Best Catfish Rods 2023
Kastking Crixus Fishing Rod
Abu Garcia Catfish Commando Fishing Rod and Reel
Ugly Stik GX2
You could use any rod to go fishing for catfish. But there are benefits to rods specifically for catfishing. You may have noticed that the handles of catfish specific rods are longer than normal rods. This is to allow for greater leverage. Many big catfish require you to wrestle them up from the bottom. You may have to struggle with large blue catfish and flathead catfish as well. The best fishing rods for catfish change based on your needs.
Choosing the best catfish rod for catfish fishing depends on several factors. You need a catfish rod that fits your budget. You also need a catfish rod that works with the kind of catfish fishing you plan to do. Materials, length, and action are all things you want to look at.
There’s more to choosing the best catfish rods than just look or price. Knowing how a catfish rod works, and how it catches catfish, is important. These are the features that you need to keep in mind when looking for the best catfish rods.
Spinning vs. Casting
The first choice you need to make when determining the best catfish rod is spinning vs. casting. These are the two main types of catfish rods people will use for catfish fishing. The rods have different balances and you’ll use them differently. You should know the difference between them. Make sure you know the benefits and drawbacks of both.
A spinning rod needs a spinning reel. A casting rod needs a baitcasting reel. Some people will mix and match, but that’s not recommended. Just because a spinning reel will fit on a casting rod doesn’t make it a good idea.
The reel seat on a spinning rod is located under the rod. The islets guide the line up the base of the rod to the top. That means if you land a big fish the pressure on the line is put on the eyelids. If the fish is too big, it will break the islets. For that reason, spinning rods are not ideal for large catfish fishing. They may still be appropriate for some catfish, though.
Casting rods, or baitcasting rods, have the guides on the top of the rod. The reel seat is on the top as well. That means if you hook a larger fish than the pressure is not just on the islets but on the rod itself as it takes the weight.
Some anglers swear by baitcasting rods as the best choice for catfish fishing. They believe spinning rods are simply not suited to the task. There are fewer commercial spinning rods available for catfish fishing. The technique is not as easy as it is with baitcasting rods. But it can still be done.
Catfish fishing rods come in a variety of materials, each with their own benefits. These are the most common types of catfish rods you’ll find today.
- E-Glass – The most common type of fishing rod on the market is an e-glass fishing rod. Most people will refer to E-glass as fiberglass. There’s more than one kind of fiberglass rod, so it’s worth making the distinction. E glass is strong and resilient, which is why it makes for a good catfishing rod. On the downside, E-glass is not very sensitive. If you’re angling for some Channel Cats and they’re waiting to feel a light tug on the line, E-glass is not the best choice.
- Graphite – Graphite catfish rods are more expensive than E-glass catfish rods. They are also more sensitive and lightweight. When you plan to sit for a long time and fish a graphite rod will be very comfortable. The downside is that they tend to be less durable as well. They can break when you hook a large enough catfish. They may also break just from impact damage. Graphite is great for bass fishing but not always catfishing. For large-sized catfish, a graphite rod would may a bad choice and could even break.
- Carbon Fiber – You have to pay a premium for a carbon fiber catfish rod, but it may be worth it. If you’re a serious angler carbon fiber is superior to both graphite and E-glass. It has durability, strength, and flexibility. A carbon fiber catfish rob should last a long time.
- S-Glass – A different form of fiberglass than E-glass. S-glass is stronger and more flexible, but also lighter. The trade-off is that an S-glass catfish rod will always cost more money than an E-glass catfish rod. S-glass catfish rods are not that common. Some manufacturers just say fiberglass and won’t specify E-glass or S-glass.
- Composite – As the name suggests, a composite catfish rod is a mixture of materials. Fiberglass and graphite are used together to create a composite fishing rod. The result is a catfish rod that’s in the middle of glass and graphite in terms of properties. It will be more sensitive than fiberglass, but not as strong as graphite. This material makes an ideal fishing rod for catfish.
