Best Baitcaster Combo – Workhorse Fishing Rods and Reels

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Baitcaster reels—or a multiplying reel if you’re reading from across the pond, and an overhead reel if from down under (Cheers!)—are what so many folk first learned to cast and fish on.

For good reason too. So many people prefer baitcasters because baitcasting reels allow anglers more control over each cast. 

Since a baitcaster's spool spins along with the fishing line leaving the reel, a simple flick of the thumb can stop a cast early or slow a lure while it is still in the air. 

This offers anglers of all types more accuracy in their casts. Furthermore, a baitcaster's design allows a fisherman to make casts at a faster rate, even with heavier baits.

And more casts means more practice, more fish, and really just a better time.

But what’s the baitcaster for you?

Saltwater or fresh?

Novice or experienced angler?

Best or best value?

Either way, we’ve got the combo for you.

Our Best Choice

Cabela's Fish Eagle® Baitcast Combo

  • Best cost benefit analysis
  • Rugged construction
  • Excellent feel

This best cost to performance ratio baitcaster combo offers a reliable reel built from tough materials and an 8 bearing instant anti-reverse system that can’t be beat without paying nearly double. Mated to a tough as nails graphite blank that makes this set a guaranteed workhorse.

Five Best Baitcaster Combos

1. Cabela’s Fish Eagle Baitcast Combo - Best Baitcaster Rod and Reel Combo

Cabela's Fish Eagle® Baitcast Combo has earned a reputation for dependable pro-level strength and reliability alongside easy casting and retrieving.

With a carbon frame and side-covers, lightweight anodized aluminum spool and quality controlled eight-bearing system that includes Powerlock instant anti-reverse, this combo delivers at every turn. Intuitive magnetic braking system pairs with a smooth, consistent drag with up to 10 pounds of drag power.

The Fish Eagle Baitcast Rod features a rugged 54-million-modulus graphite blank that provides nigh unparalleled bending strength, reinforced with a carbon cross-wrap butt section for even greater resilience.

Exclusive stainless steel tangle-free guide frames with aluminum-oxide inserts help assure each angler that he spends more time angling and less untangling.

Premium cork handle and rubberized-cork trim offer a nonslip hold while the Mag Touch reel seat maximizes blank contact for unparalleled feeling while casting and reeling.

Because of how simple, functional, and relatively inexpensive it is, this is one of the best beginner baitcaster combos. And it’s one that any expert could wield like a surgeon.

Pros

  • Best cost benefit analysis
  • Best cost benefit analysis
    Rugged construction
  • Excellent feel

Cons

  • Not flashy at all

2. Bass Pro Shops Johnny Morris CarbonLite 2.o Baitcast Rod and Reel Combo - Best Baitcaster Combo for Bass

The Bass Pro Shops Johnny Morris CarbonLite 2.0 Baitcast Rod and Reel Combo sets itself apart from other baitcaster combos in the speed and feel of cast and reel.

The speed makes it so easy to adapt on the fly to conditions and as such bag the most bass possible.

The rod is built to give you the competitive edge, with its integrated Carbon Coil Technology and double-helix reinforced RT4 Graphite blank for the perfect blend of strength and sensitivity.

The laundry list of pro-level features in the reel includes a rigid 1-piece aluminum frame, carbon fiber side covers, a machined-aluminum V-spool, aluminum crankshaft, brass main gear, premium 10-bearing system with double-shielded stainless steel ball bearings and Powerlock anti-reverse Dual Braking System, powerful 6-disc carbon fiber drag, and carbon fiber recurve handle with EVA Winn grips.

It’s no wonder this thing feels like reeling a silky waterfall made of sunshine through a cream pie made from sugar spun cream filled gold.

A unique skeletonized air reel seat maximizes sensitivity with massive blank exposure, and Cabela’s popular Line ID system helps you keep track of your rigging, both in the rod locker and on the casting deck.

In short, this is an artists tool, and it handles like one.

Pros

  • Most features
  • Excellent feel
  • Looks great

Cons

  • Most expensive on this list

3. Abu Garcia Jordan Lee Low Profile Baitcast Reel and Fishing Rod Combo - Best Baitcaster Combo Under $100

Personally designed by two time Bassmaster Classic winner Jordan Lee, the Abu Garcia Jordan Lee Low Profile Baitcast Reel and Fishing Rod Combo is packed with iconic, trusted and loved Abu Garcia features.

