What Are The Top Saltwater Spinning Combos Under $100?


by Robert Ceran

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Most saltwater spin fishing combinations come with a medium power rod, and a medium sized reel. But in some cases, you may want to go lighter or heavier than this, depending on the size of fish you’ll be catching, and where and how you intend to fish.

In this article we’ll compare and review the 6 top saltwater spinning combos under $100, ranging from lightweight to heavy, so you can pick exactly the right solution for your purpose.

The best saltwater spinning combo under $100 reviewed

BrandImagePriceRod sizeReel sizeOur verdict
Penn Battle II Combo7' medium3000Best overall performance
Cadence CC5 Combo6'6" medium2000Best lightweight option
Mitchell Avocet RZT Combo6'6"' medium2000Runner up lightweight option
Penn Conflict II Combo
7' medium5000Best heavy weight option
Shakespeare Ugly Stik Carbon Combo6'6" medium3000Most durable option
Daiwa D-Wave Saltwater Combo7' medium 4000Best surf fishing option

If you buy a combination from the list above, make sure you choose the right size for your purpose. Avoid choosing an overpowered rod for catching small fish, or an underpowered rod for tarpon or big snook.

In case you’re not sure what kind of saltwater fishing you’re going to be doing, the best option is to choose one of the medium sized options, which should leave you plenty of options to try.

Let’s look at each of these options in more detail:

1. Penn Battle II Spinning Combo

Photo of Penn Battle 2

This is a great option in the medium size category, and in our opinion also the top performer overall. 

The Battle 2 combination includes the superior quality of the Battle 2 reel. If you buy this item on its own, it already costs more than 100 dollars. But as part of the medium heavy combination including the 3000 reel, you’ll get an excellent deal with this package.

The Battle 2 has a full metal body, rotor and side plates, which is the reason for its legendary durability, and high durability is absolutely essential for saltwater fishing. If you choose the medium heavy size version, you can use it for almost all kinds of inshore fishing without problems, as well as for boat fishing. 

See also: best Penn spinning reels reviewed.

With 25 lb maximum drag power, it has the most drag power of all the options on this list, and is easily strong enough to handle some of the bigger fighters you can hook into from a boat, including tarpon, snook, spanish mackerel, big redfish, and snapper.

In our opinion, this is the best overall saltwater spin fishing combination at a great price.

For more information on the Battle II reel, check our our reviews on Penn Fierce vs Battle, and Penn Battle 2 vs Daiwa BG.


  • One piece rod
  • Aluminium oxide guides
  • Fast action tip is great for casting
  • Powerful drag with 25 lb max pressure
  • Gear ratio: 5.2:1

Recommended size:

  • 7’ medium size rod with 300 reel

2. Cadence CC5 Spinning Combo

Photo of Cadence CC5

This high quality combination is the best light weight option in this list. With a 2000 size reel this is very much on the lightweight side when it comes to saltwater fishing, but it’s a great option if you’re going to be fishing canals and estuaries for small fish like pinfish, flounder, and speckled trout. 

You can even use the Cadence CC5 for catching redfish inshore, though it’s definitely too small if you want to catch big reds from a boat.

The model comes with 8 ball bearings, generating incredibly smooth retrieval action, and making it a pure pleasure to use. It’s also very lightweight due the carbon composite material of the frame and side plates.

Overall, this is the best spin fishing combination for light inshore fishing.


  • Two piece rod
  • Medium power carbon blank
  • Fast action tip great for casting
  • Ideal for mono

Recommended size:

  • 6’6” medium size rod with 2000 reel

3. Mitchell Avocet RZT Spinning Combo

Photo of Mitchell 300

This is the best budget medium weight option on this list, and at its price you can get excellent value with this top performing combination.

Similar to Penn, Mitchell fishing reels are famous for their quality and durability, and this is exactly what you need in order to handle the punishing environment of saltwater fishing. This model comes with 8 ball bearings, and instant anti reverse. 

The multi disc drag system is powerful enough to handle quite big fish, and has 14 lb maximum drag pressure. 


