3 Best Rod and Reel Combos for Walleye

Hey anglers and welcome to my post where we will check out my three best rod and reel combos for walleye this year.  For many fishers, especially those starting out, investing the time and money to buy individual rods, reels, and fishing lines is a daunting task.  Hence, rod and reel combos are an excellent option as they are matched by the retailer for effective use.

So for those of you looking to get yourselves set up with a good rod and reel combo for your Walleye fishing adventures, I have had a good look around and come up with three good options below.

Let’s check them out.

My three recommended rod and reel combos for Walleye

I will review these in more detail however if you just want to get moving without all the carry-on, my recommended products are listed here for your convenience: 

11/16/2022 06:49 pm GMT Lasso Brag

What are rod and reel combos for Walleye?

A walleye combo is a matched set of a rod and reel setup up to give you the best chance of landing this type of fish. This is most often a spinning rod and reel from the same manufacturer however in some cases, consists of a fishing rod from one manufacturer and a reel from another, which a retailer usually puts together. 

To achieve proper balance and function, the length and action of the rod are adequately matched with the reel’s size, weight, and line capacity.

rod and reel combos for walleye - spinning rod and reel

Note: if your planning to do a little ice fishing for your Walleye, then check out my ice fishing rod and reel combos post.

What should you be looking for?

In light of the above, the following considerations can assist when looking for a spinning fishing rod and reel combo suitable for Walleye:

Rods

  1. Rod length
  2. Rod power
  3. Rod action
  4. Rod material

Rod length

When it comes to Walleye fishing, size can definitely matter. If you are on the bank of the river or lake, then a longer option can be used. However if you are on a kayak or small boat, then a lack of space can mean that something like a surf rod is just not going to work. Shorter rods also provide for greater accuracy which can be helpful if you are fishing amongst structure however, slightly longer rods are better if you are looking to cast a little further away or want to ‘jig’ a lure.

Most walleye anglers prefer a length of 5 to 7 feet from a boat or 7 – 9ft from the bank.

Rod power

There are plenty of technical terms for the power settings of a fishing rod but in simple language, I have always known the power rating as a measure of how ‘bendy’ it is. Light power rods bend with little force and heavy ones need a lot of pressure to bend. So, in short:

  • Light – very bendy – even whippy – will bend a lot with even the smallest fish. I like these, however for beginners it is easy to get the bottom confused with bites.
  • Medium – needs a bit more pressure to bend – In general, this is a good measure for a Walleye fishing rod and my suggestion for all-around use.
  • Heavy – takes a lot to make it bend – I would recommend these in areas where the current is quite strong or you want to troll from your Walleye

There is also a measurement that some rods have in regards to what they call Action or Speed. This is determined by where the rod bends. Fast action bends from the top third whereas slow rods bend down towards the reel. For general use, I would go moderate or medium, unless I need to cast a long way or are chasing larger fish, then maybe edge towards a faster rod as they allow for heavier lures/rigs.

rod and reel combos for walleye - man with Walleye

Rod material

Generally, fishing rods are made from one of three main materials: Fiberglass, Graphite, and Carbon Fibre. These three have different features and qualities that can help you with your fishing. These are outlined as follows:

  • Fiberglass – Very strong and durable with very little maintenance required (rinse off after fishing is generally all that is needed). Also, very cost-effective with many good options available that don’t cost the earth – although these types of rods appear to be less available these days due to the introduction of carbon fiber technology.
  • Graphite – Graphite rods are generally more rigid with higher power ratings (see below) however tend to have greater sensitivity than their fiberglass cousins. Their composition also means that a little more cleaning is required over time to avoid them becoming brittle and snapping. These are good for shorter rods too as they can handle bigger fish without the ‘give’ that longer rods have.
  • Carbon Fibre – This is a newer compound in fishing rods being more rigid than the fiberglass/ composite rods but also lighter – which is great for Walleye fishing. These types are becoming more and more popular for all levels of experience due to their toughness and versatility.
  • Glass Tip – Glass Tips or ‘Hybrid’ rods are made from a combination of graphite and fiberglass. These are designed to give the best of both worlds with extra strength of the graphite rod added to the sensitivity of the glass tip. Great if you are using the rod in a number of locations and water types.

