Best Muskie Rod and Reel Combo (Top Picks 2018)

by | Jan 13, 2018 | Best Fishing Tackle, Musky Fishing | 0 comments

How to choose the best Musky rod or reel combos

Firstly, you should pay attention to specific musky reel features and characteristics before you select your musky fishing tackle. More specifically, these are the top 4 things you should consider:

  1. Baitcasting Setup – Baitcast only – You wont find many Musky fisherman using Spinning Gear
  2. Gear Ratios – Slow (5:1 or lower), Medium (around 6:1) and Fast (7:1 and higher)
    • 4:6.1 – Topwater, Jerkbaits (depending on jerkbait type)
    • 5:1.1 – Best all around gear ratio, gliders, cranks, jerks and topwaters
    • 6:4.1 – Cranks.
  3. Heavy – Extra-Heavy Fishing rod with a rod length ranging 7’6″ to 9″ long.  A Medium heavy to heavy – Extra Heavy rod will help you cast your musky lure further.
  4. Graphite Rod to withstand the weight and aggressiveness of Muskies.

The right Rod and Reel comes into play when you know what bait you are using.  Having a lower gear ratio for buck-tails makes reels like the Shimano Tranx PG model a better choice with 4:6:1 gear ratio.  Having a XX or XXL heavy rod is also a must if you are using this setup for Musky fishing.   The Daiwa Lexa 400 comes in gear ratios of 5:1;1, 6:3:1 and Bob Daly would call this his favorite musky reel, it’s also a much better price compared to the Shimano Tranx.    Lets take a look at some other great rods and reels.

Best Musky Rod and Reel Combos

Musky Rod and Reel Combo Over $500St Croix Tournament Series Musky Rod ($320) + Shimano Tranx 500PG Reel ($500)

Musky Rod and Reel Combo Under $500St Croix Mojo Rod ($150) + Shimano Corvalus Baitcasting Reel ($100)

Best Musky Rods 2018

1. St.Croix Mojo Musky Rod Review

  • Premium-quality SCII graphite.
  • Specialized musky series designed and built for superior performance.
  • Kigan Master Hand 3D guides featuring slim, strong aluminum-oxide rings with black frames.
  • Length: 7’6 to 8’6
  • Power: H / Action: Fast
  • Pcs: 1 best musky rod and reel combo
  • Line Wt: 30 – 65
  • Lure Wt: 3/4 – 3

If your budget is in the $150 range we recommend getting the 8′ HF version of this rod at a price of $150 compared to the Legend Tournament rods which start at $320.  A longer heavier rod will allow you to cast the heavy muskie lures further.  See some of our favorite Musky Lures.

PreviewProductPrice
St Croix Mojo Musky Rods (HF, 86) St Croix Mojo Musky Rods (HF, 86) from $149.99

Above we mentioned that there are not many rods on the market made for musky fishing. However, there is one rod.. One legend.. The St Croix Legend Tournament Elite Musky rod made of high-quality graphite material and Fuji Torzite guides. The guide frame is made of titanium which decreases the friction. If you are looking for a musky rod, you should know that the St Croix premier and St Crois Legend tournament musky are some of the finest muskie rods that will fit your needs.  “Field and Stream” awarded this rod as the best musky rod 2016!  The cork handles look great on this rod as well.

Another Notable St Croix Muskie Rod

The St Croix Legend Tournament rods will run you a minimum of $320.  Depending on your rod and reel budget these rods have a 15 year transferable warranty which makes it worth the cost.

St. Croix Legend Tournament Musky Rods

  • Available in Split Grip and Full Cork Grip
  • High-modulus/high-strain SCIV graphite with FRS for unparalleled strength and durability
  • Fuji K-Series tangle free guides with Alconite rings and Corrosion Control matte finish frames
  • Designed and handcrafted in Park Falls, U.S.A.
  • 15 year transferable warranty backed by St. Croix Superstar Service

2. SHIMANO Sojourn 1-Piece Casting Muskie Rod

  • Sensitive graphite composite rod blank best musky rod and reel combo
  • Lightweight aluminum oxide guides
  • An exposed blank reel seat for Direct contact with the blank
  • Comfortable cork handles
  • Convenient hook keeper
  • Sensitive graphite composite rod blank
  • An exposed blank reel seat for Direct contact with the blank

 

This 8’1” rod length deserves a place as the best musky rod. A high-quality low price rod which will definitely surprise you. Since you are a musky angler you will have to perform long-distance casts, so this is your rod.

