9 Best Bass Fishing Rod and Reel Combos in 2023

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Lew’s Mach Crush Speed Spool S.L.P. Bait Cast Combo tops our best bass fishing rod and reel combo list. This combo is made of durable materials to give anglers smooth and reliable fish-fighting power. Additionally, this reel supports an adjustable Multi-Setting Brake (M.S.B.) dual-cast control system to handle the fish-fighting power. This combo uses nine double-shielded stainless steel bearings to support smooth retrieval. This reel is easy to cast and rarely gets backlashes. Moreover, it’s ultra-sensitive and can feel even the lightest bite. Our first runner-up is the KastKing Sharky III Spinning Rod and Reel Combo. This incredibly smooth, 5.2:1 gear ratio, 10+1 ball bearing reel has a graphite frame and rotor. It also supports 6 ‘6” M action that is great for bass, trout, or even panfish to an incredible 9’ rod designed for steelhead and light salmon fishing. Lastly, this combo is ideal for both fresh and saltwater fishing.

If you plan to go bass fishing, carrying the best bass fishing rod and reel will help you fight these adrenaline-packed monsters. Here are our top picks for the best bass fishing rod and reel combos for 2023.

Man fishing for bass using a bass rod and reel
Having the right setup makes all the difference. Source

Top Bass Fishing Rod and Reel Combos Reviewed

1. Lew’s Mach Crush Speed Spool SLP Bait Cast Combo

Best Bass Fishing Rod and Reel Combo

Built with durability in mind. The Lew’s Mach Crush Speed Spool SLP baitcasting rod and reel are ready to provide anglers with smooth and reliable fish-fighting power.
Like many of Lew’s bass fishing rod and reel combos, this one comes packed with features that will satisfy any angler looking for a new baitcasting combo.

This combo is so impressive that it was voted the best rod and reel combo at ICAST 2017 in Orlando, Florida!

Each with a machined aluminum spool and strong IM8 graphite blank. This new line of Lew’s baitcasting rod and reel combos is strong, sturdy, and lightweight.

The reel features a heavy-duty carbon-fiber drag system. Adjustable Multi-Setting Brake (MSB) dual cast control system and a bowed aluminum 95mm handle with oversized Winn Dri-Tac knobs.

The rod features a strong, one-piece graphite blank with split grip handles and American Tackle Airwave guides. This particular Lew’s baitcasting rod and reel combo was designed for right-handed users. The reel features a 7.5:1 gear ratio with a 20 lb. max drag.

In order to achieve such a smooth retrieve, this reel uses 9 double-shielded stainless steel ball bearings. And a zero-reverse, one-way clutch bearing. Designed as a single piece, the combo’s rod measures 7′ long and is rated for medium-heavy power.


  • Very easy to cast.
  • Rarely backlashes.
  • The grips on the reel are very easy to handle.
  • The rod is very sensitive and can feel every bump.

2. KastKing Sharky III Spinning Rods and Reel Combos

Best Bass Fishing Spinning Rod and Reel Combo

The KastKing Sharky III spinning rod and reel combo is an exceptional value and a true performance combo! These rods are designed for serious anglers looking for an incredible spinning rod and one of our best reels ever, packaged together to make it so easy to go fishing today.

They start with a Toray IM7 rod blank in 6 lengths and actions. You are certain to find the perfect rod for how you love to fish, from 6’6” M action that is great for bass, trout, or even panfish to an incredible 9’ rod designed for steelhead and light salmon fishing.

There are even 7’ and 7’6” rods that will handle any catfish that swims, and all of these combos are equally at home in both fresh and saltwater.

We have included the Sharky III reel to complete the spinning rod and reel combo. This incredibly smooth, 5.2:1 gear ratio, 10+1 ball bearing reel has a graphite frame and rotor. An aluminum spool and handle have a powerful triple-disc carbon drag.

This long and easy casting reel will quickly become your favorite reel and perfectly match the rod length and weight.

All rods are 2 piece designs to make travel easy and utilize premium EVA handles and fighting butt for all-day comfort.

You’ll love the rods; as always, you’ll be protected by KastKing’s incredible Total Peace of Mind policy.


