best 5 rod and reel combos for walleye – Reviews And Buying Guide

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The Best Rod and reel combo for walleye is an important factor to think about if you are going to chase Walleye. Walleye fishing is a lot of fun, but it also needs a lot of patience and requires some lightning-fast reactions. That’s why you probably need to choose the right reel and rod from the wide variety of choices on the market.

That got you worried? You don’t need to, because we did our research and in this article, we will reveal in our list the 4 recommended rods and reels combos for walleye fishing that we think are the best this year. 

Top Picks

  1. Ugly Stik GX2 Spinning Reel and Fishing Rod Combo (Best Budget Combo)
  2. PENN Pursuit III & Pursuit IV Spinning Reel and Fishing Rod Combo (Best Overall)

5 Best Rod And Reel Combos For Walleye Fishing

A man holding a rod and reel combo and walking on the shore

Here is our list:

  1. KastKing Crixus Fishing Rod and Reel Combo
  2. Ugly Stik GX2 Spinning Reel and Fishing Rod Combo
  3. Tailored Tackle Fishing Rods Reels
  4. PENN Pursuit III & Pursuit IV Spinning Reel and Fishing Rod Combo
  5. Pflueger President XT Spinning Reel and Fishing Rod Combo



KastKing Crixus Fishing Rod and Reel Combo

The rod in this combo is made of IM6 graphite. It’s not like IM8 graphite found in more expensive rods. However  it offers a lightweight and sensitive rod without sacrificing the strength required to land large walleye. 

The handles are made from Superpolymer which is durable and comfortable for your palms. They also give strong grips in wet conditions. The guides are made from stainless steel guides which are corrosion resistant and durable. It’s also supplied with Zirconium oxide rings. They work on minimising friction and thermal dissipation. As a result, you get smoother and longer casts. 

When it comes to the reel, it’s made from carbon infused frames which are lightweight and strong. The spools are made from CNC aluminium. It’s the most popular aluminium alloy and offers natural corrosion resistance and good durability. 

There are 7+1 shielded ball bearings which are pretty cool. The shielding means that they are well protected. They are also made of corrosion resistant stainless steel. 

The combo is available only in 2 pcs which makes it travel friendly. It also offers a unique power transition system to deliver a performance that is as similar to 1 pcs rods as possible.

Something that I don’t like in this combo is that it’s not the best when it comes to casting accuracy. Also, the drag has no noticeable clicking sound which is something I love to hear while fishing. 

Pros

  • Made of corrosion resistant materials.
  • Very lightweight.
  • Suitable for beginners.
  • High value for the money. 
  • Comfortable for your hands.

Cons

  • Not the best for casting accuracy. 
  • Poor instruction manual.
  • No noticeable clicking sound. 



Ugly Stik GX2 Spinning Reel and Fishing Rod Combo (Best Budget Combo)

Ugly stick is known for making very strong and sturdy fishing rods at low prices. This combo is available in a variety of sizes and models, but we recommend getting the 7′ Medium Heavy 1pc for walleye fishing.

Starting with the construction, the rod is made from graphite and fibreglass. This combination gets you the good of both worlds. You get the sensitivity and lightweight of graphite and the strength and durability of fibreglass. 

Ugly sticks are also known for their clear tip design that works on better sensitivity. So, the clear tip design is also there in the GX2 combo. The handle is made from EVA which is lightweight and more durable than cork handles. However, it’s not good for sensitivity which is required for walleye fishing. 

The reel comes with 3 ball bearings with an anti reverse mechanism. I like the anti reverse. It will help you focus more fighting fish instead of focusing on the line getting out of the spool. However, I don’t like that it comes only with 3 ball bearings. It’s quite low compared with KastKing Crixus Combo.

Pros

  • Strong and durable combo.
  • Very affordable price. 
  • Super lightweight.
  • Though it has only 3 BB, the reel is smooth.

Cons

  • The reel is of low quality compared to the rod.
  • Very low number of ball bearings. 
  • I don’t think the rod will match the sensitivity of a full graphite rod.



Tailored Tackle Multi Species Fishing Rods Reels

The very first thing you will notice about this combo is that you can use it for saltwater in freshwater fishing. It’s very versatile and you can use it not only for walleye, but also for Trout, Pike, Bass and Panfish fishing. 

The handle comes with a soft-touch knob made from cork which offers comfortability. It’s also of the split grip type to be lightweight on your hands. The guides are made from stainless steel which is durable and corrosion resistant. 

The reel comes with 7 ball bearings which is a pretty good number for a beginner reel and rod combo. You can also switch between left or right retrieval. The drag works with the carbon washer system which can take up to 10 Lbs. Honestly, it’s not enough for big walleye species, but it’s suitable for small walleye. It also offers an anti reverse switch.