Like the 5 stainless steel HPCR bearings + 1 roller bearing—paired with the Power Disk drag system and custom Winn grips—making it easier to fish like a pro with every cast.

Loaded with cutting-edge features, this elegant and low profile baitcast reel combines a rugged and precision machined aluminum spool—that provides strength without adding excess weight—and an ergonomic handle that promotes comfort during marathon fishing trips.

The reel casts with reliable consistency thanks to its MagTrax brake system, which exerts even brake pressure to enhance your cast's range and accuracy. 

With its Duragear brass gear, this casting reel is built to withstand all the tests of time and use that hobbyists and seasoned pros alike can throw at it.

Rod blank is of 24 ton graphite construction and handshakes with Winn Dri-Tac grips. These extremely comfortable, slip-resistant grips reduce stress on hands and body while enabling anglers to lighten their grip pressure, increase control, and enhance accuracy over extended periods of time.

Pros

  • Same Winn Dri-Tac any condition grips as rods twice as expensive
  • Low Cost
  • Trusted Company

Cons

  • Lower number of bearings and braking systems as more expensive rods.

4. Ugly Stik GX2 Baitcast Combo - Best Cheap Baitcaster Combo

Ugly Stik has been a leader in quality, affordable fishing gear in 1897.

But I might be biased. I grew up slinging one of these bad boys predecessors along the red clay banks found all over Oklahoma. In fact, I think that 40 plus year old rod and reel likely work just fine to this day.

They claim inspiration from that 115 years of passion and experience. Ugly Stik offers something for the whole family and all levels of experience.

So it’s no wonder the least expensive Baitcaster combo on this best of list is the Ugly Stik GX2 Baitcast Combo. This next generation Ugly Stik offers all the strength and durability one would expect—considering that much manufacturing heritage behind it—with a lighter feel and more satisfying aesthetic thanks to improved materials and components.

Each GX2 Baitcast Combo features Ugly Tech construction, Ugly Tuff guides and the Ugly Stik Clear Tip design. All together it makes for one good looking fishing rig.

Because while they might be inexpensive, an Ugly Stik was always built to last.

Pros

  • Cheaper than dirt
  • Still well made
  • Reliable company

Cons

  • You get less features when you pay less

5. LEW’S FISHING Mach Crush Speed Spool SLP Combo - Best Baitcaster Combo Under $200

LEW'S FISHING Mach Crush Speed Spool SLP Combo is as crammed full of features as you will be fish once you get the swing of this beauty.

Baitcaster reel features a tough and lightweight, Super Low Profile (SLP) graphite frame with side plates, a machined, double anodized aluminum U-shape 32mm spool, and rugged solid brass main gear and crankshaft.

Premium 10-bearing system with double-shielded stainless steel ball bearings and Zero Reverse one-way clutch bearing, along with an externally-adjustable dual cast control system—utilizing both an external click-dial for setting the magnetic brake, plus 4 individually disengageable disk-mounted internal brake shoes that operate on centrifugal force—make this technological wonder a dream to handle.

This is one of the best baitcaster combos for saltwater and freshwater alike.

The baitcasting rod features a one-piece IM8 graphite blank with Nano technology and American Tackle Airwave guides, all easily controlled from LEW'S exclusive SoftTouch graphite skeletal reel seats and Winn advanced polymer Dri-Tac split-grips.

Honestly, this thing might have been built in a lab. And if it wasn’t, it would still fit in nicely in your rod locker.

Pros

  • Absolute luxury fishing rod
  • Winn Dri-Tac Split grips good for any condition
  • Low profile and aesthetically pleasing

Cons

  • Under 200 but not by much

Catch as Catch Can

In picking out a baitcaster—be it your own and one of many, or for someone with whom you’d simply like to share the pursuit—there’s much to consider.

For the best intersection of performance, cost, versatility, and just overall value, Cabela's Fish Eagle® Baitcast Combo sets the hook and reels in smooth.

Cabela's Fish Eagle® Baitcast Combo

Lightweight, quick casting, impossibly rugged and reasonably priced.

But then, that could be said of most any combo on this list.

So you can’t really go wrong. Because every combo on this set was well rated, reviewed, and from a trusted manufacturer. 

Pick the set that best fits your particulars, and you can be casting your line in no time.