  • It can be used for both salt and freshwater.
  • Eyelets are very scratch and wear-resistant.
  • The rod is extremely durable as well as sensitive.

3. Cadence Fishing CC5 Spinning Rod and Reel Combo

Best Lightweight Option

The Cadence CC5 is built from 24-ton graphite. The CC5 series of combos include a CS5 spinning reel and CC5 spinning rod in various sizes and actions to meet the needs of almost any fishing situation.

Cadence’s CC5 bass fishing combo series offers quality components and materials that surpass the competition. The blanks are constructed from 24-ton carbon and come in various lengths, actions, and power ratings to accommodate a variety of fishing.

The carbon composite frame and side plates make the CC5 strong and corrosion-resistant. The 8 ball bearings + 1 instant anti-reverse bearing help make the CC5 smooth and resistance-free.

The CC5 series of combos includes our CS5 spinning reel and our CC5 spinning rod in various sizes and actions, making the CC5 an excellent spinning rod and reel combo in your collection.

Ideal for gamefish, including freshwater fish like bass, walleye, and trout. As well as popular inshore species like redfish, speckled trout and flounder with a rinse after fishing. It’s one of the best trout rod you can use.


  • The reel is extremely smooth, and the line wraps around snuggly.
  • The reel is very ergonomically designed.
  • The bass fishing combo is very lightweight.
  • High quality for the price.

4. St. Croix Bass X Casting Rod

Best Bass Fishing Casting Rod

This might be the best bass fishing rod for under $100. St. Croix has been making rods and pushing the envelope for years, and they sure did impress us with this rod. It’s a sturdy yet sensitive rod that pairs well with a nice quality baitcasting reel.

Sure there are better rods than this one, but it all comes down to if you’re looking for a good one-piece rod with plenty of life that will surely bring you big bass and even the occasional pike if they’re in the neighborhood. This rod is worth a look!


  • Sensitive yet sturdy
  • Can handle big fish
  • High-quality and durable

5. Enigma Fishing Phenom Titanium Gen 2

Most Sensitive Rod

This could easily replace the number three option on our list because of the Japanese Toray Graphite. This super-sensitive yet lightweight rod is a near steal for the price.

Couple that with titanium guides with Zirconium rings, and you’re talking about a serious bass stick.

A lot of anglers have been using Enigma Phenom Titaniums since generation one. If that’s you, then it’s worth a look at what they’ve done with all these upgrades. It will add a bit more fun to your next bass outing.


  • It is highly sensitive
  • The build is really solid
  • It has a great finish and design
  • It’s very light

6. Enigma Fishing High-Performance Titanium Pro Tournament Series

Best Tournament Ready Rod

You don’t have to enter a bass tournament to enjoy this tournament-ready rod. This rod is similar to our number four selection and comes with the Japanese Toray carbon.

Enigma rods are trusted by bass professionals like Tim Fredericks, Jesse Tacoronte, Shane Lineberger, and John Murray.

It’s not uncommon to see pictures on the web of guys pulling out their personal bests with these rods. They have plenty of backbone and get the job done. If you haven’t thrown one, now’s your chance.


  • Has the power to pull in big fish
  • This rod has been designed by professionals
  • It has an ergonomic design to improve castability
  • The rod is light and sensitive

7. KastKing Royale Select Fishing Rods

Best Budget Option

We’re always a fan of what KastKing has been able to deliver for an affordable price. This rod is no different and should stand up to whatever bass you throw at it. This rod is the real deal whether you’re throwing the Texas Rig, Carolina Rig, or your favorite lures.

It’s hard to find another rod that can give you the level of control for the price.


  • KastFlex technology blank provides incredible performance, sensitivity, and power
  • Fuji fishing line guides for superior casting distance and accuracy
  • High-strength nylon fishing reel seats for a solid base and all-day comfort
  • Power Transition System smoothly transitions power throughout the fishing rod blank

8. Shakespeare Ugly Stik Elite Baitcast Combo

Most Durable Option

Ugly Stik GX2 is the next generation of Ugly Stik. It combines the heritage and tradition of the original while maintaining the strength and durability Ugly Stik are known for. Ugly Stik GX2 rods offer better balance for a lighter feel.

