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Choosing the Best Baitcaster Combo – Review and Buying Guide

best baitcaster combo

Instead of combining these tools yourself, you can get a baitcaster combo which is a matching reel set and rods that are designed for specific types of fishing.

And because there are many options from where you can choose a baitcaster combo, choosing the best baitcaster combo can get a bit overwhelming and tricky! This is why we have compiled five of the best baitcaster combos to help you choose which fits best to your needs and preference.

More than giving you the option, and because using a baitcaster is oftentimes challenging, we are also helping you identify the things to consider in buying your baitcaster combo. And, if you’re still starting, how to properly use one, to make the most out of the money you’re willing to spend for your next fishing adventure.

Things to look for in choosing the best baitcaster combo

The baitcaster combo you are choosing depends on several things, including your preference, how much you are willing to pay, and the activity for which you are using it. Here are several things to need to consider in buying a baitcaster combo:

Size, Gearing, Braking System of Baitcasting Reel

One essential part of your baitcaster combo is the baitcasting reel. Choosing the right baitcasting reel depends on the purpose of your fishing, the place where you intend to fish, and even the type of fish you wish to catch. 

Size. it is important to consider the size of the baitcasting reel. Catching large fish would need larger reels while smaller reels are good for regular-size fish. Consequently, though, larger baitcasting reels are heavier. The size of the baitcasting reel must also be appropriate to the location of your fishing activity. Fishing in deeper water needs longer lines, so you might need a medium-size, if not a large reel, which could hold more lines. If you are just fishing in shallow waters where more lines are not needed, a smaller one would do.

Braking System. consider as well the braking system of the baitcaster. If you’re a beginner and you’re having a hard time making sure that the line does not leave the reel too quickly or too slowly, you might want to consider a baitcaster whose braking system is easier to adjust until you can adapt to the baitcaster and master it.

Rod, Material, and Action of Rod

It is important that your baitcasting reel fits effectively with your fishing rod, so you would need to look into the factors that might affect the performance of your fishing rod.

Length of Rod. The length of the blank (rod’s shaft) depends on casting distance. A longer rod could send lines out farther. While a shorter rod could not send a line out as far, it gives the angler more mobility. This is best for anglers who move and pick up more often. Shorter rods are also lighter, which makes it easier to travel with. Again, the type of fish you want to catch also determines rod length. Using lighter lures means using shorter rods. You would need longer rods if you want to catch bass and other larger and faster fish.

Types of Handle. Two most common types of handles are corks and foams or EVA. While corks are more comfortable, they are more expensive than foam/EVA. While the latter is seen to be, in the long-run, more durable and does not wear down quickly, cork is seen by most anglers as more pleasing aesthetically. Aside from this, though, you need to make sure that your baitcaster combo handle is comfortable for your grip.

Rod Material. If you’re a beginner, the best rod to choose is the lightest one. This is a good starting rod, as it does not tire you out immediately and would allow you to detect bites better. Graphite rods are lighter and therefore good for beginners. Fiberglass rods, on the other hand, are better when you fish by towing your line from your boat. This is because fiberglass rods are more rigid and could handle heavier and faster types of fish.

Rod Action. Identifying the part of your rod that bends the most is important in fishing. The closer the bending is to the rod’s tip, the “faster” it is. Beginners often prefer medium-fast level than slow action rod, because the former does not give too much strain. 

Rod Guides. Choose rod guides that are durable and strong, especially if you are fighting bass or larger types of fish. This can best be achieved by metallic-made guides. Aluminum guides or titanium guides are preferred by beginners as they give the best environment for friction reduction and heat reduction, thereby improving the cast’s smoothness.

Aside from the factors mentioned above, it is also important to consider the number of pieces (single-piece advised for beginners) and storage (choose rods that can easily be stored and transported).

