Best Baitcaster Combo For Beginners Or Newbies In 2023

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best beginner baitcaster combo

To catch your favorite fish successfully, you should always carry the right reel and rod with you on your fishing trips. However, if you want to come back victorious from your trips, I suggest buying a good quality baitcaster combo.

A bait caster combo is a collection of reels and rods that complement each other and come preassembled to make your fishing job easier.

A good-quality baitcaster combo is designed to handle any kind of fish and give full control of the line to the angler. As a result, you can cast far with perfect accuracy and power.

With such baitcasters, your lure will land silently in the water without scaring the fish and will also help in reeling them flawlessly.

Now that you know what a good baitcaster combo can do for you and your fishing, I would like you to take a look at the six best baitcaster combos that I am reviewing for you.

A Quick Look At The Best Baitcaster Combos

KastKing Crixus
– Carbon infused frames
– CNC aluminum spools
– powerful carbon drags
Lew’s Mach
– Lightweight SLP graphite frame
– 8 bearing system
– High strength solid brass
Abu Garcia Max STX
– Machined aluminum spool
– 5 Stainless Steel ball bearings
– Molded polymer comfort grip
Shakespeare Alpha
– Tubular glass blank construction
– Lightweight EVA grips
– Lightweight graphite reel
Abu Garcia Zata
– Infini brake system
– Graphite frame and sideplates
– Carbon Matrix drag system
Lew’s Fishing American Hero
– 6 bearing system
– Aluminum bowed handle
– Magnetic control system

Best Baitcaster Combo

I have created this list according to my personal experience with various fishing rods and reels also considering what most professionals recommend, in this guide.

I have mentioned about six best baitcaster combos that newbies/beginners can get their hands on and start fishing like any other amateur.

#1 – KastKing Crixus

– Key Features

  • Reel is lightweight
  • The reel has carbon-infused frames with CNC aluminum spools
  • The reel has powerful carbon drags for flawless performance
  • Rod comes with IM6 graphite blanks
  • The combo is affordable
  • Rod’s power rating is from light to medium-heavy, from 5’6″ to 7’0″ in length
  • Rod has golf-style polymer handles to provide flawless grip even in harsh conditions
  • Stainless steel guides with zirconium oxide rings
  • Ideal for casting smoothly and at long distances
  • The rod comes with a power transition system, which means it has two pieces for easy transportation
  • Rod length: 6’0″, 6’6″, 7’0″
  • Reel orientation: right and left hand both
  • Number of guides: 6+1,7+1

– Positives:

  • Exceptional and good quality reel
  • Ideal for fishing in saltwater and freshwater
  • Ideal for beginners
  • Lightweight combo with powerful drags
  • The ideal number of ball bearings for great performance
  • Rod has super polymer handles for a firm grip
  • Combo comes with Power Transportation System for easy transportation
  • Rod is lightweight, strong yet sensitive to even the tiniest nibble
  • The ideal combo for catching panfish, bass, trout, walleyes, etc.

– Drawbacks:

  • Poor customer service
  • Customer service doesn’t respond to customer’s complaints
  • The combo is not as durable as advertised
  • Rod can snap into two after one or two uses

KastKing Crixus is one of the most versatile baitcaster combos, which integrates an excellent casting reel and rod. Using this combo, you can enjoy your fishing trip on a whole new level.

The combo includes sensitive, strong, and lightweight IM6 graphite rod blanks with high-powered reels to improve performance.

The great thing about this combo is that its reel is infused with a carbon frame, 5+1 double-shielded stainless steel ball bearings for flawless performance, and CNC aluminum spools.

All these features give the reel leverage over other reels. Apart from this, the sealed ball bearings allow it to be waterproof and have longevity. The aluminum spool also aids its durability with smooth drags.

The rod is amazingly sensitive and powerful. It is fitted with a golf-style polymer handle for max grip, even in wet conditions. The rod is also equipped with zirconium oxide rings with stainless steel guides for smooth casting with braided, fluorocarbon, and mono lines.

However, a drawback of this combo is that it is not as durable as it should be in this monetary value. It can break first or second use. Another issue is with the customer service of the company. KastKing doesn’t respond at all to complaints.

My Verdict:

Overall, the KastKing Crixus is a great baitcaster combo at the best price. You can use it to enjoy your baitcasting trips and catch your favorite fish.