Improved components and eye-catching cosmetics for a more modern look versus the previous generation. These combos feature Ugly Tech construction, Ugly Tuff guides, and the Ugly Stik Clear Rod Tip design.


  • The Ugly Stik rod is almost indestructible.
  • The line guides in the rod never get lost or chip.
  • The customer service is top-notch.
  • The rod and reel combo has a 7-year no questions asked warranty.

9. Wild Water Complete 7-Weight Switch Rod Fly Fishing Starter Package

Best Beginner Bass Fly Fishing Combo

Wild Water’s 7 Weight Complete Switch Rod Starter Package has everything you need to hook into a largemouth bass, pike, or steelhead.

Like with our Complete Starter Packages, you will get a fantastic fly rod (this rod is an 11′, 4-piece fly rod) with a LIFETIME WARRANTY. A powerful center disc drag, diecast aluminum large arbor reel pre-loaded with backing.

A weight forward 400 Grain dual color switch line and a 12′ 0X tapered leader, a rod sock, a rod case, a fly box with flies Green From Popper, Bead Head Black Wooly Bugger, and Red and White Deceiver) and a spare 12′ 0X leader.

Technical Specs:

  • Model: AX7-110-4
  • Rod: 11′, 4 Piece Rod
  • Rod Action: Slow
  • Case Length: 34.”
  • Reel: Wild Water’s Large Arbor Die Cast Aluminum reel.
  • Backing: 30#; Line: 400 Grain, dual-color switch line;
  • Leader: 12′ 0X Tapered Monofilament (one leader loaded on a reel and one spare leader).
  • Fly Box: Wild Water’s Small Fly Box
  • Rod Case: Wild Water’s Starter Case to hold the rod, reel, and fly box.

The reel in this package will arrive set up for LEFT hand retrieve but can easily be changed to right-hand retrieve if desired.


  • It comes with a complete gear kit.
  • It is pre-spooled with a 400-grain line.
  • It has nice castability.

Factors to Consider When Choosing a Bass Fishing Reel and Rod

Having a proper fishing rod is one of the most important things you need to catch fish in the water successfully. Using the right pole can help you land a cast and work your bait the way you intend. 

These are things to look at when choosing a rod and a reel:

Choosing a Bass Fishing Reel

Drag Strength

The amount of drag your reel can handle is determined by the fish you’re trying to catch. If you want to target big game fish like tuna, marlin, or sailfish, then you need a reel with a high drag max.

These fish can put an incredible amount of pressure on your line and bass fishing gear, so it’s essential to have a reel that can handle it. You won’t need as much drag for smaller fish, like bass, trout, or walleye.

Gear Ratio

The gear ratio of your reel is going to determine how fast the line is being drawn in. A higher gear ratio means the line is drawn in faster, while a lower gear ratio means the line is drawn in slower.

For example, a reel with a 5:1 gear ratio will draw the line five times for every revolution of the handle. This is a good all-around gear ratio that works well for most fish. If you’re targeting a specific type of fish, you may want to adjust the gear ratio to better suit your needs.

Spool Size

Spool size is crucial because it will determine how many lines you can fit on your reel. You’ll need a larger spool to have more lines if you’re targeting big fish. Smaller spools are better for smaller fish since you won’t need as much line.

The size of the spool will also affect the weight of your reel, so keep that in mind when choosing.


The weight of your reel is going to be a personal preference. Some people prefer lighter reels because they’re easier to carry around, while others prefer heavier reels because they offer more power.

It’s really up to you which one you choose, but keep in mind that the weight will also affect the balance of your rod.


When it comes to the material of your reel, you have a few options. The most common materials are aluminum and graphite. Aluminum will be the more durable option, but it will also be heavier. Graphite is lighter but not as durable.

If you’re fishing in saltwater, you’ll want to choose a reel explicitly made for that because saltwater can corrode regular reels.

Ball Bearings

Your reel’s number of ball bearings will determine how smoothly it operates. The more bearings there are, the smoother it will be. However, more bearings also mean a higher price tag.

You don’t need a reel with many bearings if you’re starting. Just make sure there are at least a few so the reel operates smoothly.

Choosing a Bass Fishing Rod

Here are a few things to consider when choosing a quality bass rod.


