Why a Spinning Rod & Reel Combo is Best for Beginners

By Ken Schultz

Mar 12, 2021

As a balanced set, a pre-configured spinning rod and reel combo doesn’t require a new angler to have much experience in order to select appropriate gear

A few years ago, a sportfishing industry study showed that rod and reel combos accounted for over 10 percent of all sales in the rod-and-reel category. While there was no further breakdown of gear, it’s reasonable to think that a spinning rod and reel combo was by far the largest component of that, since spinning tackle ranks as the most popular gear used over the entire spectrum of freshwater and saltwater fishing.

Reasons for the popularity of a spinning rod and reel

  • You can set up the reel for left- or right-handed use
  • This equipment is easy to use, and to learn to cast with
  • You can cast light lures further
  • You can make low-angle casts without fear of line snafus and backlashes
  • You can cast much better across and into the wind than with other fishing gear
  • When the bail is opened, a lure or rig drops straight down without resistance

The Best Beginner Gear?

Some observers believe that a spinning rod and reel combo is the best beginner fishing gear.

That’s because the work of putting compatible tackle together has already been done, and doesn’t require much fishing experience on your part.


What is a combo?

A combo is a rod and a reel sold as a matched set. Most often this is a spinning rod and reel produced by the same manufacturer, but it may be a fishing rod from one manufacturer and a reel from another, usually put together by a retailer. The length and action of the rod are properly matched with the size, weight, and line capacity of the reel to achieve the proper balance and function.

What is a spinning rod and reel combo?

A spinning rod and reel combo is more commonly found in configurations suitable for smaller species, meaning that it involves light and medium-weight tackle. A combo is often appropriate for a range of angling activities and fish species, but may be set up specifically for a particular type of fishing.

What is best for you?

Knowing what you intend to use this gear for, will help narrow down purchase options, and price plays a role for most people as well. Combos can range, of course, in price, but an added benefit of going this route is that usually you will pay less for a combo than if you purchased the rod and the reel separately. You can use the money saved to purchase quality fishing line to spool the reel with. If you purchase at a retail store, have fresh line put on for you. Now, along with a few lures or a bait rig, plus a fishing license, you’re good to go.

Ken Schultz
Ken Schultz
Ken Schultz was a longtime staff writer for Field & Stream magazine and is the former Fishing Editor of ESPNoutdoors.com. He’s written and photographed nineteen books on sportfishing topics, plus an annual fishing tips calendar, and his writing has appeared on various websites for more than two decades. His author website is kenschultz.com