Good carbon fiber rods have severely come down in price in recent times as well making them, in my opinion, a great choice for Walleye fishing.

Reels

  1. Reel type
  2. Reel drag
  3. Reel material
  4. Additions

Reel type

One factor influencing the selection of your walleye reel is the techniques you use.  If you intend to cast jigs, spinners, soft baits and the like, then I recommend that you use an appropriately sized spinning reel. This is due to the ease with which such a type can be cast in most conditions.

However, if you intend to troll, you will need more precision than a spinning reel can provide, and it is best to use conventional reels with a line counter. This type of walleye reel, explicitly designed for the fish, will allow you to control your trolling depth more precisely.

Reel drag

This feature helps in reducing the friction once a fish takes your lure. The drag’s purpose is to limit how much force can be applied to the line before the spool slips and lets out more lines. This avoids line breakage giving it a little more strength as well as protecting your reel at the same time.

Granted it is almost impossible to purchase a spinning reel that doesn’t have a drag system included these days however you should always check the manufacturer’s strength limitations to ensure it can handle the type of fish you will be chasing. In general, you should set your drag to about 1/3 times the tensile strength of your line, and a good drag on a walleye reel should release line smoothly whether you’re using 6-pound mono or 12-pound braid.

rod and reel combos for walleye - girl with Walleye

Reel material

In general, spinning reels are made from a corrosion-resistant metal, carbon fiber, and/or aluminum body with variations of the following:

  • Bearings – As with a car wheel, the spinning mechanisms inside a spinning fishing reel generally incorporate ball bearings for smoother operation. From my experience, most come with between 3 and 10 and I was always told that the more you can get for the price, the better. If the specifications are listed as 10 + 1 for example, this means that there are 10 ball bearings in the main housing and also a roller bearing incorporated into the bail to make line retrieval easier.
  • Ratio – One advantage of a fishing fishing reel is the winding ratio. This is usually set anywhere for 3:1 up to 6 or 7:1 (often listed as 6.0:1 etc.) This simply means that for every time the user turns the handle a full rotation, the spool holding the line has actually turned 3, 4, 5, 6, or 7 times meaningless winding for faster line retrieval. Higher ratios are good for fast retrieval fishing such as with a lure or if there are a lot of snags etc. Lower rations assist with the big fish catches. For a beginner, I like a ratio anywhere in the 5 – 6 range myself.
  • Casing – This is the part of the reel that contains the springs, levers, gear cogs, etc. that make much of the stuff above work. For a beginner, avoid any reel that doesn’t have this all housed in a sealed, waterproof casing. These are low maintenance and the components will not rust.

Additions

  • Handle – Most are plastic but make sure it fits comfortably in your hand (more expensive models are EVA or rubber).
  • Weight – The lighter the reel, the better.
  • Anti-reverse switch – These are usually found in the underbelly of the reel and simply put, will stop the reel from going backward. Some like to reel in reverse to let the line out slowly but don’t want this to happen with the rod in a holder.
  • Line holder – This is the little tab on the side of the reel housing that holds the end of the fishing line if it is not rigged up. These are not often thought of when a reel is purchased but something that is really missed if it is not there.

FAQ

What size rod is best for Walleye?

Most walleye anglers prefer a length of 5 to 7 feet from a boat or 7 – 9ft from the bank. Stick to the medium range in action and power as these will give you good control over the fish as being able to handle a jigging lure if that is what you like to use.

What size reel is best for Walleye?

Walleye are not the biggest fish around so anything around the 3000 – 5000 mark will do the trick. Attach it to a 5 – 7 ft rod, throw some 12-25lb braid on there and you should be good to go.

