Best Baitcaster Combos in 2020 – Buyer’s Guide

If you’re looking for accuracy, durability, and catching big fish without having to worry about line twists, chances are you’re looking for baitcaster gear. There’s a reason pros and experienced anglers love baitcasters after all.

Moreover, the best thing about getting a fishing combo is that you take out the guesswork of whether they fit.

However, a lot of research has to take place to get to the right fishing gear. So, we did the work for you to give you the best baitcaster combos.

List of the Baitcaster Combos:

  • Tailored Tackle Baitcasting Combo – Best Overall
  • Ugly Stik Elite Baitcast Combo – Runner-Up
  • Cadence BC5 Baitcasting Combo – Best Beginner Baitcaster Combo
  • Abu Garcia Black Max Combo – Best Baitcaster Combo Under 100
  • KastKing Crixus Combo – Most Lightweight Combo
  • LEW’S FISHING Mach Crush Combo – Best Baitcaster Combo Under 200
  • Shakespeare Alpha Low-Profile Combo – Best Two-piece Combo

Top Picks:

Combo

Gear RatioRight or Left-HandedRod Material

Rod Length

Tailored Tackle Baitcasting Combo

6.3:1Options for bothGraphite7’

Ugly Stik Elite Baitcast Combo

6.2: 1RightGraphite composite6’6”

Cadence BC5 Baitcasting Combo

6.6:1Options for both24-ton graphite6’6”/7’

Abu Garcia Black Max Combo

6.4:1Right24-ton graphite

6’6”/7’

KastKing Crixus Combo

6.5:1Options for bothIM6 graphite6’/ 6’6″/7’

LEW’S FISHING Mach Crush Combo

7.5:1Options for bothGraphite7’/7’3”

Shakespeare Alpha Low-Profile Combo

      6.2: 1RightTubular glass6′

The 7 Best Baitcaster Combos in 2020

1. Tailored Tackle Baitcasting Combo – Best Overall

Tailored Tackle Baitcasting Combo

It is not easy looking for the best baitcasting combo; there is a lot that it has to balance. The Tailored Tackle Baitcasting Combo managed to be on top by being affordable, easy to use, portable, sensitive, comfortable, and perfect for bass fishing.

Before we get into any specs or features, this combo comes with a 14-page booklet full of baitcasting and bass fishing tips and techniques.

Our top pick has a graphite blank, which makes it incredibly lightweight and sensitive. So, beginners are welcome to try this one. You’ll love the handles because they’re made of comfortable, durable EVA foam. Also, it has an ergonomic pistol grip for comfort.

This rod comes in a 7-feet length, which is the perfect all-around length for all kinds of applications. It has medium-heavy power, which makes sense with its 10 to 25 pounds of line rating. Also, it has a fast action to provide the needed stiffness against aggressive bass.

In addition, the rod is a 2-piece one, which makes storing or traveling with it a breeze.

On the other hand, the reel, which is available in right and left-handed options, is primarily made of graphite and stainless steel to stand freshwater and saltwater fishing. It has a fast gear ratio of 6.3:1 for quick casting. 

Also, it makes the bass fishing experience much smoother and more beginner-friendly, thanks to the Pop-Off Baitcaster Reel System that helps you remove the spool to fix any tangles very quickly and easily.

This combo’s disadvantage or limitation is that it is catered towards catching bass. So, if you’re a beginner learning to catch other fish with baitcasting gear, this combo is not it.

Pros:

  • Affordable
  • Available in right and left-handed options
  • 14-page booklet with bass fishing tips
  • Beginner-friendly
  • Pop-off-spool feature
  • Portable two-piece construction
  • Fast gear ratio

Cons:

  • Caters to bass fishing only

Bottom Line

The Tailored Tackle Baitcasting Combo has it all: price, sensitivity, comfort, lightweightness, portability, and beginner-friendliness. For all these reasons, it is our top pick in the best baitcaster combos.

2. Ugly Stik Elite Baitcast Combo – Runner-Up

Ugly Stik Elite Baitcast Combo

What is better than an excellent baitcaster combo? An excellent baitcaster combo that is backed by a 7-year warranty. The Ugly Stik Elite Baitcast Combo kills it with affordability, premium construction, and versatility.

The Ugly Tech construction combines graphite and fiberglass, with 35% more graphite than the Ugly Stik GX2, to get the best of both worlds. The strength and durability of fiberglass combined with the sensitivity and lightweightness of graphite is an unmatched recipe.

Furthermore, the Ugly Tuff one-piece, stainless steel guides add to the rod’s durability and precision; they also prevent accidental insert pop-outs. Also, we love the Ugly Stik clear tip, and how much sensitivity it adds. Moreover, the premium cork handles make the rod comfortable to carry all day.

