Best Crappie Rod and Reel of 2020: Complete Reviews With Comparisons

By Richard | Fishing Reel Reviews

Best Crappie Rod and Reel
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You will discover a wide range of fish species when you go out fishing, exposing you to fishes of varying sizes, patterns, and behaviors.

For that reason, your gear should be upgraded to the best crappie rod and reel combo. The same can be said about your fishing technique, too.

Crappie comes from a small-sized fish variety known for its alertness and good eyesight, hence the need for a rod and reel combo that matches its characteristics.

The ideal gear for crappie fishing ensures a successful catch without damaging its small body and paper-thin lips.

Comparison Chart

Abu Garcia Ike Dude Spinning Combo

Ugly Stik GX2 Ice Combo

Cadence CR5 Spinning Rod

Daiwa D-Shock B Spinning Combo

Shakespeare Crappie Hunter Spinning Combo

Best Crappie Rod and Reel: Brief Reviews

1. Abu Garcia Ike Dude Spinning Combo

The design of this spinning combo from Abu Garcia is inspired by the professional angler Ike Dude, boasting features perfect for beginners and youth anglers.

The innovative design has improved the meticulous and accurate performance of this fishing combo.

Product Highlights

The rod in this fishing combo set is constructed with a two-piece composite blank designed for ease of storage, especially when traveling.

The split-grip handle is made from high-density EVA, making it more sensitive and durable as it provides a sturdy grip and lasting comfort.

The combo set also comes with a lightweight reel placed inside a secured graphite body along with the graphite rotor and a spool made of aluminum.

The reel is designed with a two-ball bearing system for smooth and defined casting, while the aluminum spool is fitted with six pounds of pre-reeled monofilament fishing line.

It also comes with a Texas-rigged hook keeper, which you can use for all kinds of bait applications.

The Good

This medium-powered seven-foot rod is designed for use by both left- and right-handed anglers.

It comes with a free pre-spooled monofilament fishing line with 15 pounds of maximum drag.

The lightness of its body and rotor will let you fish for a long time and still feel comfortable.

It is also available in either the spin-cast or the spinning reel varieties.

The Bad

One of the significant problems that most buyers had was the lack of reverse mode on the spinning reel.

Another concern is with regards to the fishing line, as it always gets tangled on the spool.

PROS

  • Lightweight
  • Easy to use
  • Durable rod
  • Reasonably priced
  • Comfortable handle

CONS

  • Reel breaks easily
  • Reel face won't stay open

2. Ugly Stik GX2 Ice Combo

The Ugly Stik series from Shakespeare is known for its durability. This latest GX2 model combines traditional quality and the newest innovation from Shakespeare.

This crappie ice fishing combo set has better balance and lightness than its previous models but has the same sturdiness as the rest of the Ugly Stik line.

Product Highlights

The graphite blank in the construction of the GX2 rods makes it a great ice fishing combo set.

The distinct tip design offers maximum response and sensitivity to detect even the slightest of cold water strikes.

This two-piece lightweight rod is 26 inches long, durable, and flexible, making it excellent for crappie fishing.

The reel seat on the rod is equipped with a twist-lock system to keep it secured and steady, while the single piece of stainless steel guides allow the line to run smoothly.

This is outfitted with a one-balled size 20 spinning reel that is suitable for ice fishing applications.

Simultaneously, the aluminum spool adds to the lightness of the reel for more flexible and effortless operation.

The one-piece EVA foam handles feel comfortable even for anglers with large hands using various grips with each action.

The Good

The GX2 is created with ice fishing in mind, outfitting it with a distinct tip for added sensitivity and quicker response.

The reel seat is secured through the use of a twist-lock mechanism and comes with a ported aluminum spool for increased lightness.

The Bad

The reel that comes with this combo is the standard kind and is poorly made to hold lines with two to six pounds weight and with a maximum drag of five to 10 pounds.

PROS

  • Lightweight
  • Sensitive
  • Durable
  • Easy to use
  • Affordable

CONS

  • Low-quality reel
  • Reel is noisy

3. Cadence CR5 Spinning Rod

The Cadence CR5 spinning combo comes with an excellent pair of rod and reel that is unusual when buying a fishing combo set.

These high-performing poles come with premium features at a reasonable price.

Product Highlights

This seven-foot medium-fast powered gear comes in two dependable pieces.

This two-piece design gives you the freedom to easily store it in the trunk of the car or your boat hatch as opposed to the traditional one-piece rod design.

The blank of the CR5 rod is made with carbon matrix graphite, providing durability, lightness, and sensitivity that is far better than other rods.

The Cadence CR5 is ideally constructed for freshwater and inshore fishing, making it easy to clean through simple washing with clean water after every use.

The spinning rods are made from high-quality materials, including the SiC guides and sturdy stainless steel frames.

The Fuji reel seat is comfortable while the blank is covered in carbon veil, adding to its durability.

The full and split grip handles are made from a combination of EVA and premium quality cork, which guarantees more excellent value to the overall quality of the rod.

The increased sensitivity is felt through a series of transfer vibrations from the line to the guide and then the rod held by your hand.

