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Top Crappie Rod and Reel Combos Reviewed in 2023

Last Updated: 01.12.23

Best Fishing Crappie Rod and Reel Combos. Comparison & Buying Guide


If you want to save time, this paragraph will tell you all you need to know about the best crappie rod and reel setup. After going through a lot of info on the topic such as the owner feedback, the value offered for the money and what fishers had to say about many models on specialized forums, we reached the conclusion that the Shakespeare Crappie Hunter is the best product in the line. If you’ve been wondering what kind of rod and reel for crappie fishing you should employ, you should give a shot to the Shakespeare model as it features a 9-ft light action graphite rod and a 25-size spinning reel. Since it doesn’t cost a fortune but offers excellent performance, it’s no wonder that the combo has gathered some of the best carp rod and reel set reviews over time. If the Shakespeare Crappie Hunter is unavailable, the Zebco CRFUL/S802L is your next best choice.



Comparison table


The Good
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4 Best Crappie Rod and Reel Combos (Reviews) in 2023


The best crappie rods and reels in this category will be showcased below. These are all combos that have people raving about their features as they let them enjoy fishing for crappie like they’re supposed to. They’re not too expensive and take the cake when it comes to convenience and durability.



1. Shakespeare Crappie Hunter Spinning Rod and Reel Combo


1.Shakespeare Crappie Hunter Spinning Rod and Reel ComboThe Shakespeare Crappie Hunter was built specifically for crappie fishing, which means that it’s been tailored to the needs of fishers who are trying to catch as much of this species as possible. The combo is composed of a 9-ft rod and a 25-size spinning reel.

While the rod might appear to be a bit too long for some people, it does just the trick for others. We’ve seen that individuals who like fishing from their boat prefer 9 and 10-ft rods over shorter alternatives. This is a rather sensitive and light action rod that doesn’t sacrifice anything in terms of performance.

The smooth multi-disc drag system, as well as the instant anti-reverse, make it worth considering if you’re in the market for one of the top-rated combos for crappie. The reel comes pre-spooled with 4lb strength line. Most of the people who were kind enough to review the Shakespeare say that they were able to catch several crappies and perch with the help of this set.


If you consider yourself a fisher who tries to catch as much crappie as possible, then you might be pleased to find out that this model was built for that specifically.

The 9-ft rod is a sensitive and light action tool that doesn’t sacrifice anything in regard to performance, and it is perfect for those who like to fish from their boats.

With a smooth multi-disc drag system, as well as the instant anti-reverse you’ll find the suitable fishing companion for you to take on your next trips.

The reel comes pre-spooled with 4 lbs of strength line meaning that it comes ready to go.

This rod and reel combo seemed to help several customers as they claimed to have caught plenty of crappies and perch as well.


One user stated that one of the crappie poles came in broken, but other than that this product worked fine.

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Best panfish rod and reel combo


2. Zebco CRFUL/S802L Spin Fishing Rod and Reel Combo


2.Zebco CRFUL-S802LCompared to the item we’ve showcased earlier on, the Zebco is a tad shorter alternative. The combo consists of an 8-ft light action rod and an 11 spinning reel.

The neat thing about the pole is that it is composed of two pieces, which gives users a lot of freedom when it comes to storage and transportation. All the gears in the combo are made of metal.

The reel features anti-reverse and the major advantage you should consider the Zebco is that it features a right or left hand retrieve.

Most of the users who provided ratings for this option characterized it as a nice crappie combo for the money given that many online retailers sell it for less than thirty dollars. Based on the opinions we’ve analyzed, the quality of the set is good and both the reel and rod seem durable enough to withstand many fishing seasons.


If you’re the kind of fisherman that prefers a shorter rod and reel combo to catch crappies, then this Zebco was made for you.

The 8-ft light action rod is made of two pieces giving users freedom when it comes to storing or transporting it, so you can put it in the trunk of your car, and you’re good to go.

The Zebco features a right or left retrieve and an anti-reverse reel.

Being that this fishing rod and reel combo is one that is both at this user-friendly and at an affordable price, this product might be worth looking into.


Some owners expressed concerns about the quality of the reel, thinking that it is less durable than others they have used.

One customer has complained about the fact that this model arrived incomplete, missing the upper half of the rod, although this seems to be an exception.

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3. Shakespeare Ugly Stik GX2 Ice Fishing


Available in four different sizes, this rod and reel combo is perfect for spending an entire day ice fishing at your favorite location. It is long enough to help you cast from a distance, increasing your chances of catching any type of small and medium-sized fish in the water of your choice. 

Boasting a lightweight yet sturdy construction, the Ugly Stik GX2 provides better balance and a lighter feel, so you won’t have to worry about hand fatigue or discomfort, even when holding the rod for long hours. 

