Best Crappie Rod and Reel Combo: Our Top 8 Picks

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Heading out onto the water to target some nice crappie can be a great way to spend a day or a weekend. Whether you are out there on the water alone, or spending the time with friends and family, fishing is an enjoyable hobby for all ages to enjoy.

When specifically targeting crappie, you want to have the best rod and reel combo on board. Not only will this help you land that next trophy sized fish, but it will make the overall process of setting the hook and reeling the fish in much easier and more successful.

But with so many different crappie rod and reel combos on the market, how do you know which one will fit your needs? Let’s take a closer look at the different crappie rod combos and how they compare to one another. We’ll also provide our honest opinions on whether or not they stand up to the task of catching trophy crappie.

8 Best Crappie Rod And Reel Combos: Quick Picks

Best Value Crappie Combo

Lew's Mr. Crappie Slab Shaker SpinCast Combo

Lew’s Mr. Crappie Slab Shaker SpinCast Combo

9.7

Highly affordable and great for beginners to get a feel for the hobby with, this rod and reel combo is a great one to consider for crappie and panfish angling. Its multiple disk drag system gives you a smooth feel when casting and retrieving.

Best Spinning Combo for Crappie

Pflueger President Spinning Combo

Pflueger President Spinning Combo

9.6

This 6’ 6” crappie rod has a bit of weight to it, but provides a gentle cushion when setting the hook in papermouth fish such as crappie. It’s outstanding for experienced and beginning anglers alike thanks to its extremely durable rod that offers incredible sensitivity.

Best Spincast Combo for Crappie

Zebco Crappie Fighter Spincast Combo

Zebco Crappie Fighter Spincast Combo

9.1

The chrome-coated crappie reel cover gives this rod a stylish look, but the interior gearing and other mechanisms are also high enough quality for this combo to be used by experienced anglers. Specifically made with crappie fishing in mind, this

Best Crappie Fishing Combos: Full Reviews

Ugly Stik GX2 Spinning Combo

Ugly Stik GX2 Spinning Combo

Ugly Stik GX2 Spinning Combo
Our Score

Don’t let the name fool you, this rod and reel spinning combo is anything but ugly. It measures right at 7 feet rod length and comes in 2 pieces for easy transporting to and from your favorite fishing spot. 

The composite and graphite crappie rod and reel combo is extremely durable, yet has high sensitivity when working finesse rigs and light lures. If you’re a bit rough with your fishing rod, fishing reel, or other gear, this crappie rod and reel combo can stand up to the abuse year after year.

  • Rod is extremely durable and very sensitive
  • Good length for jigging and long casting
  • Extremely comfortable foam handle to reduce fatigue

Cadence CC5 Spinning Rod Combo

Cadence CC5 Spinning Rod Combo

Cadence CC5 Spinning Rod Combo
Our Score

Measuring right at 7 feet rod length, this two-piece crappie rod combo is great for any crappie anglers that want a durable yet highly sensitive carbon fiber crappie rod. While this fishing rod and fishing reel can both take quite a bit of abuse in the field, being carbon fiber you’ll want to ensure it gets transported and stored correctly.

This combo provides a very cushioned hookset which is perfect when fishing for crappie. You’ll get a perfect lip hook before the fish starts the fight giving you plenty of time to get your hands on the rod and prepare for it.

  • You can easily get cushioned hooksets for crappie
  • Extremely comfortable cork handle is great for large hands
  • Rod blank is very durable, strong, and sensitive

Shakespeare Crappie Hunter Spinning Combo

Shakespeare Crappie Hunter Spinning Combo

Shakespeare Crappie Hunter Spinning Combo
Our Score

This very long 9 foot rod length beast of a spinning reel combo is specifically made with crappie fishing in mind. This reel combo provides an outstanding mix of durability and strength, along with high levels of sensitivity on the crappie rod tip.

It’s a light action crappie rod that provides deliberate action to ensure you get solid lip hooksets every time. With the anti-reverse and multi disk drag system, you’ll notice an improvement over other rods when hauling in trophy sized fish.

  • Drag system that makes use of multiple disks for high performance
  • Anti-reverse system locks in instantly, making it faster than other brands
  • Specifically designed for crappie fishing with an extremely long rod

Zebco Crappie Fighter Spincast Combo

Zebco Crappie Fighter Spincast Combo

Zebco Crappie Fighter Spincast Combo
Our Score

Made specifically for crappie fishing, this Zebco is a great crappie rod and reel combo that can improve your casting and spider rigging performance. It features a front drag gearing system along with a quick anti-reverse mechanism to help with both casting and spooling.