The rod is 6’6” long, which means it is on the shorter side of the spectrum. This shortness adds to the rod’s accuracy and precision in casting. It has a medium-heavy power and a line rating of 10 to 20 pounds, which is a nice range for catching medium to large fish.

One final thing we love about this rod is that it is available in one and two-piece options. One-piece rods are known for their sensitivity and strength, while two-piece ones are easier to transport or store.

The reel is smooth and adjustable with a machined aluminum ported spool for extra durability. Moreover, it is pretty resistant to backlash.

Despite being basically in love with this combo, we wish it offered a left-handed option as well.

Pros:

  • Affordable
  • 35% more graphite than Ugly Stik GX2
  • Ugly Tech construction
  • Premium cork handles
  • Available in one-piece and two-piece options
  • Ugly Stik clear tip

Cons:

  • Right-handed only

Bottom Line

The Ugly Stik Elite Baitcast Combo is clearly one of the best baitcaster combos on the market, as it is affordable, versatile, lightweight, and durable.

3. Cadence BC5 Baitcasting Combo – Best Beginner Baitcaster Combo

Cadence BC5 Baitcasting Combo

Baitcaster gear is always the number one option for pros, but the last one for beginners. It usually has a high learning curve that pushes inexperienced anglers away. So, many manufacturers work hard on making their baitcaster realistically easier to use, and that is where the affordable Cadence BC5 Baitcasting Combo succeeded.

Starting with its construction, the rod is made of 24-ton graphite to make it strong, yet lightweight and sensitive. In addition, it has stainless steel guides for some serious corrosion resistance and smooth performance. Also, you’ll love the premium-grade cork handles because they’re actually comfortable, and they give you a secure grip on the rod.

We appreciate the diversity in size and power options. It comes in lengths of 6’6”, and 7’, which aren’t too long for someone starting out; these sizes are also suitable for a variety of applications.

Furthermore, this rod comes in medium and medium-heavy powers, enabling you to catch various types of fish such as trout and bass or use it in different kinds of fishing such as surf or kayak fishing. Its action is fast for applications that need a stiff rod.

Also, it comes in a compact construction of 2 pieces so that you can take it apart and carry it around comfortably.

On the other hand, the reel ties up the elegant look with a sleek matte black frame. Its lightweight frame and side plates are made of graphite. It also has corrosion-resistant components. It has a middle-speed gear ratio of 6.6:1 for slow and fast baits.

Another thing we have to mention about the reel is that it comes in options for both right-handed and left-handed anglers, which is one of the best things about baitcasting reels.

The combo itself is excellent, but some people may face some quality control issues in the process.

Pros:

  • Affordable
  • Beginner-friendly
  • Available in right and left-handed options
  • Different size and power options
  • Sleek design
  • Stainless steel guides

Cons:

  • Minor quality control issues

Bottom Line

If you’re a beginner looking for a budget-friendly baitcaster combo that doesn’t make you suffer from its poor quality, the Cadence BC5 Baitcasting Combo is the right pick for you. From robust construction to versatility, it has it all.

4. Abu Garcia Black Max Combo – Best Baitcaster Combo Under 100

Abu Garcia Black Max Combo

A decent baitcasting combo at an affordable price shouldn’t be a lot to ask for, but it is hard to find. However, the Abu Garcia Black Max Combo proves that it is not impossible to have a lot of the qualities you look for in high-end combos in an under-100-dollars set.

Thanks to the 24-ton graphite construction, this rod is lightweight, responsive, and flexible. Also, it has stainless steel guides with titanium oxide inserts, and that is a lot of corrosion-resistance and durability. Also, the high-density EVA handles make a long day fishing much more comfortable.

Our rod comes in lengths of  6’6” and 7’ for your short to medium needs. Its actions are either moderate-fast or fast to give you some flexibility under pressure. Its powers are either medium or medium-heavy to have enough backbone to carry lines with 8 to 15 pounds and 10 to 20 pounds.

There is a common disadvantage to fishing combos, which is that the reels are usually flimsy and low-quality. Understandably, this common occurrence pushes people away from buying a fishing combo at all. However, the Abu Garcia Black Max Combo has a high-quality reel that won’t quit. 

First things first, the design looks pretty cool. It is incredibly lightweight. Its graphite one-piece frame and graphite side plates give it a solid feel. The stainless steel components help it operate smoothly, while the machined aluminum spool adds strength without excess weight.

This reel’s medium-speed gear ratio of 6.4:1 makes it work for a lot of applications.

The downside here is that the reel is only available for right-handed anglers only, which means left-handed anglers have to look elsewhere.