The Good

The stainless steel guides and its SiC inserts offer smooth power operation, preventing the line from sticking into the guides while the friction is reduced.

The blank is constructed with multiple carbon layers. The first is placed diagonally, the second vertically, while the last reversed layer is draped around the center of the graphite core with a super adhesive resin.

A reliable customer service team is available to resolve your concern, so customers are assured of a risk-free guarantee after the purchase.

The Bad

The reel seat seems to be poorly made and does not have enough adhesive to stay tight that it sometimes detaches itself from the blank.

PROS

  • Lightweight
  • Comfortable
  • Sensitive
  • Effective
  • Balanced

CONS

  • Rod snaps easily
  • Poor craftsmanship

4. Daiwa D-Shock B Spinning Combo

The Daiwa D-Shock B is a perfect choice if you are new to fishing and don't want to spend too much on your first rod and reel combo.

On the contrary, its low price range does not mean that its quality is at the same level.

The quality of the rod is not something that you would expect from an affordable product.

This performs well even if you use it on rough conditions.

Product Highlights

This medium-powered rod is made from fiberglass, making it an excellent freshwater fishing gear that you can flex and bend for faster line speed.

The fiberglass material makes the rod durable and less likely to break when you are trying to bring in your catch.

The reel body is made of graphite, giving it lightness, while the aluminum spool is patented with the Twist Buster II design to reduce line twisting and tangling.

This creative design limits the twisting of the line as it improves the way you spool and cast.

The manufacturer is offering a one year warranty for this rod and reel combo set, which just goes to show that their product is made with high-quality materials and constructed with utmost care.

The Good

The manufacturer's original design of this product aims to limit line twisting through its patented Twist Buster II.

We also like that the affordability of this combo does not match the durability of the fiberglass and other high-quality materials used in its creation.

Finally, you’d be glad to know that the handle can be switched and used by both right- and left-handed anglers, making it very versatile.

The Bad

This spinning combo set does not include a free spooled fishing line like other combo sets in the market.

It is exclusively designed and constructed for freshwater fishing alone.

The slip joint, where the top and bottom parts of the rod are joined, is loose that it might cause the top section to slip while casting.

PROS

  • Affordable
  • Sensitive
  • Lightweight
  • Performs well
  • Balanced

CONS

  • Average quality
  • Flimsy rod

5. Shakespeare Crappie Hunter Spinning Combo

The Shakespeare Crappie Hunter Spinning Combo is an excellent rod and reel combo set created explicitly for crappie fishing.

This crappie combo set is an affordable alternative for both beginners and professionals alike.

Product Highlights

The crappie hunter combo is suitable for both small- and large-sized crappies, as it is designed for casting light lures.

It comes with a nine-foot rod blank made using IM6 graphite, which helps enhance its strength, durability, and sensitivity.

The powerful combination of the rod, the aluminum spool, and the handle provide fast and easy responsiveness when there's a bite.

The size 25 fishing reel is equipped with a pre-spooled four-pound fishing line, so you can use it straight out of the box.

The multi-disk drag system of the reel backed by the anti-reverse system offers a smooth retrieve for both sizes of crappie as the rod's efforts complete the action and prevent any problems.

The Good

The crappie hunter is designed to be ambidextrous, so both left- and right-handed anglers can use it.

The light and sensitive action of the rod provides all the things that an angler needs, including the pre-spooled fishing line for a superb performance.

The Bad

However, some of the anglers are not too keen on the extra-long rod, as it is not what they are used to, and it's harder to feel small bites.

The reel has a friction spot where it is challenging to turn the handle as you cast or retrieve.

PROS

  • Complete with line
  • Sensitive
  • Sturdy
  • Affordable
  • Quality made rod

CONS

  • Heavy rod
  • Small eyelet

Buyer's Guide

Crappie is considered one of the easiest to catch and the most common fish species across North America.

It is a well-known game fish that offers fun and excitement to the anglers as they try to lure this fish out of their covers and hiding places.

So, if you plan to go crappie fishing, you need to use only the best rod and reel suitable for your fishing style.

Below are some of the essential factors you need to look for when purchasing your gear.

1. Length

Considering the length of the rod is an essential aspect of crappie fishing, which should depend on how you will use it based on your fishing techniques.

You should choose a rod that you are most comfortable with when out in the water.

Fishermen who want to practice their angling techniques while on their boats would usually choose longer rods.

Some of the standard rod sizes range from four to 10 feet long, except for ice fishing rods shorter than the regular crappie rods.

Short rods are more accurate when it comes to casting; it is better to use longer poles for crappies hiding in swamps and heavy vegetation.

2. Power

The best fishing rods for crappies must have an absolute power to resist all types of pressure as the pole bends when weight is applied.

An excellent power rating that you can use for all types of crappie species is the ultralight and light-powered poles.

Fishing rods with power ratings higher than light will rip the paper-thin mouth of the crappie, but you will have a hard time detecting the small bites from these small species.

Since crappie comes from a small fish variety, you should only use lightweight lures and baits to prevent any damage done on the fish.

