Best Catfish Rods: Unbiased Reviews 2018

Catfish is still a favorite fish to anglers for good reason: catfish are delicious pan fish and they offer fierce fight which gives you more excitement. The catfish lurks in the depths of ponds, streams, rivers and lakes and feed on it the creatures residing there. Because of their peculiar habits and small monstrous sizes, catfish fishing requires some strategy in the selection of rod and reel.

What to Consider When Choosing Your Catfish Rod

Catfishing rods come in a variety of shapes, sizes and colors. Choosing your desired catfish rod depends on many things including:

  • ​The species of catfish you wish to target
  • Size of the target species
  • The strategy you follow
  • Most importantly, your budget



Editor's Rating


Okuma Battle

Shakespeare Ugly Stik

Abu Garcia Commando

What types of Rod You Will Need to Catch Catfish?

As the Catfish fight hard, you need to choose stronger and durable fishing rod which will enable you to handle this fierce fish without difficulty. We got you covered everything you need, to choose the best catfish rod:

Go for long and flexible

You can catch the catfish in two ways: by throwing repeatedly or by fishing in the form of "sit and wait". Either way, the trick in catching the catfish is about knowing exactly when the catfish has bitten the hook and when to establish the link and start rolling. The catfish normally does not attack the line with an explosion and then runs. In most cases, they calmly bite the bait and then roam slowly.

In addition, a longer fishing rod allows you to easily make longer casts, covering more water.

Graphite rods

The graphite rods are strong and at the same time very sensitive, compared to fiberglass fishing rods. It will be strong enough to support the weight of a catfish that battles 85 pounds, yet sensitive enough to indicate the scratching of a catfish's whiskers against the bait. With a graphite rod you can feel even a small nibbling of catfish on your bait.

Handle Length

Choose longer length when choosing fishing rod handle. Longer handles have several advantages. The main benefit is it works as an additional leverage for fighting with a large fish. In addition, you will feel comfortable to grab longer handles when fishing with rod holders. The use of rod holders is a usual technique when catfishing.

Foam, Cork or Cord Handles?

The most common materials used on a traditional rod handles are foam, cork or cord. Foam and cork are widely known materials utilized in a fishing rod and nothing new to most of the fishermen. But Cork is new addition in this regard and used to target bass, crappie or other freshwater fish .Which one is more preferable? Although it’s a matter of personal choices but cork, composite cork or EVA foam is likely the best choice for catfishing.


Rod power depends on the strength and weight of the rod. Rod power varies from ultra light to heavy or medium. Different catfish species are caught using different techniques and fishing rods. For Channel catfish Medium (M) or Medium Heavy (MH) action are used. For Flathead catfish Medium Heavy Action is ideal.

Rod action is ascertained from the place where the rod bends when a weight is placed on it. Fast action rods bend especially around and closer to the apex. Mid or moderate action turn out into deep so you have the pliability at the tip and the center of the rod.

The slow action rod bends from the end of the handle to the tip. Note that the fastest means less bend in the rod and as you work your way down more bend will occur.

Color and Cosmetics

These are matter of personal preference and nothing impacts on your ability. You shouldn't be too worried about appearance, color or any other cosmetic materials. Always think about the performance features rather than cosmetics, otherwise you’ll be confused.

5 Best Catfish Rods

1.Okuma Battle Cat Catfish Spinning Rods

Okuma Battle Cat  Catfish Spinning Rods

The E-Glass rod blanks have made this catfish rod a favorite piece of equipment in the angler society. Measuring from 7.6 to 10 ft., it’s not a lightweight rod of course. But as durability comes with weight, buying this rod wouldn’t be a bad deal. You’ll see EVA fore grip that’ll surely give you comfort while handling the tool. Another benefit of EVA material is that it’ll remain intact even after using for a long period of time. Unlike the cork grip, EVA has more durability to endure your utmost mistreatment during fishing.

However, the manufacturers haven’t forgotten to utilize the positive sides of cork material. The rear grip is, hence, made of cork. Along with being lighter than foam, this substance helps to keep your grip warm even in cold temperature. In a heavy rod like this, you’ll need a lot of strength to deal with the catfishes and the double foot guides provide you with the required power. Flexibility is also found in these guides.

Having a number of backbones (though good for handling the monsters) you’ll find it pretty difficult to fish using lighter baits. But you can overcome this limitation by using heavier plugs. Planning surfcasting with this kit won’t be a low-grade idea either. Note that, it’s a 2-piece rod, so normally, it’s portable. In case, you suspect its sturdiness, we want to assure you that it breaks down right above the handle. So, there’s no doubt that it’s a pretty hefty piece. Therefore, collect this rod and plan to go on a tough fishing adventure anytime.

2.Shakespeare Ugly Stik Catfish Casting Rods

Shakespeare Ugly Stik Catfish Casting Rods

If you’re looking for a brand that offers both 1 piece and 2 piece rods, look nowhere but to Shakespeare. They have introduced both typed rods with high-end features. You just need to select which one meets your need. The 7ft. Ugly Stik comes in only 1 piece with every criterion like strength, action that are needed to deal with the big fighting catfishes. On the contrary, the 8ft. rod has the advantage of portability.