Like every combo, this combo also has its drawbacks. But, since it is not very expensive, you can use it to practice your baitcasting skills, especially if you are a beginner.

This combo has many features that make fishing easy for an angler, like powerful reel, firm grip, lightweight, sensitivity, and good ball bearing number.

#2 – Lew’s Mach

– Key Features

  • Combo, handle, and ball bearing material: stainless steel
  • Rod length: 72″
  • Rod power: Medium-heavy
  • Bearings: 7+1
  • Gear ratio: 7:5:1
  • Reel line capacity: 140/12
  • Baitcaster reel is a lightweight SPL graphite frame with 3 drain ports in 1 piece
  • Anti-reverse and zero reverse features in the reel
  • The reel contains 8 bearing systems with stainless steel and double shielded bearings with a 1-way clutch
  • The reel contains solid brass speed gears made with a CNC gear hobbing machine
  • Reel includes a multi-setting brake system
  • Rod is made with IM8 graphite Nanotech and with durable stainless steel frames with aluminum oxide
  • Lightweight rod with skeletal reel seat

– Positives:

  • This combo can make any fishing experience 100x better
  • Ideal for both saltwater and freshwater fishing
  • Durable, robust, and flexible reel and rod
  • The reel contains speed gears, 8 bearing system, and zero reverse one-way clutch
  • The combo has a small-sized reel to keep it lightweight yet robust
  • The reel has smooth cranking power and wears out less.
  • Rod has a Winn Dri-Tac grip with EVA butt
  • Affordable and low-profile reel

– Drawbacks:

  • Poor customer service
  • No consideration about the fragility of the rod while shipping

Lew’s Mach is one of the best baitcaster combos because it provides unique features and experience to an angler at an affordable price.

The design of the rod is low-profile because it is made to be kept lightweight. It also has a smaller reel. Both the rod and reel are made of side plates and graphite frames. The u-shaped spool is made with anodized aluminum, which makes it fast-paced.

The reel also has 10 bearing system that is double shielded and an anti/ zero reverse system made of stainless steel. Furthermore, external arrangements are possible in this combo because of the magnetic control used in the reel and rod.

However, the issue with this combo is not really with this combo; instead, it is with the company. The company doesn’t take precautions while sending the combo and it often arrives damaged to the customers. Therefore, the issue is only with how the combo is shipped.

My Verdict:

If you were in search of the best baitcaster combo, then you would fall in love with Lew’s Mach combo. It allows the angler to excel in their fishing and also provides them with a great experience.

This reel and rod combo is popular among anglers who have used it because it sits perfectly on their high demands.

It helps the angler understand what they are doing because the rod and reel help achieve goals. If you keep its minor issues aside, this combo will make you feel like you have got your money’s worth with it.

#3 – Abu Garcia Max STX

– Key Features

  • Combo color: multi-color available
  • Rod material: aluminum
  • Custom integrated reel seat with molded polymer for a firm grip
  • 5+1 stainless steel ball bearings for smooth performance
  • Machined spool made with aluminum to provide strength while keeping the set lightweight
  • Reel comes with a PowerDisk drag system
  • Brake system with MagTrax technology
  • A 2 piece combo with one rod and reel
  • Rod dimension: 3.38 x 4.75 x 77.13 inches
  • Reel dimension: 13.62 Ounces
  • Affordable

– Positives:

  • A 2 piece combo for easy transportation
  • Ideal for beginners as well as experienced anglers
  • Great money value and affordable
  • Smooth and powerful casting and reeling
  • Spool can be rearranged without touching the handle
  • A balanced lightweight rod that allows anglers to catch even the heaviest fish
  • The powerful and smooth handle of the reel and rod
  • Ideal for saltwater and freshwater fishing
  • High-end equipment for all kinds of fishing

– Drawbacks:

  • Poor customer service
  • Rod can arrive broken because of poor shipping methods
  • Sometimes the handle can bend while using, which interferes with the drag mechanism

Abu Garcia Max STX is a unique combo with a robust and durable rod. It is long-lasting, which means that not even rough use and big fish will break for a long duration. It is made to last so you can use it and reuse it without the fear that it might break.

The rod is super sensitive and responsive, which makes fishing with it fun. It allows you to feel grander while catching your favorite fish.

