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The 5 Best Crappie Rod and Reel Combos

There are one species of fish that can not only be found all across North America but also throughout the entire year. The crappie is a prevalent game fish, with two species recognized. They are the White Crappie and the Black Crappie. 

According to the International Game Fish Association, the record crappie catches are just 5.2 pounds for the Black Crappie and 5 pounds for the White Crappie. While they aren’t big catches, this fish is excellent for eating and is understood to be very common for food consumption, as well as quite tasty. This species is part of the Sunfish family and is known by many other names including White Perch, Crappie bass, Speckled Bass, Papermouths, Strawberry Bass. 

Angling for crappie is prevalent in North America, and that experience can be more satisfying when you use a rod and reel to improve your chances of snaring a fish. To assist you in shopping for a good crappie rod and reel combo, we’ve put together a helpful guide and included our top 5 recommendations.

Choosing the Best Crappie Rod and Reel

With that said, you, the buyer ultimately decide which product is right for you. However, there are some key thoughts and features to keep in mind when making your choice. For example, you want a rod and reel that will alert you to even the smallest nibbles. 

There are a few features to keep in mind when making your decision. Most notably, you want to pay attention to the rod, reel, durability, and price point. 

The Rod 

The two primary things to think about when it comes to rods are the length of the pole and its level of sensitivity. 


The length of the rod you choose can have an impact on your fishing. That said, there isn’t a perfect length. Ultimately, you want to select a length that is most comfortable for your style and technique. 

Crappie poles come in various sized lengths, with the most prevalently seen being in the range of 6 to 10 feet long. There are other length rods used in fishing, as well. For example, those who prefer freshwater fishing may like rods that are anywhere from 14 to 16 feet in length, while those who ice fish prefer rods that are just 2 to 3 feet in length. 

There are benefits to both short and long rods. Short rods are best used for quick casts that are more accurate. They are also more effective at getting into tighter areas. Rods that are longer in length work best for getting fish out of heavy cover and can promote longer casts.  


Crappie fish have a very thin mouth, which is essential to know when fishing for them. It changes your style because you need to be a bit more sensitive/delicate in your approach. If you are too aggressive when hooking, you are like to cause damage to the fish, and it will get away. 

Given that, you want a rod that has a higher level of sensitivity. You need to be alerted to even the smallest nibbling so that you can detect when fish have been attracted to your bait. 

Ultimately, the rod should be light to ultralight for easy casting. Keep in mind that you also want to find a rod length that is right for your fishing style and technique. 

The Reel 

The reel should have a  high level of sensitivity and flexibility to alert you to potential catches. Choose a real that is either light or ultra-light. Essentially you want the lightest possible given that you want to feel even the slightest movement and nibbles from fish. Also, the lighter the reel, the better you can cast light bait. 

Size is of importance when it comes to the reel in your crappie combo. You want to choose one that ranges between 1000 (10) and 3000 (30). These are smaller size reels, which is what you want if you are trying to catch smaller fish. These sizes also correspond with fishing in the places you’d likely find those small fish such as in rivers, lakes, and bays. 

Your reel can be either spinning or casting. Most fishers prefer a spinning reel, but that ultimately depends on your personal preference. Also, you want a fast gear ratio. The faster the gear ratio, the quicker you’ll get your fish hooked. 

Finally, the drag should be at a minimum of 3 ball bearings. In general, it is believed that the more ball bearings a fishing reel has, the better it will be. To some degree, that is true, though not always, because there are different grades of ball bearings. So, not only should you get a reel with more ball bearings, but you also want them to be quality ones. 


You want to make sure you choose a rod and reel that will last you a long time. Quality does matter when it comes to crappie combos, and a lot of that quality comes down to the material used. 

The best material you can find is graphite. It is by far the most sensitive so you can get that detection of fish nibbles that you want. That sensitivity also means you can angle better, which is key for hooking crappie.


The price point of your particular rod and reel combo might depend on your level of expertise. If you are a beginner, you might want to consider finding one that is good quality but also available at a good price. Keep in mind that the best combos are not always the most expensive. The best combos come at various price levels. 

Our Top 5 Crappie Rods and Reels

Ugly Stik USSP502L/2SC GX2 Spinning Combo, 5'Cadence CC5 Spinning Combo Lightweight with 24-Ton Graphite 2-Piece Graphite Rod Carbon Fiber Drag System Smooth Strong Carbon Composite Frame & Side Plates Reel & Rod Combo(CC5-3000-70M)Zebco CRFTS502ULA.NS4 Crappie Fighter 502UL TS Combo 6#Pflueger PRESSP-4820UL2CBO President Spinning Combo fishing Reel RodKastKing Centron Spinning Combos,6ft Medium-Split Handle,2000 Reel
BrandsUgly StikCadenceZebcoPfluegerKastKing
Reel Size2000 – 35001000 – 40001000 – 40002000 – 40002000 – 5000
Rod Length4’6” to 7’6”5’6” to 7’0”5’0” to 10’0”4’8” to 7’0”6’0” to 8’0”
Rod PowerUltralight to Medium HeavyUltralight to Medium HeavyUltralight to LightUltralight to MediumMedium, Medium Heavy
Rod ActionModerate Fast, Extra FastModerate, FastModerate, FastModerate Fast, FastModerate Fast, Fast
# of Reel Bearings48+11109+1
Rod MaterialGraphiteGraphiteGraphiteGraphiteGraphite
Ugly Stik USSP502L/2SC GX2 Spinning Combo, 5'

Ugly Stik is known for producing quality products that hold their value well and has manufactured top of the line fishing products since 1976. This rod and reel combo works well for catching Crappie.

