When you are starting out a combo is quite a good way to go for getting started, I was surprised at the amount of the amount of different options out there so we decided to put together this helpful buyers guide to help you.
We will talk about the essentials to look for an our own 5 suggestions that we personally feel are some of the best baitcaster combos for beginners (the Abu Garcia Black Max is our top pick).
5 Baitcaster Combo Essentials For Beginners;
Before you go out and buy any baitcaster combo there are some important considerations you want to keep in mind before making a purchase;
1. Rod Length & Pieces
For beginners, you probably want to stick with a rod that is fairly short. If you have not fished much, a short rod makes things easier because they are easy to maneuver and they won’t cause as much fatigue.
A shorter rod does help with casting accuracy, but keep in mind that a short rod is not the best for casting distance.
2. Rod Action & Power
Something else to consider before you buy any baitcasting combo is what the action and power of the rod in question are like. Generally speaking, for beginners, a middle of the line rod is best.
A rod with medium or medium-heavy power, combined with medium-fast action tends to work best. These middle of the line rods may not particularly excel in any one field, but they are a good starting point none the less.
Yes, there are carbon rods, graphite rods, and fiberglass rods too. When it comes down to it, we would recommend graphite rods.
As a beginner, it might be hard to recognize nibbles, but a good graphite rod is very sensitive and therefore allows for a high level of sensitivity.
4. Reel Gear Ratio
When it comes to the reel on the baitcasting combo, you do want a reel that has a fairly high gear ratio, and therefore a pretty fast retrieval rate. As a beginner, you will probably be fishing for smaller fish, in which case a faster hook set and retrieval rate is best.
5. Drag System
The other thing about the reel you should look out for is that it has a decent drag system. As a beginner, you don’t need the drag to exceed something like 20 pounds, but it should be reliable and easy to adjust.
If you do have a slightly higher budget available then we have covered some more higher end picks here.
5 Best Beginner Baitcaster Combos
Now there are a lot of good options out there but we just feel these particular 5 are the best for beginners;
1. Abu Garcia Black Max Combo
The rod here is a medium power rod, one with medium-fast action. It’s a good option for beginners as it comes with a good mix of flexibility, power, responsiveness, and more. It does not really excel in any one category, but it also does not slack in any one category.
It just comes with a good mix of all necessary features. It’s alright for distance casting and accuracy, you can get some leverage over medium size fish, and you can use it for many fishing techniques.
The reel here is pretty decent too. Once again, this is for beginners, so it is a well balanced reel. It comes with a decent retrieval rate, not too fast but also not too slow.
It has a decent drag system, one that is durable, although fairly lightweight. The components here are somewhat durable, although not the most durable in the world. As you can see, in pretty much all respects, this thing is pretty middle of the line.
- Great for beginners.
- Durable enough for most kinds of fishing.
- Good mix of all features – medium action/power/strength/sensitivity.
- Not great for very large fish.
- Does not excel in any one category.
2. Ugly Stik Elite Baitcast Combo
The Ugly Stik Elite Combo is another good middle of the line combo. The reel is pretty decent though basic combo but it will do the job well for starting out.
Keep in mind that this is a 6 foot 6 one piece rod. Being made with only one piece does help with durability, but it does not do you any favors when it comes to portability. With that being said, it is a lightweight and easy to maneuver rod, although you won’t get too much casting distance out of it, yet its casting accuracy is not too bad.
The graphite blanks here are pretty sensitive, which is a bonus, although the rod itself is not known for being able to handle too much pressure.
This is a medium-heavy rod, which means that it takes quite a bit of force to bend it. It’s a good option for fairly fast hook sets and for getting leverage on fish, although casting distance can suffer a bit due to it not being able to load much.
In terms of the reel with this combo, it is pretty decent. Now, it does come with 2 ball bearings, both of which are stainless steel, made to last, and sealed off for saltwater use.
It is a fairly smooth reel with a medium retrieval rate. However, we would like to see some more bearings here, and maybe a bit of a faster retrieval rate too.
The line which this thing can handle needs to be fairly small and light, and it comes with medium line capacity. It is meant for fairly small and medium size lures and fish, but not for very large specimen (more on baitcast lines here).
- Fine for beginners.
- Rod is pretty middle of the line – good for fast hook sets and leveraging fish.
- Reel has a good drag system and decent durability.
- Ok line capacity .
