The 5 Best Baitcaster Combo For Beginners & Intermediate

by Thavius | Last Updated:   April 11th, 2022
The 5 Best Baitcaster Combo For Beginners & Intermediate


A spinning reel is the right type of reel to buy when starting your fishing adventure as an amateur. But when you feel like you are finally ready for some real action, that’s the right time to upgrade to a baitcasting rig. Baitcasting combos are loved by experienced anglers for several reasons.

Since they are built to handle heavy fishing lines, the best baitcaster combos offer better line control and will enable you to cast rods accurately over long distances. Also, the incredible line control will enable you to release your lure slowly to avoid a splash that will scare the fish away.

There are many more reasons why you should invest in a baitcasting rod and reel combo. But for now, let’s take a look at the top 5 baitcaster combos available today.

IN A HURRY? HERE ARE OUR TOP PICKS…

Reviewing The 5 Best Baitcasting Combos

Abu Garcia Pro Max & Max Pro Low Profile Baitcast Combo

Abu Garcia is a hugely popular brand in the fishing world and here is one of its finest products. The Abu Garcia Pro Max Combo is an excellent fishing tool for both fresh and saltwater. It is also more suitable for experienced anglers. Though it can be used by amateurs too, they stand more chance of experiencing line twists. The rod offers medium-heavy power and is 7 feet long.

Additionally, the reel comes with 8 stainless steel bearings that ensure seamless operation. If you are going after aggressive fish like bass, you will be pleased to know the combo features an anodized aluminum spool that provides great strength. It also features Abu Garcia’s exclusive rocket line management. So, you will get more casting distance and lesser chances of wind knots.

Meanwhile, the rod comes with an EVA grip handle that makes it well-balanced and portable. This will enable you to hold the rod firmly and also remain in control. Another good thing about the rod it is highly sensitive. This is thanks to the 2-graphite material that the blank is built from. The final notable feature of the fishing rod is the Texas-rigged hook keeper.

Furthermore, the length of your rod will have a significant effect on your fishing experience. This baitcaster combo’s rod has a length of 7′. Hence, it is lightweight and suitable for long-distance casts. Its balance and comfortability also make it a great choice for all-day fishing. Finally, you can use this baitcasting combo for catching fish of all sizes.

Pros
  • It is portable
  • It is easy to cast
  • There is minimal chance of wind knots
  • It offers balance and control
Cons
  • It requires significant care

Tailored Tackle Bass Fishing Baitcasting Combo

If you are an amateur or occasional angler in search of a great baitcasting combo, this is one product that you can’t afford to overlook. This right-handed baitcaster is highly suitable for catching bass thanks to its bass fishing pole. It will help you capture largemouth bass of all sizes and most mid species of fish. The package includes a baitcasting guidebook that beginners will find useful.

Being just over 7′ in length, the rod is one of the longest on the market. This makes it highly suitable for fishing bass. It also offers medium-heavy action, so you can expect high sensitivity and minimal flex. The rod responds excellently and you can be assured that you won’t miss any strike. It is built with composite graphite and comes with guides and inserts made from stainless steel.

As for the reel, it has a gear ratio of 6:3:1 and consists of 7 ball bearings. You will get to enjoy quite fast retrieve and minimal backlash thanks to its smooth and reflexive bearing system. Also, the spool features a pop-off mechanism that will allow you to easily fix rats’ nests and tangles. But on the downside, the design makes it more susceptible to tangles.

As you should expect in a baitcasting reel, there is a magnetic braking system too. However, what makes this reel stand out is its max drag weight of 17.5 lbs which is perfect for a medium-heavy rod. Also, the rod has a 2 piece design that makes it portable and easy to store. The ergonomic pistol grip will ensure that it remains comfortable on your hands.

Pros
  • It is great for fishing bass
  • It features a pop-off spool
  • It has a high maximum drag weight
  • It contains a baitcasting guidebook
  • It is easy to use
Cons
  • It is heavy
  • The length of the handle might be an issue
  • The spool is susceptible to line twists

Lew’s Mach Smash SLP Baitcast Combo

The next product on my list of the best baitcaster combos is a favorite of several anglers. The Lew’s Mach Smash SLP Combo provides high-end performance and is as good as products from more popular brands. Don’t be fooled by the lightweight of this rod and reel combo as it is one of the most powerful combos that you can get your hands on.

One thing that you are guaranteed to love about this baitcaster combo is its visually appealing color. The reel includes a one-piece graphite frame, 8 bearings, durable brass Speed Gears, a spool, and a handle. Also, the product features Lew’s Combat Grip paddle knobs to ensure complete control.

