Best Crappie Rod And Reel Combos Reviewed

Spring is here, which means crappie fishing for many anglers!

You might be looking for the best crappie rods and reels for slab-hunting as you get ready for crappie season.

Combinations are a great way to get more bang for your dollar, and carefully chosen pairings can be truly a treat to catch.

Keep reading if you are looking for the best combo of rod and reel for crappie. This list will make you smile.

A quick look at the top crappie rod-reel combos:

  • Cadence CR5 Combo– Our Top Pick
  • Shakespeare Ugly Stik GX2 Combo
  • Pflueger President Combo

Reviewed: Best Crappie Reel and Rod Combo

Cadence CR5 Combo – Our Top Pick!

Cadence Fishing CR5 Spinning Rods | 30 Ton Carbon | Fuji Reel Seat | Stainless Steel Guides with SiC Inserts | CR5-702S-ULM

Specifications

Pros

Cons

Length7
MaterialCarbon fiber
Power/actionModerate/ultralight
Size of the lure:1/32- 1/8 oz.
Line weight:2-6 lbs
Handle: continuous cork
Guide material inserts in stainless/SiC
Pieces2
ReelCadence CR5
Line capacity:6/110
Bearings9
Gear ratio:5.2:1
  • An amazing blank is strong and sensitive at the same time
  • Provides cushioned hooksets ideal for crappie
  • Cast well
  • It has the right length for jigging or dipping
  • Excellent guides
  • The long, cork handle is comfortable and can be used for different techniques.
  • Good reel
  • N/A

Summary

Cadence CR5 combos are a cut above other offerings by this company. It combines an exceptional rod and reel. This combo is rare and truly exceptional.

This 7-foot 2-piece rod has everything you need in a reliable crappie rod. The carbon fiber blank is extremely sensitive. Although it’s strong, it’s not as durable as the GX2. Carbon fiber can’t withstand the same punishment as fiberglass composites.

This ultralight rod has a moderate action and is great for papermouths as well as treble-hooked lures such as rooster tails. You’ll get more crappie on your lip with a little cushion in the hookset and a fraction of a second before the power reaches the tip. This rod is slower than faster rods.

Cadence guides are top-notch, and you will not have any complaints about them. They are very slick and provide the pampering that your light lines require.

The rod’s continuous cork handles are my favorite feature. They are attractive, durable, and large.

This rod comes with a Cadence CR5 reel. It is a great deal. It is smooth and holds enough mono for crappie anglers. The drag is also very nice. It’s a great all-arounder, as it is geared to 5.2:1.

This combo is very difficult to beat and, given its quality, it takes our top spot.

Shakespeare Ugly Stik GX2 Combo

Ugly Stik USSP702UL/25CBO GX2 Spinning Combo, 7'

 

Specifications

Pros

Cons

Length7
MaterialComposite graphite/fiberglass
Power/actionUltralight/Moderate
Size of the lure:1/32- 1/4 oz.
Line weight:2-6 lbs
Handle: continuous EVA foam
Guide materially Tuff stainless Steel
Pieces2
ReelWhat is the best way to get started?
Line capacity: N/A
Bearings3
Gear ratio: N/A
  • Composite blanks that are strong and flexible are excellent.
  • Provides cushioned hooksets ideal for crappie
  • Cast well
  • It has the right length for dipping and jigging
  • You’ll be surprised at how much Ugly Tuff guides can do better than you thought.
  • The long, comfortable EVA foam handle is ideal for large hands and other techniques.
  • The reel is not exceptional
See also  Best Fishing Scales Reviewed: Weighing the Pros and Cons

Summary

Shakespeare’s Ugly Stix line has a solid reputation for its durability. The GX2 builds on this legacy. This composite technology, which has been enhanced with graphite, provides an enviable strength and excellent sensitivity. It is hard to beat this combination!

The ultralight, 7-foot, and 2-piece, is a fantastic crappie rod. The ultralight is sensitive enough to detect light strikes in cold waters, flexible enough for a cushioned hookset, and almost unbreakable.

The rod casts and loads well even with the heaviest lures. I have tested the Ugly Tuff guides with line weighing in at 2- and 4-pounds.

The results?

They will do their job if you do your job well. I was impressed with the manner they treated my staff. These components are not expensive, but they do offer a great deal of value.

Comfortable, the continuous EVA foam handles provide ample space for large hands.

