Saltwater Rod and Reel Combos Buying Guide

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Saltwater rods and reels are made of anti-corrosive materials to make them more durable in salty conditions. Buying a ready-made saltwaterrodandreelcombo has several advantages over buying pieces separately. The rod and reel can be used as is. All that is needed is fishing line and tackle. Combinations are usually well-priced, making them a great choice for beginners, casual anglers, or those on a budget. An expert angler usually decides which rods are packaged with which reels, taking the guesswork out of it for those who are less experienced. However, shoppers should know what features and characteristics are important to look for in a quality set. Plenty of rod and reel combos can be found at sports and angling shops, and online. This guide will help buyers distinguish between the many options available on the market today.

Know Your Saltwater Fishing Rods

A good fishing rod should provide stability, power, and support. It acts as a guide for fishing line, and as a buffer to absorb tension when a fish bites and starts to fight. Rods come in one-piece designs, multiple-pieceassemblies, or telescopicdesigns. One-piece rods have a more solid feel and are stronger than multiple-piece assemblies. Collapsible rods or rods that can be broken down are easier to transport. Rods can be made from bamboo, but most are made from graphite or fiberglass. Composite rods are made of a combination of graphite and fiberglass.

Fiberglass Rods

Fiberglass rods need little maintenance. They will not rust, corrode, or become brittle, but are still less durable than graphite. Fiberglass rods are of average weight and are considered good for beginners. Their strength makes them better for fighting larger game fish. Fiberglass rods are more flexible than graphite rods, and act like shock absorbers between anglers and their prey. Two primary designs are available: tubular and solid. Tubular rods are hollow and, as a result, lighter than solid rods. Solid rods are stronger and more durable, but heavier, than hollow rods.

Graphite Rods

Graphite rods are preferred by advanced anglers due to their superior strength and lightness. They are versatile, and can be used in most fishing situations. Additionally, these rods better transmit vibrations from nibbling or biting fish. While graphite rods have more fighting power than fiberglass rods, they are more fragile and vulnerable to damage.

Saltwater Fishing Rod Length

Saltwater rods are generally between 6 and 12 feet long. The rod’s length depends on the type of fishing the angler intends to do and the type of fish he or she wants to catch. Rod length is further determined by the fishing location and the angler’s own experience, build, and strength. A rod between 8 and 9 feet long will be best for a beginner as it is short enough to help with control and development of the angler’s technique, but long enough to give a good casting distance. A smallchild will need a shorter rod due to his or her height. When one is fishing in a wooded area, the rod should be shorter. When fishing for larger, more aggressive fish, one needs a stronger, shorter rod.

Fishing Rod Taper

A fishing rod tapers from the front to the back. The degree of taper determines how much the rod bends when it is under strain.


The grip is the material covering the handle at the bottom of the fishing rod. Those that are built into the handle are sturdier than those that are glued on. A grip is usually made of cork, wood, or foam. Cork is comfortable and does not absorb water. It allows more vibration to pass through the hand for greater sensitivity, while staying lightweight. Wood gives added comfort when casting and reeling. Foam is lightweight, durable, comfortable, and does not chip or break.

Grips are described as either trigger or pistol types. A longer trigger grip is used for two-handed casting as seen on baitcasting rods. A pistol grip is the shortest type of grip and it is contoured to the shape of the angler’s hand. Pistol grips feature a hook for the index finger to make casting more accurate.

The Reel Seat

The reel seat is the attachment point where the reel and rod connect. It is usually made of molded plastic or graphite. The reel seat secures the reel to cut out play while the angler casts or reels in his line. It is usually made up of a collar tightened by screwing around the bottom part of the reel.


The ferrules are the sections of a rod that screw together. Ferrules are only found in multiple-piece rods, and are the only part of the rod that needs to be assembled.

Line Guides

Line guides are plastic, metal, or ceramic rings positioned along the rod’s length. The fishing line is threaded through the line guides, which act as a control for the line. Roller guides or ring guides are found on conventional rods. When the roller guides are made of stainless steel, the rod is designed for trolling or stand-up fishing. Rollers reduce friction and stress on the line during the fight. Stainless steel is stronger and more corrosion resistant. Aluminum is corrosion resistant, but weaker than stainless steel. Ceramic rings allow the line to flow freely through the guides. This results in less friction, and less wear on the line.

In casting rods the line guides are placed on top of the rod to make casting easier. In these setups the reel is also attached on top of the rod. In spinning rods the line guides can be found along the bottom of the rod, in line with the reel. This facilitates reeling in the line. Guides become larger towards the bottom of the rod, and the number of line guides is determined by the rod’s length and quality. Line guides help to transfer the vibrations from a fish’s nibble to the angler’s hand.

Casting Rods

Castingrods are also known as baitcasting rods. They are generally longer, and can take heavier gauge fishing line than spinning rods. The reel and guide are located along the top of the rod for easier casting. Longer lengths are capable of farther casts, while heavier line enables anglers to catch larger, heavier fish. The line guides are smaller than those found on a spinning rod. This is because the line comes off the casting reel in a straight line, and leads to more accurate casting.

Spinning Rods

Spinningrods are usually between 5 and 8 feet in length. The reel and guides are fitted along the bottom of the rod for smooth, accurate casts. Spinning rods are usually made from graphite or fiberglass, with cork or PVC foam handles. The length of the handle is balanced against the length of the fishing rod, and trigger grips are not used. Longer rods have longer handles to enable the angler to cast with both hands. These rods are used when trolling and for still fishing using live bait. They are designed to hold spin casting reels.