Using the Best Baitcaster Combo

Using a baitcaster can get a bit tricky especially if it’s your first time. A lot of things could go wrong like your line getting loose, creating a “bird’s nest” where the line gets messed up, loops, or tangles and even snapping of the rod. Here are important steps on how to use a baitcaster:

Recognizing the Essential Parts

  1. Handles – handles are responsible for moving gears inside the baitcaster and turning the spool.
  2. Drag Control/ Star Drag – a starfish-shaped knob located on the right side of the reel. This helps in controlling backlashes by tightening or loosening the drag.
  3. Tension knob – a button that allows the spool to get tighter or looser.
  4. Brakes – unique to a baitcasting reel, the brakes are located on the side and can be accessed easily by the angler’s hand. It controls the rate of acceleration of the spool quickly. Magnetic brakes are commonly used.
  5. Foot – what sets a baitcaster different from a spinning reel is that the foot is fixed on the top of the rod and not the bottom. You need to ensure that it is solid, durable, and firmly fixed on the rod.
  6. Spool – this is where the fishing line is stored and held in place. The first thing you should do is to ensure that the spool has a smooth surface and is free of any obstructive material. If you spool a line incorrectly, it might tangle, or, worse, break.
  7. Baitclicker – when you increase tension, you might hear a clicking sound. This serves as a prompt that a fish takes the lure. Sometimes, however, it also means that the lure bumps into something or is caught up on something.

Casting

  1. Adjust the tension knob. Before making a cast, you would want to make sure that the tension knob is adjusted correctly. To do this, press the button to start free-spooling. Allow the lure to hit the ground and check if there is birdnesting, backlashing, or tangling. If the line gets messed up, adjust the tension knob by loosening it or tightening it until no birdnesting occurs. Again, this is important before making anycast.
  2. Allow the lure to come down eight to ten inches from the rod tip before casting. Make sure that you also thumb down the spool lightly when you are casting to avoid any backlash. Stop the spool as soon as the lure hits the water.
  3. Do either an overhead cast or a side-arm cast. For beginners, a side-arm cast is advised. When making a cast, imagine making a nice arc (the tip of the rod is seemingly tracing a semi-circle) instead of just going from one point to another point.

Troubleshooting Backlashes

Sometimes, birdnesting and backlashing occurs when spool tensions are not adjusted correctly or there was a problem in casting. This is oftentimes unavoidable for beginners, so part of knowing how to use the baitcaster is knowing how to troubleshoot in case backlashes happen.

  1. Make sure that you put your thumb on the pool. Again, to prevent backlashing, make sure that you put light pressure on the pool with your thumb once the lure touches the water.
  2. Make sure your centrifugal and magnetic brakes are on. Adjust the brakes and do not set the magnetic brakes to zero as this causes birdnesting. It is also important that your centrifugal brakes are also on along with the magnetic brakes as they stop the initial backlash.
  3. If you want to cast farther distances, consider loosening up the tension knob a bit. When the tension knob is too tight, you would not be able to cast long distances. Loosening it up, and training your thumb to control the spool, would allow far-distant casting.
  4. To clear a backlash, make sure that you do not pull too hard, because it will just tangle the line further and you might end up not being able to detangle it at all! Just pull the line very gently until you see the line detangling. Pull the u-shaped loops gently to clear the backlash.
  5. Use the push-and-twist method. Put pressure on the pool using your thumb and make a half-turn with the handle. Repeat this until all the tangles are fixed. Make sure that you do not crimp the nylon too much as this makes it weaker and might ruin it, or, worse, break the line.

Our picks for the best baitcaster combo

Since it’s important to choose the appropriate baitcaster combo for your fishing needs, we’re giving you a list of our top five picks to help you decide:

With its spools made out of aluminum and its carbon-infused frames, this fishing rod is lightweight and does not give too much strain to your wrist, especially if you are a beginner. You can choose from among varying lengths and different power ratings (which could range from light to medium-heavy), so it’s pretty versatile and works best if you’re still trying to figure out what combo best fits for you.

Its comfortable handle prevents slips and even in wet conditions, you can easily grip and control the rod. Its two-piece construction also makes it easier to transport and store. It allows you to choose from among different elegant colors, action, power, and reel sizes.

Pros

Cons

What’s remarkable about this baitcaster combo is its multi-setting brake. It features a click-dial that you can externally set to adjust the magnetic brake. At the same time, you can adjust its centrifugal brakes using the disk-mounted brake shoes that are individually dis-engageable. Its reel can provide a drawing power up to 20 lbs. Made out of aluminum, its spool tension knob is user-friendly, as it produces an audible click when adjusted. 

Its graphite frame makes it durable while maintaining sensitivity. Its handle’s unique design makes it comfortable to use as well.