The power of the rod and its action will let you know how it will perform when put under pressure.

Here are three reasons why ultralight-powered rods are the best choice:

  • Cushioned Hooksets

Ultralight-powered rods allow you to use gentle hooksets crucial for crappie fishing, as these can give you the right protection from any force or pressure.

  • Sensitivity

Ultralight-powered rods are sensitive and can feel even the slightest of bites because they can bend easily.

The fishing rod's sensitivity is crucial when the water is cold or when the fish is shy.

  • Fun

You are guaranteed to have lots of fun as you use an ultralight tackle and battle it out with crappies.

3. Action

Crappie fishing rods should have a standard action rating, much like the concept of power rating.

The rod's action tag will give you a hint on which part of the rod is most likely to bend when pressured.

The rod's action is defined as its capability to bend and then go back to its original shape, and for crappie fishing, the rod's response should be slow.

The slow action of the rod lets it absorb more shock to prevent damaging your catch, as it is more likely to bend near the reel seat or the handle.

4. Material

One of the most critical factors for your rod and reel is the type of material they are made of; manufacturers used different kinds of materials for their product.

  • Graphite

Graphite is hard and durable but ultralight, making it an excellent material for a fishing rod.

The firmness of this material also adds to its sensitivity, which is crucial to crappie fishing.

  • Fiberglass

This material is more sensitive than graphite and is more affordable but not as stiff.

Nevertheless, it can provide the durability that is necessary for cushioned hooksets.

  • Carbon Fiber

Carbon fiber is the most expensive among all the choices used for making fishing rods.

It is also the strongest, hardest, and lightest material for your tackle, hence its exceptional performance.

5. Compatibility

The best crappie fishing rod and reel combo should have compatible features to complement each other and serve its purpose well.

Each rod characteristic should be able to work with the features of the reel along with other functions of each one effectively.

6. Durability

The durability of both the rod and the reel must also be considered essential factors of your gear.

You can measure its durability by checking the kind of material used, how it is designed, and its assembly process.

Look for a fishing reel enclosed in a protective material that can protect the insides of the fishing reel, such as aluminum or graphite.

The fishing reel design should be able to prevent dust and water from entering and damaging the gear system.

Graphite or a fiberglass rod is said to be more durable due to the unbreakable strength of these materials.

You will also find crappie fishing rods and reels constructed with multiple layers of carbon fiber and mixed graphite assembly to increase the sturdiness of your fishing rods.

Crappie Rod and Reel FAQs

1. What is the best length for a crappie rod?

There is no particular length that can be considered as a standard crappie fishing rod length, as its length is dependent on the tactic an angler wants to use.

In general, anglers tend to choose longer crappie fishing rods ranging from six to 10 feet long.

Some anglers choose to go ice fishing, and those who do must use shorter fishing rods at three to four feet long.

2. What kind of rod do you use for crappie?

There are various kinds of rods that are being used in crappie fishing.

  • Spinning Rods

A five- to seven-foot-long spinning rod combined with a suitable reel is a sure-win combo for crappie fishing.

  • Jigging Rods

You can use any pole when jigging; however, long and flexible rods will be more beneficial as you need to bring the bait far away from you.

  • Spider Rigging Rods

Again, there is no standard length for a specific technique, but if you go spider rigging, longer rods allow you to have more control and eliminate tangling of the lines.

  • Fly Rods

Fly rod fishing is said to be more sophisticated, delicate, and requires learning, but it can be useful in catching crappie during the spawning season.

  • Cane Poles

These are the traditional kind of crappie fishing where they don't use a reel and just tie a line to a pole or a stick.

3. Why are crappie rods so long?

Long crappie rods will give you time to approach your target silently as it provides you with more extended cast options in areas where crappies tend to hide and take cover.

Crappies are known to have excellent sight and hearing. Having long rods will let you cast the line even if you are still far from where the crappies are.

4. How do you set up a crappie fishing rod?

For you to catch several crappies, you need to rig your fishing rod correctly.

It is best to use an ultralight rod and its matching reel designed explicitly for catching crappies.

The reel should handle a four-pound monofilament line at around 110 yards since the average crappie weighs at a pound or less.

Attach the reel to a six-foot flexible rod, then tie a long shank #6 hook to the end of the fishing line with a clinch knot.

Attach a full spring bobber to the line at least two feet above the hook, and pull a spring back to reveal a slot for your line.

Drape the line twice around the slot and then release the spring.

Then, put a live bait, like small minnows and nightcrawlers, to the hook and allow the bobber to let the bait stay at a drop where the crappies are and wait for the crappie to bite.

5. What time of year is best for crappie fishing?

Springtime is said to be the best season for catching a lot of fish and not just crappies, especially for beginners, although crappies are known to be around all year long.

Conclusion

We hope that we can help you in your quest to find the best crappie rod and reel combo for your next fishing adventure.

The five rods and reels combo we have reviewed are the ones that are considered among the best based on several considerations.

Some rod and reel combos come with pre-spooled fishing and are ready for use but still require you to put a fishing line on the reel.

Regardless of the combo set you choose, make sure that it is according to your fishing style and technique.

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