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Bass Fishing Rods And Reels: Your Guide for Effective Bass Fishing Gear

Who does not like bass fishing? It is probably one of the most adrenaline packed fishing trips you can go on.

Having the best bass fishing rods and reels makes the trip even more enjoyable. You will not have to worry about mechanical issues with reels or rods breaking under the stress of one of these hard fighting fish.

Top Bass Fishing Rods and Reels

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

Many bass anglers have their go-to bass setup that always gets the job done. We are going to explore some of these rod and reel setups.

We are going to look at what set up or combo makes the best bass fishing rods and reels. These setups can be anything from baitcasters to spinning reel setups. Even fly setups!

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Before we look at some of the best bass fishing setups on the market today, we are going to discuss what makes the best bass fishing rods and reels.

Let’s find you the best bass setup for your needs!

What Makes a Rod and Reel Setup Ideal for Bass Fishing?

Strength is one of the most important features of a bass fishing rod and reel. They have to be tough to hold up to larger bass that does not wear down easily.

Sensitivity in the pole is another feature that can be quite important. Obviously, 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

A good drag on the reel is another feature that must be taken into consideration. Improper drag can mean too much line out or a snapped line.

Durability really should also be near the top of the list of things to consider when purchasing the best bass fishing rod and reel.

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

The retrieve rate a reel has is a very important and for the more experienced anglers is a deciding factor on their choice of reel to pair with a rod.

You want a rod and reel 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.

What Are the More Common Rods and Reels for Bass?

The most common combos you can get for bass are simply two different types of reels: Baitcasting and Spinning. Although fly rods are used by some, the weight on the rods has to be on the higher spectrum in order to handle bass.

Baitcasting for Bass

Baitcasting reels are used by the masses in order to cast baits accurately into the tightest of places. As well as the ease of casting to the other side of the lake with a flick of the wrist.

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

Baitcasting reels can cast lures from ⅛ oz all the way up to 2-3 oz with the turn of the spool tensioner.

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

Where Baitcasters Excel

Baitcasters can punch certain baits in holes, in weed beds, and small crevices in rocks. They can also lay down structures due to the high adjustability of the spool. A small 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 than the heavier ones. Most soft plastic lures will cast with ease with a baitcaster. 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 a finesse type fishing as well as an intermediate setup for the aspiring bass angler. With a spinning reel, you do not have to worry about backlash as much as a baitcaster.

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 setup you can cast baits as small as 1/64 oz up to baits as large as 5-6 oz if not bigger.

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

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

Downsides of Spinning Reels

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

Sometimes your bait hits where you want sometimes it hits to the side or in front of where you wanted. It takes tons of patience and practice to be accurate with a spinning reel.

You can not accuracy 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 a lot of people use fly rods to bass fish, but fly rods are for the epitome of finesse when it comes to fishing.

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

Anything smaller and you could break your investment and any larger and you could be catching what feels like minnows on a deep sea rod.

The issue with fly rods is that it takes space to fish due to the line travel in front and behind you. And if you are a bank fisherman it can be difficult to catch bass, where for example, you can simply underhand cast with a spinning reel or baitcasting reel.

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

The best bass rods are made of graphite and glass combined in a blank and then interlaced with carbon fiber for strength and total durability.

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

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.

The best bass reels, on the other hand, 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 out of keeping up and cleaning your reel everytime you fish.

Best Bass Fishing Rods and Reels Reviews

Good Rod and Reel for Bass

Shakespeare Ugly Stik Elite Baitcast Combo

Ugly Stik Elite Baitcast Combo
  • Rod features 35% more graphite for lighter weight
  • Ugly tuff one-piece stainless steel guides
  • Ugly stik clear tip delivers extra strength and is...

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 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.


  • The included line on the reel is cheap.

Best Baitcaster Combo

Lew’s Mach Crush Speed Spool SLP Bait Cast Combo

LEW'S FISHING Mach Crush Speed Spool SLP Combo, Baitcast Combo, Baitcasting Reel, Fishing Reel and Fishing Rod, Fishing Gear and Equipment, Fishing Accessories (MC1SH70MH)
  • ZERO REVERSE: Premium 10-bearing system with...
  • MULTI-SETTING BRAKE (MSB): Externally-adjustable...

Built with durability in mind. The Lew’s Mach Crush Speed Spool SLP baitcasting rod and reel is ready to provide anglers with smooth and reliable fish-fighting power.

