Going fishing soon? If you wish to get a good catch, you’d have to be well-equipped with the right tools.
There are lots of selections in the market, but I’ve narrowed them down to the top five to help you decide.
These are budget-friendly rod and reel combos that offer excellent performance, whether the crappie is hiding under a downed tree or in open water.
Best Crappie Rod and Reel Reviews
1. Plussino Rod and Reel Combo
Plussino offers some of the best crappie fishing rod and reel combos in an affordable price range.
This particular set is perfect for beginners, and even kids and women will not have any issues handling it.
You can also choose the full kit variety, which comes complete with hooks, line, lures, and reel. The whole set is neatly stashed in a durable carrying bag.
The hard and durable fishing pole comes from a mixture of fiberglass and high-density carbon fiber that does not break easily.
It has a telescopic design available in multiple lengths that easily collapse for easy storage and portability.
It’s also fitted with a flexible interchangeable ambidextrous handle, aluminum oxide guides, and an EVA foregrip for added comfort while fishing.
The medium-powered large aluminum reel offers a more extensive line capacity, with one-line holes and two-color design in a shorter body.
Its hooded reel seat made from stainless steel resists rusting and corrosion caused by seawater.
The spinning reel’s thick coil bail spring and S-curve oscillation system offer a powerful drive gear with an automatic anti-reverse mechanism for excellent line winding.
What I Like
I like the durability of the fishing pole provided by its lightweight and flexible build. Its telescopic design adds to its portability and convenience.
Since it has different lengths, you can easily choose which rod feels the most comfortable for you or any of your family members.
Depending on your preference, you can easily switch the handle from either left or right, making it perfect for newbies.
What I Don’t Like
The medium-powered combo lacks the powerful features and additions that some fishermen would love to have in their gear.
- Has anti-reverse switch
- Great for salt and freshwater
- Clamp not included
- Uncomfortable grip
2. Zebco 33 Spincast Reel and Fishing Rod Combo
Zebco 33 is one of the newest models from this brand. It belongs among the best crappie fishing rod and reel combos that deliver excellent performance.
This upgraded version makes fishing fun and more comfortable, with its enhanced features that offer better water efficiency.
The fishing rod measures six feet long and has a durable fiberglass construction. This powerful but sensitive blank has D-ring guides on its tip.
It’s medium-powered, so you get enough flexibility as you reel in your catch. For a lightweight and ergonomic handle, you get Zebco’s signature ComfortGrip EVA handle.
Aside from the rod, you also get a lightweight reel made of a graphite frame and stainless steel covers with industrial classification.
Part of the Zebco 33 reel’s notable features is the ball bearing drive that helps to reduce friction. It produces ease of motion and increases your fishing speed.
For a 20 percent increase in your lure retrieval, this has been designed with a higher gear ratio.
The reel is also prevented from moving backward, thanks to the quickset’s multiple spots and anti-reverse function.
What’s more, you can switch between right- or left-hand retrieval depending on your preference and fishing comfort.
Unlike others, you will find that this has dial-adjustable MicroFine drag settings. These prevent the line from breaking while you’re trying to reel in the fish.
All in all, the enhanced line management system allows better casting, improved line retrieval, and positive control.
Zebco’s built-in bite alert system provides audio and visual indicators every time a fish bites the lure. It has a longer-lasting battery that produces a brighter light.
Lastly, you’d appreciate the PVC rubber knobs, which allow you to have a good grip on the handle and prevent slippage.
What I Like
The Zebco fishing rod can be separated into two parts for effortless storage, making it more convenient to transport.
With the rod’s medium-action flexibility and the reel’s changeable retrieval, you can be sure that you will have no trouble reeling in crappie.
You will also find a 10-pound Cajun line, about 100 yards, already spooled in the reel. It might not be as challenging for larger fish, but it’s suitable for crappie fishing.
What I Don’t Like
From time to time, you may find that you will need to take apart the reel to fix the jammed line inside.
Connecting the two-rod parts might be a bit challenging, too, as it does not fit well for others.
- Smooth casting
- User-friendly for newbies
- May tangle
- Flimsy rod material
3. Penn Battle II Fishing Rod and Spinning Reel Combo
Penn Battle ll is an all-around quality reel available at an affordable price point. The price and quality of this product belong to the mid-level variety.
The six-foot and six-inch fishing rod in this combo is the perfect gear for saltwater gamefish.
It comes with a not-so-lightweight reel with a full metal body, heavy-duty aluminum bail wire, side plate, and rotor that boast outstanding sturdiness.
The reel’s smooth but powerful drag system comes from HT-100 carbon fiber construction.
It is also equipped with instant anti-reverse and five ball bearings made from sealed stainless steel.
What’s more, it has comfortable rubber knobs that let you fish for an extended period without feeling tired or strained.
Line capacity rings are added to the super line spool to give you an idea of how much is still left on your spool.
What I Like
What’s excellent about this fishing rod and reel combo is its durability. As long as it is cleaned and greased after every use, you can expect it to last for many uses.
Although this rod and reel combo is ideally for saltwater, it also does a great job when used in freshwater fishing.
