Catfish is one of the best freshwater fish to eat in the USA, and fishing for them is a lot of fun. Most young anglers start by fishing for catfish, and for some, it becomes a lifelong hobby.
When you’re preparing to go on a catfish trip, you could simply choose any rod and some bait and head out. You would catch a few catfish and have fun while doing it but, if you would prefer to take your catfishing game up a notch, then you will have to get a small set of catfish-specific rods and practice using techniques that have been proven to work.
You may have noticed that handles of catfish-specific rods tend to be longer than regular rods. It is made like that to provide you with more leverage; large catfish require you to fight to pull them from the bottom, you may have to fight with catfish species such as the flathead catfish and the large blue catfish. The fishing rod you need for catfish tends to change based on your needs.
Most times, the most difficult part for any fisherman is choosing the right catfish rod; there are a lot of catfish rods available on the market, so it can be difficult to choose which one to buy. Selecting the best catfish rod means you have to understand the size of the fish you would be targeting on a regular basis so that you can choose a rod to match.
Smaller catfish that are under 3lb can be caught with a regular rod and reel setup, but the larger ones require you to get a really good catfish rod.
If you’re a beginner, it would be best if you go for a spinning catfish rod as it would be easier to handle, but if you are a pro, then it would be wise to move to a baitcasting setup as it will provide you with a larger range of catfish rods and suitable catfish reels.
If you majorly fish for bass or trout, then your rods will most likely be made from graphite or a form of graphite blend, which is great, but if you’re fishing for catfish, the S-Glass rods are usually the best option for catfish, and they can also be used for bass fishing also. Graphite rods are too light for catfish, so they are more prone to breaking when used to catch catfish.
Choosing the right catfish rod depends on a number of varying factors. For one, you need a catfish rod that fits into your budget; you also need one that matches the type of catfish you intend on catching. Other factors include length, materials, and action.
This article will provide you with the information you need to select the best catfish rod.
BUYING CONSIDERATIONS FOR SELECTING THE BEST CATFISH ROD
A lot more goes into choosing a catfish rod other than just the price and look. Having information such as how the catfish rod works and how it catches the catfish is vital to choosing the right rod. The features below are what you need to keep in mind when shopping for the best catfish rod.
Spinning Or Casting Rod
The first factor you have to consider when determining the best catfish rod is choosing between a casting or spinning rod. These are the two main types of rods available. The rods come with varying balances, and they can be used differently. So it is important that you know the difference between them and also their pros and cons. However, both rods work well in catfishing, so choosing between them will be determined by your personal preference.
Both kinds of the rod are available with varying levels of flexibility and strength, so when we say personal preference, we mean the reel type that you are comfortable with.
A casting rod requires a baitcasting reel, while a spinning rod requires a spinning reel. Some people tend to mix and match the rods and reels, but that is not advisable. Because a spinning reel will fit on a casting rod doesn’t make it right.
A spinning rod has its reel seat located under the rod. The islets on the rod guide the line from the base up to the top of the rod, and this means that if you hook a large fish, the pressure on the line is placed on the islets. If the fish is too large, it will break the islets, which is why spinning rods aren’t the best option for catching large catfish. However, they are still alright to catch other smaller catfishes.
Casting rods, also known as baitcasting rods, have their guide located at the top of the rod. The reel seat is also positioned at the top as well. It means that if you land a large fish, the pressure won’t be only on the islets but also on the rod itself to take the weight of the fish.
There are anglers that swear that baitcasting rods are the best option for catfishing. They believe that spinning rods simply can’t handle the task. Spinning rods for catfish fishing are few on the market, and the technique is not easy to perform, but it can still be used to catch catfish. You have the freedom to choose whichever rod you want; if you prefer a spinning rod, then go for a strong spinning rod for catfishing and if you prefer casting rods, then select a hefty one that can handle hungry, large catfishes.
Type Of Catfish
There are different species of catfish and there are three main types you would most likely catch if you’re fishing in the United States. There are techniques you can use to catch all three species, but you can also fine-tune your technique by having a little information about the kind of catfish you’re targeting. When you know the species you want to catch and the technique to use, it’ll be easier for you to choose the right rod. The three catfish species commonly found in the US are;
- Channel Catfish: This species of catfish is the most common type, it is also the most commonly caught catfish in the US. Most channel catfish weigh between 1 to 5 pounds, but the ten pounders are quite common, and they can grow to reach weights of up to 25 pounds. That might sound large, but wait till you hear about the others.
Channel catfish feed using their sight, but it’s the smell that usually attracts them from a distance and convinces them to take your bait. They can be caught using stink bait, shrimp, chicken liver, or cut bait. In some cases, people use live bait such as shiners, suckers, and crayfish in order to be more productive, but you can use other bait and still get a decent catch. Channel catfish prefer stationary bait, so they often times move into shallow water to feed, and they are the smallest of the three species, so a good rod to use to catch them will be a 7-inch graphite, a medium-weight rod that has moderate action.
