top of page

Budget Friendly Froggin'- Best Topwater Setups for Under $300

Updated: Feb 5, 2023

A question I often see asked is “What’s a good frogging combo for around $300?”. To some that may seem like a strange number to pick for the budget, but I can say it seems to be BY FAR the most common number people are trying to stick to. I’m going to touch on 4 reels and 4 rods I have personal experience with and think will suit the needs of any frog fisherman. Of course, the rods and reels I’m mentioning are just suggestions and by no means the ONLY options out there, they are just options I have personally held/used and know what to expect from.


  • Shimano SLX 150HG (7.9:1 Ratio) $99

The Shimano SLX has made a name for itself the past few years. It’s nothing overly flashy, but it’s a workhorse. I personally know guys who own 10 of these and abuse them every weekend and have yet to have one fail. They even hold uo reasonably well to saltwater use. They’re built like a tank, cast phenomenally well for a $100 price point reel and have plenty drag power to horse fish from cover. It’s also a Shimano so that means a solid warranty and a great cheap maintenance plan if anything was to go wrong.

  • Shimano Curado 200XG (8.5:1 Ratio) $179

The Curado is The SLX’s big brother. Its a tried and true line of reels that has been out slightly longer than the SLX. Very similar build specs to the SLX but upgraded with the Hagane frame material and a higher ratio means a lighter, potentially stronger reel with a faster ratio. It has the same warranty as the SLX and can compete with reels nearly double it’s price point. The Curado is one of the highest selling lines of reels for the past 30 years for a reason.

  • Daiwa Tatula CT (8.1:1 Ratio) $129

The Daiwa Tatula CT is a great buy for the money. They are very angler friendly using only magnetic brakes where the Shimanos use centrifugal brakes (the pins on the spool). The casting from Daiwa reels greatly improved with the addition of the “T wing” technology. Similar to Shimano, they have a great warranty and are known to be extremely durable reels.

  • Daiwa Tatula 200 (8.1:1 Ratio) $169

The Tatula is an upgraded version of the CT. The 200 size is my preference for frogging for line capacity with 50+lb braid. This reel also comes slightly smaller in a 150 if you’re looking for a lighter set up. Reinforced brass gears, a solid aluminum frame and larger handle make this reel a significant upgrade from the CT.


  • Temple Fork Outfitters Tactical Bass 7’3” Heavy Fast ($159)

TFO may be a brand that is slept on in the Bass world but they definitely should be on your list. This is my preferred frogging rod for Bass and Snakeheads. It’s light in the hand and balances well with any of the reels listed above. It has a nice soft tip to make twitching a frog nice and easy but plenty of backbone for those bone crushing hooksets. High quality stainless guides with inserts that cannot come out, a skeleton reel seat, premium split cork grips and TFOs unmatched lifetime warranty… whats not to love.

  • Dobyns Fury 7’3” Heavy Fast ($105)

Dobyns is one of the best rod manufacturers in the business and the Fury series is without a doubt one of the best values on the market. High quality Fuji reel seats and guides, a featherweight blank and a nearly perfect frog rod taper, there isn’t much to say negative about these rods. Dobyns is also a brand known for their warranty and it’s hard to find many negative reviews.

  • Dobyns Sierra 7’3” Heavy Fast ($159)

Another great option from Dobyns. The Sierra is a higher modulus blank meaning lighter weight and more sensitivity. Fuji Alconite guides and skeleton reel seat mean lightweight, dependable durability. These rods also have kevlar blended into the blank for added durability.

  • Shimano Curado Rod 7’2” Heavy Fast ($169)

The Shimano Curado rods cary the same name as their most successful reel line and they do it well. They are very well balanced rods that come equiped with Fuji Alconite guides and the Ci4 reel seat. They also have split EVA foam grips which are very comfortable and ergonomically shaped. These rods don’t have the softest tip but they have the most backbone out of this entire list. If you fish really heavy slop… this would be my pick

Like I said in the beginning, these are by no means the only options on the market. They are just the options I feel most comfortable with in the $300 combo range. Any of these rod or reel with handle the daily grind that frog fishing dishes out and they will handle it well.

Grant Alvis

47 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page