Parts replacement for the fishing rod and reel are easy to find in most fishing gear stores, so there’s no worry if you need to change anything.
What I Don’t Like
Some anglers may find that this fishing rod and reel combo leans more on the heavier side than they are used to.
The fishing rod included in the combo does not provide a lot of sensitivity, too, which may be an issue for some users.
- Ambidextrous handle
- Well balanced
- Casts well
- Rod breaks easy
- Sharp rod guide edges
4. Shakespeare Ugly Stik GX2 Rod and Reel Combo
The Ugly Stik GX2 combo comes in four various sizes.
Most anglers consider this combo as the best rod and reel combo for crappie fishing, but why?
This setup is ideal for ice applications because it combines new and old designs without compromising durability.
This rod and reel combo has the ideal length for casting from a distance. It has a durable construction but with a lightness that offers better balance.
Anyone can go on fishing for an extended period using the GX2 without feeling any discomfort and hand fatigue.
The rod’s tuff guides are made from a single piece of stainless steel that’s expertly crafted, providing exceptional durability.
The GX2 fishing rod offers durability and sensitivity through its composite fiberglass and graphite materials.
In addition, the fishing rod handle has two durable and lightweight EVA grips. They absorb excess moisture to keep your hands comfortable.
These features lessen wrist pain, hand fatigue, and strain, allowing longer fishing time.
The aesthetic design of the GX2 offers ease of use and portability due to its balanced weight and lightness.
Its three plus one ball bearings offer instant anti-reverse and smoother gear functions. What’s more, the anodized aluminum spool has an oversized bail wire for added durability.
Lastly, you can expect the reel to last longer because of the compression bail springs added to its construction.
What I Like
The two-piece six-foot medium-powered Ugly Stik fishing rod and reel combo is perfect for beginners catching small and medium-sized trout or crappie.
It is a quality-made setup that offers smooth operation and excellent response action. You can switch the handle from left to right according to your inclination.
What I Don’t Like
This beautifully designed Ugly Stik GX2 fishing rod lacks the casting performance that some other models offer, as it does not go very far.
You will also find that it is exclusive for freshwater use only and not for saltwater fishing to prolong its life span.
- Durable rod
- Sensitive rod
- Comfortable handle
- Not pre-spooled
- Low-quality reel
5. KastKing Crixus Rod and Reel Combo
KastKing’s ultimate goal is to keep their innovations within the consumer’s budget.
The company’s concept is to keep fishing fun for everyone. Hence, the continued production of high-quality products at a budget-friendly price.
The rod and reel combo from the KastKing Crixus series has seven various casting and spinning selections.
Its carbon-infused fishing reel frame is lightweight with a CNC aluminum spool and double-shielded five plus one stainless ball bearings.
Another excellent performance feature of this fishing reel is its powerful carbon drags.
The KastKing Crixus rods are crafted with the KastFlex IM6 graphite blanks to provide an extraordinary performance at an affordable price.
This powerful and sensitive fishing rod comes with different lengths and power levels, too.
Its SuperPolymer golf-style handle offers control and maximum grip even on wet conditions for added comfort, durability, and slip-resistance.
KastKing only uses quality materials, like its premium stainless steel guide frames and its Zirconium Oxide rings.
These materials produce longer and smoother casts and reliable performance using different types of fishing lines.
All Crixus fishing rods use PTS or the Power Transition System. This technology makes the two-piece fishing rod feels like a single pole.
What I Like
Like all other spinning reels, the KastKing Crixus is interchangeable from left- to right-hand operation, so everybody can use it.
This rod and reel combo is also proudly manufactured in the U.S.A., specifically, New York City.
The set delivers an excellent performance that matches its sleek and elegant black and white color scheme.
Putting it together is straightforward, too, as the provided instruction manual is easy to understand and follow.
The rod and reel combo is also covered by a one year warranty from the manufacturer.
What I Don’t Like
This KastKing Crixus rod and reel combo are exclusive for freshwater fishing alone.
- Smooth reel performance
- Rod splits in half
- Loose screws on reel
Crappie is mostly found across North America. It’s a popular game fish that loves to hang out around boulders, logs, and weed beds.
This small-sized fish is easy to catch if you have the best rod and reel combo for crappie fishing.
Here are some of the basic things you need to consider to get the best combo set up.
1. Rod Length
When it’s crappie’s spawning season, they usually gather in large numbers in shallow water. It’s the best time for you to take out your gear and go fishing.
The length of your fishing rod is vital when catching crappie. Longer rods are usually the best option when crappie fishing.
Using a long rod allows you to quietly approach the location where crappies are hiding, as they can quickly feel if someone is coming.
You will also have a more extended reach with a lengthy rod. There are reduced movement and noise with long rods that might scare the fish away.
The fishing line won’t snag if you have a long rod, as there’s no need for you to cast. You can simply drop it into the water from above their hiding place.
Once you feel a bite, just pull it up vertically, avoiding any obstacles that might snap the line.
2. Rod Weight
Just like the rod’s length, its weight is also crucial when it comes to the success of your fishing adventures.
Since they belong to the small fisheries variety, lightweight and ultra-lightweight rods will be the perfect choice for crappie fishing.