Apart from this, the reel is also exceptional. It is sleek, lightweight, and powerful. Made from one-piece graphite and side graphite plates, this reel is easy to use and perfectly reels in your catches. In addition, the 5 stainless steel ball bearings make this reel smooth and one of its kind.

However, the only issue with this combo is that the packaging it arrives in is usually busted, which damages or breaks the rod or reel. The customer service is also not excellent because they don’t have any checks and balances for the shipping procedure.

My Verdict:

For the most versatile experience, Abu Garcia Max STX should be your definite buy. There are many noteworthy features in this baitcaster rod and reel combo, which makes it stand out among other same-priced combos.

I think that this reel and rod combo is a great option for you to consider. It is an affordable yet highly durable and powerful baitcaster combo for new and experienced anglers, and it is also great for saltwater and freshwater.

#4 – Shakespeare Alpha

– Key Features

  • Rod height: medium 6.’
  • Combo color: white and black
  • Rod material: aluminum
  • Fishing technique with the rod: baitcasting
  • Hand orientation: ambidextrous
  • Budget-friendly combo
  • Reel material: graphite
  • Reel pre-spooled with 8-pound line
  • Lightweight combo for easy carrying
  • EVA grip provides a comfortable and firm grip
  • Tubular glass blank for rugged durability and responsive sense
  • Ideal for fishing with heavier baits and lines
  • Rod dimensions: ‎ 37.6 x 5.2 x 3 inches
  • Reel dimension: 12.8 oz.
  • Two-piece low profile combo
  • The reel contains a tension knob

– Positives:

  • Combo ideal for beginners
  • Affordable with good money value
  • The thumb switch helps the tension knob to stop when the lure hits the floor.
  • Easy to use rod and reel
  • Rod ideal for catching heavy and big fish
  • The rod casts perfectly to farther distances
  • Strong and smooth performing combo

– Drawbacks:

  • A loose line can cause a bird’s nest
  • The reel doesn’t have a high ball bearing count
  • Poor customer service
  • Poor shipping method because the combo is sometimes delivered broken

Shakespeare is one of the top-rated baitcaster combos on the list. It is a low-profile combo with a sleek and stylish design. It is a great performing combo available at an affordable price.

Another plus point is its lightweight. The reel and rod are both extremely lightweight. The reel is pre-spooled with an 8-pound line for the angler’s convenience. The rod comes with an EVA grip which makes carrying the combo easy on long fishing trips.

The best thing about this combo is that you don’t manually set the lure on the reel. Instead, you can simply attach the lure and then press the thumb switch.

Along with doing so, you can adjust the tension knob so that the reel stops spinning when the lure hits the floor. Another thing that the customers loved about this combo is that it is incredible at such an affordable price.

However, a drawback of the rod and reel is that the reel comes with fewer ball bearings, making the turning a bit less smooth, and the spool can sometimes get loosened, which makes it a bird’s nest.

The customer service for this combo is also not great because it sometimes arrives damaged because of poor shipping methods.

My Verdict:

I think that Shakespeare Alpha is a decent baitcasting combo. Because it provides a good fishing experience to the angler, you will be able to cast your bait smoothly and accurately with this combo.

This combo is ideal for newbie anglers who want to practice becoming perfect casters on their fishing trips. If you put aside its cons, it is still a great combo because it is durable, affordable, and powerful for all kinds of fishing, especially baitcasting.

#5 – Abu Garcia Zata

– Key Features

  • Low profile baitcasting combo
  • Hand orientation: left hand
  • Reel color: green
  • Reel material: graphite
  • Rod color: black
  • Rod material aluminum
  • Rod length 7 ft.
  • Ball-bearing count: 10+1 of stainless steel
  • Reel equipped with graphite frame and side plates
  • Carbon matrix drag system for smooth and consistent drag pressure
  • Reel comes with duragear brass gear for extended life
  • Infini brake system for flawless braking
  • Rod dimension: 10 x 6 x 215 inches
  • Reel dimension: 12.8 oz.
  • Gear ratio: 7:1:1

– Positives:

  • Amazing bearing count for smooth and perfect performance
  • Perfect drag system for equal pressure over the entire drag range
  • Duragear technology extends gear life
  • Infini brake allows limitless adjustability in any fishing situation
  • Lightweight combo with powerful performance
  • Rod sensitive to even the slightest nibble
  • Ideal for beginners
  • Ideal for fishing in saltwater and freshwater
  • Great money value
  • Sleek and stylish design

– Drawbacks:

  • Expensive compared to other similar combos
  • Poor customer service
  • Poor packaging method
  • The reel makes noises while reeling

Abu Garcia Zata is one of the finest specimens of combos. It has a perfectly smooth finish among all its reels and rods. It is also one of the most expensive baitcasting combos from Abu Garcia, but its quality is worth every penny.