- Flathead Catfish: This species is found in most parts of the US, and they are very popular among anglers that are seeking trophy class fishes. Most of them that are caught weigh around 50 pounds and can reach lengths of up to 3 to 4 feet and weight up to over 100 pounds.
Flathead catfish are nocturnal and great hunters. If you try to entice them with a chunk of dead fish or chicken liver, they would most likely not take the bait. They prefer bait that is alive and moving. If you want to be able to provide the kind of bait the flatheads are used to, you will need an extra-large shiner or a two-pound sucker and a very strong rod. Also, keep in mind that when you catch a flathead, you could meet a 100-pound large fish at the end of your line. A suitable rod would be an 8 inch long, medium-heavy rod that is constructed from fibreglass that has a moderate action.
- Blue Catfish: Out of the three species, the blue catfish is the largest. It has a common weight of 50 pounds like the flathead, but it can get extremely large; some exceed lengths of 5 feet and reach weights of up to 150 pounds.
The blue catfish are more aggressive predators than the channel fish, and they prefer to feed on other fishes; they prefer live bait. Majority of fishermen bait blue catfish with either cut fish or live fish, and they have found that oily baitfish work the best. Blue catfish prefer to stay in deeper water; they are either at the bottom or suspended. That and the fact that they are large fishes and prefer live bait means that you will need a heavy-duty catfish rod. A suitable rod would be a 7 to 7.6 inches fibreglass rod that comes with moderate action and a medium or medium -heavyweight rod.
Catfishing rods are made with a variety of materials, and each one comes with its benefits. The most common type of catfish rods you will find available on the market include;
- E-Glass: This is the most common type of catfishing rod on the market. Most fishermen prefer E-glass to fibreglass. There are different kinds of fibreglass rods, so keep that in mind. E-glass is resilient and strong, and this makes it great for catfishing. However, E-glass is not very sensitive, so if you are fishing for a channel catfish and you’re waiting to feel a light tug on the line, then E-glass won’t be your best option.
- Graphite: These rods are more expensive than E-glass rods. They are also more lightweight and sensitive. If you plan to sit for a long time fishing, graphite rods will make it very comfortable. However, they tend to be less durable; they can break if you hook an incredibly large catfish. They can also break from impact damage. Graphite rods are great for bass fishing, for they aren’t always great for catfishing. If you’re fishing for large catfish, a graphite rod could break, so it isn’t the best choice.
- Carbon Fiber: If you want a carbon fibre catfish rod, you will have to pay a premium price, but it will be worth it. If you are a professional angler, you should know that carbon fibre is stronger than graphite and E-glass. It is durable, flexible, and strong. A carbon fibre catfish rod will serve you for a long time.
- S-Glass: This is different from fibreglass and E-glass. The S-glass is more flexible and stronger, but they are also lighter. However, the S-glass cost more than the E-glass rod, and they are also not common. Most manufacturers will just say fibreglass and not specify which is E-glass or S-glass.
- Composite: This type of rod is a mixture of different materials. Graphite and fibreglass are mixed together to form a composite catfishing rod. This produces a rod that is in between graphite and glass in terms of its properties. It is more sensitive than fibreglass, but it is not as strong as graphite. The mixture of the two materials makes a suitable catfish fishing rod.
- Cane Pole: If you would prefer using a basic option, then a cane pole is an alternative to the commercial fishing rods. However, you would have to make it yourself out of bamboo and string it with your line. This type of rod is the most ancient type of fishing rod in the world. There is evidence that shows Egyptians using it to fish in the river Nile four thousand years ago. They are not the best option for the largest species of catfish because they are not heavy-duty rods. You can cut your length of bamboo from 8 feet to 12 feet. Tie the line to the end of the pool and place bait on the hook at the other end of the line. This is the simplest form of fishing.
Rod Weight And Action
Catfish rods are described to have different kinds of action, and it refers to how and where the rod bends while you’re using it. The weight of the rod refers to how easily it bends, while the action describes the part on the rods length where the bend happens.
- Slow: A slow action rod tends to bend down the length of the pole. It could occur close to the handle. Slow action rods are incredibly flexible, but it is not the best rod for catfishing.
- Moderate: For moderate action rods, the bend occurs at the upper half of the blank. This type of rod can be used to fish for smaller catfish.
- Fast: A fast action rod bends at the top third of the rod. Which means that the rod is stronger than the more flexible rods. This rod is suitable for catfishing.
- Extra Fast: These types of rods have their bend occur near the tip of the rod. The rest of the rod remains straight and rigid. Fo an expert angler, this rod will be great for catfishing.