- Cane Pole – If you want to get back to basics, a cane pole is an interesting alternative to commercial fishing rods. You have to make a cane pole yourself out of a length of bamboo and string it with your own line. These are the most ancient kind of fishing rod in the world. There’s evidence of Egyptians using them four thousand years ago to fish in the Nile. You can hook some decent catfish with a cane pole. They’re not ideal for the largest catfish, though. Definitely not a heavy-duty rod. You could cut your own length of bamboo anywhere from 8 feet to 12 feet in length. You tie the line to the end of the pool and then bait a hook on the end. It’s about as simple as fishing can get.
Fishing Rod Action
You’ll see catfish fishing rods described as having a certain kind of action. This refers to where and how the rod bends as you’re using it.
Slow – A slow action rod is one that bends down the length of the pole. This can even happen close to the handle. Slow action rods are very flexible. This is not the best for a catfishing rod.
Moderate – Moderate action catfish rods have a bend that shows up In the upper half of the blank. You could use this to fish for smaller catfish.
Fast – Fast action catfish rods will bend only in the top third of the rod. This means it is strong compared to the more flexible rods. This is a good choice for a catfish rod.
Extra Fast – Extra fast action catfish rods bend only near the tip. The rest of the rod should stay rigid and straight. For a confident angler, this is a great catfish rod.
Where and how the rod bends is important for the kind of catfish you’re catching. When you’re looking for catfish you want to stick with a moderate or fast action. Fast action allows you to set the hook more quickly when you get a bite. It does take more finesse to get the hang of. Moderate is not as quick for setting the hook but could be easier to handle.
Fishing Rod Power
Fishing rod power is self-explanatory. It refers to the strength of your catfish rod. The higher the power, the stronger the rod. The powers range from ultra-light to heavy, with medium and medium-heavy in the middle. A medium heavy rod to a heavy rod is ideal for fishing for large catfish. In particular, if you’re looking for large blues, then you may need a heavy rod. On average, medium-heavy will not let you down fr most catfish.
A rod designed for catfish will have a longer handle than your average fishing rod. Catfishing doesn’t need the repeated casting that other fishing relies on. That means that the handle of your catfish rod will be different. That long handle is meant to give you an edge when you do hook a catfish. When you’re able to set the hook, the long-handle gives you exceptional leverage. This allows you to pull with more force and snag even the biggest catfish.
You can get catfish rod handles made from several materials.
Cord or paracord handles are not as common as some other materials. You may have seen this kind of corded wrapped around knife handles and other tools. It makes for a very durable handle for a catfishing rod. Even when wet the grip will not suffer. That said, it can get caked with catfish slime. The grooves and spaces between the wrapped cord will get dirty quickly. If you use stink bait, you definitely want to avoid a cord handle. Once it sinks in, you will not be able to get that smell back out.
Cork handles are a more traditional handle for a catfishing rod. Older rods were often made with cork handles. Some modern rods still are, but there are issues. Cork does not handle wetness and catfish slime well. The grip will suffer if it’s covered in sludge from your bait.
Cork is also full of holes. Those holes will get filled with dirt and slime over the years. This degrades the cork and can also lead to unpleasant smells. In time the cork will start to fall apart.
Cork is still very comfortable as a handle material. If you know how to maintain it, it can last for quite a while and serve you well.
Composite Cork Handles
Bridging the gap between a cork handle and a foam handle is a composite cork handle. It’s like a rubberized cork that gives you the comfort and smoothness of normal cork. The rubberization makes it less absorbent, and more durable in the long run. It’s a solid choice, but not very common.
Sometimes called EVA foam, these are very common in most modern catfishing rods. Foam is usually durable and also comfortable in your grip. If you’re fishing for long hours, the foam will not irritate your hands. They don’t get slippery when they’re wet either. Cleaning a foam handle is generally easy.
You should know what works best for a catfish fishing rod. Once you do, you can pick the best rod for you. Any rod can catch catfish, but some are better than others. Find what works best for you and have fun.