The reel from this combo looks as if it is designed to be used in a battle because of its sturdy and sleek army green design. The reel is built on a graphite frame and is ideal for everyday use. It also has Duragear installed, a brass gear responsible for making it durable and long-lasting.

To keep the reel working smoothly, it also has a lube port for tuning. On the other hand, the rod is made of aluminum, which makes it perfectly suited with the graphite reel. The rod is sturdy and powerful for catching all kinds of fish.

But, the problem with this combo is that it is not shipped in proper packaging and is often delivered broken. It doesn’t have any problem with its quality or durability, instead only with customer service.

My Verdict:

Abu Garcia Zata is designed to accompany the angler even in the most challenging fishing situations. It has perfect specifications like the fantastic quantity of ball bearings, anodized spool, magnetic centrifugal system, Infini brake system, etc.

These features make this combo one of the most amazing ones. The combo is ideal for new anglers who are learning to perfect themselves at fishing. It is also perfect for experienced anglers who can use it to its full potential for catching trophy fish.

#6 – Lew’s Fishing American Hero

– Key Features

  • 5 Bearing System with stainless steel double-shielded ball bearings
  • Zero Reverse one-way clutch bearing
  • Graphite frame
  • Graphite side plate
  • Double anodized braid ready aluminum spool
  • Skeletal graphite rotor
  • Oiled felt multi-disc drag system
  • High strength solid brass Speed Gears, precision cut on Hamai CNC machines
  • Aluminum handle with paddle knob
  • Speed Lube for exceptional smoothness and performance in all weather conditions
  • Right or Left hand retrieve
  • Premium IM6 2-piece graphite blank
  • Stainless steel guides with stainless steel inserts
  • Lew’s exclusive graphite skeletal reel seat
  • Split grip EVA handles

– Positives:

  • The reel is fully adjustable and smooth with a perfect graphite drag system
  • Powerful rod and reel for catching even the most aggressive fish
  • Zero reverse one-way clutch helps the angler while reeling
  • Perfect amount of ball bearings
  • Combo comes with combat grip paddles
  • Rod is highly flexible and sturdy

– Drawbacks:

  • Poor customer service
  • flawed packaging method which squishes the combo into half
  • combo expensive compared to other similar combos

The American Hero baitcasting combo is a versatile combo with a classy rod and reel. The combo includes strong and lightweight IM6 2-piece graphite blanks for extreme sensitivity to the slightest touch with high powered reel to improve performance.

The rod also uses gunsmoke stainless steel frames and inserts for durability. The reel has a rotor filled with an anodized aluminum spool for balanced performance.

Lew’s American Hero is one of the best baitcaster combos because it provides a unique featured combo to an angler at an affordable price.

The problem with this combo is the customer service and shipping, and packaging. Many users who ordered this combo received it in terribly broken and damaged condition.

It is an expensive combo that should be treated with care. But alas! Other than that, this is a perfect combo for everyone who loves fishing.

My Verdict:

For the most versatile experience, an American hero is ideal. The features mentioned above make this combo one of the most amazing ones. The combo is ideal for new anglers and experienced ones.

You should definitely try your hand on this baitcasting combo if you want to add a sparkling start to your collection and if you want to improve the quality of your fishing trips.

Choosing A Baitcaster Combo – Everything You Need To Know!

Choosing a baitcaster combo is not an easy thing to do. Instead, it requires careful consideration for the rod and reel’s every aspect because you can’t afford to have a weak reel handle or a noisy reel in your baitcaster combo.

Understanding the complexities of a rod and reel is crucial to get hold of the best baitcaster combo so that you may fish smoothly. But, if you are a newbie angler, you might not be sure which aspects to pay more attention to.