With this baitcaster combo, you will be able to switch between without sacrificing performance. It also features an adjustable magnetic cast control system and a spacious machined spool. The two features work together to ensure seamless and accurate casting. The Rulon drag system is another interesting feature. It produces 15 lbs of drag for increased power and performance.

The rod features a high-quality IM6 graphite blank and the brand’s special skeletal seat. It also comes with a Winn Dri-Tac grip and EVA butt section. All of these features come together to boost the comfortability and sensitivity of the combo.

Pros
  • It provides great drag power
  • It comes with a large capacity spool
  • It has stainless steel guides
  • It features a premium 8 bearing system
Cons
  • It is not suitable for beginners
  • The brakes aren’t the best

KastKing Crixus Fishing Rod and Reel Combo

KastKing is known in the fishing industry for manufacturing high-quality yet pocket-friendly gear and the Crixus combo is no different. This product offers a unique blend of functionality, innovation, and affordability. So, you can be assured that it will take your fishing to the next level.

The rod is built with IM6 graphite blanks so that it can provide you with all the strength and sensitivity you need while fishing. It is also as comfortable as it can be. The rod comes with a golf-style super polymer handle that remains slip-resistant and comfortable even in wet conditions. What’s more, the rod has stainless steel guides and zirconium oxide rings that guarantee seamless casting regardless of the fishing you use.

On the other hand, the reel is much smoother than other baitcasters thanks to its eight ball bearings. This design guarantees seamless casts and retrieves and also minimizes the chances of backlash significantly. I also like the carbon-infused frames and CNC aluminum spools in the reel. The ball bearing is sealed to keep water out and extend the life of the equipment.

Furthermore, the Crixus rod and reel combo is available in both left and right-handed orientation. The line weight varies between 10 to 17 lbs while the lure weight varies between three-eighth to three-quarters of an ounce. In the end, this baitcaster combo from KastKing offers great value at a fantastic price.

Pros
  • It is suitable for left and right-handed users
  • It is easy to carry
  • It is a great choice for beginners
  • It has comfortable and slip-resistant handles
Cons
  • The reel isn’t the easiest to adjust to cast during casting

Abu Garcia Blue Max Baitcast Combo

Here is another product from the legendary Abu Garcia brand. The Blue Max Baitcasting Combo is made up of a one-piece medium-heavy graphite rod and an excellent baitcasting reel. You have the option of choosing a two-piece rod for the combo but this can make things complicated. Hence, you should opt for a one-piece rod if you are a beginner.

Additionally, the gear ratio of the reel is 6:4:1 and it offers a fast retrieval rate of 29 inches. You will find its retrieval speed beneficial when fishing for bass with a crank or buzz bait. It will enable you to mimic the frantic movement of prey such as mice and frogs on the water surface. The combo’s handle has a right-handed orientation, so most amateurs should be able to use it. However, it isn’t suitable for left-handed amateurs.

Furthermore, the reel contains 145 yards of 12-pound test mono line. However, if you prefer fishing with a braided line, you may opt for sizes between 10 to 30-pound tests. The rod’s power is rated as medium-heavy, so you will enjoy long-distance casts without losing sensitivity. Also, the product is suitable for lures that come with a width of between ⅜ and ¾ oz.

The special features on the reel include the Power Disk drag system and MagTrax braking system. It also comes with four ball bearings and a single roller bearing. Having only five bearings means that it is one of the best reels in terms of smoothness on the water. This should make a great difference if you are new to fishing. Finally, the handle grips are designed to offer a good level of comfort and grip.

Pros
  • It is great for beginners
  • It allows long-distance casting
  • It is sensitive
  • It features ergonomic handle grips
  • It is light and balanced
Cons
  • It isn’t suitable for left-handed anglers

Our Top Choice

Any of the products that have been mentioned in this article will provide you with superior performance during your fishing trip. But if you want the overall best baitcaster combo, then you should opt for the Abu Garcia Pro Max Combo. I will even recommend it over the popular Abu Garcia Black Max Combo.

Not only does it have all the power that you would expect from a baitcaster combo, but it is also budget-friendly and good for long-distance casts. The rod is also easy to carry despite its durability. Additionally, you will find the reel easy to set up and smooth to cast. Finally, its ease of use makes it the perfect choice for anglers buying their first baitcasting combo.

If you are new to fishing with a baitcaster, have a look at our detailed guide on how to spool and cast a baitcasting reel.

How to Find The Best Baitcaster Combo

You can’t find the best baitcaster combo by simply going for the most expensive product you find or something that worked for a friend. There are several factors that you have to consider if you are to find something that suits your unique needs.

