The Best Carp Rod and Reel Combo | 2020 Buyers Guide

best carp rod and reel combo
best carp rod and reel combo

The Best Carp Rod and Reel Combos | 2020 Buyers Guide 

Without question, the most important part of a Carp Fisherman's setup is the rod and the reel. Some may argue that the rig has to be the most important and to a large degree, yes this is of course a valid point. However without the ability to get the said rig to a particular spot where our prized possession maybe hiding or indeed the ability to get it landed once hooked, the argument to the contrary is floored.

In this article, I will take you through our tried and tested combinations of carp rods and reels for all aspects of your carp fishing to help you decide which combo is best for you.

Factors affecting your Carp Rod and reel choice

Ask any master of his craft what he looks for in his tools and chances are he will give you a range of answers. Some will say they use the cheapest, others will say they prefer quality, and still others will say a mixture of the two. Being a master of your craft is all about balance. When it comes to the Best Carp Rod and reel combo we mean this quite literally. Both from a cost vs quality point of view and literally, how the rod feels when set up.

Some will argue that the fish don’t care what rod and reel you have. And to an extent we must admit this is true. However if it becomes impossible to ever present your bait properly, or you are hampered in your ability to reach the fish, then it makes sense to also admit that your catch rate is going to go down as a result of an incorrect setup.

There is nothing nicer than finding that ‘sweet spot’ in your setup. When you are in perfect control and the rod and reel feel like an extension of yourself. You only have to think what you want to achieve with your cast and it happens. But, until you find the Best Carp Rod and reel combo that works for you, this can take some fine tuning.

best carp rod and reel combo

Why the right Carp Rod and reel combo is important

First of all, you want to catch fish. You wouldn’t be here if you didn’t. One of the appeals of fishing is it is a constantly evolving loop. You enjoy fishing so you get better at it, as you get better at it you catch more fish, which means you enjoy it even more, which means you continue to get better at it…ad infinitum... hence the reason we are all angling addicts. 

However if you are thwarted in your enjoyment by a setup that just doesn’t work you will see the opposite effect. It can be frustrating to have to ask yourself the question ‘what am I doing wrong’ and find that it is something easily within your control. Your tackle. Whilst for a beginner a ‘bare bones and basic’ setup might serve a purpose, for someone looking to indulge their passion long term it makes sense to invest in something that you will enjoy using.

View the right Carp Rod and reel combo as two sides of the same coin. They are yin and yang. One cannot shine without the other. You can have the Best action, premium grade, all singing and dancing, designer rod (with the brand and price tag to match). But if it is paired with a reel that simply doesn’t match it, then it will spoil your day. Spending fortunes on the lightest possible rod, only to have it feel like you are holding a broom handle because you have gone for a reel that is too big or too heavy is also only going to hamper your efforts.

On the other side of the coin. It makes little sense to invest in what is actually a complex piece of engineering, only to pair it with something that doesn’t release its potential. Modern reels are precision tools. Depending on your style of fishing, it will be in constant use and has to work all-the-time. No exceptions. You can have the Best quality reel on the market, but if you have it attached to a sub standard stick, you might as well not bother.

What you want to be able to concentrate on is catching fish. Nothing else. If your arm is tired because your Carp Rod and reel combo is mismatched then that is going to distract from the enjoyment. If you spot a once in a lifetime fish but can’t get to it because your casting accuracy or distance suffers then you are missing opportunities based on your choices, which is never a good feeling. And what if you do manage to hook a real ‘rod bender’? If you reel hasn’t got the grunt or finesse to handle it then the outcome is all but assured.

best carp rod and reel combo

The importance of getting the right balance of Carp rod & reel.

The Best Carp Rod and reel combo will primarily be dictated by your style of fishing. If you are the kind of carp angler who wants to carpet bomb an area of several acres with a spod, then you are probably looking for something heavy duty that makes the geese think twice about venturing within 300 yards of you. Obviously the rod must have the backbone to do the work, but the reel must be able to cope as well. Casting a 5oz weight into the distance only for the drag to ‘give’ mid-cast is a mistake you will only make once. Trust us, we’ve got the scars on our index finger to prove it. 

Likewise if you are more of a ‘hunter’, and like to cast light, well presented baits, with pinpoint precision under a waggler, to a point of your choosing then a big 5000 size reel is going to give you all the grace and presentation of a dropped cannonball. If its fine work you are after you will need something lighter and more refined.

Checkout  this video courtesy of Tipp Topp Fishing that really highlights the importance of choice and balance:

Factors affecting your Carp Rod and reel choice

We’ll put it right out there, for most people the main factor will be cost. But cheap doesn’t mean you can’t get something more than adequate for your needs. Many of our suggestions below offer premium performance at a fraction of the price.

Once you have decided on a budget you need to think of the ‘where’. As in, where will you be using the rod. If you regularly fish at a massive venue it is worth beefing up your ideas. Likewise if you are more of a sleepy pool kind of angler, no one is going to appreciate an 8oz spod landing practically on the opposite bank, least of all the carp.

You also need to decide the ‘what’. What am I aiming to achieve? A lighter rod can often take some of the stress off the line, allowing you to go a bit finer in your choice. If this is the case, you don’t need to go for a reel that can hold 300m of 30lb test. If you don’t have a powerful rod you don’t need a powerful reel. So ask yourself what is the Best Carp Rod and reel combo for my intended use.

Getting the right balance of Carp Rod and reel is important and requires thought. To save you a bit of time and mental energy, we’ve come up with some suggestions for the Best Carp Rod and reel combos, perfectly balanced. Take your pick.