This is why I have combined this guide after reviewing the best beginner baitcaster combos for you.

Reel-Frame Type & Reel Brake Type

Reel-Frame Types:

Two types of reel frames can be found in baitcaster combos: the round frame and the low-profile frame.

Round Reel Frame:

The round reel frame can hold the heavier line in more quantity, making this type ideal for catching larger fish with large baits. You can easily catch Salmon, Steelhead, Pike, and Muskies with this frame type.

Low-Profile Frame:

A low-profile frame is one of the most popular choices among anglers. They are more ergonomic and more accessible for quick wrist action because they are smaller and lightweight. You can catch Crappie and Bass with this frame type.

You should also consider the frame material because it plays a significant role in the combo’s affordability and durability.

Brake Types:

Most baitcaster reels come with an automatic braking system which helps in slowing down the movement of the spool during the cast and helps avoid the bird’s nest (tangling of the fishing line).

In addition, you can adjust the tension knob according to your requirement, so when the reel disengages, it slowly falls to the ground and then stops as soon as it hits the water.

There are three brake types: centrifugal brake, dual brakes, and magnetic brake.

Centrifugal Brake:

This brake type works on friction. It utilizes pins inside the adjustment plate to create friction. It contains 5-6 brakes which the angler can turn on and off according to requirement. This system doesn’t have any springs on the brake shoes because they are free-float.

Dual Brake:

This braking system works in the first and second half of casting. They can also be set to a point where it is impossible to overrun the line.

Magnetic Brake:

These brakes depend on the magnet and spool to decrease the rate of spool rotation. They are adjustable and can affect the casting from beginning till the end.

Gear Ratio: Once Again, The Most Important Factor

The gear ratio is one of the most important things while considering the baitcasting combo. The gear ratio of the spool progresses from the handle. So if a reel’s gear ratio is 5:4:1, then this means that the spool rotates 5.4 times on each turn of the handle.

If the ratio is less, then the reel will have more torque. The commonest ratio is 6:4:1, which allows the angler to work both fast and slow in a versatile way.

Closeup Image a person holding Baitcasting reel

Gears are usually made of metal, brass, and plastic. The ones made with brass and metal are durable, but the plastic ones are generally not durable and should be avoided if you are a real angler and don’t want your gear to break.

Rods Length, Durability & Material Quality

Rod Lengths:

Baitcasting rods are very popular among anglers. Baitcaster rods are longer than other types of fishing rod-like spinning rods. But there is also variety in their length. These rods are exclusively used for rigs and casting lures.

Baitcaster rods specifically work with baitcasting reels and are ideal for accurate casting at longer distances. There are three types of baitcasting rods:

Short Baitcaster Rods:

These rods are sized from 5’5 to 6’4 inches. They offer perfect casting accuracy but only for a short-range. If you want to cast your bait at a maximum of 30 feet, these poles are best. Also, they are ideal to use in small creeks with a lot of vegetation.

Medium Baitcaster Rods:

These rods are sized from 6’5 to 8′ inches. These are commonly used fishing rods for bass fishing and can be used in most instances. They are easier to use and allow a high and long-distance casting accuracy.

Long Baitcaster Rods:

These rods are sized from 8′ to 9′ and are used for power bass fishing. These are large poles with heavy power, used with a high pound test braid of 40-60 lb.

With these rods, you can cast large lures to overhanging tree fields without the fear of them getting tangled with the plants or trees.

Durability And Material:

The most durable baitcasting rods are made up of fiberglass and graphite. Both these materials are very durable and have been used by makers to dominate the market.

However, graphite rods are more responsive than fiberglass, which makes them more sensitive and stiffer to operate. In comparison, fiberglass is more flexible and easy to use.

Both these materials make the baitcaster rod cast far, and they also work well for the lures. Furthermore, they can detect the slightest strike on the bait and easily reel in even the most powerful fish.

Line Guides & Number of Ball Bearings

Line Guides:

A line guide works to ensure that the line is perfectly spooled to the baitcaster spool evenly and adequately. It does so by moving back and forth from one side of the spool to the other side by the turn of the handle.

Closeup Image of a baitcasting rod

However, the line should always be threaded before you move it through the rod’s guides.

