So you want to get a smooth new inshore saltwater rod and reel combo for the upcoming 2012 fishing season but in this economy you aren’t about to walk in and throw a thousand bucks on the tackle store counter. Penn or Shimano come up with some amazing pro and guide reels this time of the year but few casual anglers can afford them, especially not after you pair them with a strong but flexible inshore rod.
Don’t despair. There are some completely affordable 2012 inshore spinning combos that the top tackle companies are offering at prices that will let you escape that cheap Walmart combo lack-of-quality (and tendency to malfunction or break) but still not empty your bank account.
Here are the two most cost-effective Penn and Shimano inshore saltwater rod and reel combos, both available for shipping through Bass Pro Shops without the store mark-up. These are quality combos perfect for chasing speckled trout, redfish, striper, blues and flounder. There are plenty of 2012 rod and reel combos out there but you’ll have trouble finding better deals than these.
Penn Sargus Spinning Reel, Slammer Rod Inshore Combo
Penn is the go-to brand for many inshore guides and pros, and this exact combo was the hottest seller last spring for a good reason. Pairing the Penn Sargus high-speed, smooth-handling reel with the lightweight but powerful Slammer rod is a particularly effective fish fighting tandem for this price.
The Sargus reel is highly corrosion-resistant and the Slammer rod tapers for a delicate feel trout and flounder anglers love. If you had to have just one inshore combo I’d recommend this one in a second. In fact it would be the hands-down mid-market angler combo of 2012 if not for the…
Shimano Spheros Spinning Reel, Inshore Extreme Rod Combo
The high-performance Spheros is not a cheap reel, but Bass Pro Shops offers this combo for barely more than the price of the reel by pairing it with their perfectly serviceable house brand Inshore Extreme rod. This is a real bargain combo if you can afford the slight price upgrade from the Sargus combo, as you get a reel that is preferred by some of the top saltwater guides.
As tournament pros can attest, the Spheros is an amazingly durable reel with waterproof drag and a cold-forged aluminum spool that can take maximum use and abuse. Guides and pros love the fact that the Spheros has all the top of the line Shimano features plus the stopperless design.
The trade-off is supposed to be the Inshore Extreme rod, but actually I like the Bass Pro in-house product (from the Offshore Angler line). It is certainly stronger and more sensitive than the rods you’d find in a Walmart combo. Most anglers won’t even get that they are supposedly accepting a mid-market rod to get a great deal on a superior reel as the overall combo preforms so smoothly.
For plenty of inshore saltwater tips and tactics check out my latest book Surf and Saltwater Fishing in the Carolinas.