Saltwater Reels

There are two main types of reels used for saltwater fishing. The characteristics best suited to each angler depend on the reel’s intended use, the angler’s level of experience, and the size of the fish that will be caught.

Casting Reels

Castingreels are also known as conventional, or baitcasting, reels. These reels hold more line, can be used to cast further, and create smoother drag than spinning reels. However, they may be more difficult to master. Casting reels are made up of a revolving spool on top of the rod, in line with the line guides. Casting rods generally have smaller line guides than spinning rods. These reels are capable of longer casts using bigger bait. Reels can be closed or open face. A closed face reel has a cover with a section that guides the line back onto the reel evenly. An open face reel does not have this cover in place, making it easier to retrieve line and quicker to reel it in. As a result, it is better suited to fishing for bigger fish.

Spinning Reels

A spinningreel is made up of a fixed spool and handle mounted along the bottom of the rod. Since the spool is stationary, it is more difficult to tangle the line when casting. However, large loops of line may leave the spool upon casting. To adjust for this, the line guides on spinning rods are larger than those on casting rods. Spinning reels can be used to cast lighter saltwater lures and bait than casting reels.

The Rod and Reel Combo’s Power and Action

The amount of power and type of action needed from a rod and reel combo should be considered before buying.


Power is determined by the reel characteristics, and is proportional to the rod’s weight. Power is described as ultra-light, light, medium, medium-heavy, heavy, and ultra-heavy.

For example:

An ultra-light spinning set is used to catch bait fish, or in situations where rod response is crucial. An ultra-light set is often used to catch small fish in confined spaces. It can take a 2 to 6 pound test line.

Light and mediumspinning sets are considered versatile, and can be used to fish from the shore, a pier, or a boat. However, they are not suitable for surf fishing. They take test lines of 6 to 17 pounds.

A heavyspinning setup is used for offshore or surf fishing, taking lines with test weights of 20 pounds or higher.

A baitcasting set can be used to cast artificial lures and plugs while fishing inshore. Test lines of 12 to 20 pounds are best.

Bottom fishing is mostly done from party boats. A 6.5 foot boatrod with a casting reel can take test line with a weight of 30 to 80 pounds. However, these sets are not designed for casting. Instead, the line is simply dropped to the bottom.


The action determines the amount of control the angler has over the fish. Faster action means more pressure on the fish. Action further affects casting distance and accuracy, and the way the rod behaves when the angler casts or fights with a fish to land it.

The speed of the action depends on the flexibility of the rod.

An extra-fast rod bends only at the tip.

A fast rod bends in the last quarter.

A moderate-fast rod bends in the last third.

A moderately fast rod bends in the last half.

A slow rod bends all the way to the handle.

In other words, an angler will have to work harder to land a fish using a slow rod than a fast one.

Choosing the Right Saltwater Rod and Reel Combo

When deciding on the most appropriate saltwater rod and reel combo, it is important to consider a number of factors before choosing the best option. The type of fish that one wants to catch determines the proportional size of the tackle and line weight. For example, catching sharks or marlin will need a stronger rod and bigger reel than catching snapper or grouper. One’s level of experience and comfort using a particular type of reel will also influence the decision. For example, beginners often do better with spinning reels. Spinning reels are easier to cast without tangling the line.

Shoppers should also consider where they will be fishing most often. A different combination of tackle is needed offshore than inshore. Tackle also varies where there is a lot of space to cast versus limited space. Whether the bait needs to travel over a distance or simply drop down will also impact the tackle used.

The rod’s material affects its weight, durability, and purpose. While graphite rods are stiffer and more sensitive, fiberglass rods are tougher and more powerful. The length of the rod further affects its usability. A longer rod is more powerful, can cast further, and has a higher action level. However, a shorter rod gives one more power for fighting the fish.

For example, rods used in surffishing should be between 10 and 18 feet long, with long grip handles. This enables anglers to cast over the surf to the area where game fish feed. They can also bear heavier bait where it is necessary for the bait to stay near the bottom in rough water. Before making a purchase, research the recommended reel and rod combos for the fishing area of interest.

Finding Saltwater Rod and Reel Combos on eBay

eBay’s sellers offer a huge range of affordable rod and reel combos. To browse the listed items, visit the Fishing section in the Outdoor Sports department on the Sporting Goods page. Select Rod & ReelCombos under Saltwater Fishing to start shopping. Do not forget to check the fishing shops in the eBaystores category. If the item you want is not listed, creating a post in WantitNow lets sellers know what you are seeking. Alternatively, savingasearch in My eBay triggers an automated email when the item is listed.

eBay and PayPal have collaborated to bring you a safe shopping environment. Take a few moments to learn how they protect you. Never move a transaction off eBay, and do not pay with an instant transfer method. In the unlikely event that your item fails to arrive, or is not in the condition described, eBayBuyerProtection will refund you the buying price and shipping fees.

Seller feedback is displayed with the seller’s number of sales to give you an idea of what other members of the community think of the seller. Use this to make up your own mind before buying. Also check the seller’s terms and conditions. Some offer a money-back guarantee or free shipping, while others have returns policies in place. Do not forget to add the shipping and handling charges to the purchase price when working out the item’s total cost. Additionally, carefully check the item description and seller’s photos. If you want to ask the seller a question, use the ‘Ask a Question’ link to do so. Doing some research about the item will ensure that you know the fair asking price.


Fishing is a rewarding sport. Reeling in the catch after an intense fight is immensely satisfying. eBay’s selection of saltwater rod and reel combos has something to please every angler. Finding the perfect rod and reel set quickly and easily gives you more time to spend on the shore or boat, chasing the one that got away.

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