11 Best Catfish Rods (Top Picks for 2021)

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When choosing a catfish rod, the first thing you must consider is the fish size you want to target regularly. For the smaller fish (e.g. 3lbs) almost any rod and reel combo will do the trick. But for the bigger ones you need to choose your gear carefully. As the catfish are powerful and tough to pull out, you’ll need a sturdy and durable rod that can take the beating. The second thing you need to take into account is your experience level. Spinning rods are best suited for beginners. For more experienced we would recommend baitcasting combo because they offer more choice and potential. When going for a good catfish rod, it also needs to have a good price. Considering all that we’ve made a list of the 10 best catfish rods for the money.

Here are the list of Top 11 Catfish Rods :

ImageProductFeaturesAction
Best For Giant Fish
OKUMA Battle Cat Catfish Spinning Rod
OKUMA Battle Cat Catfish Spinning Rod
  • Types : Spinning
  • Power : Heavy
  • Length : 8'
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Great Looking Rod
BnM Silver Cat Elite Rod
BnM Silver Cat Elite Rod
  • Types : Casting
  • Power : Medium Heavy
  • Length : 7' 5"
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Best Overall Rod
Championship Catfish Rod
Championship Catfish Rod
  • Types : Casting
  • Power : Medium Heavy
  • Action : Medium Fast
  • Length : 7' 6"
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Ugly Stik Catfish Special Casting Fishing RodUgly Stik Catfish Special Casting Fishing Rod
  • Types : Casting
  • Power : Medium heavy
  • Length : 7"
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Best Budget Rod
Berkley Big Game Casting Fishing Rod
Berkley Big Game Casting Fishing Rod
  • Types : Casting
  • Power : Medium Heavy
  • Length : 6' 6"
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Fiblink Catfish Fishing RodFiblink Catfish Fishing Rod
  • Types : Telescopic
  • Power : MH, EH
  • Length : 7', 9'
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Portable Rod
LurEra Catfish Casting Rod
LurEra Catfish Casting Rod
  • Types : Telescopic
  • Power : Heavy 
  • Length : 7'
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St Croix Mojo Cat Spinning RodsSt Croix Mojo Cat Spinning Rods
  • Types : Spinning
  • Power : Medium
  • Action : Fast
  • Length : 7', 8'
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Most Popular
KastKing Perigee II
KastKing Perigee II
  • Types : Casting
  • Power : M, MH
  • Action : Fast
  • Length : 7'
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KastKing Brutus Spinning RodsKastKing Brutus Spinning Rods
  • Types : Spinning
  • Power : Medium Heavy
  • Action : Moderate Fast
  • Length : 6' 6"
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Ugly Stik Carbon Casting Fishing RodUgly Stik Carbon Casting Fishing Rod
  • Types : Casting 
  • Power : Medium
  • Length : 6' 6"
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1. KastKing Perigee II – Best 2 piece rod for catfish

This line of catfish rods offers a variety of sizes starting from 4’ 6” to 7’6’’. Its carbon rod blank keeps the rod low weight while maintaining sturdiness. Together with ergonomic carbon reel seats and EVA grips, it minimizes hand stress while battling catfish. Fuji line guides highly improve casting accuracy and set this rod apart from the competition.

The design allows great freedom of movement- at four angles (0,45,90 and 135 degrees).
Twin tip technology gives you 2 rods in 1.

Key Features :

● Interchangeable tips
● Lightweight
● Strong
● Excellent price point
● Convenient to use

2. BnM Silver Cat Elite Rod

This rod has a double locking reel seat with aircraft-grade aluminum, casting a shadow on others with plastic seats. With the High Vis tip, even at night, you won’t have a problem with seeing it.

Rod blank is made of E-glass which makes it lightweight, strong, and smooth. With this one, you won’t have a problem with larger fish, even ones that weigh 100lbs. X grip handle helps you maintain the grip while fighting these monsters. This is a one-piece rod with medium-heavy action. It comes in only one length the 7.5 feet.

Benefits:

● Very strong rod, that can comfortably handle big fish without the fear of losing it
● The good price point for the performance it provides
● The tip is very easy to spot, which helps through day and night

3. KastKing Brutus Spinning Rods

With lengths ranging from 4’6” to 8,’ you’ve got a lot to choose from. Depending on your preference you can choose one for smaller channel cats or larger blues. Longer ones with moderate action and medium-heavy power are the best option when going for a one-all-purpose rod.

The Common thing across these rods is their composite glass and carbon hard body. Brutus line guides are made to endure heavy braided line use, so you won’t have to worry about them failing you. Every rod is also fitted with full-length EVA handles to ensure maximum comfort. Despite all that, they are still affordable being around 50$. They also offer 1 to 4 piece
options for your rod.

