5 Best Fishing Rod and Reel Combos for Steelhead (Reviews Updated 2022)

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Between their excellent taste and nutritive benefits, and sport-worthy prowess, it’s no wonder steelhead tops the list of species often sought out by anglers. And like with any species, choosing a fishing rod and reel combo can save you money and time, but should be done carefully.

The ideal fishing rod and reel combo for steelhead should have a medium-to-heavy power rod, and a reel with an impressive amount of drag.

Best Fishing Rod and Reel Combos for Steelhead

Some of the best combos for steelhead are listed below, in order to help you make the right choice for a great angling experience.

1. Penn Battle III Rod and Reel Combo

Penn Battle Iii Rod And Reel Combo

This outstanding combo contains a 7 ft long rod with medium-heavy power, and a size 6000 reel with a powerful HT-100 drag system that can drag in stubborn steelhead. The body, side-plate, and rotor of the reel are made from metal, and the bearing system contains 5+1 ball bearings. The Superline spool is braid-ready, has different line capacity ring markings, and provides a blend between power and smoothness.

  • Anti-reverse bearing.
  • Fluid cranking.
  • High-grade durability.
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2. KastKing Centron Rod and Reel Combo

Kastking Centron Spinning Reel And Rod Combo

This combo is very powerful and monster-sized with its 8 ft long heavy power rod, and a size 5000 reel, making it perfect for the job of angling for steelhead. The reel has 9+1 Maxi-Dur ball bearings and gets it strength from a unique triple-disc felt drag system. The reel has a lightweight graphite frame and an aluminum spool, while the rod has special full-length EVA handles for comfort.

  • 5:1 gear ratio.
  • Fast action rod.
  • 8+1 line guides.
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3. Ugly Stik GX2 Spinning Combo

Shakespeare Ugly Stik Gx2 Fishing Rod And Spinning Reel Combo

Ugly Stik rods are famous for their strength and lightness, with a body made from a combination of graphite and fiberglass. The reel sports 3 ball bearings and 1 clutch instant anti-reverse bearing, giving a smooth, seamless operation. The machined, double-anodized aluminum spool is durable and the whole combo is powerful enough to handle steelhead.

  • 5:1 gear ratio.
  • 2-piece rod.
  • Several rod lengths.
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4. PENN Squall Level Wind Combo

Penn Squall Level Wind Reel & Rod Fishing Combo

The rod in this powerful combo has a length of 6.5 ft, medium-heavy power, and a tubular glass blank body with a solid tip. The size 30 reel sports a 2+1 bearing system and a lightweight frame and side plates made from graphite. The main gear of the reel is made from marine-grade bronze alloy, providing it with enough drag to overpower steelhead.

  • Max drag of 15 lbs.
  • Sensitive and durable.
  • Lightweight build.
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5. Abu Garcia Black Max Combo

Abu Garcia Black Max Combo

This baitcasting combo has a strong, sensitive 24-ton graphite rod with a length of 7 ft and medium-heavy power. The reel is also made from graphite, and its smooth performance comes from its 4 ball bearings and 1 roller bearing, all made from stainless steel. Also, its Power Disk drag system provides anglers with a great amount of drag.

  • One-piece rod.
  • Lightweight and sensitive.
  • Graphite side-plates.
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Steelhead Fishing Rod and Reel Combo Buying Guide

If you want to be reeling in more steelhead than you can handle, a combo specially designed for the species can save you the cost and hassle of ensuring equipment compatibility. As they are also anadromous, the conditions can be tough.

Having given you a rundown through the best fishing rod and reel combos for steelhead, we now take a look at some of the factors we considered before making our picks. With these, we reinforce your trust in these products and place you on a pedestal to make an informed choice that best suits your needs.


Your choices for a fishing rod and reel combo for steelhead will circle around a spinning, baitcasting, conventional, or fly fishing rod and reel combo.

Spinning combos are exceptionally convenient, easy to cast, and are by far the most popular choice.

For a little more reeling power, a baitcasting combo will fit in to give you more accurate casts and a more hands-on feel of the reeling action.

A conventional combo will fit in for anglers targeting steelhead in saltwater and is great for techniques like trolling.

Rod Specifications

The power, length, and action of your fishing rod in the combo are an important factor set to consider. The longer the rod, the farther you can cast. To effectively tackle large steelhead, you want a fishing rod with a medium to heavy power rating, and finally backed by fast action. The ideal lengths for rods in fishing rod and reel combos for steelhead should sit anywhere between 6.5 ft and 8ft.

Drag Specifications

When considering the reel in your combo, the drag and gear ratio, and construction stand atop the list of important qualities. You want a decent amount to tire out your catch without putting too much strain on you. The lower the gear ratio, the slower your reeling speed, but the higher the reeling torque.


The build of both the rod and reel in the combo are also exceptionally important to long-term success. Some popular materials used to construct fishing rods are carbon fiber (graphite) and fiberglass. Your rod should also have a comfortable grip (often made from EVA material) as this reduces the stress of extensive fishing.

Some reel parts such as side-plates are also made from high-grade materials like graphite or metal alloys and this provides strength, durability, and resistance to corrosion.