How and where the rod bends is important to know for the species of catfish you would be catching. When you’re fishing for catfish, the best rod actions are moderate or fast. Fast action rods allow you to quickly set the hook when you get a bite, but it takes practice to get the hang of it. Moderate action rods are not as quick when it comes to setting the hook, but they are easier to handle.
The rod length is an important factor to consider when choosing your catfishing rod. Catfishing requires a long rod. Below are some of the benefits of using a long rod for fishing for catfish.
- A long rod will allow you to achieve long casts. Most likely, you will be using heavy baits with an arching lob cast, so going for a rod with a long blank will handle the load up better than a short rod.
- A long rod tends to be more sensitive. You need to feel when you have hooked a fish, and longer rods provide you with the required sensitivity and tip action that’s required when you’re trying to detect if a catfish has taken the bait.
- A long rod provides you with more leverage. When you’re struggling with a catfish, you need to be able to pull him out of the cover. If they are faster than you, you would have to fight your fish out of the grass bed or tree it ran into. Having a long rod will give you more advantage.
A great length to start from a 7-foot range rod will allow you to apply a number of techniques that will be useful in catfishing.
You could also use a 6.6-foot rod if you plan on stalking from the bank and place your bait into likely spots. However, the most common way to catch fish is to make long casts into open water and leave it in the water until you feel the action. Long casts are why you need a long rod.
The rod power refers to the strength of the catfish rod. The higher the rod’s power, the stronger it would be. Rod power ranges from ultra-light to heavy; you’ll find a medium to medium-heavy in the middle. A medium-heavy to heavy rod power is great for catching large catfish. If you are in search of large blues, you may want to go for a heavy rod. However, a medium-heavy rod will help you catch most catfish.
A catfish rod usually has longer handles than the average fishing rod. Catfish doesn’t require the repeated casting that other fishing needs. This means that the handle on your catfish rod will be different. The long handle is there to provide you with leverage when you hook a catfish. Once you’re able to set the hook, the long handle provides you with an edge over the catfish. It allows you to pull with more force and catch even the largest catfish. There are different kinds of catfish rods handles made from several materials; they include cord handles, cork handles, composite cork handles, and foam handles.
Now that you have all the information you need to know about catfish rods, it will be easier for you to choose the best catfish rod for your needs. If you still find it difficult to select a catfish ord, you can look at a few of the best catfish rods that we have reviewed below. Let’s take a look at the list.
The Best Catfish Rods For Bass Fishing Are Reviewed Below
We reviewed the best catfish rods and provided you with their specifications, key features, pros, and cons. Having all this information will make it easier for you to make your choice.
Shakespeare Wild Cat Spinning Fishing Rod
The Shakespeare Wildcat is of high quality yet affordable. It is a tubular glass rod that features ceramic and stainless steel guides; it is great for easy casting. Like all spinning rods, the reels seat is located on the underside. It is lightweight with a weight of under 6 ounces, and it has a comfortable grip. With this rod, you can catch some serious catfish.
The total length of this rod is 7 feet. To save space, it comes in two parts. This rod is strong and durable, but it isn’t ideal for catching very large catfish. If you’re in search of a 100lb trophy catfish, then this rod is not the best for your needs. However, if you are after a reasonably sized catfish, then this a great choice.
Keep in mind that this rod is not sensitive enough for very small fish. If you want a good-sized blue catfish, channel catfish, and flathead catfish, then it is a great choice.
- Tubular glass blank
- Stainless steel guides featuring ceramic inserts
- Brand: Shakespeare
- Model: Shakespeare Wild Cat (1423941) Fishing Rod
- Weight: 5.6 Ounces
- Dimensions: 45 * 3 * 3 inches
- Color: Black and Red
- It is affordable
- It is durable and strong
- It is lightweight
- It has enough power to pull in a good-sized catfish
- It is not suitable for smaller catfish
St. Croix Avid Spinning Rod
The St. Croix Avid Spinning rod is a fast action rod that is great for catfishing. It has a length of 7 feet and offers the user medium power. It is a great choice for expert anglers who want a responsive and light catfish rod. It has a great balance which makes it comfortable to use even after hours of fishing.
It is made of high-quality graphite that is ultra-sensitive; you would even feel the lightest of nibbles in your grip. The Saint Croix brand also offers a 15-year transferable warranty. It is able to tackle both small and large catfish.