Pros:

  • Affordable
  • Different size, action, and power options
  • Available in one-piece and two-piece options
  • High-quality reel
  • Stainless steel guides with Titanium oxide inserts
  • Machined aluminum spool

Cons:

  • Right-handed only

Bottom Line

The versatile Abu Garcia Black Max Combo is proof that you don’t have to pay a king’s ransom to get a baitcaster fishing combo that is of high quality.

5. KastKing Crixus Combo – Most Lightweight Combo

KastKing Crixus Combo

If you’re used to long fishing trips, the memory of achy forearms is probably still fresh in your mind. Having high-quality lightweight fishing gear is more important than most people think, and that is why the affordable KastKing Crixus Combo should be on your list.

The rod is made of IM6 graphite to make it powerful, sensitive, and lightweight enough not to tire you no matter how long you have to carry it. Also, it has stainless steel guides with zirconium oxide rings that perform well under pressure with all types of lines.

Its super polymer handles are the best ones on the market because they provide comfort, durability, security, and slip-resistance that leaves you confident enough to fish in all conditions.

We love the variety in options that the rod comes in. At lengths of 6′, 6’6″, and 7’, you got all of your freshwater fishing covered up. The fast action helps the rod bounce back under pressure quickly. Its medium and medium-heavy powers give the rod the necessary backbone to catch bass, trout, panfish, or walleye. 

The KastKing Crixus Combo comes in a two-piece construction to enable you to take it apart and store anywhere you want. 

However, many people rightfully avoid multi-piece rods because they tend to be flimsy, less durable, and less sensitive than one-piece rods. Thanks to the Power Transition System, this rod has the power and sensitivity of a one-piece rod, with the portability of a two-piece one.

Let’s talk about the reel because it’s a whole deal in itself. It is blessed with lightweight carbon-infused frames and CNC aluminum spool. Also, it has a versatile medium-speed gear ratio of 6.5:1. Finally, it comes in right and left-handed options.

Nonetheless, this combo is clearly catering to freshwater fishing. So, if you’re looking for a saltwater combo, you have to look elsewhere.

Pros:

  • Available in right and left-handed options
  • Different size and power options
  • IM6 graphite
  • Super polymer handles
  • Power Transition System

Cons:

  • Not suitable for saltwater fishing

Bottom Line

The KastKing Crixus Combo is the best lightweight baitcaster combo, thanks to its lightweight and comfortable components, two-piece construction, and variety in sizes and powers.

6. LEW’S FISHING Mach Crush Combo – Best Baitcaster Combo Under 200

LEW'S FISHING Mach Crush Combo

Once again, we can’t stress enough that high-quality isn’t only found in highly expensive products. The award-winning LEW’S FISHING Mach Crush Combo has a very reasonable price, yet it offers durability, lightweightness, and comfort.

First things first, this combo has an interesting design with bright orange and black accents. Some people adore it, while others not too much; it is just a matter of taste.

The rod is made of IM8 graphite with Nanotechnology, which is famous for making blanks strong yet sensitive and lightweight. In addition, our rod features American Tackle Airwave guides for a smooth and hassle-free experience.

Furthermore, the SoftTouch graphite skeletal reel seats secure your reel in its place no matter what. The Winn Dri-Tac split grips are comfortable and slip-resistant.

At lengths of 7’ and 7’3”, the LEW’S FISHING Mach Crush Combo offers the longest rod on our list. Longer rods give you larger casting distance. Its medium-heavy and heavy powers enable you to catch larger and more aggressive fish.

You need to know about the reel too. It has a strong and lightweight, Super Low Profile (SLP) graphite frame and side plates to make it sturdy yet easy to carry. Also, it has a machined and double anodized aluminum U-shape spool and aluminum handle for extra sturdiness. Moreover, it has a high-speed gear ratio of 7.5:1 for fast baits such as topwaters and lipless crankbaits.

Fortunately, the reel has options for both right and left-handed anglers.

Unfortunately, the rod only comes in a one-piece construction, which can make it hard to store.

Pros:

  • Available in right and left-handed options
  • IM8 graphite blank with Nanotechnology and American Tackle Airwave guides
  • SoftTouch graphite skeletal reel seats
  • Winn Dri-Tac split grip

Cons:

  • No two-piece options

Bottom Line

The LEW’S FISHING Mach Crush Combo is the best baitcaster combo under 200 because of how durable, lightweight, and comfortable it is.

7. Shakespeare Alpha Low-Profile Combo – Best Two-piece Combo

Shakespeare Alpha Low Profile Combo

One-piece rods are the most popular for a reason, but having to deal with the hassle of finding a place to store them every time is annoying. Two-piece rods, like the one in the incredibly affordable Shakespeare Alpha Low-Profile Combo, truly let you enjoy having fishing gear on the go.