Ball Bearings:

Always remember the phrase quality over quantity while thinking about the ball bearings. For example, if you buy an inexpensive baitcaster combo with nine ball bearings, then the chances are that those bearings are not of good quality.

However, there are many good quality materials to consider for your bearings like ceramic, stainless steel, and hybrid.

Image of a baitcasting rod and reel

Usually, good reels have at least 4 onward bearings, which affect a reel’s performance and casting ability. However, it allows the reel to separate the races equally and gives the reel friction control to some extent.

The ball bearings are rated according to ABEC. In this rating system, number 1 is a standard, and 9 is the best quality bearing.

My Final Verdict:

By now, you must have known how to choose the best baitcaster combo with the components I’ve mentioned above. I have also reviewed the best beginner baitcaster combo for your convenience. Ideally, you will select the combo that meets your requirements for fishing.

But I think that Lew’s Mach and Abu Garcia Max are some of the best baitcaster combos from the six that I have reviewed because their specifications are so amazing that they can make any fishing trip 100x better for an experienced or even a newbie angler.

Baitcaster combos are all about enhancing your performance on the water while you are out catching your favorite fish. A good quality baitcaster rod and reel will ensure that you get the best out of your fishing trip.

Hopefully, my brief article helped you in selecting your next favorite baitcaster rod and reel.

But, before we move on, there is one thing that you should never forget, which is that you should always go for quantity over quality when buying such combos. Because 10 cheap combos can break on first use, one good quality rod can stay with you for years to come.

Frequently Asked Questions

#1 – What is the best Baitcaster combo?

All the baitcaster combos that I have reviewed are the best ones. But, since everyone has their definition of best, everyone might find a different combo suitable for them.

But, in my opinion, the best baitcaster combo is Lew’s Mach and Abu Garcia Max. Both these combos are sturdy, durable, and flexible, with great power for fishing. Buying them will ensure that you catch the trophy fish.

#2 – What is the best baitcasting combo for beginners?

Lew’s Mach and Abu Garcia Max are the best baitcaster combos. But, Lew’s Mach is the ideal choice for beginners. Especially those who want to learn how to sport fish a bass.

This is an entry-level combo that allows a newbie angler to perform the best they can. Lew’s Mach is also amazingly durable and robust.

#3 – What is the best brand of baitcasting reels?

I didn’t review any specific baitcaster reel brand. But the best baitcasting reel brand is Piscifun and Abu Garcia. The reels that both these companies make are affordable, durable, and long-lasting. You can even reel the most aggressive fish with their reels.

#4 – Why is Baitcaster better than spinning?

Both types have different specifications and advantages. The only noticeable difference is in the spool. The spinning reels have a fixed reel, while the baitcasters have a free one.

This factor affects the performance of the reels. Another difference is that baitcaster combos are ideal for heavy fish and large lures, while spinning reels are easier to use.

Baitcasters are better than spinning only in a few instances. For example, if someone has mastery over a baitcasting rod and reel or in a water body where baitcasting rod and reel works best, then for them, it is better.

#5 – Can Baitcasters be used in saltwater?

Yes, bait casters work perfectly in saltwater. This is because they can hold more and heavy lines. They also have a smoother drag system, and they can provide a strong and long line for deep-sea fishing.

If you want a new combo for saltwater fishing, then baitcasting combos are ideal. They will become your new favorite and the star of your rod and reel collection.

#6 – How many bearings should a Baitcaster have?

For baitcasters to cast perfectly and accurately, they need to turn easily and smoothly. That is why the baitcasters should have at least 5 bearings.

The more bearings your baitcaster has, the smoother it will be. However, if you have an entry-level baitcaster combo, then 4 bearings would also work perfectly for you.

#7 – What is the best gear ratio for a baitcaster?

Mostly, the gear ratio for baitcasting reels ranges from 5:0:1 to 9:1:1. The advantage of a high gear ratio is that it is easy to retrieve the reel faster on a high-speed model than on a low-speed model.

Therefore, I suggest that you go for a gear ratio range of 7:1:1 to 9:1:1 so that your fishing experience becomes a perfect and exceptional one.

Your Author

  • Since 2009 I've been writing on different media portals about fishing. Here on this website, it's time to share those experiences I've witnessed in my entire life so far. Let me help you get the best stuff you need while fishing.

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