Although many consider the Ugly Stik a beginner’s rod, there are many changes provided by the GX2 to steal the game and move the item into another fishing category, suitable for enthusiasts who don’t have an unlimited budget. The product’s tuff guides are made of stainless steel, crafted from one single piece to deliver maximum strength. 

The strong and sensitive fiberglass tip results in clean hooksets every time. 


The GX2 series of the Ugly Stik uses a blend of fiberglass and high modulus graphite that offers durability and an increase in sensitivity at the same time, so you’ll enjoy more finesse fishing applications. Even so, it didn’t lose its original purpose of remaining a strong and stiff fishing rod. 

The clear tip is made of high-quality fiberglass with increased sensitivity so you can enjoy cleaner hooksets every time you cast your rod. 

The handle features dual EVA grips that are lightweight and durable at the same time. They absorb extra moisture and keep your hands comfortable, reducing hand fatigue and wrist pain at the same time. 

Aesthetically sleek, the product is well balanced and much lighter than the previous Ugly Stik models, which means increased portability and ease of use. 


By comparison to other similar rod and reel combos, Shakespeare’s Ugly Stik GX2 doesn’t provide the best casting performance. 

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4. Zebco Crappie Fighter Combo 


As the name of this rod and reel combo indicates, it is a great option if you want to catch crappie. It is also suitable for other panfish, so it is safe to say that the Zebco Crappie Fighter Combo is reasonably versatile. The spinning reel is lightweight and provides you with the balance and responsiveness expected from such a combo.

Outfitted with a 6.6-foot rod, it will provide you with the fast action you need for a quick retrieve. You will notice right away when the fish bite, and you will love how easily the hook sets for catching fish.

The drive is based on a ball bearing configuration and provides you with smooth operation. At the same time, the drag is adjustable and located in the front for maximum convenience. Another thing that you will like about this model is that it can be customized for right or left hand operation.


If you want to catch crappie and panfish, there is hardly a contender in this price range, as the Zebco Crappie Fighter offers everything you need to start fishing.

The 6.6-foot rod is made from 2 pieces, so it is easy to transport and to assemble, a convenience that many anglers can rely on.

You will notice that the reel comes with front-adjustable drag, another aspect that contributes to the overall ease of use of this combo.

Anglers can adjust it for right or left hand retrieve, so it doesn’t matter what predominant hand you use, as this model will be easy to customize.

The sensitive action of the rod will help you catch more fish since you will notice right away when the fish bite.


The line provided with the combo is not of the best quality, so it might be something you will want to change right away.

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Buying guide


Crappie is one of the most common and easy to catch species of fish that exists across North America (looking for something else? Read our article about catfish models). This is a popular game fish that’s fun to target because it prefers hanging out around boulders and logs or in weed beds during the day. Whether you like black or white crappie, you should be aware of the fact that this is a relatively small sized fish, which is why you’ll need a sensitive rod and reel. If you’d like to learn the basics of choosing the best combo, have a look at our comprehensive buying guide.





The length of the rod depends on what you feel most comfortable with. Since crappie is a small species, people seem to go for shorter rods, but longer ones also give good results particularly if you plan to use your angling techniques while you’re in your boat. As for sensitivity, you’ll have to test out some models before choosing the right one as it needs to be rather flexible at the end. In a nutshell, the preferred type of rod for crappie fishing seems to be a light or ultra-light action one. If you have little to no knowledge in the field, we recommend going out to a store and actually touching the ends of some rods to determine whether their ends can bend a lot or not.



You don’t have to be an expert when it comes to choosing the right reel for crappie, as we’ve noticed that the vast majority of fishermen usually opt for a spinning alternative. This does not imply that you’re not free to use a baitcasting reel if that’s what you like. However, after we’ve gone through several reviews coming from actual fishers, we can say that spinning options are the most efficient ones for this kind of fishing (read more about spinning combos under 100). In this case, you’ll have to consider the ball bearing system and if it’s possible, stick to a reel that comes with at least three. An instant anti-reverse wouldn’t hurt as you won’t need to go through too much trouble with the reel.



If you’re just starting out, we recommend getting a model that costs less than fifty dollars as many of the ones we’ve discovered offer more than enough value for this price range. Consult some user reviews to see whether you don’t risk spending your money on a combo that’s not worth it, but be aware that you won’t be getting the best crappie poles and reels if you’re set on spending as little money as possible. 



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Lews Fishing MR. Crappie Slab Daddy Underspin Combo


3.Lew's Fishing Mr. Crappie Slab Daddy Underspin 2 Piece Rod and Reel ComboEven though it’s slightly less affordable compared to the other two units we’ve described above, the Lew’s Fishing Mr. Crappie is definitely worth taking into account if you’ve been looking for a long 10-ft rod.

