Why purchase a rod/reel combo?
A combo is a matched rod and reel set, configured for a specific type of fishing. West Marine offers baitcasting combos, conventional combos and spinning combos. The selection varies from really basic set-ups to top quality packages with excellent reels and quality rods by Penn, Shimano and others.
Combos come ready for use. All you have to do is wind line onto the reel’s spool, add the terminal tackle and you are ready to rock. Some combos even come with fishing line pre-wound onto the reel. All of the rod/reel combos that West Marine offers are “balanced”, which means that reels are selected to match the action, power and intended purpose of the rod.
Many anglers who buy combos want a relatively simple, inexpensive rig. If you are a novice or value-conscious angler who doesn’t want to customize tackle, you are a prime candidate for a combo—as are parents who want something functional and cheap for their kids to learn on. Although many combos are basic set-ups offered at a value price, some are sophisticated pairings that include premium rod and reel components.
What to consider when selecting a rod/reel combo
Your selection of a rod/reel combo should hinge on the type of fishing and the size of the fish you want to catch. The combo you select might be a light-action set-up that is best for small inland species or a heavier-action combo to handle larger fish. When making a selection, bear in mind that so long as the rod and reel have corrosion-resistant components, some combos (but not all) can work equally well for inshore salt- or freshwater use. For example, if you fish along the gulf coast or in the Florida Keys, a bait casting combo suitable for throwing large swim baits and tackling large bass can also be used for snook and other inshore, saltwater fish. The same can be said for some spinning rod/reel combos. When selecting a combo, avoid “overkill”, an example of which would be to purchase a heavy-action conventional combo to catch small trout.
Bait casting is the art of casting an artificial lure with a revolving-spool reel. Baitcasting combos pair a level-wind bait casting reel with a baitcasting rod that sometimes includes a trigger-style grip. The reel is mounted on top of the rod. When casting, anglers wrap their forefinger around the “trigger” for stability while thumbing the reel’s spool to reduce the chance of a backlash. As mentioned, baitcasting combos can be used in many freshwater and saltwater applications.
Conventional combos pair a conventional reel with a conventional rod. The reel, which is mounted on top of the rod may or may not have a level wind device. In the hands of an experienced angler, lightweight conventional combos (in the under-40-pound line class) can be used to cast heavy jigs. These same combos are a good choice for all-around use and can serve equally well for pier fishing, jigging, mooching, bottom fishing and trolling. Some conventional combos include a roller tip and roller guides which makes them a good choice for trolling and heavy bottom fishing. West Marine offers conventional combos to accommodate line classes ranging from under 30 pounds up to brawny set-ups in the 100 pound (mono) line class for battling large offshore fish.
Spin Fishing Combos
Spin fishing combos pair an open-face spinning reel with a spinning rod. Spin fishing involves casting natural and artificial baits, jigs, poppers and other terminal tackle. There are a wide variety of spin fishing rod/reel combos from which to select—from lightweight set-ups for catching small inland species all the way up to heavier combos designed for surf fishing or even blue water big game fish. When shopping for a spinning rod/reel combo, make sure to select one that is right for the size of fish you want to catch.
Fishing is one of the most popular outdoor activities, but not everyone who puts their hook in the water is an expert. Face it, the terminology can be a challenge for the novice, and if you talk to three of your fishing friends, you may get three different answers about what kind of rod and reel to purchase. That’s because there is often more than one way to “skin a cat”—or catch a fish. Buying a rod and reel combo can be a definite shortcut. For a moderate cost, you can get proven components, in a combo of the type you need to start catching fish.