The spool is chrome coated to give a stylish look, and the crappie rod itself is made from fiberglass to be extremely durable yet lightweight. It’s a bit less than 7 feet in length making it much easier to transport and great for ice fishing as well.

  • Highly visible rod tip for easy notice when a fish is hooked
  • Very comfortable EVA handle with split grip for hours of comfort
  • Extremely smooth casting and spooling with quick anti-reverse gear

Pflueger President Spinning Combo

Pflueger President Spinning Combo

Pflueger President Spinning Combo
Our Score

Measuring 6 feet 6 inches, this crappie rod and reel combo is somewhat heavier than the others on this list but can make an outstanding choice for jigging papermouths. It’s made from graphite to give high levels of sensitivity, and offers a fast action to give you plenty of handling when hauling in trophies.

Whether you plan to keep this rod and reel combo in your hands, or prefer to pop it into a rod holder, the cork handle on this crappie fishing rod offers both durability and extreme levels of comfort. For the experienced crappie angler, this crappie rod and reel combo can outperform any other crappie rods in its size category, as well as several longer versions too.

  • Extremely strong rod with high level of sensitivity
  • Cork handle is extremely comfortable for long hours
  • Length of the rod is excellent for dipping and jigging

KastKing Centron Rod and Reel Combo

KastKing Centron Rod and Reel Combo

KastKing Centron Rod and Reel Combo
Our Score

Available in a variety of crappie rod lengths and crappie reel sizes from 2000 to 5000, this rod and reel combo is an outstanding value for crappie fish anglers both experienced and new. The crappie rod is highly sensitive, and has excellent flexibility when casting and retrieving in a variety of cover types.

The fishing reel gearing includes eight ball bearings to give you an instant anti-reverse and quick stop feature when it’s needed most. You’ll also find the reel combo is made to be highly durable and perfect for use year after year.

  • Extremely sensitive rod tip with incredible flexibility
  • Very lightweight overall to reduce hand and arm fatigue
  • Oversized EVA foam handle is contoured and ambidextrous 

Lew's Mr. Crappie Slab Shaker SpinCast Combo

Lew's Mr. Crappie Slab Shaker SpinCast Combo

Lew's Mr. Crappie Slab Shaker SpinCast Combo
Our Score

Measuring 5 feet 6 inches, this spincast rod and reel combo is a great choice for anglers looking for a light-action fishing rod that brings a high level of quality to the table. It features a lightweight yet extremely durable fiberglass crappie rod that is next to impossible to break, regardless of the size of fish you are hauling in.

You can handle this rod and reel combo for hours on end and not feel fatigue, thanks to the extremely comfortable EVA foam handle. In addition, the stainless steel guides and graphite reel seat work together on this crappie fishing rod to increase durability overall while also ensuring a secure and noise-free gearing.

  • Multiple disk drag system for smooth casting and retrievals
  • Very smooth and instant anti-reverse gearing
  • Pre-spooled with 4 pound line to get you started immediately

Zebco CRFUL/S802L Spin Fishing Rod and Reel Combo

Zebco CRFUL/S802L Spin Fishing Rod and Reel Combo

Zebco CRFUL/S802L Spin Fishing Rod and Reel Combo
Our Score

Specifically designed as a crappie fishing rod, this 8 foot crappie rod and reel combo is perfect for anglers that love trolling, spider rigging, or jigging. You’ll get extremely high levels of casting performance thanks to the front drag system as well as the quick anti-reverse gearing.

 This overall combo is extremely durable with a chrome plated spool and fiberglass rod. While this rod was made with crappie fishing in mind, you can still get outstanding results when fishing for trout and panfish thanks to the light power this rod offers.

  • Massive 8 foot length is perfect for extreme casts
  • Front drag system is easily adjusted to suit your needs
  • Can be changed for left or right hand usage 

Crappie Fishing Combo: Buyer’s Guide

Spinning vs Spincast Combos

For beginning anglers or those just starting out in different techniques, a spincaster reel is the most recommended on a crappie rod and reel combo. It’s extremely easy to use and understand, which makes it great for children as well.

In addition, spincasters are affordable, which means if your child accidentally breaks this fishing rod and reel while crappie fishing, you won’t have to dip into their college savings in order to purchase another rod and reel. This is a great way to get a child or adult started in fishing without spending too much money until you know if they enjoy the hobby.