The power of your bass rod is going to be determined by the fish you’re targeting. If you want to catch big game fish, you’ll need a heavier rod with more power. For smaller fish, you can get away with a lighter rod. The rod’s power will also determine how many lines you can put on your reel.


The action of your rod is going to determine how the tip moves when you’re casting. There are three different types of action: fast, medium, and slow. Fast-action rods have a lot of flexibility in the tip, while slow-action rods have very little. Medium-action rods are somewhere in between.

Fast action rods are better for casting long distances, while slow action rods are better for accuracy. Medium action rods are an excellent all-around choice.


When it comes to the material of your rod, you have a few options. The most common materials are graphite and fiberglass. Graphite rods are lighter and more sensitive, while fiberglass rods are heavier and more durable.

If you’re starting, you should choose a rod made of graphite. As you get more experienced, you can upgrade to a fiberglass rod.

Rod Length

The rod length will be determined by the fish you’re targeting. If you want to catch big fish, you’ll need a longer rod to have more leverage. For smaller fish, you can get away with a shorter rod. The rod length is also going to determine how many lines you can put on your reel.


The grip of your rod is going to be a personal preference. Some people prefer cork handles because they’re comfortable and have a good grip, while others prefer EVA foam because it’s lighter. It’s really up to you which one you choose.


While the number of guides on your rod doesn’t necessarily affect the performance, it does affect the price. The more guides there are, the more expensive the rod will be. You don’t need a rod with many guides if you’re starting. Just make sure there are enough, so the line doesn’t get tangled.

What To Consider When Choosing the Best Fishing Rod and Reel Combo for Bass

Strength and Power

The first thing you need to consider when choosing the best fishing rod and reel combo for bass is the strength and power of the rod. You want to make sure that the rod can handle the weight of the fish you are planning on catching. The heavier the fish, the more powerful the rod needs to be.


If you are a beginner, choosing a rod with a medium action is best. This means that the rod’s tip will flex when you put pressure on it. As you become more experienced, you can move to a faster action rod with a stiffer tip.


With regard to the material of the rod, you have a few different options. The most common materials are graphite and fiberglass. Graphite is more expensive, but it is also lighter and stronger. Fiberglass is less costly, but it is also heavier.


The size of the rod will also play a role in your decision-making process. You want to make sure that the rod is the right size for you. If you are a beginner, it is best to choose a smaller rod. As you become more experienced, you can move to a larger rod.


Sensitivity in the pole is another feature that can be quite important. If you get a strike on top of the water, you can visually see it.

When you have a bass “bumping” your lure underwater, you need to be able to feel it. This can prepare you for the impending hookset.

Bass Fishing Rods and Reels Bass caught and held by hand
Catching bass is a thrill! Source

Number of Ball Bearings

The number of ball bearings is also vital to ensure your reel retrieves your line smoothly. With and without the added stress from a ten-pounder on your line!

Retrieve Rate

The retrieve rate a reel has is critical and, for the more experienced anglers, is a deciding factor in their choice of reel to pair with a rod.

You want a rod and reel combo that will hold up over time. It can almost be considered an investment. For this reason, it is a good idea to spend a little extra to get the best the manufacturers have to offer.

It will pay off in the long run. You can easily spend more on an inferior setup that you’ll have to replace yearly.

Baitcasting vs. Spinning

The most common rod and reel combo you can get for bass is simply two different types of reels: Baitcasting and Spinning.

YouTube video

Although some use fly rods, the weight on the rods has to be on the higher spectrum to handle bass.

Baitcasting for Bass

The masses use baitcasting reels to cast baits into the tightest places accurately. Baitcasting reels can cast lures from ⅛ oz up to 2-3 oz with the turn of the spool tensioner.

Baitcasters generally have higher line retrieves. A faster retrieve allows a user to cover more water. And find certain spots where fish may lay in wait for a fleeing prey fish or other edible creature.

Catching bass from a boat
Using a baitcaster on a boat in hard-to-reach places can set you apart from the amateurs. Source

Where Baitcasters Excel

Baitcasters can punch certain baits in holes, weed beds, and small crevices in rocks. They can also lay down structures due to the high adjustability of the spool. A slight twitch can send a bait 20 yards or more.

