I am a Shimano guy and make no apology for it so keep that in mind. I like the basic Shimano SLX, they are rugged and strong reels and can be upgraded if wanted. I use several aboard my kayak where they get dunked and drug through sand and then I dunk them some more to get the sand off and they just work.
And another outfit that I really like if you can find on sale, the Shimano Caius combo, I got mine for $99 and I love it, again, it serves kayak duty but even if I had a fancy bass boat (instead fo my fancy salt water Boston Whaler boat) I would still like the Caius combo. Sometimes you can also find the SLX combo for around $150 which is a pretty nice outfit, again, only my opinion as a casual fisherman, non-pro.
When I was in college, let me explain, I am a SCUBA diver, this being back in the early 70s, not many divers around then and I would make spending money from the local dive shop for recovery. Usually fishermen who have lost their rod and reel overboard or better yet their motor. I charged, back then, $60 per hour, recovery or not. I was always honest and told folks that unless you know exactly, and I mean exactly!!!!!!, where you lost your rod, motor, whatever, it will be impossible or at least highly unlikely and I did not give refunds. And to finish the story quickly, it would be maybe one in ten that I recovered. The best was an outboard motor, the kid said he lost his dad's motor right here and I look around, near a hundred square yards of 30 feet deep murky water, yeah, right
. I spent three hours looking for it and gave up cold and exhausted. I felt bad so only charged him for an hour. That night I had an epiphany, I figured he lost the motor not where he thought he did but nearer to a bar on a straight line from the channel to the landing. I went back on my own time that weekend and sure enough found it. The dad, mom and son showed up to get the motor, I called them right away, I got another $180, I only asked for another $60! I think the kid probably spent the rest of the summer working that off for dad and mom.