Best Baitcaster Combos in 2021 – Buyer’s Guide

If you are an angler who needs to stop using a bass spinning reel and get into baitcast combos, you have come to the right place. 

A baitcast combo is an already-paired rod and reel that work excellently together. Using this combo will help you get the big fish who love the fight. They also allow you to cast the line more accurately and use a heavier line suitable for such feisty fish. 

Buying a combo does not only save you from getting a reel that does not go with your rod and vice versa, as it also lets you get both of them for a lower price. A win. 

With all the various models on the market, we know that choosing the one that suits you is confusing. For this reason, we have compiled a list of the best baitcaster combos on the market along with some vital information.

List of the Best Baitcaster Combos:

  • KastKing Crixus – Best Baitcaster Combo Under $100
  • Abu Garcia Jordan Lee Low Profile – Best Baitcast Combo From Abu Garcia
  • Abu Garcia Black Max – Lightest Baitcaster Combo
  • LEW’S FISHING Mach Crush – Best Baitcaster Combo Under $200
  • Ugly Stik GX2 – Best Beginner Baitcaster Combo
  • Lews American Hero – Best for Having Oversized Eva Grip
  • Tailored Tackle Bass – Best Bass Baitcast Combo

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Top Picks: 

Baitcaster CombosReel material Gear ratio Ball bearings Rod length Power  
KastKing CrixusGraphite 6.5:15+16’0”, 6’6”, 7’0”Light to Medium Heavy  
Abu Garcia Jordan Lee Low ProfileBrass & aluminum6.4:15+17 feet Medium-heavy 
Abu Garcia Black Max6.4:14+16’6”, 7’Medium- Medium heavy  
LEW’S FISHING Mach Crush Graphite 7.5:19+17’0”, 7’3”Medium-heavy, Heavy  
Ugly Stik GX2Plastic 6.2:116’6”Medium 
Lews American HeroGraphite 5.4:1/6.4:1/ 7.1:17+16’6”, 6’10”, 7’0”Medium-heavy  
Tailored Tackle Bass Fishing Rod and ReelGraphite6.3:16+17’0”Medium-heavy 

The 7 Best Baitcaster Combos in 2021

1. KastKing Crixus – Best Baitcaster Combo Under $100

KastKing Crixus

Crixus offer reels that have 5+1 double-shielded stainless ball bearings. It has all the critical ones in the following places: on the spool shaft under the spool tension knob, underneath the handle drive so that they support the main shaft while you crank and, to keep the spool spinning smoothly, they also exist on both sides of it. 

Besides, the anti-reverse bearing that is the (+1) prevents backward motion in the handle. It also has lightweight CNC aluminum spools, and powerful carbon drags. The drag system contains 4 carbon discs that resist up to 17.6 pounds. Moreover, its star-shaped knob helps you fish in open or closed areas. You can cast out with heavy drag if you are in a dock, and you can loosen it up if you want to cast further. 

To prevent backlash while you are casting, there is an 8-piece magnet system. I should also mention that it has a gear ratio of 6.5:1. 

Moreover, having a rod that collapses in two pieces allows for easy transportation as well as requires less storage space. 

It has stainless steel guides along the length of the rod plus smaller zirconium oxide rings that serve to keep all kinds of line straight to increase the accuracy of the casting. 

Since comfort is essential, KastKing Crixus has a handle that is made of super polymer. Even if your hands are wet, it will never slip. 

This is the best baitcaster combo to get if you are going to fish in freshwater only. It is also more suitable for fishing in lakes of average sizes. Moreover, it is suitable for right-handed and left-handed people. 

Pros:

  • Two-piece rod
  • Comfortable and non-slip handle
  • Adjustable drag 

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Cons:

  • Suitable for freshwater only 

Bottom Line 

This is one of the best, if not the best, baitcast combo for freshwater. Its comfortable grip that won’t slip at all lets you relax while fishing. Moreover, it won’t backlash when you are casting, and there won’t be any backward motion in the handle. 

2. Abu Garcia Jordan Lee Low Profile – Best Baitcast Combo From Abu Garcia

Abu Garcia Jordan Lee Low Profile

Abu Garcia needs no introduction as its products speak for themselves. With its power disc drag system and sturdy machined aluminum spool, this is one of the best baitcaster combos on the market. Also, its drag system has an adjustment knob in a star shape. 

Moreover, whenever a backlash happens, the dependable brake system won’t lock. Besides, the 5+1 stainless steel ball bearings provide smooth retrieval so that you won’t feel any grinding. 

The 18-pound drag system ensures that you can catch pretty big fish. Its line capacity is as follows: 12/145 mono, and 30/140 braided, so you can fit a lot of line on the reel and enjoy your trip. 