Benefits:

● Variety of options to choose from to best meet your needs
● Affordable price that won’t break the bank
● Comfortable to hold
● Strong and sturdy

4. Championship Catfish Rod

This is another medium-heavy rod, with a two-piece design and length of 7’6”. Rod blank is made out of fiberglass. With heavy backbone and the sensitive tip will let you have fun with smaller channel cats, but also endure larger flatheads.

Stainless steel guides are made with low profiles to better resist abrasion. Rod tip is painted in fluorescent yellow, which makes any movement easier to spot. Foamy EVA handles and slick fiberglass body makes it easy to clean and maintain.

Benefits:

● Great power and balance
● An incredible combination of tip sensitivity and backbone strength. You don’t have to
choose between fishing smaller or larger fish- it’s great for both.
● Excellent value for the money

5. Ugly Stik Carbon Casting Fishing Rod – Best Overall

This line of rods comes in lengths from 6’8” to 8’. It’s a one-piece rod, except for the 8’ rod that comes as a two-piece. Rod blank is made entirely of graphite with a solid graphite tip for increased sensitivity. It has 8 guides that are one-piece and made from stainless steel to support all types of lines. Rod power ranges from medium-light to heavy depending on the length. With Winn split grips, good traction is guaranteed. It’s strong enough to battle big flatheads or blue cats. Due to its sensitive tip, it performs decently when fishing smaller cats also. With a strong backbone, it can take a lot of beating and help you tire out the big cats.

Benefits:

● Reliable rod that can withstand large fish (even 100lbs)
● Reasonably priced, it won’t empty your pocket
● Good for beginners
● Because of its tip, you won’t need another rod for smaller catfish

6. Okuma Battle Cat Catfish Spinning Rod

The Okuma Battle Cat Catfish Spinning Rods have a two-piece blank that is screwed into the handle for a one-piece feel and power. They’re made of an E-glass rod blank that’s suited for casting up to 8 ounces of weight and provides strength and longevity.

The Guide system made of double foot welded stainless steel guides also improve sturdiness. The handle system is designed especially for big catfishing.

The front grip is made of comfortable EVA and together with the cork rear grip improves convenience.

Benefits:

Sensitive tip
● Strong backbone
● Great for larger catfish (50lbs)
● Comfortable for use

7. Ugly Stik Catfish Special Casting Fishing Rod

If your main target is lighter channel catfish (up to 30lbs), this rod is a great option. Composite graphite and fiberglass body gives needed strength and saves weight. With medium-heavy actions and 7’ of length, you won’t need a more expensive rod. Two-piece design makes it
easier to store.

It’s easy to use, and affordable which makes it great for beginners. Stainless steel guides are
very durable and water-resistant. EVA handles provide maximum fishing comfort.

Benefits:

● Great for smaller to medium size channel catfish
● Affordable price
● Durable and lightweight
● Comfortable to use

8. Berkley Big Game Casting Fishing Rod

This rod is made from tubular fiberglass meant to conquer big fish. It comes in 3 different lengths – 6’6”, 7’ and 7’6”. It’s fitted with 7 durable titanium oxide guide inserts and stainless steel guides. They range from moderate to moderate fast action and medium to medium-heavy power. That makes them a great choice for different cat types.

To make sure you don’t lose your
grip it’s equipped with famous EVA handles. The smallest one is a one-piece rod, the other two being 2 piece rods. It is a heavy rod so it’s not really for every day use.

Benefits:

● Probably the cheapest big fish rod on the market, great when shopping on a budget
● Very strong backbone and little flex, perfect for a big catch

What Makes A Good Catfish Rod?

In this section, we’ll discuss what makes a good catfish rod from a couple of aspects.

Power

The ideal power for a catfishing rod depends on your planned use. If you target only smaller channel ones you could go for a light rod. Generally, the best choice would be a medium or medium-heavy rod. The reason is they cover a variety of cat sizes and species. A rod, like that, will cover all the basics, and it’s great for the beginning.

Action

If you want to have only one rod and use it for all cat types your best bet would be a moderate-fast action rod. These give the greatest balance between being able to catch smaller ones and battle the big cats.

Material

When considering going for an E-glass, S-glass, graphite, or composite rod you need to decide based on the preferred cat type. For smaller, channel catfish the best option would be graphite rod, due to its sensitivity. For larger blues or flatheads go for fiberglass or composite material, for additional strength.

Length

Your rod length needs to provide an optimal combination of sensitivity, casting distance, and function. Longer rods make battling with larger fish easier. When choosing a catfish rod we’d recommend going for at least a 7’ long one. For larger blues and flatheads you might go even longer, at least by 6 inches. This way you’ll be more comfortable while fighting your trophy cats.