Take a look at these factors below:

Type of Fish and Environment

One of the biggest mistakes you can make when buying a baitcasting combo is to not consider your target fish or your fishing environment. There are different fish in the water and some are bigger and more aggressive than others.

So, you should ensure that your preferred fishing equipment will be suitable for catching the kind of fish you are after. You should also ask yourself if you will be fishing in freshwater or saltwater and choose your rod and reel combo accordingly.

Gear Ratio

The gear ratio of a baitcaster combo will tell you the number of times the spool will turn when you make a complete revolution with the handle. The higher the gear ratio of a baitcaster combo, the greater the rate at which it will retrieve the line. Hence, you should opt for a high gear ratio. The gear ratio of baitcasting combos is usually between 5:2:1 to 8:1:1.

If you want a well-balanced baitcaster combo, you should choose a gear ratio of 6:4:1. This will enable you to use different types of baits and fishing techniques including jigging and shallow cranking. On the other hand, low gear ratios will make you reel slowly. Hence, they are suitable for hard-pulling baits like heavy spinnerbaits and large diving crankbaits. When fishing with topwater baits, you should opt for higher gear ratios due to their speed.

Watch this video to get more information on how to choose the right gear ratio:

Size

Another factor that you can’t afford to ignore is the size of the reel. Bigger reels have greater line capacity for fighting big fish. You should also opt for a large reel when deep-sea fishing. On the other hand, a small reel will be sufficient for catching small to medium fish. However, you should note that larger reels have more weight. So, you shouldn’t opt for one unless you need it.

Handle

If you will be having long fishing sessions, you have to ensure that your rod is comfortable on the hands. Corks are known to be more comfortable less expensive EVA, however, they lack durability. Also, the ideal rod for you should have a slip-resistant handle so that it will remain usable in wet conditions.

Additionally, shorter handles are suitable for anglers that fish with worms or jigs while longer reels are ideal for larger baits like crankbaits and swimbaits. You should opt for a larger handle when going after big and aggressive fish.

Brakes and Tension

The function of the brake system in a baitcaster combo is to keep the line under control when casting is about to be completed. On the other hand, the tension knob is charged with the control at the beginning of casts.

A good rod and reel combo should feature a braking system that will control your spooling even in windy conditions. Also, a baitcasting combo with an excellent braking system and tension will enable you to cast over long distances smoothly regardless of the lure weight.

If you are an amateur, you have to ensure that your braking system can be adjusted easily. This will allow you to cast at the right speed and avoid line twists and wind knots. The higher your level of experience, the lesser braking you will need.

Bearings

The purpose of ball bearings in a baitcaster combo is to make reeling smoother. That said, cheap products with lots of bearings tend to be of low quality. Baitcasting combos with fewer bearings offer greater reeling speed and better control.

Additionally, the best baitcaster combo should either be tagged as shielded, double-shielded or sealed. These features ensure that no dirt gets into the bearings and in doing so, guarantee peak performance. Ball bearings are usually made of ceramic or stainless steel. Though both materials are water-resistant, ceramic bearings have the edge because they are lighter and more durable. However, they are more expensive.

Material

The common materials used in the production of baitcasting rods are graphite, aluminum, magnesium, and fiberglass. If you are going to be fishing in saltwater, you should choose a graphite rod due to the material’s resistance to corrosion.

The affordability and high strength-to-weight ratio also make graphite rods more popular amongst anglers. On the other hand, aluminum rods are more robust while fiberglass rods offer greater portability and sensitivity.

Length

For you to have a great fishing experience, your rod has to be of the right length. Shorter rods are a better choice for amateurs because they are easier to control.

You will also be able to cast accurately with a short rod with minimal experience. However, you should purchase a longer rod if you are an experienced and skilled angler. Longer rods cast over long distances.

Rod Action

The action of a rod will tell you the direction that it will bend as you reel in fish. Faster rods tend to bend closer to the tip. Medium fast action rods are ideal for learners while slow action rods can be too much work.

Rod Guide

Many anglers ignore this feature but it can make a great difference. The best baitcaster combo should have durable guides, this will be particularly beneficial if you are going after large fish. Also, amateur anglers should choose guides built from materials like aluminum or titanium. They offer excellent casts while limiting heat and friction.

Hand Orientation

Baitcasting combos were originally designed for right-handed anglers. But in recent years, an increasing number of left-handed baitcaster combos have been surfacing on the market. Choosing the right-hand orientation will make things a lot easier.

Price

Baitcaster combos are available at different prices and the cost of each product is determined by several factors. These factors include brand, style, design, and material. High-end baitcaster combos may also have special features like a magnetic braking system.