This combo is available in a medium fast action model which is suitable for Walleye fishing. Overall, it’s not the best in the market, but if you’re a beginner, it may be a good idea to try it before involving yourself in more expensive ones. 

Pros

  • Good for beginners.
  • Smooth reel.
  • Lightweight.
  • Sensitive.

Cons

  • Cheap quality reel.
  • Not durable.



PENN Pursuit III & Pursuit IV Spinning Reel and Fishing Rod Combo (Best Overall)

The very first thing I noticed about Penn Pursuit III & IV combo is that there is a very wide variety of length, powers and actions available including 1 or 2 pcs. 

I like that it’s constructed from graphite. As previously mentioned, Graphite is very suitable for walleye fishing, because it’s lightweight, strong enough and offers the sensitivity required to fish walleye. It’s also corrosion resistant which makes it good for saltwater applications. (You can check our guide about saltwater fishing lines for spinning reel from here)

The combo comes with Penn Dura guides. You will like that they require little maintenance after every fishing trip. They are also corrosion resistant and their construction makes them durable. The handles are made comfortable EVA grips. Personally, I prefer cork handles because they are more sensitive. However, if you like durability, then you will be happy to know that EVA handles offer much more durability. 

Coming to the reel, Penn Pursuit III & IV offers HT-100 drag washers. It’s considered the strongest and highest quality drag system in our list. It’s smooth and strong for heavy walleye species. It also offers 4 sealed ball bearings made from corrosion resistant stainless steel. The sealing also offers more protection against saltwater. 

There are also drawbacks that I should mention. The reel makes noise when pulling the line. If you’re a noise hater, you won’t like this. Also, the rod is a bit stiff to be used on freshwater small fishing species. 

Pros

  • Good dragging system.
  • Very versatile.
  • Good for saltwater applications.
  • High value for the money. 

Cons

  • Poor Packaging and shipping.
  • Stiff rod.
  • Noisy reel. 



Pflueger President XT Spinning Reel and Fishing Rod Combo

The Pflueger President XT spinning combo is available in 3 models. The only one suitable for walleye fishing is the 6’6″  Medium 1pc version. 

The rod is made of intermediate modulus carbon fiber blank. The carbon is lightweight and strong. It’s considered the best alternative to fiberglass rods. However, I prefer graphite for walleye because it’s more sensitive. 

The combo offers Sea Guide® SS316 stainless sloped guides. The guide leg angle changes which decreases line tangling. It is also supplied with zirconium inserts which minimises the friction and abrasion.  I like that the rod comes with rubber cork knobs. This adds more to the sensitivity which is good to feel for walleye fine bites. It’s also available in split and full handle models. 

The reel has an aluminium main shaft and pinion gear which makes it durable and lightweight on your hands. The spool is braid ready, so you won’t need a backing of mono filament when using braided lines. 

The dragging system delivers reliable and smooth performance. However, I don’t like that they use the traditional oil felt drag system instead of carbon fiber disc. The drag works pretty well. However, you won’t like the durability when compared to carbon. It comes with  10 ball bearings which is the highest number of ball bearings on our list. 

Pros

  • Quality carbon construction.
  • Braid ready spool. 
  • High number of ball bearings.
  • Quality Sea Guide stainless steel guides with zirconium inserts. 

Cons

  • Limited features. 
  • The carbon is less sensitive than graphite. 
  • Traditional oil felt drag system.



What Are The Factors To Consider When Choosing Your Next Walleye Rod And Reel Combo?

A person holding his fishing rod

Now, let’s head to the buying guide. We divided it into 2 parts: 

What Are The Factors To Consider ًWhen Buying Walleye Rods?

Picking walleye rods isn’t an easy process. You need to choose the right length, power and action. That’s why we are here: 

Length

There are different lengths of Walleye rods. Walleye rod length should be chosen according to what you will use it for. Whether it will be used for trolling for bigger fishes or it will be used for spinning around lures and jigging near your shoreline.

It is recommended to use Longer rods if you’re trolling as it gives the rod more strength. But  longer rods are not perfect if you are going for jigging or spinning. A rod with length ranges from six to six-and-a-half feet being perfect and it is most commonly used.

This length can give you a nice fast tip and it also provides enough power for setting the hook and landing a decent sized walleye.

ِAction

It is important to choose the right rod action suitable for Walleye fishing as Walleye fishing is considered a delicate and subtle art that requires special equipment.

Walleye are known for their characteristic light bites, so you will need a very soft rod as it is perfect for a better feel. If you are going for jigging, a rod with a fast or very fast action is required. If you tend to go for trolling, you have to choose a slightly stiffer fast rod, because you will need less action . 