This set offers a light action rod that features lightweight graphite reel seats and guides and inserts made of stainless steel. It’s rather easy to hold the rod as it comes with EVA foam grip handles.

As for the reel, it’s safe to say that it’s both a sight for sore eyes and a winner regarding usability. With a graphite body and rotor and a ball bearing construction, the reel offers all the convenience one might need to tend to his or her fishing.

The owner feedback of this alternative seems to revolve around the fact that the combo is great to use right out of the box and as such advances no issues for users with different degrees of experience. (looking for a fly fishing combo? check this article)


This is a crappie fishing gear that comes with a 10-foot rod, so if you’re the kind of fisherman who prefers having a longer pole, then this model might be something of interest.

The light action rod is one of the core components of this fishing setup thanks to its graphite reel seats, and it guides with stainless steel inserts.

You won’t have to worry about blisters because this product comes with an EVA foam grip handle that makes it easy for its user to get a good hold of the rod.

This fishing combo has gathered plenty of positive user reviews, coming with a pre-spooled 6 lb reel that boasts a graphite body and rotor.


The matter of cost seemed to bother some customers because this crappie fishing gear is a little more expensive than its competitors.

One reviewer felt that the rod feels a little too light.



Zebco Fishing 404 Spincast Combo


The Zebco Fishing 404 offers many advantages, especially to those who are just taking up fishing. If you want to teach your preteen children how to fish, or an older member of your family intends to enjoy some fun while fishing in a local pond or smaller body of water, you cannot go wrong with this one.

Everything about this rod and reel combo is made to withstand quite a bit of action. The dial-adjustable Magnum drag is reliable and sturdy, and the overall construction is a clear sign of high quality. The all-metal gears and the pick-up pin that is made of stainless steel are a strong testimony to the superior quality of this combo.

You can start fishing as soon as the rod and reel combo is delivered to your door. It comes with pre-spooled line, and you will be able just to enjoy it right away. The 15-pound line serves for tackling hard-fighting fish, and many users mention that the line doesn’t break, and it serves the purpose.

The EVA handle is ergonomic, and the rod is made from fiberglass, making this combo very lightweight and easy to use. Other features, like the quickset anti-reverse and the reel seat that comes with a secure twist-lock system, also come in handy.


This combo of rod and reel is very easy to use, and it is a great recommendation if you want to teach your kids how to fish, or an older relative.

The overall construction is sturdy and reliable, as all the gears are made from metal, and the pick-up pin is made from stainless steel, a material resistant to rust.

It is worth mentioning that the model comes with pre-spooled 15-pound line, so you will be able to go fishing right from the get go.

The EVA handle is built for comfort, which is why so many buyers are praising its advantages. The anti-reverse system and the twist-lock reel seat are also characteristics that help with the overall comfort of use.

The rod is made from fiberglass, which makes it resistant and durable while maintaining its low weight.


It must be kept in mind that the Zebco Fishing 404 is a better fit for novice anglers and it is not recommended for more seasoned fishermen.



Daiwa DSK20-B/F602ML D-Shock Freshwater Spinning Combo 


A dependable combo made from a single bearing reel and a 6-foot rod, this model from Daiwa offers good satisfaction for the money, and it comes equipped with several features that increase its performance. The 2-piece rod, for instance, is easy to assemble and carry around with worry that you might break it by accident.

Its medium to light power makes it a good option for most anglers, while the fact action recommends it for anyone who wants an affordable spinning combo. It must also be mentioned that it sports an ambidextrous design that works for both right-handed and left-handed anglers.

A few features must be reminded. The Digigear drive system is an added plus and will offer smooth operation for maximum convenience. It is important to notice the Twist Buster line roller that prevents your line from becoming a mess, while the machined aluminum spool brings more sturdiness to the reel.


A simple design seldom goes wrong, and it looks like Daiwa clearly knew what it was doing when it put together this affordable combo made for every pocket.

Details, such as the machine aluminum spool, ensure that this combo is more than meets the eye and that it offers a good deal for the money.

Its 6-foot rod comes in 2 pieces, so assembling it is easy; this also contributes to easy transportation so that you can take your fishing rod and reel combo everywhere with you.

A Twist Buster line roller is another useful feature you will find on this model; your line won’t suffer the usual damage, and you will get to use it for a long time.

The single bearing reel is dependable and not particularly heavy.


Although the combo can be considered pretty durable for the money, don’t expect any wonders, as some minor issues can appear.




1) When and how to catch crappie

2) Useful information about crappie


4) Pomoxis nigromaculatus or black crappie



Leave a comment


David Trull

October 23, 2018 at 4:33 am

Does anyone still manufacture thr pistol grip rods anymore?

Fisher Pants

October 23, 2018 at 6:55 am

Hi David,

Check this out – you might find it helpful

Have a good day!