With practice, an angler can put a lead weight in a coffee cup from thirty yards away with ease.

The issues with baitcasters are that the lighter lures will not cast as easily, in my experience, as the heavier ones.

Most soft plastic lures will cast with ease with a bait caster. But the lighter topwater lures and smaller finesse-type baits are harder to cast.

Not having enough weight in the lure can result in a backlash due to the spool over-spinning and line wrapping itself upon the spool. This can lead to a bad day on the water.

Spinning for Bass

Spinning rods are used by many for finesse-type fishing and as an intermediate setup for the aspiring bass angler. You do not have to worry about a backlash as much as a bait caster with a spinning reel.

Bass held by the mouth
Spinning reels are a no-fail way to catch bass in a hurry. Source

With the right rod and reel combo setup, you can cast baits as small as 1/64 oz up to as large as 5-6 oz, if not bigger.

Spinning reels tend to have a slower retrieve for the more finesse baits to get as much action out of your baits as possible.

The slower retrieve is suitable for anglers that do not have as much experience. Or cannot vary their retrieve speed according to the specific action of the bait being thrown.

Downsides of Spinning Reels

The main downside of spinning reels is the simple inaccuracy most anglers have. When fishing with spinning rods, you cast in the general area where you want.

Your bait hits where you want; at times, it hits to the side or in front of where you want. It takes tons of patience and practice to be accurate with a spinning reel.

You cannot accurately stop the bait with your thumb. You have to close the spool when you feel like it has gone far enough.

Fly Fishing for Bass

Fly rods are a breed of their own when it comes to bass fishing. Not many people use fly rods to bass fish, but fly rods are the epitome of finesse when it comes to fishing.

The good thing about using fly reels is catching the most finicky bass that will not strike anything else. The best fly rods for bass fishing are 7-9.

The issue with fly rods is that it takes space to fish due to the line traveling in the front and behind you. And if you are a bank fisherman, it can be difficult to catch bass.

What Are Some of the Best Bass Fishing Rods and Reel Combos Made Of?

A quality bass fishing rod is made of graphite and glass combined in a blank and then interlaced with carbon fiber for strength and total durability.

Porcelain eyelets are preferred to keep your line from fraying. The cheaper plastic eyelets tend to chip and cause your line to snap when casting.

Reel with a fish hooked
Are you ready to go bass fishing this weekend?

On the other hand, the best bass reels are created from corrosion-resistant metal with stainless steel internals and shielded bearings.

The shielded bearings keep the grease in and the dirt out and take the hassle of keeping up and cleaning your reel every time you fish.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the most expensive fishing rod?

Oyster legacy series bamboo at $12,000.00.

What is the best fishing rod and reel combo for beginners?

KastKing combo spinning rod and reel fishing kit come in as most recommended.

What is the best fishing rod for the money?

The Shakespeare Ugly Stik Tiger Jigging spinning rod comes in as most recommended for 2023.

What is the best baitcasting rod for bass?

The best baitcasting rod for bass is Shakespeare Ugly Stik GX2 casting rod.

How to store fishing rods?

Store your rod on a rod rack that can be mounted vertically or horizontally. Loosen the drag before storing your rod and reel combo, so the line does not break or pull on the rod. Remove the fishing line from your rod and reel combo before storage if you have been fishing in saltwater.

Insider Advice

Quality and dependability are kings when it comes to the bass fishing rod and reel combo. However, it ultimately depends on what the bass fisherman is used to and comfortable using.

Someone once said, “You can have five bass fishermen on the same lake, and each will have a different setup.”

I have personally seen this time and again. I have seen large bass caught on rigs that I would never have thought would bring them in.

On the other hand, I have seen smaller bass break poles and strip gears in reels. So it does boil down to quality. (And probably a little bit of luck).

Jon Stenstrom
Founder & Angler
Jon Stenstrom is a fishing enthusiast. He has over 25 years of fishing experience, and 6 years of spearfishing experience, and is currently learning how to boat. Jon has his Open Water PADI Certification and FII Freediver Level 1 Certification. Jon has traveled the world to fish and dive, most notably in the Great Barrier Reef, Baja Mexico, Thailand, and Malaysia. More Articles
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