The rod is made of tubular glass, which makes it responsive. In addition, the EVA grips give you complete control with a comfortable feel, so you won’t mind using it all day. Moreover, it comes in a short length of 6′ for accurate casting and ease of use.

On the other hand, the reel is made of graphite to make it lightweight. Also, it already comes pre-spooled with an 8-pound line so you can jump right into fishing. Its performance is smooth and unproblematic, so it is good for beginners.

However, we have to point out that the reel is catered towards right-handed anglers only. In addition, you get what you pay for in terms of durability. So, don’t expect this combo to last you a lifetime.

Pros:

  • Incredibly affordable
  • Tubular glass blank construction and graphite reel
  • Pre-spooled with 8-lb line
  • Portable two-piece construction

Cons:

  • Right-handed only
  • Won’t last long

Bottom Line

The Shakespeare Alpha Low-Profile Combo is a convenient, affordable, and portable baitcaster combo that’s perfect for helping you get started.

Benefits of a Baitcaster Combo

The decisions you make before getting new fishing gear depend on your needs. If the following reasons sound good to you, then you should get a baitcaster combo.

Accuracy

If you love being in control of where you cast the line exactly, you’ll love fishing with a baitcaster combo. Nothing beats the pinpoint accuracy that a baitcasting rod and reel can give you, which is why so many professionals love it.

In addition, a baitcasting combo will help you cast farther than a spinning one because the line flows off the spool instead of being limited by an uncoiling motion.

Larger and Heavier

Going after larger and heavier fish means using heavier and more powerful lines. Baitcasting reels have higher line capacities and can do better with heavier lines and baits than spinning reels. They should be your first choice if you’re trying to catch your next trophy fish.

Strength and Durability

Baitcasting rods are strong, have more backbone, and stand their ground when attacked. 

In addition, they are known for their durability and can last a lifetime if maintained well, which is another reason pros love them. Baitcasting rods are more expensive than spinning ones, but if they don’t have to be replaced as often, they’re worth it.

Compatibility

Have you ever paid an arm and a leg for a decent rod and a decent reel, only for them not to fit together? When you buy your fishing tackle in a combo, you don’t have to worry about their compatibility, and you’re saving time and money.

How to Pick a Baitcaster Combo

Frame Material

Most reel frames are either made of graphite, aluminum.

Graphite is the more common choice, as it is the cheapest. Besides being cheap, graphite is corrosion-resistant, which works great for saltwater fishing. Furthermore, graphite is lightweight, so you won’t hurt your forearms on long fishing days.

On the other hand, aluminum frames are known for their rigidness under pressure and the ability to take a ton of damage. Of course, they are the more expensive option.

Gear Ratio

The gear ratio simply tells you how many times the spool rotates for every time you rotate the handle, which basically determines the speed of the line retrieval. For example, a 6.4:1 gear ratio means that the spool rotates exactly 6.4 times for every time you turn the handle.

There are low, medium, and high gear ratios, and the right choice depends on your technique.

Low gear ratios such as 5.3:1 are suitable for slow baits like deep crankbaits that get the fish out of their cover. The 6.4:1 gear ratio is the popular all-around choice for all techniques, so you can go for it if you’re unsure.

Rod Material

You should consider your next rod’s material because it affects how it performs. Usually, rods are either made of graphite, fiberglass, or a bit of both.

Of course, graphite rods are the most lightweight, and thus the easiest to carry for long. In addition, they’re pretty sensitive, so beginners who rely on their rods to detect bites will definitely love them.

Fiberglass rods are on the other end of the spectrum. They can be seriously heavy, but they compensate for it in toughness and durability. Also, they are more flexible than graphite rods, which means they are less likely to snap under pressure. They are more affordable too.

Rod Length

Fishing rods come in all shapes and sizes, and each category works for certain applications. 

The most popular all-around choice is a 7-feet rod because it lies in the middle, so it is hard to go wrong with this one. Next, we have short rods from 4 to 7 feet, and they’re more accurate and great for catching feet that are close by. Long rods from 7 to 12 feet are for when you need greater casting distance.

Final Thoughts

If you love fishing combos and want a summary of the best baitcaster combos to help you cast accurately, your wish is our command.

Our favorite affordable options are the Abu Garcia Black Max Combo, LEW’S FISHING Mach Crush Combo, and Shakespeare Alpha Low-Profile Combo.

The most beginner-friendly options are the Tailored Tackle Baitcasting Combo and Cadence BC5 Baitcasting Combo.