- Integrated poly curve tooling tech (IPC)
- Advanced SCIII graphite
- Slim profile
- Two coat of flex coat slow-cure finish
- Made in USA
- Select grade cork handle
- Brand: St. Croix
- Model: St. Croix Avid (AVS46ULF) Spinning Rod
- Weight: 1.59 Ounces
- Dimensions: 54 * 3 * 3 inches
- Color: Brown and Black
- It is durable and lightweight
- It is highly sensitive and responsive
- It is quite expensive
Abu Garcia Catfish Commando Fishing Rod and Reel
This rod from Abu Garcia is a 7-foot long rod along with a reel. It is made specifically for catching catfish. It comes with a medium to heavy power and a carbon matrix resistance system. It assists the drag and provides you with smooth and consistent casting. This catfish rod was made to last a long time, and it is one of the best catfishing rods available on the market.
The combination of rod and reel makes it an easy choice for new anglers because they don’t have to worry about matching the perfect rod to the perfect reel. It comes with a six-pin centrifugal bracket that maintains even casting.
The rod itself is made from composite materials, which ensures it is lightweight while still being strong. This rod is superior even when you’re fishing for a big blue catfish. This rod is a solid choice for any catfish angler.
- 7 feet medium heavy rod
- High-density EVA handles
- Stainless steel guides
- Two stainless steel bearings
- Carbon matrix hybrid drag system
- 6 pin centrifugal brake
- Compact bent handle
- Synchronized level wind system
- Brand: Abu Garcia
- Model: Abu Garcia Catfish Commando
- Color: Black
- It is lightweight yet strong enough to handle a big blue catfish
- It is easy to cast
- It is made specifically for catfish, so it may not work well with other kinds of fishes
KastKing Crixus Fishing Rods
The KastKing Crixus is available in a variety of actions and power. This allows you to choose the right rod for the kind of catfish you want. The KastKing can hold a 20 lb line and that is okay for a medium sized catfish. If you are in search of trophy catfish, this rod isn’t the best. You can get the medium-heavy and heavy-duty rod for whatever fishing you need. They also have light and medium light. If you’re fishing for catfish, you’ll want to stick to the medium-heavy option.
It is constructed from graphite, making them very strong rods. They are also sensitive and lightweight. However, it may be too much for a new angler to handle, but if you are an expert angler, this catfish rod is a great choice.
- KastFlex IM6 Graphite blanks
- SuperPolymer handle
- Stainless steel guides with Zirconium Oxide rings
- It comes in 20 different models
- Brand: KastKing
- Model: KastKing Crixus
- Color: Black
- It is well priced
- It is sensitive
- It is a sturdy and strong rod
- It takes getting used to and practice for casting
Championship Catfish Rod
If you’re in need of a medium-weight, long rod, then this rod from Championship Catfishing is for you. It has a length of 7.6 feet and is constructed from sturdy fibreglass. It is made to wrestle large catfish and has heavy action.
The rod is medium-heavy and great at catching large catfish. It can also tackle smaller catfishes as well. It features a fluorescent yellow tip that provides you with a visual guide even for the smallest of nibbles. This is great, especially when fishing in areas with low light. It can handle a 10 lb to 50 lb line. It also comes with a 13-inch handle that offers you great leverage.
- EVA foam grip
- Glossy fibreglass finish
- High visibility fluorescent tip
- Lifetime warranty
- Brand: Catfish Sumo
- Model: Championship Catfish Rod
- Color: Black
- It is a long rod
- It is powerful
- It is lightweight
- It is not ideal for beginners
Buying Guide Questions
Below are answers to some commonly asked questions.
Can you use a catfish rod for bass fishing?
Catfish rods used in catching smaller channels catfish can also be used to catch bass.
What is the best catfish rod?
Numerous catfish rods are great, but our top pick is the Shakespeare Wild Cat rod; it is a spinning rod.
What type of rod is best for bass fishing?
When it comes to bass fishing, our top choice is the Phenix Maxim Castin rod.
What is the best catfish rod and reel combo?
The best catfish rod and reel combo, in our opinion, is the Catfish Commando by Abu Garcia.
What is the best pound test line for catfish?
Catfish do not shy away from lines so that you can use a light or heavy fishing line depending on the situation at hand.
Do catfish like garlic?
Garlic works well as a bait attraction for catfish, and it seems to get them stimulated, especially if you use it with other scented baits such as shrimps and nightcrawlers.
Should I get a medium or medium-heavy rod?
The type of rod you get depends on the type of fish you intend on catching. A medium heavy rod provides you with great balance.
What do you throw on a medium heavy rod?
What are medium rods good for?
Medium rods usually offer you more casting distance with adequate hook setting power.
What is a seven medium/heavy rod good for?
These types of rods can throw jigs, spinnerbaits, soft swimbaits, frogs, worms, and sometimes crankbaits and topwaters.
What is a 7 3 heavy rod good for?
This type of rod is an all-purpose rod, and it can be used to perform multiple techniques.
Having the right rod when catfishing can save you a lot of stress and make fishing much more fun. With the buying guide and product review provided above, you should be able to select the best catfish rod for your needs.