All we anglers know that a musky rod with an ergonomic handle is absolutely necessary. The Shimano American Corporation Rod features a cork handle with a nice hook keeper. Hang your lures while you change the fishing spot or attach your fishing pliers! Either way, this  “easy-to-the-wallet” combo is a really good choice for beginner musky anglers.

3.Okuma EVx-C-861XHT-FG EVx Musky Telescopic Rod with Xtra Heavy Action, 8’6″

  • Responsive and durable 24-ton carbon rod blanks
  • UFR: Unidirectional fiber reinforced rod tip technology increases rod tip lifting power by 3 times best musky rod and reel combo
  • Double foot deep press stainless steel Sea guide frames
  • Telescopic “T”: easy storage and longer casting distance
  • EVx “b” Musky rods are backed by a limited lifetime warranty

 

This is the absolute best option for every angler who wants something portable and sturdy at the same time. Made of 24-ton carbon and combined with high-performance guides, this is probably one of the best choices both for newbies and experienced musky enthusiasts.

The outstanding feature here is the UFR Technology which is a special rod tip construction. Please take a look at the link here to learn more about UFR Lastly, we would like to underline the fact that it is a telescopic rod, so it is not only portable but also quite flexible.  Because this rod is ‘

4. Abu Garcia Veritas Toro Rod Review

  • 30 ton graphite for a lightweight balanced design best musky rod and reel combo
  • Spiral carbon core construction provides an increase in break strength of the rod
  • Fuji reel seat for greater comfort
  • High Density EVA gives greater sensitivity and durability
  • Limited 3 year Warranty

 

This musky fishing rod from Abu Garcia is one of their best rod models as it is well-balanced and you will see a huge difference especially if you are casting heavy lures. The length is perfect for musky (7 feet) and I can tell you that it is a real “musky killer”. If you take a closer look at the specs you will see that it features a 30-ton graphite construction which seems to be extra sturdy.

PreviewProductPrice
Abu Garcia Veritas Toro Casting Rod Abu Garcia Veritas Toro Casting Rod from $195.57

In addition, the Veritas is famous for its construction material and I will also mention that it utilizes titanium guides with special Zirconium inserts. Good guides are critical because there will be much pressure applied to the rod. These special inserts will decrease the pressure and protect your line. Undoubtedly, this Abu Garcia musky rod is a good rod if you are looking for something both sensitive and strong.

Best Musky Reels 2018

1. SHIMANO Tranx 500, High Gear, Lowprofile Baitcasting Freshwater Fishing Reel

best musky rod and reel combo The Shimano Tranx Reels come with several options:

PG(Power Models) 500PG
HG(High Gear) 500HG

  • Weight: 11.6-12.0
  • Bearings 5BB + 1RB
  • Line Capacity: 14/180-14/260

Of all the Shimano Tranx models – the 500PG is our recommendation. X-Ship & HEG technologies combine to provide massive cranking power with a smooth effortless retrieve.

The Shimano Tranx is preferred by many muskie fishing enthusiasts and it will not let you down. This reel utilized the reel with a VBS Brake System that will improve your casts. It’s a low-profile baitcasting reel and the reason why many anglers select it is the great Dartanium drags which will give you the smoothest fishing experience ever!

  • Revolutionary – the design and shape of the tranx 500 provides the comfort of low profile reels with the capacity of a conventional reel
  • Powerful – x-ship & heg technologies combine to provide massive cranking power with a smooth effortless retrieve
  • Durable – constructed of metal frames that keep all of the moving parts in precise alignment and features the use of the latest anodizing; plating and painting techniques for beautiful and durable finishes
  • Diverse – offered in high gear (hg) and power gear (pg) models to cover a wide range of applications
  • For detailed product specifications per model please see below

 

 

2. Daiwa LEXA HD400PWR Lexa Baitcast Reel, Paddle Handle

  • Aluminum frame and side plate (gear side) best musky rod and reel combo
  • Swept handle with weight-reducing cutouts
  • Super-leverage 120mm handle on 400 size models
  • A7075 aluminum spool, Super lightweight-extra Strong
  • Extra line capacity for Strong lines, powerful fish
  • Infinite anti-reverse
  • Aluminum frame and sideplate
  • Infinite anti-reverse
  • Aluminum frame and sideplate
  • Power handle

The Daiwa Lexa is a favorite reel for Bob Daly.   With features like infinite Anti-Reverse and UTD (Ultimate Tournament Carbon Drag) you cant go wrong with this reel.  The slower retreive of 25-33 inches per turn is also ideal for lures like bucktails.

