Best Rod and Reel for King Salmon Fishing and Others

Salmon fishing is exciting for all people. Typically, most salmons are big enough to put up a good fight, which makes fishing them even more fun. However, if you don’t have the right tools for the job, it might turn out to be a frustrating experience. You need to have the right reel and rod combo for the best experience. 

Today, I will show you how to choose the best rod and reel combo for salmon fishing. Later, I will review the top 5 best salmon rod and reel combos. Here is a summary of the best reel and rod combos for salmon fishing if you are in a hurry.

ComboKey Features Call to Action 
KastKing Centron Combo Graphite Medium Action Rod 9+1 Ball Bearings 2-Piece Design + EVA Handles 
OKUMA ROX Spinning Combo Graphite Composite Rod EVA Grip Handles / Cork Handles Machined-Aluminum 2-Toned Anodized Spool 
OKUMA Great Lakes Trolling Combo E-Glass Blank Construction EVA Grips Handles Stainless Steel Rod Guides + Aluminum Oxide Inserts 
OKUMA Celilo Graphite Salmon/Steelhead Spinning Rod Sensitive Graphite Blank Construction Aluminum Oxide Inserts Quality Grade Rear Cork Grips 
KastKing Rover Round Baitcasting Reel Superior Carbon Fiber Drag A Versatile Baitcaster 3.6:1 Gear Ratio 

Contents

Best Salmon and Reel Combos Buyer’s Guide 

Before you purchase a salmon fishing combo, it is vital to consider several factors such as:

How Are You Fishing? 

You can find salmon in different water bodies, including rivers, lakes, ponds, and seas. With that in mind, a perfect rod and reel combo for pond fishing may not be so perfect for sea fishing. Therefore, consider your fishing location and only purchase a combo that will do a fine job in the location. 

If you plan to fish in the open sea with your boat, you should purchase a combo that will withstand the saltwater. The rod and reel should be anti-corrosive. Furthermore, you need to ensure the gear can cast deep. 

Rod for Boat Fishing

Typically, a 7ft fishing rod will do a pretty good job when fishing from your boat. Ensure the rod is strong and flexible enough to deal with salmon. However, it should not be too heavy that it makes you feel too tired instead of enjoying fishing. Try to find a perfect balance between the weight and power of the rod. 

Reel for Boat Fishing 

Please keep in mind that salmons are heavy fish, so you will need a strong reel to handle them. A heavy reel is what you will most probably require when fishing for salmon. Don’t consider purchasing an extra-heavy reel, though.

Rod for Shore Fishing

If you don’t have a boat or don’t want to use one, you can still get salmons from the shore. However, it is important to ensure you get a combo that ensures accurate casts, especially if your fishing location has weed. Also, it is crucial the rod cast over a long distance. Typically, you should consider purchasing an 8ft rod with a medium-heavy action.

Reel for Shore Fishing 

You can use either a  baitcaster or spinning reel. Typically, spinning reels are considered more beginner-friendly, but you can still find some beginner-friendly baitcasters. Kindly choose a reel that will not give you trouble while casting or retrieving.

Budget 

The next thing you need to keep in mind while purchasing a reel, rod combo is the amount of money you are willing to spend. The combos come at different prices, and you will always find a combo within your price range. Typically, the higher the price, the better the gear is likely to be. However, some rods and reels are overpriced and may not be worth the price.

Comfort 

You should always ensure that what you purchase is as comfortable as possible. For example, don’t purchase a left-handed baitcasting combo, and you are right-handed. Test the gear and make sure they feel as comfortable as possible. If you are buying online, then be sure to read what other people say about its castability, smoothness, and comfort.

Durability 

Get recommendations from your fishing buddies about some of the durable rods they’ve been using. You can also get recommendations from trustworthy websites on the internet. When you have an idea of what you are purchasing, you will not get disappointed.

Warranty 

A warranty means you can return a product to the manufacturer if it develops a manufacturer’s fault within the warranted period. Please note that warranties do not cover user breaks and other faults. 

Typically, the longer the warranty, the more trust the manufacturer has in its product. This means a combo with a 5-year warranty is likely to be more durable than one with a one-year warranty. Therefore, if you are torn between several salmon combos, choose the one with the longest warranty. 

Maintenance and Repair Costs 

Even the most durable rods and reels will need some repairs once in a while. This means it is crucial to consider the rod and reel have spare parts are readily available in your local fishing store. It is also important to ensure these spare parts come at friendly prices, not too expensive to make sense. I mean, there is no need to buy a combo whose spare parts cost is as high as buying a new reel or rod.

Skill Level 

It is worth noting that some salmon fishing combos are meant for experienced anglers, and buying such combos as a beginner can be frustrating. For that reason, always purchase gears that match your skill level. 