Sensitivity is endowed in this tool through the clear tip. Again, its reel seat provides a decent level of suitability to hold reels of various sizes. You won’t even get disheartened while fitting your favorite reel on it. Even the extremely large round reels can also be fitted here.While you’ll be busy chasing your target fish, its aristocratic charm will certainly draw the viewers’ attention towards you. Because its amazing paint work- the black-white combination has made it one of the attractive pieces in the market. You can’t expect more than this look in this price.

This tough rod is actually fashioned with the large primitive fishes (like sturgeon or striper) in mind. So, the designers have invested enough speed and strength to make your trip well-remembered. Standard and quality rod for the money.

3.Abu Garcia Catfish Commando Cast Combo

Abu Garcia Catfish Commando Cast Combo

When you’re fishing standing over the shore or on the boat, a short bent can provide you with the leverage needed in a harness to make your chasing worth mentioning. So, invest your cash in this fine combo piece that comes with a compact bent handle. Maximum number of pin gives you the utmost freedom to adjust the centrifugal brake. Here, you’ll find 6 pins to work with so that you can manage them according to your need by engaging and disengaging process.

To reduce this combo pack’s friction, Abu Garcia has used 2 ball Bearings. These ball bearings provide smoothness on the moving parts. Though this piece won’t be super smooth like another reel containing more than 5 ball bearings, it’ll be a good selection for you if you don’t fish much. The only downside is that the rod only comes for the right-handed anglers. So, the lefties will have to struggle a little bit in order to adjust the device according to their need.

The rod’s smoothness is reinforced by Carbon matrix Hybrid drag System. You can rely on it for getting an uninterrupted fishing experience. It’s forgiving performance is ideal for fishers who haven’t gained much experience in bait casting. In fine, having impressive qualities, this great rod-reel combination is going to be a perfect backup for your next fishing tournament.

4.Rippin Lips Super Cat Casting Rod

Rippin Lips Super Cat Casting Rod

Spending more doesn’t always mean you’re going to get a product loaded with features. So, never forget to consider those that have a good reputation behind their name. No matter in how much low budget they’re offering this Super Cat Casting Rod, Rippin Lips won’t depress you. In a very affordable price, it comes with high-quality components that’ll remain absent in any other model available in the same price range.

While handling, you’ll get a good feeling as split grip is used in it. It’s just not about the comfort it gives, the astonishing charm of this rod will also impress you. S-glass is used in it to induce sensitivity along with higher modulus. It also keeps the tool light-weighted though the structure doesn’t lag behind in keeping the strength up.

Circle hooks are another notable feature of this kit. No doubt they’re good for getting your catch without harming its flesh. However, one drawback of such hooks is that you’ll face difficulty while chasing after a ferocious bite. But if you could manage to set the circle-hook up, you won’t go home empty-handed. Durable and thick, it has plenty of backbones along with a soft tip. Overall, a different look with nice feel.

5.Shakespeare Two-Piece Medium Heavy Action Wild Cat Spin Rod

Shakespeare Two-Piece Medium Heavy Action Wild Cat Spin Rod

Shakespeare series is best-known for its versatility. This Medium Heavy Action Wild Cat Spin Rod is another proud creation of this brand. Being a 2- Piece model, it can be a good bet for carrying with you in a long air or boat trip. To make the handle tougher and long-lasting, EVA is used in it. Compared with cork handle, it’s much more resistant to tear and wear.

Though single footed guides keep the spinning rod set up little bit lighter than double footed guides, this rod, coming with double footed will ensure the durability. These well-built guides are also made of stainless steel as an attempt to increase the rod’s aesthetic feature.

During angling, it’s necessary to feel the bite, and with this rod you’ll need to learn to sense a fish-bite. Make the fish feel their liberty in choosing the bait and let them go. Then setting up the hook, start to take hold on them. Easy! In fact, you’ll become a great fan of this kit once you become used to it. Grab it for yourself as soon as possible and witness what this easy to use rod can do. In such a low price, you won’t find another model with such impressive characteristics.

Catfish Aquaculture

The Catfish are the most common species bred in the United States. They are fed on a grain diet which is a largely soybean meal. Mississippi has the largest catfish production, with more than 100,000 acres of catfish ponds in the state. Other important states producing catfish are Arkansas, Alabama and Louisiana.

Quick Tips to catch channel catfish

  • Channel catfish can be caught with a variety of baits and natural preparations, including crickets, night crawlers, minnows, tarpon, crabs, frogs, moonfish, piglets and stink baits.
  • When choosing a bait for the cat of the channel, the most important thing is to know the type of fishing that will be done.
  • Line dimensions and capacity, drag, reel, bearing construction, gear ratio, overall weight and other specifications are all factors needed to consider while choosing a rotating reel for the channel catfish.
  • The lightest class of equipment can handle 6-12 lb cats.

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