- Not the best for finesse fishing.
- Might suffer from backlash.
- Cannot handle big fish.
3. Sougayilang 2-Piece Combo
When it comes short and lightweight baitcasting rods and reels which are very easy to use for beginners, the Sougayilang is another good option, especially for beginners.
The rod itself is a telescopic rod with a total length of 5 feet 9 inches. As you can see, it is a very small rod, which definitely helps make it maneuverable for beginners, not to mention that it is lightweight, so smaller people should be able to use it with ease.
Of course, being telescopic is also quite convenient, as it makes this rod very portable. This rod is a medium action rod, which is fine for most fishing applications. It does not really excel in any one category, but it also does not slack in any category.
It’s just a medium action and medium power rod that is ideal for basic fishing purposes, but not for anything too specialized. It does come with a nice cork handle, something we do appreciate.
The reel here is also pretty decent. It comes with a 7:1 gear ratio, which is pretty good as it allows for fast retrievals. Moreover, the reel here is intended to be used with smaller lines and lures, and is meant to be used for smaller fishing applications.
Yes, it does come with a fairly nice drag system, but it just is not that powerful. The reel here is also designed to be able to handle both freshwater and saltwater fishing applications.
- Fast retrieval rate.
- Lightweight and easy to maneuver.
- Very portable.
- Good drag system.
- Not ideal for big fish.
- Not great for casting distance.
4. Lew’s Mach Combo
The Lew’s Mach Combo is a medium length fishing rod, combined with a fairly advanced high speed reel. Overall it’s good combo, one that is lightweight, easy to use, and fine for smaller fish.
The rod here is made of very strong graphite, which is fairly durable, although not the most durable around. It definitely has a fairly high level of sensitivity so you can easily feel nibbles. Moreover, this rod is a medium-heavy power rod, which means that it can handle fairly thick line, plus it takes a fair amount of pressure to make it bend, thus allowing for pretty fast hook sets.
Keep in mind that casting far distances with this thing is not easily done. With that being said, this is a medium-fast action rod, so it does have pretty good hook responsiveness and can be used for finesse fishing if you see fit.
It is a lightweight rod, which is always nice for maneuverability, but it is a 7 foot one piece rod, so it’s not the most portable option around.
The reel on this thing has a fast retrieval rate. The gear ratio is pretty high, and therefore is ideal for fast action and finesse fishing. We do like how this thing comes with a 20 pound drag system that is easy to adjust, although it could be a bit more durable.
Either way, this thing also features a good multi-setting brake system, a nice anti-reverse feature, and has 9 double sided shielded stainless steel ball bearings for great smoothness. It cannot hold all that much line, or very heavy line, but it works well for small and medium size fishing applications.
- Ideal for beginners.
- Fairly smooth.
- Saltwater ready.
- Fast retrieval.
- Not ideal for long distance casting.
- Not ideal for very heavy line or big fish.
5. Shakespeare Alpha Combo
The rod on this thing is a fairly short 6 foot long rod, which is quite short. This should definitely help beginners when it comes to maneuverability and ease of use. It is also a very lightweight rod, which also helps with maneuverability and fatigue.
The rod here is a 2 piece rod, which means that you can take it apart for portability, but keep in mind that putting it together is not exactly the easiest thing in the world.
The rod blanks are made of high strength tubular glass, so the rod is fairly durable, responsive, and also has pretty good sensitivity too, although it does not flex very well at all. The very durable EVA grips are quite a nice addition here as well.
Just keep in mind that this rod is pretty middle of the line in all respects, especially action and power.
The reel here is a pretty nice lightweight graphite reel that is fairly durable. Now, keep in mind that this thing is only meant for smalltime fishing applications. It comes pre-loaded with 8 pound line, which is pretty much as heavy as this thing can handle.
It does come with a durable drag system, although it cannot handle very much weight at all. The adjustable magnetic cast control does help in terms of casting accuracy, but with that being said, this thing definitely does not excel at casting distance.
- Good middle of the line rod – action and power.
- Very lightweight, portable, and maneuverable.
- Quite easy to use.
- Good for smaller fishing applications.
- Cannot handle much weight or heavy line.
- May suffer from backlash.
- Not ideal for large fish.
We hope we have helped you with some suggestions, just keep in mind the main factors we mentioned and you will be fine. The best way of learning is going out and doing it, taking an experienced friend is also a good idea.