For example, if you are a beginner, you should purchase beginner-friendly gear. Typically, spinning combos are considered more beginner-friendly. If you are an experienced angler, you can use both baitcasting and spinning combos.  

Features of Rod and Reel Combos You Should Consider 

The features of the combo will help you differentiate the best from the average ones. There are various features you should look at in both, and here are the most important ones.

Weight 

You will be holding your rod most of the time while fishing, so it is vital to ensure it is not too heavy to make you feel too tired. The reel should not be too heavy either.  Some materials used to make these gears are strong yet lightweight. You should consider buying rods and reels made from such materials.

Number of Ball Bearings 

Typically, the number of ball bearings in a reel determines the smoothness of its casts and retrievals. Therefore, a fishing reel with more ball bearings is likely going to be smoother to use. However, the quality of these ball bearings also matter. Some reels with fewer high-quality ball bearings may have a better castability than ones with more bearings of low. 

Material 

There are various rod materials, but graphite and fiberglass are the most common. Sometimes, you can find a rod made of a blend of the two materials or a blend between one and other materials such as carbon. Typically, the material of a rod will determine its sensitivity, power, and durability.

That said, graphite is considered high-end and is often more expensive than fiberglass. It is lightweight, strong, sensitive, and classy. However, it may not be as good as fiberglass when fishing in challenging conditions such as rocky areas. 

Fiberglass, on the other hand, is strong, durable but slightly heavier and less sensitive. It also handles challenging conditions such as vegetative and rocky areas excellently. For that reason, a blend between the two gives you a perfectly balanced rod, balancing the weight, sensitivity, and durability of the rod. 

Rod Handle 

Typically, you will be holding the rod handle while fishing. For that reason, it is vital to ensure that it is as comfortable as possible. The rod should also provide a strong grip such that it can’t slip while battling hard-fighting fish such as salmon.

There are various types of rod handles, but Cork and EVA foam handles are considered the best. EVA handles are the most comfortable, but their grip is not as good as Cork handles. Cork handles are also comfortable and long-lasting, but you should wear gloves while using them. Oils from your hand might make the cork handles wear down faster.

Rod Guides 

In most cases, rod guides are made of stainless steel. The material is durable and corrosion-resistant. In fact, stainless steel guides are always recommended. However, that’s not the only thing you should consider when looking for the rod guides. 

Rod guides come with rings (inserts) where the fishing line passes through when casting. These rings play a huge role in ensuring you get a smooth cast. If the rings are rough, there will be friction, and the cast will not be smooth, plus they will wear down your fishing line. For that reason, always choose a fishing rod with smooth inserts such as titanium oxide, ceramic, or silicon carbide. 

Gear Ratio 

The gear ratio of a fishing reel is the number of times the spool will turn when you turn the handle once. That said, the higher the gear ratio, the higher the retrieval speed. Therefore, if you are fishing from the shore, it is crucial to have a reel with a higher gear ratio to ensure you get the fastest retrieval speeds, reducing the risk of losing a salmon. 

Other factors you should consider are:

  • The responsiveness of the rod
  • The sensitivity of the rod. However, since salmons are large fish, you will always notice when they take the bait even if the rod is not the most sensitive. 
  • The number of pieces. The number of pieces of a rod determines its Packability. A rod with several pieces means it can be broken down to those parts and packed in a bag while traveling.
  • If the reel comes with magnetic breaks and an anti-reverse switch, that’s a plus.

Best Salmon Rod and Reel Combo Reviews 

Now that you know what to look for while purchasing a salmon reel and rod combo, here are my top 5 best salmon combos for the money. 

KastKing Centron Combo 

KastKing is one of the most established fishing gear manufacturers. They have provided us with some fine fishing reels and rods, and they don’t disappoint with this combo. It comes with a graphite rod with stainless steel guides, and the reel is of high-quality. Additionally, the combo is slightly more affordable than most. 

Features 

Here are the features that come with this combo:

Graphite Medium Action Rod 

The fishing rod is designed to provide exceptional performance for all anglers. It is available in five lengths, from six feet, and they come with medium action, meaning they are quite versatile. You can use them to catch smaller fish like trout since the medium action allows more sensitivity and or for salmons as it has enough power.

For salmon fishing, I recommend opting for an 8’ KastKing Centron rod. It will serve you well, regardless of your fishing location. 

9+1 Ball Bearings 

The spinning reel in this combo comes with nine ball bearings, plus one roller bearing. With such a number, you can be assured of smooth casts and retrievals. Also, the real is available in two gear ratios, 5.2:1 and 4.5:1. Either ratio is fast enough to retrieve salmons even from the shores. 

2-Piece Design + EVA Handles 

The rod comes with a fine design that makes it travel-friendly. You can dismantle it into two parts, making it easy to pack. This feature also reduces the risk of breaking the tip while traveling, a fairly common problem with most anglers. 