You will be able to hold more line on most of the Daiwa models than the Shimano Tranx models as well.

 

Model
Number
Action
FW / SW
BearingsGear RatioLine Per
Handle Turn
Wt.
(oz.)
Line Capacity
(Lb. Test / Yards)
Drag
Max
LEXA-CC300HM / H2CRBB, 4BB, 1RB6.3:128.8”9.8MONO: 12/240, 14/190, 20/120
BRAID: 40/240, 55/180
22
LEXA-CC300HLM / H2CRBB, 4BB, 1RB6.3:128.8”9.8MONO: 12/240, 14/190, 20/120
BRAID: 40/240, 55/180
22
LEXA-CC300PWR-PM / H2CRBB, 4BB, 1RB5.5:125.1”11.3MONO: 12/240, 14/190, 20/120
BRAID: 40/240, 55/180
22
LEXA-CC300PWRL-PM / H2CRBB, 4BB, 1RB5.5:125.1”11.3MONO: 12/240, 14/190, 20/120
BRAID: 40/240, 55/180
22
Model
Number
Action
FW / SW
BearingsGear RatioLine Per
Handle Turn
Wt.
(oz.)
Line Capacity
(Lb. Test / Yards)
Drag
Max
LEXA-CC400HM / H2CRBB, 4BB, 1RB6.3:133.4”15.3MONO: 17/245, 20/190
BRAID – 8X 55/300, 80/200
25
LEXA-CC400HLM / H2CRBB, 4BB, 1RB6.3:133.4”15.3MONO: 17/245, 20/190
BRAID – 8X 55/300, 80/200
25
LEXA-CC400PWR-PM / H2CRBB, 4BB, 1RB5.1:127.1”16.2MONO: 17/245, 20/190
BRAID – 8X 55/300, 80/200
25
LEXA-CC400PWRL-PM / H2CRBB, 4BB, 1RB5.1:127.1”16.2MONO: 17/245, 20/190
BRAID – 8X 55/300, 80/200
25

3. Shimano Corvalus Reel Reviewbest musky rod and reel combo

  • The Corvalus round baitcasting reel is built with a one-piece die-cast aluminum frame that will stand up in battle with the toughest fish
  • Offers a cast aluminum frame and aluminum side plates for longer smoother life and increased casting efficiency
  • Employs Super Stopper and Assist Stopper to eliminate back play providing the angler with instant hook setting power
  • The Variable Brake System offers easier to manage and much more consistent spool speeds and takes advantage of the reel’s maximum casting distance

Another high-quality baitcasting reel made by Shimano. Musky reels should be strong and quite lightweight since you are going to fish for hours. The Corvalus weighs only 11 ounces and if you pair it with the telescopic Okuma rod (mentioned above), you will have the best combo ever!

The reason why I selected this reel obvious. You will have many features in just one reel for a really really reasonable price! The VBS centrifugal brake system is a big plus for me and keep in mind that there is almost no backplay. After using Shimano reels for many years, I would like to tell you that the Shimano Corvalus is one of their best models even better than the previous.

 

4. Abu Garcia Revo Toro S Low Profile Review

  • 4 stainless steel hpcr Bearings + 1 roller bearing provides increased Corrosion Protection
  • Power stack carbon matrix drag System provides extreme drag pressures combined with unparalleled smoothness
  • X-crafty alloy frame and side plate for increased Corrosion resistance
  • Dura gear heavy duty provides increased Fighting power and extended gear life
  • Magtrax brake System gives consistent brake pressure throughout the cast

 

The best musky rod and reel combo list should definitely include the Revo Toro S baitcasting reel! It is a significant departure and one of the best musky baitcasting reels ever made due to the extraordinary drag system. The Power Stack Carbon Matrix Drag System is a system which will give you a smooth casting experience. Overall, it is a heavy duty reel with a big handle and 5 bearings made of stainless steel. It is the perfect fit for muskies.

Moreover, if you need more cranking power you can just extend the handle! The Max Drag is advertised to be 25lbs, but many people admit that it can go higher. The two things musky fishermen love about this reel is the MagTrax magnetic brake and the big super convenient handle.

 

Summarizing, you should choose the best musky rod and reel combo according to your needs. Musky fishing can be one of the most frustrating fish to catch but having the right equipment will make a difference.   We recommend a quality fish finder to locate muskies, large tray tackle boxes for your Muskie Lures and a trolling motor to cover a lot of water.   Thank you for reading our muskie fishing tips!  For more Musky information check out Musky hunters discussion forum and also Tackle Industries for more musky lures.