Power

Power of fishing walleye rod can be chosen as follow:

  • If you’re going for jigging, you should look for a medium to light medium power rod. As it will keep the rod lightweight enough to get a fast action, and also give it enough backbone for catching the fishes.
  • If you are going for trolling, a rod with a more powerful option will be needed. You should Look for a rod with a medium-heavy power, as it can give you enough strength for handling the rigors of trolling.

Number of Pieces

Fishing Rods can come as one-piece or in two-pieces. The fishing rod that has one-piece is more common but it’s harder to travel with.

The two-piece rod is the best walleye rod as it is joined with ferrule and it’s more portable. But it is not the best choice for many anglers as the two-piece rod can often lose some of its sensitivity and strength.

Budget

Walleye fishing rods have a wide price range, you will find some rods so cheap and others so expensive, as their price can start from 50$ to 600$.

Rods price can vary depending on their manufacturer companies, model, size, line weight, fishing style, material construction or build, power and action.

There are many factors that control the price of the rod as mentioned above, so you should choose rod options that are crucial to you for getting the best price without wasting money on options you don’t need. If you are looking for a good quality rod, you should set a budget for walleye rod around 100$ to 300$.

Sensitivity

Fishing Rods that are used for targeting walleye should be sensitive enough to let you feel 

Walleye faint bites. The best rod for walleye should have higher sensitivity as it will help you a lot as follow:

When the walleye pulls the bait the rod sensitivity will let you realize what’s happening in the water faster.  The higher sensitivity of the rod, the greater chances of catching walleye fish. Graphite rods are largely recommended as they transmit all movements, even the slightest vibrations of rod.

The rod should be powerful enough to firmly set the hook on the small bites and deeply sink the hook for ensuring that the fishes don’t wriggle it out.  But if you are going trolling you won’t need higher sensitivity, but you will need a more powerful rod, as trolling puts a lot of stress and load on your gear.

Durability And  Material

There are many rods on the market and some of them are made from non optimal materials. Surely every angler is looking for material that will last for years, so a rod material of high-quality carbon or graphite is recommended. [1]

Handle

You can choose the handle material that is preferable for you in Fishing. But a handle of a high-quality cork build or EVA is more recommended as These materials are true and tried, and will increase your rod durability and keep it lasting for years to come. You can read more about the difference between those 2 grips here. 

Line Weight

The line weight is directly affecting  the rod’s power as follow:

The more power you will need from your rod, the higher line weight you’ll have to use. Generally if your purpose is walleye jigging, you will need line weight ranges from 4 to 12 pounds. This line weight range combined with the proper power, you will get great fishing experience when you try to land walleye.


What Are The Factors To Consider When Buying Walleye Reels?

There are so many choices of walleye fishing reels available  on the market, and it isn’t easy to choose the best reel. We will help you in this task by clarifying the most important factors that will help in choosing the right reel for your fishing style.

Gear ratio

The gear ratio refers to line speed of every rolling of the crank on the fishing reel. Determining the depth that you are going to fish in will help you at choosing the right gear ratio suitable for you. Low gear ratios are more efficient in deeper waters. But if you are going for shallow water, you will need a high gear ratio as it is working better than lower gear ratio.

A 5.1:1 gear ratio or somewhere is good for you if you are gonna to fish under twenty five feet.

Ball bearings

Ball bearings are responsible for making the reels operate fluidly and smoothly, as they support moving parts inside the reel. The more ball bearings a reel contains, the higher the price is for that reel. A Walleye reel with a high number of ball bearings will operate very smoothly and with no hitches. You also need to consider quality. Stainless steel ball bearings are the most cost-effective choice you can get. 

Dragging system

Choosing a reel with a smooth, proper and easily contrable dragging system is a very important factor as it enables easy walleye fishing without more adjustments on the drag. 

Spools

Two spools Walleye reels are a perfect setup in walleye fishing. This will make you fully prepared, having an extra spool and extra line that helps you avoid any possible problems even if you want to change lines.

Line Capacity

Line capacity of Walleye fishing reels is a very important factor to consider when choosing a walleye reel. You should choose a sufficient line capacity that allows you to hold the needed line. That will give you good results and more effective performance. 

125 feet line capacity is efficient for many anglers, but some anglers prefer more line capacity.

Conclusion

We covered in this article some recommended walleye fishing rods and reels, discussing its own features and benefits. We also showed its important pros and cons. In addition we gave you a simple buying guide to help you in choosing the right reel and rod, by clarifying the important factors to consider when buying walleye rods and reel combos. 

Also, if you’re looking for more buying guides on walleye fishing, you can check ours: