Three Best Spinning Rod And Reel Combos For Tarpon

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Hey there anglers and welcome to my post where we will check out my three best spinning rod and reel combos for Tarpon this year. Tarpon are a popular game fish due to their size, strength and acrobatic behavior when hooked making them popular amongst saltwater anglers.

And with most fish of this type, it is important that you are appropriately equipped with the best rod and reel combos to handle these aggressive and hard hitting fish. So for those of you looking to get yourself a good combo for your Tarpon fishing exploits, I have had a good look around and come up with three good options below.

Let’s check them out…

My three recommended spinning rod and reel combos for Tarpon

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

02/18/2024 07:48 am GMT Lasso Brag

What are rod and reel combos?

As we know, a fishing combo is a rod and reel sold as a matched set. In most cases, the rod and reel are from the same manufacturer or matched by the retailer due to compatibility. Whichever the case however, the idea behind purchasing a combo is that they are matched in terms of balance in size and also usually a bit cheaper.

When it comes to catching Tarpon, the combo you choose needs to be large enough to handle the fight of the fish and durable enough to last a few years as well.

best rod and reel combos for striped bass - rod and reel combo

What should you be looking for?

Now, as you have probably guessed, when it comes to purchasing a new rod and reel combo there are things to consider for both the rod and the reel. In my experience, I would always place greater scrutiny on the reel over the rod however you should still consider size and weight there too.

Let’s then check out some of the factors to consider in a reel and then the rod…


  1. Line capacity
  2. Drag system
  3. Gear ratio
  4. Braided-line compatibility
  5. Other considerations


  1. Material
  2. Length
  3. Power
  4. Action
  5. Additions


Considerations for the reel include:

Line capacity

The reel’s line capacity is the maximum length of line that the spool can hold without getting overloaded. Because the diameter of the fishing line increases with its strength, generally the stronger it is, the more space takes up more space on the spool.

Braided fishing line of course assists with this however large Tarpon can take a real lot of line as they ‘run’. Hence, you will need to consider the size of the fish you intend to catch when choosing a reel and match the line capacity accordingly. For Tarpon, look for a reel that can hold 200 – 300 yards.

Drag system

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.

Most work via the movement of internal aluminium plates that ‘give’ under pressure however some are also made from carbon fiber for greater strength and smoothness as well. For this species, look for around 15 to 20lb of drag.

Gear ratio

Another critical aspect of a good spinning fishing reel is its gear ratio. The gear ratio indicates how many times the rotor revolves for one handle rotation. With a 6.2:1 gear ratio, the line will wrap around the spool 6.2 times for every handle rotation.

When it comes to Tarpon fishing, you will find that the the recommended reels tend to sit around the 5.2:1 mark which is good as you can play with the drag without the line coming in too fast which can place extra strain on the line and gear.

Rod and reel combos for Tarpon - tarpon swimming

Braided line compatibility

Because of its strength, casting distance and sensitivity, braided fishing line is a popular choice for most Tarpon fishing. On the other hand, a braided line is known to either slide around on spools when reeling in or ‘bite’ into itself when casting.

To counter this most reels are lined with a mono backing to keep the braid tight however some also offer a rubber grip material where the line makes contact with the spool to help mitigate the effect. Instead of slipping around, the line will catch on the rubber material and provide you with leverage to pull some of that line back.

Of course you could also try a line spooler as well…

Other considerations

Other considerations include:

  • Ball bearings – Ball bearings in a reel work in the same manner as a car wheel in that they provide extra smoothness as the handles etc. are turned. When it comes to a reel, the greater the number of ball bearings you can get for the price, the better. And if the reel will be used for ocean or surf fishing, anti-rust or shielded bearings are also highly recommended.
  • Anti-reverse – This feature prevents the handle from turning backward allowing the line to be reeled in but not released. Some spinning reels have an anti-reverse feature that lets the angler spin the reel back to let the line out while keeping the bail closed.
  • Corrosion-resistance – The best fishing reels are designed using corrosion-resistant materials, such as anodized aluminum or carbon. Furthermore, excellent fishing reels typically have sealed components to keep water out of the gears allowing them to remain smooth, precise, and fully functional.
  • Handle – Most are plastic or EVA but make sure it fits comfortably in your hand (more expensive models are carbon fiber).


Considerations for the rod include:


Choose a fishing stick made of ideal materials for your fishing needs. Most rods are made of one of three materials:

  • 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 heavy offshore fishing. These types are becoming more and more popular for all levels of experience due to their toughness and versatility.


Good rods for Tarpon typically measure around 7′ to9′ in length. Such lengths make them easy to work with when using both bait and lures and the best options carry a lot of power as well making them incredibly strong and reliable.

Some modern rods are longer and have greater strength, lightness, and flexibility making them adaptable for chasing other species too.


Choose a rod with the appropriate power for your needs. The amount of force or weight required to bend a rod is called its power. It is typically defined as:

  1. Ultralight – really bendy – even whippy
  2. Light
  3. Medium light
  4. Medium
  5. Medium heavy
  6. Heavy – hardly any bend

For Tarpon, look for a rod in the medium to medium heavy range although they can be a lot of fun on a light option as well.

Rod and reel combos for Tarpon - tarpon swimming on sea floor


A rod’s action is affected by its construction material and method. When you apply pressure to the fishing rod’s tip, the action describes where the rod bends and how quickly it returns to its neutral position. This feature can be slow, medium, fast, or a combination of the three.