Like many of Lew’s rod and reel combos, this one comes packed with features that are bound to satisfy any angler who’s looking for a new baitcasting combo.

In fact, 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 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 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.


  • The eyelets have a tendency to chew on your line.

Best Bass Fishing Rod and Reel Combo

Cadence Fishing CC5 Spinning Combo

Cadence CC5 Spinning Combo Lightweight with 24-Ton Graphite 2-Piece Graphite Rod Carbon Fiber Drag System Smooth Strong Carbon Composite Frame & Side Plates Reel & Rod Combo
  • WHAT MAKES THE CC5: The Cadence CC5 is built from...
  • QUALITY MATERIALS: The CC5 combo series from...
  • A ROD FOR ALL: The CC5 series of combos include...

The Cadence CC5 is built from 24-ton graphite.

Features Include:

  • Features corrosion-resistant stainless steel guides & inserts.
  • A strong carbon composite frame & side plates.
  • A lightweight & comfortable oversized ergonomic EVA handle knob.
  • A reliable stainless steel main shaft.
  • An aluminum pinion gear.

The CC5 series of combos include our CS5 spinning reel and our CC5 spinning rod. In a variety of sizes and actions to meet the needs of most any fishing situation.

The CC5 combo series from Cadence offers quality components and materials that surpass the competition. The blanks are constructed from 24-ton carbon and come in a variety of 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 include our CS5 spinning reel and our CC5 spinning rod in a variety of sizes and actions. Making the CC5 a great spinning combo to have 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.


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

Best Spinning Rod and Spinning Reel for Bass

KastKing Sharky III Spinning Fishing Rod Reel Combos

KastKing Sharky III Spinning Combos,7ft M Power-M Fast,3000 Reel
  • POWERFUL Toray IM7 Graphite Blanks – Sharky III...
  • PREMIUM - KastKing uses only premium Fuji guides...
  • COMFORT - Light Weight EVA Handles and Fighting...

The KastKing Sharky III combo is an exceptional value and a true performance combo! These rods are designed for serious anglers looking for an incredible 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 all the way to an incredible 9’ rod designed for steelhead and light salmon fishing. There’s 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.

To complete the combo we have included the Sharky III reel. This incredibly smooth, 5.2:1 gear ratio, 10+1 ball bearing reel has a graphite frame and rotor. An aluminum spool and handle and has a powerful triple disc carbon drag. This long and easy casting reel will quickly become your favorite reel and will be perfectly matched to 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 and as always, you’ll be protected by KastKing’s incredible Total Peace of Mind policy.


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


  • Can not cast very far due to the smaller first eyelet keeping the fishing line from flowing as fast as possible.

Best Fly Rods and Reel Combo

Wild Water Complete 7 Weight Switch Rod Fly Fishing Starter Package for Bass and Pike

Wild Water Complete 7 Weight Switch Rod Fly Fishing Starter Package for Bass and Pike
  • Rod comes with Lifetime Warranty. IM8 graphite...
  • Waterproof, Floating Fly Box - 5.25" x 3.5" x...
  • Diecast aluminum spool, frame and reel foot,...

Wild Water’s 7 Weight Complete Switch Rod Starter Package comes with everything you need to hook into a largemouth bass, pike or steelhead. Just like with our Complete Starter Packages, you will get a fantastic fly rod (this rod is an 11′, 4 piece fly rod) that comes 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.


  • Comes with a complete gear kit.
  • Is pre-spooled with a 400-grain line.
  • Has nice castability.


  • Is fairly heavy for a 7 weight rod.

Best Bass Fishing Rods And Reels Final Thoughts

When it comes to bass fishing rods and reels, quality and dependability are kings. 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 never would have thought would bring them in.

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

Best Bass Fishing Rods and Reels FAQ

Q: What is the most expensive fishing rod?

A: Oyster legacy series bamboo at $12,000.00.

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

A: KastKing combo spinning rod and reel fishing kit comes in as most recommended.

Q: Best fishing rod for the money?

A: The Shakespeare Ugly Stik Tiger Jigging spinning rod comes in as most recommended for 2018.

Q: Best bass fishing setup?

A: The Abu Garcia Black Max Baitcaster comes in as best for 2018.

Q: Best baitcasting rods for bass?

A: Shakespeare Ugly Stik GX2 casting rod.

Q: How to store fishing rods?

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

The Anglers Behind This Article:

Johnny Harvill

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