Pros

Cons

If you want a lightweight design for your fishing rod, then you might be looking for this baitcaster combo. Combined with its durability, sensitivity, and smooth drag, it uses a Power Disk system to create a powerful reel. Its 24-ton graphite build would help you feel even slight movements, making it very responsive. It also has a Magtrax brake feature, so you do not need to worry about accuracy or pressure – something good especially for beginners. 

Although you might find that it would take time to get used to its configuration, you will eventually enjoy its features once you have familiarized how to use it.

Pros

Cons

As previously mentioned, tangling and backlashes can happen when using a baitcaster combo. However, this baitcaster solves that problem with its east-to-cast Pop-Off baitcaster reel system. This allows users to open the reel up easily and fix tangles quickly. With its rod reaching up to 7 feet, it features a sensitive tip that makes you feel every slight movement. Its gear ratio is 6.3:1 which is the most versatile gear ration whether you’re a beginner or a pro. 

More affordable than the previous product, it uses a magnetic braking system. With its size and length, it can handle a variety of fish with ease. One drawback is that it offers only a two-piece version and is exclusively made for right-handed anglers.

Pros

Cons

Unlike the previous baitcaster combos, this one features 6 ball bearings plus another roller bearing, making casting smoother than other baitcasters. Made out of graphite, this combo is lightweight and therefore does not tire you out even if you use this for a longer time. Because of its aluminum material for the spool, there is no excess weight but at the same time, strength is maintained.

Its versatility is also made evident by how it can accommodate any type of line because of its slow oscillation. This baitcaster combo is more appropriate for deep-sea fishing.

Pros

Cons

Tips for beginners in using the best baitcaster combo

Using the baitcaster for the first time can admittedly be very difficult. There are a lot of issues you need to deal with: from bird nests to tangles to the casting itself. While most baitcaster combos make it easier for its users to deal with these issues, there are still several things that we need to remember to make your first fishing adventure experiences worthwhile and hassle-free.

  1. Choose lighter baitcasting tackles or lures. Those that weigh around a quarter ounce or lesser are good for beginners. Of course, this would vary depending on where you choose to fish.
  2. Lighter rods are also better when you’re still starting. You can match your baitcasting reel with a medium-sized rod. This way, you can make sure that the rod is lightweight and at the same time durable.
  3. Do not forget to keep on adjusting the tension knobs and the braking system. Notice how the lure falls as you adjust the knobs. If it falls smoothly, then the adjustment might be exact. Remember that getting tangled lines is one of the most frustrating things you would experience, so make sure that the tension is adjusted correctly.
  4. Look for reels with magnetic brakes. Since you’re still starting, find a reel whose magnetic brake controls are found outside of the reel instead of inside, as you might be making constant adjustments. Once you get used to it, though, you can find one with internal brakes.
  5. Practice how to handle the rod. One common problem for beginners is how to get a grip on the rod. Aside from choosing the rod with the appropriate material, remember to keep the handle right in front of you, pointing forward or very slightly up.
  6. Even before you go out there and fish, you must first practice. Tie a spinnerbait to your line and observe, making adjustments along the way when you feel like something is off. Practicing yourself on how to properly cast could also help.
  7. Stay away from the crowd. Give yourself enough space so that you can focus on your learning. Choosing the correct location will also prevent possible accidents. Since you have not mastered casting yet, you do not want to snag other anglers with your lure as you are practicing
  8. Enjoy the process. Do not get frustrated when you get a lot of backlashes or tangles. They are all part of the process of learning, and no great angler immediately started being great. If you are willing to learn, invest your time, effort, and patience in practice. In no time, you will start doing things naturally without even thinking too much about it.

Final Thoughts

Fishing for the first time can indeed get intimidating. That’s why this guide helps you not only in choosing the correct baitcaster combo, but also some tips on how to use and adjust one. It is a matter of choosing something that you are comfortable well and which you think you can handle effectively.

Our top five picks provide you with a variety of options and it depends on the location where you wish to fish, the types of fish you want to catch, and how much time, effort, and money that you want to spend on learning how to use a baitcasting reel.

Surely, mastering this skill begins with trying, so do not be afraid to invest on the correct material and start practicing. With the correct baitcaster combo, paired with some knowledge on helpful tips, you can make your fishing experience excellent and less frustrating. 

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Andrew Wilson

Content Creator

Andrew is an avid fishing enthusiast who is passionate about bringing you the most up to date, accurate & understandable information and reviews of fishing gears & accessories, and other related fishing resources.

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