Are you searching for the best fishing rod and reel combo for saltwater fishing?
In this post, we are going to look at 4 of my favorite choices when it comes to fishing the sea.
I want to look at 2 great spinning options and 2 inshore baitcasting options. By doing so, it will hopefully help you to make the right choice.
Let’s get started…
What is the best fishing rod and reel combo for saltwater fishing?
Here is a quick preview of my favorite choices, to learn more about each one and why they were included on this list please keep reading below.
- 13 Fishing Concept Z paired with the 13 Fishing Omen Green Casting Rod
- PENN Battle II Combo
- Penn Pursuit II
- Daiwa Coastal TWS paired with the Daiwa Saltist Inshore Rod
- Ball Bearings: Zero
- Gear Ratio: Available in 6.6:1, 7.3:1, 8.1:1
- Line Capacity: 12lbs/135 yards
- Weight: 6.4 ounces
- Maximum Drag: 22 lbs
- Ocean Armor 2 Saltwater Protection Process
The first reel to add to our list is the 13 Fishing Concept Z. This unique looking low profile inshore baitcaster was specifically designed for the saltwater fisherman. Let’s take a look at some of its features that really makes it unique.
The first feature that really makes it stand out from the competition is the ball bearing setup. Yes, you read the features correctly, this reel has zero stainless steel ball bearings. That is huge!
Think for a moment the last time you had issues with your fishing reel, did it have something to do with the ball bearings? Without a doubt, 99% of the time we encounter a problem with our reels it has something to do with the bearings.
For that reason, 13 fishing came out with a reel that has no stainless steel ball bearings. Your next question might be, how did they do that? Well they do have “bearings”, but they are made from a polymer material. By removing the standard stainless steel ball bearings and adding ones that aren’t susceptible to corrosion you already have a baitcasting reel that is going to perform better on the water.
Another noticeable difference, with the concept z is the weight. It only weighs 6.4 ounces. That is super lightweight. Couple that with its low profile and it is a very comfortable reel to fish with all day long.
The next question you might have is, can it cast far? One thing that prevents long casts is friction. You can reduce friction two ways, either by looking inside the reel or by taking a look at how the fishing line is coming off the reel.
Many companies like to add more ball bearings as it helps to reduce the friction and allow for more casts. Other companies like to add micro guides or a create a larger opening for the line ( such as theTWS system on Daiwa), with the objective to reduce friction and allow for longer casts.
However, 13 fishing has done something that no one has tried before, they have eliminated the standard stainless ball bearing completely. The idea is that once you remove the ball bearings you will greatly reduce the friction and should see longer casts.
Lastly, I just want to point out the maximum drag on this little reel. With 22 pounds of maximum drag it might be lightweight and small from the outside, but believe me this reel can do some damage.
Couple this great inshore baitcaster with a fast loading rod such as the Omen Green casting rod and you have yourself a great saltwater setup.
Learn more about what makes the Concept Z a great option when saltwater fishing in the following video:
Reel Features: (specs based on 5000 model)
- Ball Bearings: 6
- Gear Ratio: 5.6:1
- Mono Line Capacity: 12lbs / 225 yards, 15lbs / 200 yards, 20lbs / 135 yards
- Braid Line Capacity: 20lbs / 420 yards, 30lbs / 300 yards, 40lbs / 240 yards
- Retrieve Rate: 36 inches per turn
- Maximum Drag: 25 lbs
- 7 foot medium-heavy, fast action 1 piece
- 8 foot medium, 2 piece
Without a doubt one of the most popular fishing rod and reel combos for saltwater fishing is the PENN Battle II Combo.
This spinning reel combo is equipped with 6 sealed ball bearings. If you remember before, the original Penn Battle always came with shielded ball bearings. However, they have since upgraded to sealed ball bearings offering more protection from the harsh saltwater elements.
Couple the sealed ball bearings with an all metal body and you have yourself a durable spinning reel ready to take on any fish in the sea.
This reel is available in a number of different size ranging from the small 2000 reel all the way up to the 8000 size.
Just to give you an idea of what these reel are designed for, the 2000 reel series has a maximum drag of 9 pounds so it is perfect for light inshore fishing. On the other hand the 8000 has 30 pound maximum drag making it a must have when targeting those larger inshore fish.
Speaking of drag, Penn did something very unique with this series of reels. This reel’s Versa-Drag Carbon fiber drag system allows it to use both sides of the drag washer, giving it more strength and you more power to hand the biggest of fish.
The gear ratio varies between the different sizes, however, the 5000 model is equipped with a good all around gear ratio of 5.6:1. This is a great gear ratio especially when fishing with larger baits as it gives you more torque.