Best Carp Rod and Reel Combo for Beginners


When you are just starting out you want something that will keep you catching, whilst not breaking the bank. If you can enjoy the luxury of two rods (just like the big boys) then all the better! If the rod and reel combo is balanced, then you can’t ask for much more.

This two rod carp fishing setup offers a whole lot of value in one package. With two rods boasting an impressive 2.75lbs test curve and two reels, a perfectly balanced setup, with line pre-loaded. You are getting a confirguration that will feel just right, for all the right reasons.

The Best Budget Carp Rod and Reel Combo 

Neuron 362 Carp Combo

When you fish with something that looks this good, you feel good and more confident. Confidence leads to more fish. Although we have said this setup is the Best Carp Rod and reel combo for those on a budget, it looks and fishes like some of it its much more expensive competitors. When Carp Rod and reels come as a combo package they have already been tested as a pair, ensuring you have the balance we talked about.

Mitchell has been a solid name in fishing for decades. They have a reputation for quality. With this setup you are covered for most venues and techniques. 

Best Carp Rod and Reel Combo for Distance Fishing 

Basia DF X45 Carp Rod
19 Basia Reel

So you have stalked fished the margins with a light and quick setup to no avail? The next step of your plan is to blast something out into an area where the fish are far less wary. But to do that you are going to need power. Real power. And for power, this is the Best Carp Rod and reel combo we’ve seen. Whilst package deals are good, sometimes you want something a bit more customised.

Daiwa is a household name in angling. This Carp Rod and reel combo offer unparalleled power and choice. The rod is available in a choice of test curves, and with a thinner blank you are saving weight whilst maximising rod action. Real veteran anglers have had an input on this rod’s manufacture and design, so you know you are getting legitimate quality. When paired with the Daiwa 19 Basia reel, it truly is something to behold. 7 ball bearing ensure silky smoothness when reeling in, and with a 15kg drag it has the muscle to launch, and pull in, whatever is on the end of your line.

Best Carp Rod & Reel Combo for Spodding. 


Sometimes casting into the right place isn’t enough. You want the fish in a feeding frenzy. And we can’t think of a better way than a long distance aerial assault (of groundbait). If you want to make a big bang on a budget, this is the Best Carp Rod and reel combo for spodding.

The rod is packed with power, a 4.5lb test curve will give your spod setup all the push it needs on its journey. Boasting technology that will please both expert anglers and those new to the game alike, this rod gives performance that is equal to some much more well known (and much more expensive) big names. If you pair it with the Sonik vader X Carp fishing spod reel, you have got yourself a proper setup. The reel has 5 ball bearings and boasts an impressive retrieve rate, which is good, as you’ll be casting it a lot. The wooden handle is also a nice touch.

Best Carp Rod and Reel Combo for Stalking

Carp Stalking Rod
Avocast Free Spool Reel

Greys Carp Stalking Rod & Mitchell Avocast Free Spool Reel

This fantastic stalking rod from the reputable Greys, comes in 3 lengths. The 7' perfect for close quarter big fish hunting, the 9' perfect as an all rounder and the 12' which has a soft tip and medium fast action to which is perfect for casting out small leads and controller floats. All versions of this rod come with robust double leg sic guides, a quality, cork, handle and a folding hook keeper and line clip making it a perfect choice for the roaming approach.

Mitchell have a vast reputation for producing quality reels and this version of the popular, Avocast range is no exception. The lightweight feel to this reel alongside its smooth retrieve and free spool option make it the perfect choice for stalking close to medium range Carp.

Best Carp Rod and Reel Combo for Floater Fishing

Longbow DF Floater Carp Rod
Regal Baitrunner

Daiwa Longbow DF Floater Carp Rod & Daiwa Regal Baitrunner

Danny Fairbrass in conjunction with Daiwa have developed a solid range of rods with the longbow range. The floater Carp Rod version is subtle enough with its 2.25lb test curve to delicately place a free-lined dog biscuit a fair few yards whilst at the same time holding enough power to dictate and land large carp when needed.

Of course we know that Daiwa make great reels but you'll be forgiven if you haven't heard the Regal baitrunner being flag shipped with all the bells and whistles its Big Pit counter parts bring. For what reason? we don't know as this reel is smooth on the cast as well as the retrieve and with the baitrunner option actually makes this reel a great all rounder. For floater fishing, we actually really like the the 2500 version for its lightweight feel and its great price tag!

The Overall Best Carp Rod and Reel Combo 

Basia DF X45 Carp Rod
19 Basia Reel

Daiwa Longbow DF Carp Rod & Mitchell full runner MX8 Reel

So the first question you may be asking is... What? no Century's, Infinity's or Basia's? The quick answer is no (unless you're a tackle tart!). The inflated price tag on these versions doesn't warrant the accolade of overall best carp rod and reel combo in my eyes. In modern day fishing, you have to weigh up cost vs quality and in this combination you have both on the money!

I recommend the 2.75lb test curve version to achieve the overall balance spoken about in this article. The Mitchell MX8s huge line capacity alongside its compact feel,  sleek design, 7+1 steel ball bearings and slow oscillation, absolutely make it the perfect match for what is a great carp rod and reel combo. With these two bad-boys in your arsenal you can guarantee you have all the ammunition to tackle any carp fishing situation giving you every opportunity to land that prized possession!


I have already talked about balance. Sometimes you can have two very good bits of kit, but regardless of quality, to be effective, they have to work together. Things have to match up and compliment each other. You wouldn’t put a plastic strap on a designer watch, would you? The Best Carp Rod and reel combo’s are no different. By thinking about what you need your tackle to do, and when and where, you have the know-how to make an informed choice.

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