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Fishing is a fantastic and relaxing hobby, but if you haven’t gone fishing since you were a kid, it can be hard to know where to start when it comes to picking up a new rod and reel. There are so many options on the market that it can be intimidating. To make your shopping trip a little bit easier, we’ve pulled together a list of 10 great fishing poles, in no particular order, for beginners or people just returning to the sport:
1. KastKing Combo Spinning Rod and Reel
KastKing is one of our favorite rod and reel brands. This fantastic rod and reel set comes with a collapsible steel travel rod and a spinning reel designed for high power ratios. It’s an excellent middle-of-the-road rod and reel, which makes it perfect for beginners — and it’s also very affordable!
2. Ugly Stik Shakespeare
Don’t let the name fool you — these rods are a great option for beginners. You can pick up an Ugly Stik rod for less than $50, and it will serve you well for years. It is designed to be used with a line rather than reel, but you can easily clip a reel to it as well. These rods are made of a single piece of stainless steel to give you plenty of durability while not compromising sensitivity.
3. Berkley Lightning Rod
These lightweight carbon-fiber rods are inexpensive and ideal for beginners and experts alike. These rods are among the most sensitive beginners’ rods on the market and can be picked up for less than $40. Pair them with your favorite reel or use them on their own — either way, they’re a great rod for a great price.
4. Troutboy Black Warrior
If you don’t have a lot of space but want a good affordable beginner fishing rod, the Black Warrior by Troutboy is a great option. These collapsible carbon fiber rods cost around $20 and are equipped with stainless steel guides and a comfortable padded grip. It also comes with a six-month warranty, so you’re covered for your first few fishing trips in case the rod fails.
5. Plusinno Rod and Reel Combos
Another fantastic beginner rod and collapsing reel combo, this carbon fiber set can get you fishing in no time. It comes complete with a carrier case and some starter fishing lures that will have you catching small and large fish in no time. The carbon fiber rod is incredibly responsive and corrosion-resistant, so you can use it for fresh and salt water.
6. South Bend Worm Gear Rod and Reel Combo
This is a rod designed for smaller fish, so don’t take this one deep-sea fishing. It’s a good option for smaller, four to five-pound fish. The rod itself is hollow, and the worm-gear reel works smoothly. For kids or beginners, this is one of the best options out there.
7. Shimano Solora 2-Piece Spinning Rod
Another small, lightweight rod, the Solora is a great option for fishing beginners. It won’t catch large fish, but you can easily equip it with line up to 14-pound test safely and catch those smaller trout and bass. This is an aero glass rod with aluminum oxide guides, so it won’t stand up to as much punishment as some of the other ones, but it’s a great low-cost option for beginners.
8. Daiwa Mini System Spinning Rod and Reel Combo
You don’t always need a full-sized rod and reel to land a few fish. The Daiwa Mini System pairs a spinning mini rod — 4.5 feet long — with a gyro spin reel for less than $50. If you’re looking for something small to start you out, this is one of your best options.
9. Okuma Inshore Travel Rod
This rod uses multiple materials in its construction — it has a graphite core with a carbon fiber outer wrap to give you a strong rod that has great flexibility and sensitivity. It is one of the more expensive rods on our list, but as the old saying goes, you get what you pay for. The line guides have zirconium inserts to keep your line moving smoothly whether you’re casting or reeling in your catch.
10. Crystal River C/CTFK1 Fishing Rod/Reel Combo
If you just want a cheap starter kit, this can be a great option. It won’t hold up nearly as well as some of the carbon fiber or graphite options because both the rod and the reel are made of plastic, but if you’re looking to get into the sport without breaking the bank, this is a great starter option.
Best Fishing Poles for Beginners
These are just based on our own experience — the exact rod and reel you’ll need will depend on where you’re fishing, your budget and the kind of fish you’re looking to catch.