The 24-ton graphite rod is medium-heavy and is 7 feet long, so you can use it to go after large fish. Moreover, the handle is made of Winn polymer, which helps you hold it for as long as you want. To ensure that you are comfortable, the handle is compact to prevent your hands from getting closer to the reel. 

Furthermore, it is so sensitive so that you can feel the lightest of bites on the other end of the rod. It suits the right and left-handed people. 

You can use this combo if you want to chase walleye, perch or bass in case there is not much vegetation. Since it is medium-heavy, it works excellently with Crankbaits and spinnerbaits. 

Pros:

  • Long rod
  • Good line capacity
  • Stellar cast control

Cons:

  • May not be suitable for short anglers

Bottom Line

Abu Garcia Jordan Lee Low Profile is the best baitcast combo from Abu Garcia thanks to its 7 feet, medium-heavy power, and big line capacity. 

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3. Abu Garcia Black Max – Lightest Baitcaster Combo 

Abu Garcia Black Max

Abu Garcia Black Max is a 7-foot rod that comes in a single piece and has a medium-heavy power. 

Its rod is made of the fantastic graphite that allows it to feel the lightest of bites thanks to its high sensitivity. It also gives it enough strength to fight the toughest fish you could encounter. 

The reel compliments the rod’s sensitivity with a Power Disk™ drag system that can put the sturdiest fish under its mercy. Moreover, the MagTrax™ brake system provides you with accurate casting as it applies consistent pressure on the line. 

As for the ball bearings, it has 4 stainless steel ball bearings and one roller bearing configuration as well as a machined aluminum spool. This way, you can rest assured that you will be blessed with strong performance regardless of the lightweight. 

It has a gear ratio of 6.4:1, which is pretty good. Besides, it offers a model that is suitable for right-handed people and another that is made for left-handed ones. 

However, some people have complaints saying that the retrieve sometimes sticks. Also, the quality of the reel is way better than that of the rod. 

Pros:

  • Excellent for beginners 
  • Reliable and smooth reel 
  • Good distance 
  • Easily controlled 
  • Consistent casting 

Cons:

  • Rod’s quality could have been better
  • Retrieve sometimes sticks

Bottom Line

This is one of the best baitcast combos for beginners. Its excellent drag system and its graphite rod allow beginners and professionals to catch tough fish with ease.  

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

LEW'S FISHING Mach Crush

This is the best baitcaster combo for professionals. It is quite similar to KastKing Crixus, given that they share an anti-reverse bearing, and a magnetic brake system, along with other features. 

The difference between them won’t be noticeable to beginners, but professionals may feel the difference and pay the extra bucks for it. For example, LEW’S FISHING Mach Crush has 10 double-shielded ball bearings, which is great given that most models have one layer of shielding or even none at all. 

One of the reasons why this combo is better suited for professionals is the existence of an audible spool tension adjustment, and the brake system has 4 discs that can be engaged or disengaged individually. Such features will go unnoticeable to beginners, so if you are one, do not pay the extra cash for nothing.  

However, some improvements are apparent, like the drag system that can resist up to 20 pounds. This will come in handy when you are in a fight up against sturdy fish. Still, if you know that you will angel for such kind of fish, make sure to get a heavier test line. 

As for maintenance, this reel has an external lube port that allows for quick maintenance. After fishing with it three to four times, just add a drop of oil in this port, and you are good to go.

The rod is made of IM8 graphite, so it is firm, but it is more prone to fracture. However, it has very high sensitivity, so you will feel the tiniest bite of fish. It is also suitable for right and left-handed people. 

As for the handles, the polymer in the Winn split-grips on it helps with a clean hook set. Moreover, their oversize helps anglers keep a steady hand when they are fighting a running fish. 

Its improved gear ratio that is 7.5:1 helps anglers get a hook set fast as well as allows them to fight erratic fish. 

It is suitable for casting lighter lines and lures because the smaller 32mm spool is excellent for casting lighter lines. You can also use it to go after a large target thanks to its magnet brake system and the drag system. However, in case you will go after large fish, make sure to use a heavier line, or use a leader.

LEW’S FISHING Mach Crush is an excellent combo for going after Texas rigs, but not so great with angling for crankbaits and their likes. 

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Pros:

  • Easy to maintain 
  • Double-shielded bearings
  • Improved gear ratio
  • Increased drag
  • Audible spool tension adjustment

Cons:

  • Overkill for beginners 
  • Rod may get fractured easily 

Bottom Line 

To sum up, everyone will benefit from LEW’S FISHING Mach Crush; however, beginners should stay away from it because they won’t notice the very improved features it offers. In other words, if you are a beginner, do not pay extra bucks in vain. If you are a professional who is willing to pay, this won’t disappoint you at all. 

5. Ugly Stik GX2 – Best Beginner Baitcaster Combo

Ugly Stik GX2

If you are a beginner transitioning from using spinning reels to baitcasting ones, the Ugly Stik GX2 might be exactly what you’re looking for. 

First of all, it comes at a very affordable price, so if you find out that baitcasting isn’t your thing, you won’t cry a river over the money you have paid for it. It comes with one ball bearing, yet, it is very smooth. Moreover, it has a pre-spooled 12 lb test. Besides, it has an excellent gear ratio of 6.2:1.

It does not only provide amazing performance, but it is also extra easy to use, which is another reason why it is beginner-friendly. Besides, the reel comes with a magnetic cast control that is easily adjusted. This helps anglers get used to the complicated features of baitcaster combos. Here, we have a second reason why this is suitable for beginners as no one can get such an affordable yet excellent baitcasting combo with a reduced risk of backlash. 

As for its 6’6 rod, it is made from composite fiberglass and graphite. This gives you the best of both worlds as it makes the rod durable enough to catch heavy fish, yet sensitive enough to feel the lightest of bites. 

You can also feel what is happening on the other end of the rod, thanks to the presence of a soft plastic tip. The aluminum handle is double-padded to prevent your wrist from any pain. It is also hard to slip from your grip. 

Ugly Stik GX2 is especially great for catching slow-moving baits like crankbaits, jigs, and frog lures. If you want to cast faster baits, you better go for a heavier-rated rod. 

Sadly, it only comes in a medium power rating, and the reel is made of plastic. Moreover, you will find it in a one-piece configuration only, so you might find it challenging to carry or store it.  

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Pros:

  • Great for beginners 
  • Budget-friendly 
  • Strong blank 
  • Excellent for slow-moving baits
  • Pre-spooled 12 lb. test

Cons:

  • The reel is made of plastic 
  • Very basic 
  • one-piece

Bottom Line 

If you need an introductory combo to baitcasting, this is the perfect one to get. It doesn’t break the bank and is easy to use. However, take care that it is only excellent for slow-moving baits, so if you need it to catch fast-moving ones, you won’t like it at all. 

6. Lews American Hero – Best for Having Oversized Eva Grip 

Lews American Hero

Like Ugly Stik GX2, this is also an excellent combo for beginners. However, unlike Ugly Stik GX2, it is also suitable for experienced anglers who love to fish on the weekend. 

If you want to hook large fish, the adjustable magnetic brake system helps let off some pressure. That way, you have less risk of having the line snapped. Moreover, the oversized EVA grip on the power handle is less likely to slip and ensures a comfortable trip. 

Even though the drag system can only resist up to 15 pounds, the power handle and the power on the rod blank make up for it. 

As for maintenance, you can easily access and remove the spool using the palm side plate. Sadly, the reel could have been more comfortable had there been a grip on the spool release. 

The feel of the reel is so smooth, and everything stays in its place thanks to the line guides. Moreover, the reel seat is made of graphite, which is pretty sturdy. It is suitable for left and right-handed people, alike. 

Indeed, Lews American Hero has 8 stainless steel ball bearings; however, you will feel a bit of grinding on the retrieve. Weird? I know! 

Now let’s shift our discussion to the graphite one-piece rod. It is very sensitive and of medium-heavy. The thing I don’t like about it is that it does not offer any variety. 

Besides, there are stainless steel guides along the rod. For smooth casting, there are split-grip EVA handles. 

The 7-foot rod and the medium-heavy power make this combo suitable for beginners as well as avid anglers. It is the best baitcaster combo, especially for crankbaits and swimbaits.  

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Pros:

  • Oversized EVA grip 
  • High sensitivity 
  • Suitable for crankbaits and swimbaits

Cons:

  • Slight grind while retrieving 
  • The rig takes time to be set up

Bottom Line 

Like I have already mentioned, this is great for beginners and experienced anglers alike. However, if you are an avid professional angler, you might need a stronger and more heavy-duty combo. But if you just love fishing in your free time or during the weekends, this is tailored for you.

7. Tailored Tackle Bass – Best Bass Baitcast Combo

Tailored Tackle Bass

Similar to Ugly Stik GX2, this is a beginner baitcaster combo; however, it is specially made to catch bass, so if you are a beginner who wants to learn how to catch other types of fish, stick to Ugly Stik GX2 or Lews American Hero. If you are a beginner who wants to get the hang of how to fish for bass, then go on reading. 

It comes with 6 ball bearings and one anti-reverse, which allows for a smooth retrieve. It also has a 17.5 drag, so a beginner can have room for making mistakes without snapping the line. 

Since experiencing a backlash on a cast is inevitable, when it happens, the spool pops out so you can easily try again. Likewise, since a new angler is more likely to waste a lot of lines, the spool capacity on this combo is 12/165. Moreover, there is enough retrieval, thanks to the gear ratio of 6.3:1.

The 7-feet rod is medium-heavy, which makes it suitable for trying various fishing styles. 