This rod comes with a reel that is acceptable but not great. It’s designed for lines between 2 and 6 pounds.

This combo is great for anglers who are hard on their tackle and worried about a rod breaking.

Pflueger President Combo

Specifications

Pros

Cons

Length6’6″
Materialgraphite
Power/action light/fast
Size of the lure:1/16 – 3/8 oz.
Line weight:#4-8
Handle: continuous cork
Guide material stainless steel
Pieces2
Reel Pfleuger President 25
Line capacity:4/200, 6/140 and 8/110
Bearings10
Gear ratio:5.2:1
  • A good blank is strong and sensitive.
  • Cast well
  • It has the right length for jigging or dipping
  • Fantastic guides
  • The long, cork handle is comfortable and can be used for different techniques.
  • Reel of high quality
  • To keep papermouths happy, light action requires some finesse hooksets

Summary

Pfleuger is a well-known brand on the water. Almost every angler I know has owned a Pfleuger reel. Pfleuger tackle is well-known for its low price and quality.

Although the 6-foot-6″ 2-piece rod weighs in at 6’6″, it is still a heavy choice for crappie fishing. However, if you are an experienced angler and know how to adjust your hookset, this rod can turn into a deadly weapon against the papermouths. This rod is extremely sensitive and can take on monster slabs with ease thanks to its high-quality graphite blank.

This rod casts well and is ideal for anglers who want a larger lure to catch crappie.

Pfleuger’s guides were nice and I wouldn’t be worried about how they’ll treat my line during a tough fight.

The cork handle is long and continuous, which is exactly what you would expect: strong, comfortable, and attractive.

This reel is superior to its price and can easily compete with higher-end options. The reel’s operation is smooth and it will fish flawlessly.

This brand is a favorite among crappie anglers because it has a smooth, reliable drag that can be used with any line.

This combo will work best for experienced crappie anglers. However, for the majority of people, the ultralights listed here will be better choices.

Our Pick – The Cadence CR5 Combo

Although Cadence may be a new company to many anglers it is well-known for its commitment to high-quality tackle. While Shakespeare and Pfleuger are both great at creating combos, the CR5 is our favorite.

This reel has a remarkable carbon fiber blank. It’s strong, sensitive, and provides the cushioned hookset that papermouths need. It casts well and gives you the right length for dipping or jigging, without scaring wary crappie.

These guides are very nice and provide a lot of comfort for light lines. The long cork handle is excellent for this price point.

The CR5 reel is also nice and, while it may not be as good as the Pleuger Presidential 25, it can still hold its own on the water.

See also  Best Ocean Fishing Kayak for 2021

It’s difficult to find a better combo for crappie fishing than this one for anglers who are looking for a cheap option.

What to Consider when Choosing a Crappie Rod & Reel Combo

Take Action

The rod’s action is the point at which it will bend underweight. Fast action rods bend near the tip and are stiff for most of their length. Slow action rods, on the other hand, bend closer to their handle and reel the seat, and curve over a greater portion of their length.

Crappie anglers love the speed of a fast-action rod. They appreciate its sensitivity. However, crappie anglers know that this species is known for its soft and easy-to-tear jaws. Slower, but not too slow, actions can help to cushion the hookset and improve your catch-to-bite ratio.

What is the trade-off? The trade-off?

You will likely discover what works best for your taste and preferences.

Description power and action

Power

The force required to bend a rod is called power. A rod’s power, along with its action, tells you a lot about how it will perform.

Anything beyond light is too much for crappie and not suitable for their purpose. You’ll not only lack the ability to sense light strikes but also have the tendency to cut your hook through the mouth of crappie, rendering medium rods recommended by some sites just plain absurd!

Save the medium-power rods to catch bigger fish.

Instead, opt for ultralight rods or light rods. Even lightweight rods may be too heavy to feed papermouths.

Three reasons are why ultralight rods are recommended by us:

  • Cushioned hooksetsRegardless of their action, Ultralights will help you to apply the gentle hookset required for crappie. They’ll give you some cushion and encourage you to use your hook for good, no matter what action you choose.
  • Sensitivity –Ultralight rods are extremely sensitive because they bend so easily. This is a big advantage when fish are timid or the water’s too cold. Ultralights can maintain the feeling you need, even for moderate actions.
  • Fun –Ultralight tackle transforms every fish into a whale. I fish because it’s fun! Ultralight tackle is so much fun, that you won’t believe what you will find.