My three recommendations broken down

So based on the information above and my own experience, I recommend the following options:

1. Shakespeare Wild Series Walleye Combo

If you’re looking for an easy-to-use Walleye combo, then this first option is definitely worth a look. It is light in weight and simple to use for beginners and experienced fishers alike.  See its specifications below:

  • Brand: Shakespeare
  • Rod length: 6 feet
  • Rod material: Graphite
  • Reel type: Spinning
  • Reel bearing system: 4+1 bearing system
  • Reel gear ratio: 5.01:1
  • Product weight: 0.79 pounds

Other inclusions:

  • Hybrid tech rod handles for comfort
  • Stainless steel line guides
  • Soft touch handle 

Why have I chosen it? This walleye combo’s rod material is graphite, which gives the user high sensitivity to detect the fish’s bite. The set includes a basic spinning reel that can be switched from the left to the right handle and six-pound line already spooled.  As above, this is a great option for fishers of all levels and will work with other species as well.


2. KastKing Crixus Fishing Rod and Reel Combo

This next walleye combo offers an ideal blend of the latest technologies and components. It’s design is ideal for anglers who require versatility and power and also provides the durability and comfort required when fishing. See its specifications below:

  • Brand: KastKing
  • Rod length: 6 or 7 feet
  • Rod material: Graphite
  • Reel type: Spinning and casting
  • Reel bearing system: 7+1 bearing system
  • Reel gear ratio: 5.2:1
  • Product weight: 2.29 pounds

Other inclusions:

  • Stainless ring guides
  • Golf style SuperPolymer handle
  • Anti-twist line roller

Why have I chosen this? This set combines light, carbon-infused frames with CNC aluminum spools. The 7+1 double-shielded stainless ball bearings are strong and long-lasting enough to land a struggling walleye. The SuperPolymer handle on the fishing rod provides comfort and durability without adding weight with stainless steel guides with zirconium oxide rings to reduce weight while increasing casting performance. It also has a one-of-a-kind power transition system (PTS) technology that allows smooth transitions from the butt to the rod’s tip.


3. PENN Pursuit III & Pursuit IV Spinning Reel and Fishing Rod Combo

This rod and reel set is ideal for quality-conscious anglers with a sleek design and durable construction that are ideal for long days on the water. The corrosion-resistant housing keeps it light and easy to handle and the rod’s sturdy construction ensures that every cast is smooth and accurate. See its specifications below:

  • Brand: PENN
  • Rod length: 7, 8, and 9 feet
  • Rod material: Graphite
  • Reel type: Spinning
  • Reel bearing system: 4+1 bearing system
  • Reel gear ratio: 5.3:1
  • Product weight: 1.19 pounds

Other inclusions:

  • Anti-reverse
  • Stainless steel dura guides
  • Non-slip EVA handles

Why have I chosen this? My final roundup product combines a spinning reel and a graphite composite rod to create an affordable and long-lasting fish-taming gear. The walleye combo is made with graphite composite blanks and a new twist-lock reel seat with integrated EVA comfort grips. This design eliminates reel seat threads in hand, providing a more comfortable experience on the water. The reel’s instant anti-reverse bearing system eliminates the slightest rotor back plays with four sealed stainless-steel ball bearings to ensure smooth casts and retrievals.  

Conclusion

There you have it; my three best rod and reel combos for Walleye. I would be pleased to know how this article helped you, and as usual,  let me know of your experiences with them.  

Also, please do not hesitate to comment below if you have any questions, concerns, corrections, or would like me to check anything else out for you.  

Until next time,

Have fun  

Paul  

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Hi, I'm Paul

I am a passionate fishing, camping and four wheeled driving hobbyist who researches, tests and educates around issues and equipment relevant to them.

I am by no means a professional however my passion is to assist you in making informed decisions about buying and using awesome gear that will give you the best chance of success at whatever you are doing for the best price.

Please get in touch if you have any questions.

Paul