Sadly, it is only suitable for right-handed people. 

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Pros:

  • Excellent for bass fishing 
  • Beginner-friendly
  • Huge spool capacity 
  • Ideal for numerous fishing styles 

Cons:

  • Ideal for bass fishing only 
  • Not suitable for left-handed people

Bottom Line

This combo allows beginners to have a step-by-step experience on how to become avid bass anglers. However, it is only suitable for bass, so if you want to fish different kinds, this is not tailored for you. 

Why Should I Buy a Baitcaster Combo

Buying a combo saves you from having to pair the reel with a rod and vice versa. For example, if you buy an individual rod, you might not be able to find its reel soulmate. You might buy one that does not work well with your rod, and therefore face a horrible fishing experience. 

How to Pick a Baitcaster Combo

1. Frame Material 

If you are going to fish in saltwater, you must get a graphite baitcaster because it does not corrode. You may think that this comes at a high price, but I am happy to tell you that it is cheap. You can also get a baitcaster that is made from graphite even if you will fish in freshwater, given that it is cheap and has an excellent strength to weight ratio. You can also go for magnesium. However, if you need a higher-end model that is undoubtedly going to withstand carrying heavy loads without getting damaged in any way, go for Aluminum. It is more rigid than the former materials and was found not to flex under any heavy loads.

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2. Drag System 

A drag system increases or decreases the tension on the spool. How? Well, first of all, you must know that the drag on most baitcasters is controlled with a spinner that looks like a star. This spinner resides inside the handle that compresses washers inside the reel to increase or decrease the tension on the spool.

Some brands have a front or rear drag. The front drag works more smoothly thanks to its larger discs; whereas, the rear one is for quick drag adjustment. 

They both work the same. 

3. Handedness 

The right-handed vs. left-handed issue is a real thing. So, when we find that some brands actually pay attention to such little details, we stand in awe. 

Generally, left-handed and right-handed baitcast are the same except for the place of the handle. So, right-handed anglers can cast with their right hand and then switch the rod to their left hand to operate the reel handle using their right hand. 

Recently, since the manufacturers have paid such close attention to what makes their customers the most comfortable, they have designed left-handed retrieve baitcasters. This way, right-handed people will not need to switch the rod between their hands, and the left-handed ones can use the same switch-off method. A win-win.

4. Gear Ratio  

The gear ratio states how many spins your spool can do with one crank of the handle. So, it states the speed at which you will retrieve your line. For example, a 5.1:1 gear ratio means that your spool can make 5.1 turns with one crank of the handle and so on. 

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5. Ball Bearings 

They are the thing responsible for the reel’s smooth operation. However, take care that the quality of the ball bearings is the thing that matters, not their numbers. They better be made out of stainless steel or ceramic to be good enough. I would say that the ceramic bearings are better as they are more robust and lighter; however, the stainless steel ones are cheaper. 

You should also consider the bearing shields as they are in charge of keeping dirt and grime out of the bearings and therefore ensure that their performance stays as good as new. 

6. Rod Material 

The rod is either made of graphite, fiberglass, or a composite of the two. We will tell you what each one of them is suitable for. 

Let’s start with graphite rods. They are the most sensitive, so they let you feel the light bites. They are also light, which makes them beginner-friendly. However, they are not good for catching heavy fish. 

Then, there is the heavier fiberglass type, so it is excellent for heavy-duty applications. It is also more robust and extra durable. All of this comes at a low price; however, you might miss sneaky fish because it is less sensitive than graphite rods. 

As for the composite type, it gives you the best of both worlds as it provides you with the sensitivity of graphite and the durability and strength of fiberglass. 

7. Rod Length

Most of the rods on the market are between 6 and 7 feet long; however, some rods are as long as 12 feet. 

The length of the rod is important to consider because it does not only affect leverage for a hook set and battling fish, but also affects the casting distance and accuracy. It is needless to say that the longer the rod, the further it allows you to cast. However, they are not always suitable because if you fish in tight cover, a shorter rod will suit you better. 

Since we are speaking about a combo, compatibility is the key. So, if you will get a long rod, remember to put on a reel that has an extensive line capacity.

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Final Thoughts 

Now that we have reviewed the best baitcaster combos, I like to think that you have found your one. In case you are still confused, I will try to help you narrow down your options. 

If you are a beginner, you can go for Ugly Stik GX2, Lews American Hero, or Tailored Tackle Bass. Ugly Stik GX2 is a basic, affordable combo that is excellent for slow-moving baits only. Lews American Hero is suitable for crankbaits and swimbaits, but you will feel a slight grind while retrieving. However, Tailored Tackle Bass is suitable for catching bass only. 

If you need one that is under $100 or $200, go for KastKing Crixus and LEW’S FISHING Mach Crush, respectively. The latter is the most suitable for professionals, though.