One of the things that makes spincasters easy to use and understand is the trigger or button on the crappie reels that lets the angler choose between a locked or free spinning reel. This adjustable drag system will let you decide how much resistance a fish has when it’s on the line, making it great when you catch smaller crappie.

Another benefit to a spincast is that the gearing and mechanisms are all kept inside a reel case. You won’t be able to see what is happening with the spool or the line on the spool. This can be both a good thing and a bad thing. 

For one, it protects your spool from getting too much dirt and grime on it, but for the dirt and grime that does get in, it can be difficult to remove. It’s also almost impossible to see if you have a knot or other issue with your spooled line. This may not be noticed until it gets completely snagged around the internal gearing.

A spinning reel, on the other hand, is all open so you can see what is happening with your spool, reel mechanisms, and line. A spinning reel combo designed for crappie are usually the only ones used by professional anglers, and even some beginning and intermediate anglers may prefer to learn with an open spinning reel.

An open spinning reel won’t have a drag trigger or button at the bottom of the aluminum spool case and instead will need to be adjusted at the top of the open reel. This helps with balancing issues and makes the overall feel of the rod and reel combo much better for professionals and beginners alike.

Best Rod Action for Crappie

While a fast rod action may be the most commonly used, a slower action can be just as viable when choosing your ideal crappie rod.

When it comes to rod action, most anglers will prefer a fast action rod. This means the rod is somewhat stiff along the lower parts, but has an extremely flexible tip. This provides incredible levels of sensitivity giving you a full range of control and movement when casting and reeling in a fish.

When dealing with slow action rods, you will notice the overall feel of the rod from base to tip is thicker and less flexible. The rod tip does not offer the same freedom of movement as a fast action rod would, and instead the entire length of the rod may bend more actively when reeling in a heavy crappie, trout, or panfish.

One of the biggest benefits to using a slow action rod is that you can ultimately have fewer issues when setting the hook. Crappie are notorious for their soft mouths which are easy to tear a hook out of. When using a slow action rod, you won’t have that same whip-like tip which means you will be less prone to ripping a hook through the paper-thin mouth.

In the end, both fast action and slow action rods can be perfectly viable with crappie fishing. It will come down to your personal preference, experience levels, and your own fishing technique. While a fast rod action may be the most commonly used, a slower action can be just as viable when choosing your ideal crappie rod.

Best Rod Power for Crappie

The power a rod offers will tell you how much force it can withstand before it bends. In many cases, knowing the rod’s power rating can give you a good idea of how it will perform with different species of fish.

For crappie, light power rods are the most commonly used and recommended. Anything more than that can work but is not specifically made for crappie fishing. Medium rods are better for mixed-species fishing, and not specifically targeting crappie. If your focus is on crappie fishing alone, ultralight or light rods are an excellent choice for these delicate fish.

Some of the benefits of using an ultralight rod include:

  • Gentle Hooksets. Ultralight power rods will help cushion the force when setting the hook. If you’re prone to quickly snapping your rod to get a solid hookset, an ultralight rod will help make that action a bit more gentle on the fish.
  • Incredible Sensitivity. Ultralight rods have a very good bend to them, which means you can feel a wide range of nibbles and bites that are happening under the water. This will help you make a good judgment when setting a hook.
  • Easy to Use. Ultralight rods are easy to use and transport to and from your favorite fishing spots. You won’t need to strain your muscles when moving a few of your favorite ultralight fishing equipment around the boat or shoreline.

Best Rod Length for Crappie

If you want to have more accuracy in your casts, but don’t necessarily plan to cast extremely long distances, shorter rods can give you the accuracy you want.

Crappie rods can come in a wide range of lengths from a mere 5 feet to a massive 9 feet in length. The best rod length depends on your needs, and how you feel when handling different sized rod and reel combos.

For example, if you plan on doing a lot of long casting and don’t really need to be precise in your specific landing spot, a longer rod is normally better. Anything in the 7-foot and up range is great for long casting and is categorized in the longer rod and reel combos.

If you want to have more accuracy in your casts, but don’t necessarily plan to cast extremely long distances, shorter rods can give you the accuracy you want. With crappie, most anglers will go for something in the middle around 6 or 7 feet rod blank as it can offer a decent mix of both accuracy and casting distance.

Crappie, like most other smaller fish, like to stay in cover to avoid being seen by larger predators. This means you might not even be casting your rod most of the time. Instead, you’ll be trolling or simply dropping your lure right off the side of the boat and into the strike zone of those smaller fish.

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AUTHOR
Jeff Knapp is an expert fisherman, guide and outdoor writer whose work is widely published across a range of sites including Tackle Village.