These rod types work well with light fishing lines, providing you with slower rod action. This rod movement is essential if you don’t want to disturb crappie.
Light and ultra-light rods can also reduce hand fatigue, have more bendability, and a higher sensitivity rate.
In turn, this feature allows you to feel the bite or the bottom of the river right away.
3. Rod Sensitivity
The sensitivity of a fishing rod is its ability to feel even the tiniest of a bite from your target so that you can take action.
Some say that rod sensitivity is not needed at all times, depending on what fishing techniques you use.
However, some fishing methods show that rod sensitivity is essential. In fact, it makes a lot of difference to how successful one is in catching a fish.
Many factors can affect the rod’s sensitivity.
Most anglers consider graphite rods as the most responsive. This material type can transmit vibrations more efficiently than other fishing rod components.
However, the material alone does not define how the rod reacts.
The fishing rod’s design and how it is finished are also significant factors affecting its sensitivity and responsiveness.
4. Reel Size
Aside from your fishing rod’s different characteristics, reels also play a significant role in your crappie fishing experience.
Most anglers use spinning reels when crappie fishing, as they are more efficient.
When it comes to reel sizes, the best option is a medium-sized type, which you can use to catch varying fish species.
Using this reel size allows you to fish in freshwater with a lighter tackle. This is also a suitable option when fishing with heavier equipment.
Still, crappie is from the smaller fish variety, so a smaller sized reel should be enough.
Any reel size from 3,500 and below belong to the small reel category. They are suitable for catching small fish species like crappie and trout.
Small-sized reels are ideal for six- to seven-foot lightweight rods.
Before you go ahead and buy the fishing reel, decide what type of fish species you plan to catch and whether you will be fishing in fresh or saltwater surroundings.
Durability is one significant factor that we always look for when buying any item. There is no way to check the sturdiness of a product by just looking, though.
The durability of your fishing gear should be the first thing to consider. It does not matter whether you are a pro or a novice.
One-piece styles are more reliable when it comes to fishing rods’ control, durability, and stiffness.
The materials used and its overall build will determine the toughness of your chosen fishing rod.
It must have the ability to handle the pressure from the weight and fight of your catch.
Same with your fishing rods, the materials used for the reels will impact its performance and life span.
Graphite is one of the most durable materials for both fishing rods and reels.
Best Crappie Rod and Reel FAQs
1. What is the best length for a crappie rod?
Crappie belongs to the small fish species and does not grow to be super big.
If you have the right gear for crappie fishing, you are sure to come home with a fresh catch.
There are different varieties of crappie rod lengths, depending on what technique you will be using to catch your target.
Six to 10 feet rods are the most common lengths used by most anglers. Those who fish on ice are more comfortable with two to three feet rods.
However, some crappie fishing enthusiasts love using longer rods from anywhere between 10 and 16 feet long.
Longer fishing rods allow you to cast farther away from your target and avoid any distractions.
On the other hand, shorter rods are perfect for quick and accurate casts, giving you faster hook sets.
2. Why are crappie rods so long?
Crappie is a popular freshwater game fish that’s easy and difficult to catch, making it more fun and exciting to target.
There are several reasons why crappie rods are longer than others.
Using lengthy rods allow you to bring your baits closer to where the crappies are without disturbing them by your movement.
When you are on a boat, you can cast far from where your target is without alarming them.
Crappies also love to stay in shallow waters near the shores, making it beneficial to use a longer rod for a quiet cast.
Long fishing rods give you an extended range. You can cast your fishing line farther without making a lot of noise and movements.
Using a longer rod allows you to quietly drop the line into the water and sink slowly to where your target is and wait for the fish to bite.
Prevents Line Snagging
Areas near the shores where crappies are during spawning season have plenty of brush and foliage.
Using a longer fishing rod gives you a better scope of the area. You can effectively avoid your lines from catching on something or getting ripped by these obstacles.
3. What is the best month to catch crappie?
There is no specific month to catch crappie. However, papermouth usually spawns during springtime. Hence, spring is the best season to hunt this fish variety.
Crappies typically stay near the shore beneath fallen logs, brush, and foliage.
4. How deep should I fish for crappie?
After the spawning season, you will find crappies in clear water between 14 and 16 feet deep. In murky waters, crappies are usually within eight feet underwater.
During the pre-spawning season is when crappies feed a lot. You will find them staying on flats between six and 15 feet deep, with the water temperature at 50 to 56 degrees.
5. What time of day are crappie most active?
Crappies are most active during feeding time, which is between 12 MN to 2 AM. Some crappies also feed during dawn and dusk, where they go to shallower waters.
The search for the best crappie rod and reel combo may be overwhelming due to the vast selection of fishing gear available.
I’ve selected our top five choices to make it easier for you to choose the combo to suit your needs.
Among these five rods and reel setup, I consider the KastKing Crixus as the best.
Its stylish look goes well with its performance. It is made in the USA and is reasonably priced, too.
The fishing rod offers the perfect lightness and sensitivity, while the reel provides smooth performance for your crappie fishing adventures.
For a much higher chance of catching them, you would want to learn more about crappies and their behavior.