Fishing Reel and Rod combo buying guide

If you are wondering what are the main features you should consider when buying yourself a rod and reel combo you are not the only one. In fact, there are several factors which should be taken into account before purchasing these products. Here are some of them:


This term is used to describe the point at which the rod begins to bend when pressure is applied to its end. Taking into account this term we can discern two main types of rods: fast action and slow action rods. A fast action is prone to bending more near its tip, while a rod with slow action will begin to bend more towards its handle.

A fast action rod is also more sensitive and requires less pulling to set the hook. This makes it ideal for single-hook types of lure because you will want to set the hook quickly. Slow-actioned rods, on the other hand, are better suited to long casting. A slow action rod works by definition best with treble hooks, because they don’t hook deeply into larger single hooks. As a result of this, a slow action rod will ensure that you do not set the hook too quickly, so you will be able to pull it more easily from the fish’s mouth later.


Power is the main factor which gives the rod its lifting strength. Various power ratings exist, which are usually described as heavy, medium, light or anything in between. One important aspect one should be aware of is that the power of the rod must be compatible with the weight of the line. For example, a heavy-powered rod can break a light line, while a heavy line can damage the light powered rod.

That is why when choosing the best combo for you should keep in mind how much power you will need for the specific type of fishing you will practice.


Responsiveness describes how fast a rod can release its energy and then snap back into place. Responsiveness depends mainly on the material of which the rod is made, as well as its weight. Some rods consist of layers of multiple materials, so their responsiveness can be misleading if you judge only by the outer layer. In principle, lighter rods are much more responsive, especially at the tip. Finding a rod with good responsiveness is a must because it will allow you to achieve further and more accurate casts with less energy expenditure.


The materials and the quality of the guides determine the durability of your rod and its ability to withstand corrosion. The best guides are made of silicon carbide putting very little resistance due to friction. This allows you to throw further and retrieve quicker. These guides will also prevent your line from overheating but are also more susceptible to breaking.

Titanium guides are also a decent choice because they are more resilient than stainless steel and less likely to break, ensuring the resistance to corrosion in saltwater. A rule of thumb is that the more guides a rod has the better its performance will be, distributing the pressure more evenly across the pole. This, however, will result in increased cost of the rod, so you should be very careful in deciding which your priorities are.

Ball bearings

The number of ball bearings determines the smoothness of the reel-ins of the rod. In order to be sure that the bearings will remain durable over time it is best to purchase a reel with sealed stainless steel balls. A fishing reel with a good quality will usually have at least two ball bearings. Their number of the most well-known models could come with four to six, while some deluxe models have even as many as twelve.

Gear ratios

The gear ratio determines the speed and the power of the reel. Lower gears provide more power, while higher gears ensure an increased amount of speed. The gear ratio in most fishing reels varies from 2:1(the internal gears make two revolutions for every one revolution of the head crank) up to 6:1. The gear ration can be used as an indication of the kind of fishing you are most likely to do with your reel. For example, if you are planning to draw your line more rapidly than a higher gear ratio will be suitable for you. On the other hand, if you want a reel which can draw with a lot of power then you should choose a lower gear. Some reel models include multiple gears so that you can easily and swiftly switch between them.

Drag system

Drag is the resistance which the reel requires to pull the line away from the spool. Sustaining an optimal drag amount is crucial because if the line is too rigid without enough slack, some big fish can break it by giving a decent amount of resistance. If a reel has a low-quality drag system the line may become jerky an in effect can easily break.

There are two main types of drag systems: star drags and level drags. A star drag system consists of a star-shaped knob placed near the handle with the help of which the resistance can be increased or decreased. Lever drag systems involve manipulating a bar or a button. Lever drag systems are capable of achieving a greater amount of accuracy when casting and have a smoother release. Their biggest disadvantage, however, is that they cost much more than the star ones.

Are you a fishing beginner? You may want to read my review of the best spinning rod and reel combos for beginners. I hope that it helps.


If you are a fishing beginner you may want to check my article about the best telescopic rod and reel for beginners, or best spinning rod and reel for beginners, my article about the best fishing rod and reel for backpacking, hiking and camping or my fishing rod buying guide. If you are a beginner you may find these articles very helpful.