However, this doesn’t mean that you have to break the bank to get a good baitcaster combo. Several good quality products are available at prices below $150 and $100. You should be able to find something that will serve you well in that price range especially if you are a beginner or casual angler. All you have to do is to set a budget and do proper research.

The Advantages Of Using A Baitcaster

To make it easier for you to know if a baitcatster will be the right choice for you, let’s take a look at some of the advantages of fishing with one.

Control Every Cast

Baitcasters are designed in a way that makes anglers use their thumbs as a secondary brake. This ensures excellent control and will allow you to cut bad casts short immediately once your bait starts moving towards a limb of moss bed.

Additionally, the control offered by baitcasters can be a great changer if you are a bass fisher. You will be able to sneak your bait into the hiding spots of lunkers. A good quality baitcaster will also lower your chances of losing your lures in trees. During my time as an angler, I’ve lost more lures when using spinning reels than when using baitcasters.

The Lure Goes Where You Want It

Another reason why you should get a baitcasting reel is that it will provide improved casting. I can assure you that when you understand how to use a baitcaster, you will cast accurately without a fuss and feel each cast.

Unlike a spinning reel, the line in a baitcasting reel flies straight out of the spool. This offers greater precision and minimizes wind knots.

Great for Heavy Lines

If you are going after large or aggressive fish, you will need a greater drag and a baitcaster can provide it. Several baitcasters come with aluminum spools that are highly suitable for braided lines. Hence, they work efficiently and effectively with heavier jigs, worms, and crankbaits. This is why they are the most popular choice during bass fishing tournaments.

Higher Gear Ratios

When dealing with heavy spinnerbaits or manmade minnows, you will have to make quick and smooth retrieves. This makes it necessary that your reel has a high gear ratio.

Remember that the gear ratio of a reel simply means the rate at which it takes in line. Baitcasters offer high gear ratios that you will find particularly beneficial when fishing in deep water. A baitcasting reel will enable you to reel in your bait swiftly and save time.

Additionally, a baitcaster combo is the best choice that you can make when you want to make a high-action presentation with your bait or lure. Its high retrieve rate will ensure that your bait appears wounded and spastic.

The Disadvantages Of Using A Baitcaster

Like all things, baitcasters have a few disadvantages that you should be aware of:

It Takes Time to Master

You need to understand that you won’t master how to sling a baitcaster in a day. It will take a significant amount of practice for you to master the timing and feel of the equipment. You should also understand that every baitcasting combo won’t feel the same way. Hence, switching from one product may require an adjustment period.

Lighter Lines Are Better with Spinning Reel

As you should know by now, baitcasting combos offer more control over heavier lines. However, their properties aren’t best suited to lighter lines so you should opt for a spinning reel when fishing with lighter lines.

Additionally, spinning reels are the perfect gear for flipping and pitching. They handle lighter lines and baits better and cast them over long distances.

If you will also like to have a spinning reel, check out the best ultralight spinning reel for different fish species.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best baitcaster combo?

The best baitcaster combo that you can buy today is the Abu Garcia Pro Max Baitcast Combo. It is lightweight and compact fishing equipment that is built to withstand heavy use and abuse during your fishing trip. Despite its affordability, it also matches the smoothness of the casting and retrieving of higher-end combos.

Is a baitcaster combo worth it?

I had some difficulty when I got my first baitcaster because my rod and reel were mismatched. However, things got a lot easier when I started using pre-matched setups. This is the easiest way to you get a nice match if you are a poor matchmaker like I was.
The combination of the right rod and reel will provide you with a well-balanced setup. This will enable you to cast accurately and increase your catch ratio significantly. But if you get it wrong, your fishing trip may end in frustration.

What is the difference between a baitcasting rod and a spinning rod?

The major difference between these two types of rods is that the line guides are located above a baitcaster but below a spinning rod. As a result, baitcasting reels are not compatible with spinning rods.

What is the best guide for a baitcasting combo?

The guides on a baitcasting combo are also known as the eyes of the rod. They are the large hoops through which your line will travel. The right baitcaster combo for you should come with durable line guides for it to be able to serve you well.
That said, the common materials used in manufacturing line guides include stainless steel, titanium, chrome, and silicon carbide. Stainless steel guides are the most popular choice thanks to their affordability and durability.

How can I throw a baitcaster combo as a beginner?

The first thing you have to do is to set up your baitcasting combo. After that, you may then release your bait or lure with the reel and spool tension knob. The function of the knob is to control the speed of the line. You will also be able to make the necessary adjustments to your bait using the reel as it goes into the water.

I've been a fisherman for over 35 years. From catching small bullheads with my grandfather at his pond to catching strippers on the backwaters of the Chattahoochee, I love to get out in the wild and have a marvelous day on the water.