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Best Bass Fishing Rod and Reels Under $100 in 2018

If you're just getting into bass fishing and are searching for the best bass fishing rod and reels that are actually affordable, this article will introduce you to three excellent combos that are less than $100.  That's silly value even when compared to a $12 used mattress.  Or - a free trip to the hooskow.

How to Get The Most Out of Your New Rod and Reel

Invest in high-quality line. Spooling up your new reel with high-quality monofilament, fluorocarbon, or braided line is one of the best ways to get the most performance out of your rod.

Cheap line, especially mono, has a tendency to retain coils which results in bird-nest tangles and less casting distance.  I don't know about you, but the last time I retained coils, I had to visit the gastroenterologist.  Obviously, this is no bueno, amigos, so this is not an area where you want to save money if it means potentially crapping up your trip.  

Premium fishing line can make your budget-friendly outfit feel like a high-end piece of equipment!  Do me a favor -- don't get cheap with me, Citizens.

If you want to make this easy, check out these baitcaster combos that don't suck:

3 Best Baitcaster combos

Rinse the reel after every use. One issue you might face with these entry-level rod and reel combos is corrosion. Since the reels aren't sealed like more expensive reels are, even if you only fish in freshwater, water and grime can enter the reel and damage any internal parts that aren't corrosion resistant.  This is something that is often overlooked by amateurs or people who think that quality means you don't need to do any maintenance.  Even a Ferrari is going to need its oil changed once in awhile, friends.

To prevent such issues, try to develop a habit of rinsing the reel in the sink after every use, then letting it completely dry before putting it away. Don't douse in gasoline then light it on fire.  Learn from my mistakes.  This extra step can add years of life to your new reel.  If you choose not to take care of your baitcaster combo, don't come whining when it betrays you -- worse, in front of your buddies.  Bro.  Embarrassing, especially if you paid significant cheddar.

Oil and lubricate moving parts every few months. Like the previous tip, taking some extra time to maintain your equipment will make your purchase last much longer.  I admit, I don't do this as often as I should.  Don't be me.

The drag systems on most entry-level reels use oiled felt drag washers that need to be lubricated every few months, and any moving parts on the reel will benefit from occasional lubrication.

Pick up some reel oil and reel grease, and a few times a year, carefully take the reel apart and lubricate everything that needs it.


Best Bass Fishing Rod and Reels

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Since their introduction in 1976, Ugly Stiks have been the first rods for too many anglers to count.  Like my dad used to say to me (everyday), "you may be ugly, but at least you're stupid."  Just kidding.  Thanks a lot, Dad.

The rods, with their signature clear tip, are extremely tough, relatively light, and are known to stand up to fish after fish without failure.  In short, even though your life may disappoint you, the Ugly Stik shouldn't.

In this ultra-affordable combo, you get the tried-and-true GX2 Ugly Stik rod paired with a four bearing spinning reel way below the $100 dollar mark.  If you don't have $100 to spend, then stop fishing altogether and get a different hobby like decoupage with trash.

The Ugly Stik GX2 rod is a modern reboot of the classic Ugly Stik design. It's made of a combination of fiberglass and graphite, making it very durable and strong, while still being reasonably sensitive.  I have a friend named Steve who is also reasonably sensitive, but it takes at least 4 bottles of Ylang Ylang beer.  That's ok.  We still love you, Steve.

The rod guides are made of stainless steel and are designed for use with all line types, including braid. The reel seat is integrated into the grip, providing a more seamless design that's comfortable to hold.  Speaking of things that are comfortable to hold, have you ever seen a stickshift on a peregrine falcon?  I have no idea what that means, but it sounds awesome.

The Shakespeare spinning reel included in the combo was designed specifically for use on the GX2 rod, so it's very well balanced. It has a machined aluminum spool that's double anodized and has a glass-filled nylon reel body, both of which are very durable.  Speaking of things that are very durable, have you ever seen a gorilla break a plastic yard flamingo?  Me neither.

Three roller ball bearings keep the reel cranking smooth, and an extra anti-reverse ball bearing ensures that the spool doesn't slip when you set the hook.

The Ugly Stick GX2 combo comes in seven different size configurations from ultralight to medium-heavy action. The smaller sizes are perfect for panfish and trout, but if you're looking for a bass fishing rod go for a medium or medium-heavy outfit depending on the lures you throw and how thick of cover you fish.


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Abu Garcia makes some of the best baitcasting reels on the market, and you'll find some of the same high-end technologies used in their entry-level offering — the Black Max combo.

The Black Max combo features a low profile baitcasting reel just like you see the pros using. A graphite body and sideplates keep the reel lightweight, weighing only 7.3 ounces.

The spool is made of machined aluminum and features a waffle design that also reduces weight without sacrificing strength. Inside the reel, a brass Duragear provides plenty of torque and five stainless steel ball bearings give the reel incredibly smooth action for the price.

A synthetic drag system offers 15 pounds of drag pressure, which is higher than the spinning reels on this list.

And although baitcasting reels are generally more challenging to cast than spinning reels, the Black Max reel features a MagTrax magnetic brake system that makes it easy to dial in the reel to reduce backlashes while still making long, accurate casts.

The Black Max reel is paired with a moderate-fast action casting rod, made of 24-ton graphite which is perfect for pitching jigs and pulling crankbaits. Yeah, I said pulling crankbaits -- deal with it.  The rod has stainless steel line guides with titanium oxide inserts that are ideal for use with braided line.

The combo is available with either a one or two piece medium power 6'6" rod or a 7'0" medium-heavy power one piece rod, with all three options featuring the same Black Max reel.

This would make a great beginning outfit for anglers who are serious about bass fishing and want to start learning the ins and outs of baitcast fishing.


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On its own, the Pflueger President spinning reel is one of the best bang-for-your-buck reels currently available.  

But in this combo, you get the Pfleuger President paired with a high-quality IM-8 graphite rod for only a slightly higher price than if you bought the reel alone.  So, don't get stupid.

What stands out most about the Pflueger President spinning reel is its 10 stainless steel ball bearings that are corrosion resistant. You'll find that this high number of bearings make the reel crank incredibly smooth, especially for the low price.  You know what else is incredibly smooth?  My shaved back.  It's true.

If you plan on fishing with braided line, the Pflueger President reel features a braid-ready spool that allows you to tie braided line directly to the spool without first adding monofilament.  If you plan on fishing with razor wire, good luck, bro.

The reel has an oiled felt drag system, which isn't the most advanced drag material on the market, but it definitely gets the job done. As long as you oil the drag every once in awhile, it should keep letting out line smooth and consistently for a long time.

You'll notice right away that the rod included in the combo has a real cork grip and a split handle design often found on higher-end rods. This design gives you more sensitivity in the hand as you can feel the vibrations coming through the rod blank directly.

The Pflueger President spinning combo is available in eight different sizes from a 4'8" ultralight outfit to a 7'0" medium powered outfit.  Plus, Pflueger is just an awesome word.  Say it ten times...

For all around bass fishing purposes, go with the largest size — 7'0" medium — as the longer rod will help you cast farther, and having more rod power, will give you the backbone you need to horse big bass out of the weeds.

Conclusion

It's easy to spend a crapload of money on fishing equipment, but thanks to the three best bass fishing rod and reels we've recommended today, you don't have to.  Also, it's easy to spend a crapload of money on horrible spouses, but that's a completely different topic that we will visit another day, Friends.

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