  • Two piece rod
  • Handle with split cork grips
  • Stainless steel guides
  • Medium power graphite blank
  • Gear ratio: 5.1:1

Recommended size:

  • 6’6″ medium size rod with 2000 reel

4. Penn Conflict II Spinning Combo

Photo of Penn Pusuit 3

The Penn Conflict II is the best heavyweight option, and is very similar in power to the Daiwa D-Wave. The main difference is that it comes with a 6.2:1 gear ratio, which is definitely faster than 5.1:1, and might be a good choice if you prefer to work your lure fast in the water.

The medium power rod has extra fast action, which can be a great choice for casting lures. With 8 ball bearings it has incredibly smooth action. This size works great with either fluorocarbon or braid, depending on your preference. 

This combo is ideal for boat fishing, where the chance of hooking a big fish is much higher than fishing from shore. Also, if you’re going to be fishing in deep water of 70 foot depth or more, you need a model with bigger line capacity. This option is the best for catching big saltwater species like tarpon, snook, and bull redfish.


  • One piece rod
  • Dura guides
  • Graphite composite blank
  • Lightweight graphite reel
  • Gear ratio: 6.2:1

Recommended size:

  • 7’ medium size rod with 5000 reel

5. Shakespeare Ugly Stik Carbon Spinning Combo

Photo of Shakespeare Ugly Stik Bigwater

The rod of The Ugly Stik Camo is well known among saltwater anglers for its toughness and durability, as well as the ability to handle big, strong fish. In addition to strength, the clear tip is also sensitive enough for subtle applications. 

The 3000 reel size puts this option at the medium part of the scale in terms of saltwater spin fishing. The Ugly Stik Camo provides lots of power for heavy saltwater spin fishing at a very affordable price, and is our top heavyweight choice on this list.

For more information on Ugly Stik rods, check out our review on Ugly Stik GX2 vs Elite.


  • Two piece rod
  • Durable EVA grips
  • Stainless steel guides
  • Graphite fiberglass blank
  • Lightweight graphite reel with aluminum spool

Recommended size:

  • 6’6″ medium size rod with 3000 reel

6. Daiwa D-Wave saltwater Spinning Combo

Photo of Daiwa D-Wave

For the Daiwa D-Wave we recommend the 7’ rod with 4000 reel, making this one of the heavier options on the list.

This model has 1 plus 1 ball bearings, which is not that much compared to the other models on this list, but it comes with a gyro spin balanced rotor. The two piece rod is made of fiberglass, making it incredibly durable.

Overall, we recommend this combination as the best one for surf fishing.


  • Two piece rod
  • EVA foam grips
  • Aluminum oxide guides
  • Highly durable fiberglass blank

Recommended size:

  • 7’ medium size rod with 4000 reel

How to choose the right size combo

If you’re planning to get the best spinning combo for saltwater, the first thing you need to do is figure out what kind of saltwater fishing you’re going to do. 

The ideal size for your purposes depends on the type of saltwater fishing you’re planning to do. 

If you’re intending to do light inshore fishing in canals and estuaries, you should choose the lightweight option on the list, since this will give you the most enjoyable experience catching fish like pinfish, sheepshead, and speckled trout.

On the other hand, if you’re going to do pier and harbor fishing, there’s a good chance of running into some bigger fish like snook, redfish, and jacks. In that case you should get one of the medium sized options, since they have enough power to handle these kinds of fish, and also work well with braid. 

See also: is braid good to use on spinning reels?

Finally, if you’re going to fish from a boat, there’s a good chance you could hook some big redfish, spanish mackerel, or even tarpon. If that’s the case, it’s best to get one of the heavy options. That way you’ll have enough power to handle even trophy sized fish. The bigger sizes are also useful if you want to fish in deep water of more than 70 feet, since you need more line capacity for that.

See also: spinning reel maintenance (detailed guide)

Also, if you’re going to be fishing piers or harbors for snook and jack close to structure, such as bridge columns, you should also consider getting one of the heavy options, since you want to be able to stop a big fish from swimming around the structure and breaking the line. 

Final remarks

This concludes our review of the top saltwater spin fishing combination under 100 dollars. 

If you’re considering getting a rod and reel separately, be sure to check out our reviews of the best spinning reels under $100, as well as the best spinning reels under $50.

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