Rod handle

As far as rod handle material is considered, for catfishing you should probably go for cork composite or Eva foam handles. They offer better durability and are easier to maintain. Another aspect is rod handle length. You should look for longer handles because they give greater leverage. This makes reeling up your cats a lot easier.

What type of rod is the best for catfish?

This, again, depends on what your intended use is. Spinning rods give you a longer casting distance and are more suitable for light line fishing. They are probably a better choice for beginners or anglers that go for lightweight cats. On the other hand, casting setups provide more reeling power, which is critical when fishing for trophy cats.

Spinning Rods For Catfish

As we said before, a spinning rod can be a fine choice for beginners and we’ve listed a few above. Even still, many find them not fit for catfishing due to needed power and fishing techniques.

Casting Rod for Catfish

If you are a more experienced angler or a fast learner, it may be better to go for a casting setup. In the long run, it will provide better performance and results while catfishing.

Best Rod for Blue Catfish

First, we need to differentiate between your preference. Are you going for trophy blue cats, or smaller 10-25 pond ones, or both? For trophy cats, you need longer and stronger fiberglass or composite rod with a larger handle. For regular-size blues, a rod-like this would be too heavy and impractical. If you’re looking for the middle ground go for a medium or medium-heavy power composite rod that won’t tire you as much. Go for a casting rod for these two types.

Best Rod For Channel Catfish

Channel catfish are not fighting as hard as blues and flatheads. That means you can go for the shorter and lighter rods. As long as it’s not shorter than 7’ you’ll be good. Medium or medium- heavy power will be enough for channels. You can go for moderate or even fast action rods. Whether you prefer spinning or a casting setup, you can’t go wrong with either.

Best Rod for Blue and Flathead Catfish

All that we’ve said about the best rod for a blue cat applies here. Don’t buy less than a 7’6”,medium-heavy or heavy power, moderate action fiberglass, or composite rod. Avoid spinning setups for these species.

Best catfish rod for Circle Hook:

To successfully use a circle hook you need a rod with a flexible tip. Stiffer tip rods don’t do well with circle hooks, because when the fish bites the hook can’t connect firmly. Moderate fast action rods are the ones most commonly used with this type of hook. Assuming you want an all-in-one rod, some of the best are already on our list so take another
look.

Compatible Reels For Catfish Rods :

There are two sides to rod and reel compatibility :

● Rod and reel type
● Rod and reel size

First, when choosing a rod, decide between spinning or casting one. That will determine the type of reel you’re gonna need. We won’t say you can’t fit some spinning reel in a casting rod, but you certainly shouldn’t. Match your pieces of equipment correctly. Secondly, you need to balance your rod and reel size. Fitting size 4000 reel on a 6’ rod wouldn’t really work. Try some reels on a rod you want, until you find a good balance. If you looking for perfect reel for your favorite catfish rods, you may check out our content on best Catfish Reels, you will find buyers guide and details about choosing the right reel for you

Catfish Rods Vs Catfish Poles

Many people use the terms “catfish rod” and “catfish pole” interchangeably, as synonyms. Even though rod and poles are synonyms, there is a notable difference between the terms. The catfish pole denotes a primitive fishing tool. It’s a wooden stick or a cane with a line attached to one end. “Rod” is used to describe a modern fishing tool- made from fiberglass (or other modern materials) with respective reel, handle, and other parts. You can still have fun fishing with a pole today, it’s just good to understand the difference.

Care and Maintenance of Catfish Rods

Taking care of your catfish rod isn’t much different than maintaining your other rods. Because of the catfish nature and fishing techniques, the rod will be under more stress, so you need to take a little more care.

Here are some tips on how to maintain your catfish pole :

● Align your guides to prevent breaking the line. Also, make sure to check for rough parts and nicks and sand them out
● Clean your rod with a warm cloth soaked with detergent or vinegar after every use
● Apply wax on the rod joints to prevent friction tears
● Wear gloves when using rods with cork handles. Sweat and oil from your skin can speed up to handle the deterioration
● Store your rod in a dry place
● Loosen the drag, to release tension and prevent line breaks

Frequently Asked Questions :

1. Can you use musky rods for catfish?

Musky rods are often made from graphite, which means they are lighter, more fragile, and generally more expensive. You can use a musky rod for some smaller channel cats but with bigger fish, it’s just not worth the risk.

2. Can you use a fly rod for Catfish?

You can and many are doing it right now. You won’t catch as many but it definitely can be done. It doesn’t even require sinking the fly it can be close to the surface. Channel cats are easier to catch with a fly than blues or flats.

Final verdict

We hope this article helped you understand the specifics of catfishing and taught you what to look for when buying your catfish rod. Follow the guide and match your new catfish rod to your needs. Pack and have fun!

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