The GX2 reel has 3 ball bearings plus a one-way clutch instant anti-reverse bearing for smoother gear feel and instant hook sets. The machined double anodized aluminum spool with oversized bail wire and the compression bail springs improves durability and increases the reel life span

The rod provides good sensitivity although the main feature is its durability. The handle is comfortable, and the whole unit is very light; but, still feels solid and well-made.

The UglyStik GX2 is a versatile fishing combo at a very affordable price.


  • Nearly impossible to break
  • Very smooth casts and nice reeling
  • The handle is very comfortable
  • Overall the combo package is very light but still feels solid and well made
  • Really good price point
  • Good customer service


  • No reverse toggle on reel
  • No warranty on reel
Cadence CC5 Spinning Combo Lightweight with 24-Ton Graphite 2-Piece Graphite Rod Carbon Fiber Drag System Smooth Strong Carbon Composite Frame & Side Plates Reel & Rod Combo(CC5-3000-70M)

This combo is both lightweight and durable, made from 24-ton graphite. The guides and inserts are constructed of stainless steel which is resistant to any corrosion, so you’ll likely enjoy this rod for a long time.

There are also 5 different rod actions and lengths available, so there are several options from which you can choose. In addition to the varying lengths and actions, you’ll also get to experience a variety of fishing given the different power ratings.

The reel has 8 ball bearings and one instant anti-reverse bearing.


  • Lightweight
  • Durable
  • Sleek look


  • Reports of premature rod breakage
Zebco CRFTS502ULA.NS4 Crappie Fighter 502UL TS Combo 6#

This combo was designed with crappie fishing in mind and was built to use with crappie fishing techniques. It features a trigger spin reel with a 5’0” 2-piece rod. The rod is very lightweight and offers fast action.

The EVA handle is very comfortable, even on long fishing days. There is also a dial-adjustable drag and glass blank.


  • Very lightweight
  • Easy casting
  • Great for a beginner


  • Reel could be smoother
Pflueger PRESSP-4820UL2CBO President Spinning Combo fishing Reel Rod

The Pflueger spinning combo offers very high performance for even the most serious of anglers.

The reel has a 10 corrosion resistant stainless steel ball bearing system with a braid ready-spool that allows braid to be tied directly to the spool. The durable aircraft-grade aluminum handle with a soft-touch rubber knob ensures a superior grip in all conditions.

The reel has been paired to an extremely responsive and ultra sensitive IM-8 grahite rod. The 2-piece 4 foot 8 inch rod makes this set an an unbeatable combination easy to transport to you favorite fishing spot.


  • Rod is extremely sensitive with great action
  • Smooth reel and crisp drag system
  • Good customer service
  • Nice size & weight for backpacking


  • Grinding in the reel bearings
KastKing Centron Spinning Combos,6ft Medium-Split Handle,2000 Reel

This combo is a great value and can be used by both experienced fishers as well as beginners. It is a sensitive rod and light in weight with a narrow graphite frame and stainless steel guides which are very durable for extended longevity. The look of this combo is quite attractive to the eye with a sleek design and finish.

Reel sizes start at 2000 and go all the way up to 5000. The reel has 9 ball bearings and 1 instant stop one-way anti-reverse bearing.

Some comfort features included in the construction of this combo, are the contoured EVA handles and fighting butt. The handle offers a unique design that can be interchanged between the left and right hand.

With this combo, you’ll get to fish all day and still feel comfortable with a rod and reel that are perfectly balanced.


  • Sleek and attractive design
  • Very lightweight
  • Easy to maneuver
  • Very flexible tip for extra sensitivity


  • Rod could be more durable under pressure

Wrap Up

While every fishing pole, including a crappie rod and reel combo, has a good deal to do with personal preference, there are a few key features to keep in mind when shopping for your combo. These include the size of the reel you choose and the sensitivity of the rod.

You want as much sensitivity as possible to help you in feeling even the smallest nibbles. If you are a new fisher, make sure that you research all of your options and find the features most important to you.

We hope our reviews of our top 5 combo recommendations will serve you well in finding the right combo to improve your fishing experience.

Leave a Comment:

1 comment
Johnny Romano says May 1, 2020

I’m new to these Lakes so I’m trying to learn where the best places are to fish any advice would be appreciated

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