The rod handles are made of EVA foam, one of the finest materials for rod handles. The material is comfortable, and it provides a strong grip that comes in handy while battling hard-fighting fish.

Specs 

  • Weight: 1.18 kg 
  • Brand name: KastKing 
  • Size: From 6ft (rod), from 2000 (reel)
  • Material: graphite

Verdict 

The KastKing Centron combo is available in different sizes, and you will find a perfect combo for whatever you plan to fish. If you plan to catch some salmon, I recommend going for an 8ft rod and a 5000 reel. 

It comes at a low price, so you won’t need to spend a fortune to enjoy using it. Also, it can cast over long distances, and its accuracy has been highly acclaimed.

However, the combo is not perfect. There have been a few complaints about the rod tip, some saying it breaks easily. Also, the reel is not so good with braided lines. You will need to back it up with a monofilament line if you want it to work perfectly. Still, it is one of the best rod and reel for king salmon. You won’t be disappointed with it.  

OKUMA ROX Spinning Combo 

Okuma has been in the market for quite some time, and they have provided us with some fine rods, reels, and they are back again with this combo. The combo comes with a medium/light graphite composite rod, meaning it is sensitive, lightweight, and strong. The reel comes with a machined-aluminum spool. 

Features 

As you would expect, the combo comes with some fine features, which include:

Graphite Composite Rod 

Graphite is often a common material for rods, but it often lacks enough power to handle larger catches such as salmon and catfish. For that reason, it can be blended with other materials such as carbon and fiberglass to make it tougher. The Okuma Rox rod comes with a graphite composite material, meaning it is lightweight, strong, sensitive, and you can use it for larger catches worry-free. 

EVA Grip Handles / Cork Handles 

The rod comes with EVA grip handles that are comfortable and provides a strong grip. You can hold the grips all day, and you won’t develop any sores, and given that it is lightweight, you won’t feel too tired. For the salmon and Steelhead dedicated combos, they come with full cork grips. This means you get even a better grip if you choose Salmon/Steelhead models.

Machined-Aluminum 2-Toned Anodized Spool 

OKUMA ROX spinning reel spool is made of aluminum, one of the best materials for reel spools. It is easy to spool with a machined-aluminum spool, and the line will be well spooled, reducing the risk of line tangles. The handle reel handle is also made of aluminum. 

Specs 

  • Weight: 0.8 pounds
  • Suggested users: Adults, both genders 
  • Size: from 6ft 
  • Action: Medium-Light 
  • Brand: OKUMA 

Verdict 

The OKUMA ROX spinning combo is one of the cheapest combos you will find for salmon fishing. The rod that comes with it is of high-quality, and you can use it with all types of fishing lines. The salmon model comes with full cork handles, giving you even a better grip while battling fish. 

However, the rod guides do not seem to be of the highest quality. There have been a few complaints about it not being durable enough. Still, it is worth it considering its price and what it can do. 

OKUMA Great Lakes Trolling Combo 

Okuma is back on the list with this trolling combo perfect for salmon fishing. It comes with a medium-action rod and an easy-to-use spinning reel.  The spool can be used with all lines, and you can use the combo to catch fish weighing 30+ pounds without worrying you will break your rod.  

Features

The features of a rod and reel help a user choose the best combo for the job. Here are the features that come with the Okuma Great Lakes Combo:

E-Glass Blank Construction 

The fishing rod comes with an e-glass blank, a durable and strong material. The glass is relatively heavy and strong enough to handle even the largest salmons. 

EVA Grips Handles 

The rod handles are quite comfortable and lightweight, given that they are made of EVA foam. Therefore, even if the rod is slightly heavier, you can use it all day without developing sores.

Stainless Steel Rod Guides + Aluminum Oxide Inserts 

Stainless steel is one of the finest materials for rod guides. Most high-quality rods have stainless steel guides, so I won’t be so wrong saying the OKUMA Great Lakes Trolling rod is of high-quality. Moreover, the guides come with aluminum oxide inserts, one of the smoothest materials for rod inserts. With titanium oxide inserts, you can be assured of smooth casts and durability of your fishing line since the guides will not wear it down. 

Specs 

  • Weight: 1.91 kg (package weight) 0.4 (item weight)
  • Brand name: OKUMA
  • Material: synthetic
  • Number of pieces: one 
  • Suggested users: Adults, Unisex 

Verdict 

This combo is perfect for trolling, and you can use it all day without feeling too tired. It is a nice setup for the price, and anyone will enjoy the perks that come with it. The only problem is it can feel slightly heavy, so it might not make a perfect gift for younger people.    