This applies whether you are casting or have a fish on the end of the line with settings as follows”

  • An extra-fast action rod bends only at the tip.
  • A fast-action bends in the upper 1/3 to 1/4 of the rod.
  • A rod with a moderately fast action bends over the lover by one-third.
  • A medium/moderate action rod bends over the last half.
  • A slow action bends all the way to the rod’s handle.

For Tarpon fishing, I would recommend a moderate to fast action so that the rod will bend over the water and allow you to feel when it is fighting and/or running.


  1. Bent butt – Using a bent butt fishing rod relieves strain on your body and allows you to concentrate on reeling in your catch.
  2. Reel seat – This fishing rod component secures the reel to the rod, typically with locking metal rings or sliding bands. Inside diameters of reel seats are always larger than those of the fishing rod blanks on which they will be installed.
  3. Rod handles – Cork and EVA foam are the two primary materials used in fishing rod handles (also called Duplon). Cork handles are lighter than foam handles and retain residual heat in cooler temperatures. On a cold day, this means they are warmer to the touch. EVA foam handles are generally less expensive than cork handles, but they are also far more durable. Unlike a cork handle, a foam handle does not dent or chip when mistreated.


What size reel should I use for Tarpon?

Tarpon can get quite large and hit pretty hard as well. For this reason I would be looking at a reel around the 4000 – 6000 mark. Load it with 20 – 30lb braid and a flouro leader and you are good to go.

What size rod should I use for Tarpon?

This depends on whether you are fishing from the beach or in a boat. Stick to around 7 – 9ft although the longer the rod, the farther you can cast which is good if you are fishing from the beach or bank. Shorter rods however give greater accuracy and movement in a boat.

My three recommendations broken down


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

1. KastKing Centron Spinning Rod And Reel Combo

My first rod and reel combo for Tarpon is equipped with an ambidextrous reel and a super smooth 10-ball bearing system. With a length range of 6 – 8 feet, the rod is the perfect length as well. See its specifications below:

  • Brand: KastKing
  • Rod material: High modulus carbon fiber graphite
  • Rod length: Available in 6, 7 and 8 feet
  • Rod action: Fast, Moderate fast
  • Rod power: Available in medium and medium heavy
  • Reel bearings: 9+1
  • Reel line capacity: Not indicated
  • Reel gear ratio: 5.2:1 and 4.5:1

Other inclusions :

  • Hook holder
  • Rod and reel perfectly wight matched
  • Full or split rear handle options

Why have I chosen it?

The rod is equipped with several guides, ranging from 7 to 9ft, depending on the model you buy. This feature will help you control the rod even if a sizable fish takes the bait. For comfort, the product has finished EVA handles and a fighting butt.

A 9 + 1 internal bearing system also leads to smooth use of the reel in every fish fight. A great option for beginners and experienced fishers alike.

KastKing Centron Spinning Combos
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02/18/2024 07:48 am GMT

2. Ugly Stik Bigwater Spinning Reel and Fishing Rod Combo

This second rod and reel combo option offers a rugged build to help you in many angling seasons. The reel is braid ready and with the rod, able to handle anything that Tarpon can throw at you.  See its specifications below:

  • Brand: Ugly Stik
  • Rod material: Combination of graphite and fiberglass
  • Rod length: Available in 7 and 9 feet
  • Rod action: Fast, Moderate fast
  • Rod power: Available in medium and medium heavy
  • Reel bearings: 4+1
  • Reel line capacity: Not indicated
  • Reel gear ratio: 5.2:1 and 4.5:1

Other inclusions:

  • Moderate action tip
  • Stainless steel rod guides
  • High density EVA grips

Why have I chosen it?

Although a little longer than the specs outlined above, this product is extremely reliable and durable with the perfect rod length and a heavy duty reel able to handle all beach fishing conditions.  This is a great option for avid fishers who like to chase Tarpon as well as Snook, Red Drum, Striped Bass, Sharks and a few other species from the beach too.

Ugly Stik Bigwater Spinning Reel and Fishing Rod Combo
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02/18/2024 07:50 am GMT

3. Penn Battle III Spinning Reel and Fishing Rod Combo

This final product is another brand well-known for its strength with a well-paired match for chasing large catches. The reel is known for its impressive drag system matched with hard wearing guides and ergonomic grips on the rod that will significantly increase your chances of success. See its specifications below:

  • Brand: Penn
  • Rod material: Tubular graphite composite
  • Rod length: Available in 6 to 10 feet
  • Rod action: Fast, Moderate fast
  • Rod power: Available in medium and medium heavy
  • Reel bearings: 5 + 1 fully sealed stainless steel
  • Reel line capacity: 12 – 25lb mono, 20 – 40lb braid
  • Reel gear ratio: 6.2:1

Other inclusions:

  • Stainless ball bearing
  • CNC gear technology
  • Non-corrosive aluminum alloy reel seat
  • Rod Butt Gimbal
  • EVA handle and fore grip

Why have I chosen it?

TI take a Battle III 4000 size with me out on the boat lined with 40lb braid. It is low in maintenance and withstands the rigors of saltwater perfectly. If you are in the market for something that will last for years and not let you down then you could do a lot worse than this one.

PENN 9’ Battle III Fishing Rod and Reel Spinning Combo
$179.99 $169.99
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02/18/2024 07:56 am GMT

Check out my: Penn Battle III Spinning Reel review


There you have it – my three best rod and reel combos for Tarpon. 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

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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.