod and reel combo features a 7 ft long medium/heavy 2 piece rod and a 50 size graphite spinning reel that’s pre-spooled with 14 lb monofilament fishing line. The combo also comes with an assortment of fishing tackle such as pre tied leaders, barrel swivels and hooks.
The other nice feature that Ugly Stik offers is a 7 year warranty on this rod and reel combo.
This Ugly Stik combo is the perfect rod and reel setup for weekend warriors or newer anglers that enjoy fishing from the pier or jetty or on and around the beach. But if you find yourself in the middle of larger fish, this rod and reel will do just fine!
I hope this has helped you find the best saltwater rod and reel for the money FOR YOU! Every saltwater angler has their own specific needs, and that’s why I tried to offer some of the best combos but also offer a variety.
With that said, the best saltwater rod and reel combo that we've chosen is the Penn Battle II Combo.
The Penn Battle II is by far Penn’s most popular saltwater rod and reel combo. This alone is enough to make it my top pick. The reel reel is built saltwater tough with a full metal body, side plate and rotor and is 100% braid ready. The paired graphite composite Battle rod features silky smooth aluminum oxide guides and is available in lengths of 6.5 ft to 10 ft.
- Most popular saltwater combo
- Full metal body reel
- 5 sealed stainless steel ball bearings and an instant anti-reverse bearing.
- line capacity rings marked at 1/3, 2/3, and full capacity
- Graphite composite rod
- Aluminum oxide guides
- Multiple lengths to choose from
I’m curious which rod and reel combo you use for saltwater fishing. If it’s different than any of these that I reviewed, please share with all of us by leaving a comment below.