OKUMA Celilo Graphite Salmon/Steelhead Spinning Rod 

The OKUMA Celilo Spinning rod has received a lot of love, and it is because of the many great features that come with it. It looks classy, and it is easy to use, plus it is lightweight, so it can be used by people of all ages.

Features 

Here are the fine features that come with this Okuma spinning rod. 

Sensitive Graphite Blank Construction 

The rod’s construction materials are of the highest quality, and you can count on them in all fishing conditions. The blanks are made of graphite, making it strong, lightweight, and classy. The guides and inserts are also made of quality materials.

Aluminum Oxide Inserts 

The rod’s guides are made of stainless steel, a durable and corrosion-resistant material. The guides are then complemented with aluminum oxide inserts, a material that is too smooth to cause any friction between the guides and the fishing line. With this rod, you won’t need to worry the guides will wear down your fishing line. 

Quality Grade Rear Cork Grips 

If you plan to catch large fish with a habit of fighting back like salmon, you will need a rod with tight, non-slip grips. The Okuma Celilo Salmon spinning rods come with high-quality cork grips that will give you the upper hand during the battle.  

Specs 

  • Weight: 0.18 kg 
  • Brand name: OKUMA 
  • Material: Graphite blanks, stainless steel guides, aluminum oxide inserts 
  • Suggested users: Unisex-adults
  • Size: 9’6”
  • Action: Medium-light
  • Number of pieces: Two 
  • Number of guides: 10+1 tip

Verdict 

The Okuma Celilo spinning rod casts excellently well, and you can count on it for long and accurate casts. It comes at a pocket-friendly price, and you can use it in fresh and saltwater. Additionally, the rod is lightweight and can be used by anglers of all skill levels.

However, there have been a few complaints about the durability of the rod, especially when used to land larger catches. Also, the rod action may be too stiff for some users and may be too light for people who prefer heavier rods. Still, it is an excellent rod that I recommend to all anglers. 

KastKing Rover Round Baitcasting Reel 

If you are looking for a multipurpose baitcasting reel, you should consider buying the KastKing Rover Round Baitcaster. The reel is made of high-quality materials, and you can use it in fresh and saltwater.

Features 

KastKing Rover Round Baitcasting Reel comes with some fine features that include:

Superior Carbon Fiber Drag 

A carbon fiber drag gives the baitcaster enough power to handle all sorts of fish, including salmons, bass, and catfish. When used with a high-quality fishing rod, you can be assured of bringing the largest salmon to the shore.

Super Smooth Casts 

The reel comes with four high-quality ball bearings, plus one roller bearing. This combination gives you a super smooth baitcaster that you can use to catch fish of all sizes. 

A Versatile Baitcaster 

This KastKing baitcaster is so versatile that you can use it for almost everything, from bottom fishing to top fishing. You can use it in freshwater and saltwater to catch fish of all sizes. Its oversized EVA grips make it easy to release the line out of the spool. 

3.6:1 Gear Ratio 

The baitcaster comes with a 3.6:1 gear ratio, meaning the spool will turn almost four times once you turn the handle once. That’s not so fast, but it is still fast enough to retrieve salmons from the shore. 

Specs 

  • Weight: 0.48 kg 
  • Brand name: KastKing
  • Size: 60
  • Material: stainless steel (handle), Aluminum (reel construction)

Verdict 

KastKing has done it once again, providing us with a high-quality product for a lower price. The reel is versatile, and it is a perfect baitcaster for experienced anglers looking for salmon baitcasters. The drag works excellently, and once paired with a high-quality rod; you can be assured of a long-lasting combo. I recommend it to all anglers. 

Interested in catching bass? Looking for catching more bass? Check out our guide on Top Combos for Bass fishing you should never miss.

Frequently Asked Questions About Salmon Fishing Combos 

Here are some of the frequent questions that come up when anglers are looking for the best rod and reel combos for salmon fishing. 

What is the Best Rod Size for King Salmon?

Within the salmon species, king salmon rules in terms of size and strength. That means you need to use the strongest rod for the king. Generally, an 8ft to 10ft with 11wt will land a king salmon hassle-free. 

Can I Use Any Rod for Salmon Fishing?

You can practically use most rods for salmon fishing, but some are better than others. For the best results, use dedicated salmon rods. 

Should I Use a Spinning Reel or Baitcaster to Catch Salmons?

Typically, any fishing technique will catch a salmon. Just choose a technique that you are comfortable using. 

Wrapping Up 

When it comes to choosing the best salmon rod and reel combos, quality is the key. Choose a combo that will handle all types of salmons, including king salmon, and one that you will feel comfortable using.

There are many factors you should consider before settling on one. They include Packability, budget, rod action, the number of ball bearings, rod handles, material, and more. If you don’t know which one to purchase, I recommend going for the KastKing Centron Combo. This combo has everything to make your salmon fishing easier and more fun. 

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