Lastly, let’s take a quick look at the rod options. This saltwater combo comes with a 7 foot medium heavy, fast action graphite rod or a 8 foot medium 2 piece rod. The rod is a graphite rod making it both light and sensitive if your hands.
When trying to choose between the two options, it might be helpful to keep in mind the larger rod is going to give you more power for hooksets and ultimately allow for longer casts.
For example, if you are trying to choose the best rod and reel combo for surf fishing you might want to take a look at the PENN Battle II 8000 series. It comes with a 10 foot rod, really allowing you to launch your lure a mile.
Reel Features: (specs based on 5000 series)
- Ball Bearings: 5
- Gear Ratio: 4.6:1
- Mono Line Capacity: 12lbs / 255 yards, 15lbs / 230 yards, 20lbs / 160 yards
- Braid Line Capacity: 20lbs / 410 yards, 30lbs / 295 yards, 40lbs / 235 yards
- Retrieve Rate: 27 inches per turn
- Maximum Drag: 20 lbs
- 7 foot, medium heavy, fast action – 1 piece graphite rod
Another very popular option by Penn is their Penn Pursuit II.
One of the biggest difference between the Penn Pursuit II and the Battle II is the material used. Most of Penn’s spinning reels come with an all metal body. However, the pursuit II is made with a graphite body, graphite rotor and a metal sideplate. Keep in mind the graphite is corrosion resistant so you will have no problems taking it saltwater fishing.
With that being said, the graphite materials does a few things for this reel. First, the weight. You will notice right away that this reel is going to be lighter than the Battle II. If weight is an important feature for you, that I recommend you consider the Pursuit II.
Next, the graphite material is going to make it much more affordable. While the Battle II is on the higher end as far as price point, the Pursuit is more an entry-level reel.
This is great for people who are just getting into saltwater fishing and at this point they don’t want to make a large investment.
Another thing to consider is that this reel is equipped with shielded ball bearings. Shielded meaning the bearings are protected from allowing the saltwater to affect what is going on inside.
However, keep in mind that this doesn’t mean you can dunk your reel in the water. You still will need to take precaution so that the saltwater doesn’t enter your reel.
Lastly, let’s take a look at the rod option. This saltwater combo comes with a 7 foot medium heavy fast action graphite rod.
I am really impressed with this rod option as it is a good all around option for most saltwater fishing techniques.
- Ball Bearings: 8 corrosion resistant
- Gear Ratio: 7.3:1
- Mono Line Capacity: 14lbs / 165 yards, 17lbs / 125 yards, 20lbs / 100 yards
- Braid Line Capacity: 40lbs / 190 yards, 55lbs / 145 yards
- Line Retrieval Rate: 32.2 inches per turn
- Weight: 8.1 ounces
- Maximum Drag: 15.4 pounds
To conclude our search for the best fishing rod and reel combo for saltwater fishing we want to take a closer look at the Daiwa Coastal TWS.
This is a low profile inshore baitcaster that is made from a lightweight material specifically designed for saltwater fishing.
One feature that I really like about this reel are the 8 corrosion resistant ball bearings. This helps to keep the saltwater out and most importantly protect your investment from this harsh environment.
Like most Daiwa reels, it is equipped with its TWS. TWS stands for T-Wing System. By engaging the release button, it creates a wider opening for the line to exit the reel. This little features allows the line to come off more freely and allow for longer casts. One you engage the reel, it will return back to a normal line opening.
It is only available in two options, right-handed or left-handed. With that being said, it has a rather fast 7.3:1 gear ratio bringing in a little more than 32 inches per turn. Many anglers might not like this fast gear ratio, but I think it was mainly designed for west coast anglers.
None the less, no matter what part of the country you may live in this a great baitcasting reel for saltwater fishing.
Finally, let’s look at a rod options for the Daiwa Coastal TWS. One rod that I would recommend pairing with this reel is the Daiwa Saltist Inshore Rod.
The Saltist Inshore Rod is available in a number of different sizes and power ratings allowing you to pick the right one for your fishing needs. It is made with a high modulus graphite blank, resulting in a lighter, more sensitive rod.
So, what is the best fishing rod and reel combo for saltwater combo. In this post, I have talked about 4 of my favorites, but there are so many options on the market it really was difficult to narrow it down to just 4.
However, you can be sure that by choosing anyone one of the aforementioned rod and reel combos that you will have a reel that will last many more fishing seasons to come.
Please share with us your experience, what have you found to be the best fishing rod and reel combo for saltwater fishing?