Length

We’ll be looking at general fishing rods in this article and not the specialized gear needed for spider rigging.

Instead, we assume that you are casting, dipping, and jigging as well as shooting. As a rule of thumb, the longer the rod, the farther you can cast with it. However, castings will be less accurate if the rod is shorter. While shorter rods can be deadly precise, casting distance will be affected by them being less accurate.

Crappie fishermen don’t care about ultra-long castings. But that doesn’t mean that they won’t be fishing with shorter rods. Because papermouths love the cover, accuracy matters, but so does reach. A rod of around 7 feet is ideal for techniques such as dipping or jigging.

The bad news?

Many combos have short rods. While they can be deadly accurate in casting, their reach is a problem.

Our shortlist included rods with longer lengths for combos. We’d also skip the 5-footers.

Line and lure weight

Crappie rods are slender and whip-like. They use light lines and small lures. You should look for rods with line weights between 2 and 6 pounds. Lures sizes can range from 1/4 to 1/2 ounces to 1/6 of an ounce.

Guides

Rod manufacturers have the ability to cut corners to maintain a low price on guide quality. The good news is that this is not an issue for crappie or other sunfish.

See also  Best Fishing Nets: Making Sure You Land The Big Ones

While you still need to have slick guides, you won’t be fighting giants.

I recommend you still test the guides with the line that you plan to use. It doesn’t take too much heat or friction to break even the most durable of the bunch.

Material

Modern fishing rods are made of a variety of materials including graphite and carbon fiber. Some fishing rods feature composite construction that uses more than one material as their backbone.

  • graphite is strong, stiff, and light. It is a durable and strong choice for rods due to its stiffness.
  • fiberglass is usually more expensive than graphite, but it is heavier. Although it isn’t as sensitive nor as stiff as graphite, it can still be extremely strong and deserves a place in your arsenal of angling tools. This is a good thing, especially for crappie. Cushioned hooksets work well.
  • Carbon fiber is the strongest, strongest, lightest, and most expensive material for rod blanks. Its performance is unmatched, but so too is its cost!

Handle

The decision about which handle you choose is personal. What’s easy for me may not be right for you. There are generally two main handle materials: EVA foam and cork.

  • work is more appealing and warmer, but it is less accepting of rough treatment.
  • EVA foam’s softer to the touch and more flexible than other materials.

A few words about Crappie Combos Reels

These combo rod and reel combinations are often very affordable, which is great news for budget-conscious anglers.

Don’t look just at the rod; also, check out the reel that it’s attached to.

Spinning reels are superior

You’ll immediately notice that all of our gear is spinning. It’s not a mistake. Baitcasters have a hard time with light lines. A spinning reel is the best choice for ultralight fishing.

A spin caster from Zebco is something we would consider, but there’s no combo for crappie that we’re interested in.

Do not get hung up on bearing count

We don’t advise you to get too focused on bearing numbers. Bearing count is not a good metric to use to evaluate reel quality and smoothness.

Despite this, the Pfleuger 10-bearing Pfleuger stands out on this list.

Drag: This Is What Matters

You want smooth drags that are lighter in their settings and have a reasonable retrieval rate.

As it is for crappie, your drag should be smooth when you set it low. It should not bind, catch, or jerk. It can be tested by setting the line weight to 1/3 of the line weight and pulling slowly from the spool in the direction of your rod blank.

It should be as smooth as silk.

Our Pick – The Cadence CR5 Combo

Although Cadence may be a new company to many anglers it is well-known for its commitment to high-quality tackle. While Shakespeare and Pfleuger are both great at creating combos, the CR5 is our favorite.

This reel has a remarkable carbon fiber blank. It’s strong, sensitive, and provides the cushioned hookset that papermouths need. It casts well and gives you the right length for dipping or jigging, without scaring wary crappie.

These guides are very nice and provide a lot of comfort for light lines. The long cork handle is excellent for this price point.

The CR5 reel is also nice and, while it may not be as good as the Pleuger Presidential 25, it can still hold its own on the water.

It’s difficult to find a better combo for crappie fishing than this one for anglers who are looking for a cheap option.

Lewis Mark is a vastly experienced fly fisher. His encyclopedic knowledge of fly tying has led to start blog on fishing. He also review Fishing equipment based on his knowledge and experience.