If you’re thinking about catching catfish than the first thing you need to be aware of is that catfish are beasts who will fight you every step of the way.
If you want to pursue catfish than you’re going to need a rod that’s as fierce and powerful as they are so you can keep up. Catfish can grow to over 9 feet long, and to have a chance of catching one you’re going to need a specialized rod that’s up to the job.
If you’re just starting to think about catfish than it might seem a bit overwhelming at first to discover all the different options available to you, but you need a rod that suits you, your style of fishing, and the species of catfish that you’re going after.
This guide is here to do all the leg work for you so that you can prioritize finding the perfect rod for you. We’ll take you through some of the best options currently available on the market right now, answer some of your questions, and show you some of the features to look out for when buying a catfish rod.
After all, to catch the big catfish you need the best rod.
Top 5 Best Catfish Rods
OUR TOP PICK
OUR TOP PICK
Ugly Stik is well known for creating great quality rods that are built to last and this option from Shakespeare’s Ugly Stik range is no exception. Durable and tough this two-piece rod has been designed by Ugly Stik to be as comfortable and easy to use as possible when you’re battling the mighty catfish.
Ugly Stik is aware of how hard you need to fight to catch your prey and they’ve used features like the Ugly Tuff stainless steel guides, which add to the durability of the rod and make it easier to cast and retrieve your line, to take out some of the work so that you can just enjoy your fishing experience.
Other features like their Clear Tip design makes the rod more sensitive which allows you to feel the even the smallest bite, so you can hook the bigger fish.
Ugly Stik knows that you need a lot of power behind you and the inclusion of the over-sized handle knobs gives you a power boost so that the rod can handle even the biggest catfish. This isn’t the most transportable of rods, but many anglers will appreciate the ability to hold their own against the larger fish more than having a rod that’s easy to transport.
As you’d expect the rod is made from high-quality materials that are built to last and while the rod might be a bit stiffer than you’re used to, it’s very easy to use. The rod comes with a size 50 spinning reel which has a smooth action and a sturdy design. The reel has a very durable aluminum spool and the whole package together is likely to last a good few years.
If you want an excellent quality rod, that’s going to catch you a lot of fish but is tough and durable than it’s hard to see why you’d look further. This rod has been designed for the power to be there if and when you need it so you can take on the big fish, but it doesn’t break the bank or require you to use it every day to get your money’s worth. This rod is a lot of fun and most anglers would be more than happy to have it beside them in their hunt for catfish.
- The rod is tough and durable
- Designed to handle the big catfish thanks to its powerful reel and large handle knobs
- Great value
- Excellent quality
- Fun and easy to use
- Not the most portable of options
If you want to go after the tough fish than you’re probably wanting a professional level rod that’s going to be capable of handling whatever you throw it at, and we might just have the option for you.
This durable rod from Okuma comes in two sizes and has been designed to be durable and tough with the heavy-duty backbone needed to handle the monster fish. There’s a lot of power in this rod and if that’s what you’re after then you’ll be hard-pressed to find better especially for the price.
The rod has blanks made from E-glass and the guides are double-footed and made from stainless steel to make the rod tougher and more durable. The rod is very reliable and trustworthy and you might find that knowing you have a rod in your arsenal with the capability to handle anything might give you the confidence to master catfishing.
The rod has a comfortable handle with an EVA fore grip and a cork rear grip both of which are designed to allow to keep a comfortable and sturdy grip on the rod without getting tired. The grip on this rod might reduce fatigue in your hands and wrists which will allow you to fish for longer and gives you better control over the rod.
The rod comes in 2 different sizes which both have different tensile strengths, so you have the opportunity to look at where and what species you want to fish and choose the best option for you. If you’re a beginner, we recommend checking out the length you’re looking at with this rod, to make sure you have the skill and ability to handle it.
All the power in the world won’t help you if you can’t control your rod, and it’s always better to work your way up so you can work out what’s best for you and your style.
If you want a rod that’s going to handle anything you throw at it and is going to catch you some monsters then this is the one for you. More experienced anglers will probably get more out of this one, but there’s nothing to stop a beginner from having a go with this rod, and once you get to grips with it, you’ll definitely catch some big fish.
- Strong and very durable
- Very sensitive to allow you to feel the smaller fish bites
- Very comfortable grip
- Well designed with quality materials used in construction
- Perfect for going after the really big catfish
- Not the recommended option for beginners
- Durable and powerful E-Glass rod blanks
- EVA fore grip for comfort
- Cork rear grip reduces binding in rod holders
- Double foot welded stainless steel guides
- Heavy duty stainless steel hook keeper
If performance and quality are words you live by as an angler than this powerful pole which offers consistently excellent performance might be just what you’ve been looking for.
Measuring in at 7 feet-long this catfish rod is durable and lightweight with a reel that has been designed to give you accurate casts again and again.
The rod is sturdy and easy to use and is easily capable of handling catfish over 20lbs in weight and it’s a great option for anglers who are fond of trolling too.
The EVA split grips combined with the stainless-steel guides give the rod a lot of its power so it can handle the larger and more ferocious catfish. The rod handles well and is easy to control thanks to the comfortable grip that feels great in the hand.
The composite blank construction is responsible for the durability of this model but is also the reason it’s so lightweight. The weight of this rod removes a lot of stress from your wrists and hands so you can fish comfortably for longer periods.
The rod comes with a 5.1:1 gear ratio bait caster reel which has a Carbon Matrix hybrid drag system. This system makes for smooth drag no matter what size fish you’re going after, especially with the 2 stainless steel ball bearings.
Anglers with some experience going after catfish are likely to get the most out of this excellent rod and reel combo. This rod has been designed with the catfish fisherman who wants a powerful, consistent performance out of their rods, and if this is your number one priority it’s an option that’s well worth a look.
- Lightweight and tough
- Powerful enough to handle some pretty big fish
- The reel has a smooth and consistent drag
- Comfortable and sturdy handle
- Made from high-quality materials
- More suited to anglers with experience catching catfish
- Baitcast fishing rod and reel combo specially engineered for catfish angling
- Engineered for smoothness with 2 stainless ball bearings
- Carbon Matrix drag system provides smooth and consistent drag
- 6-pin centrifugal bracket applies consistent pressure for an exceptionally precise cast
- Durable yet lightweight composite blank construction with bold styling
Another option from Shakespeare’s Ugly Stik line this is a great option if you’re interested in a sensitive and versatile rod that’s excellent at catching large catfish than look no further than this model.
This one-piece rod has a backbone that can handle even the most ferocious of fish and it’s as durable as you’d expect from a rod bearing the Ugly Stik mark.
This is a graphite composite rod that makes it both durable, and sensitive so you’ll be able to feel all the bites you get, and the split EVA grips add comfort and control to the rod. The stainless-steel guides add to the durability and are made from high-quality materials that will last and last given the proper care and maintenance.
If you’ve been thinking about giving night fishing a try then this might be the rod that makes you get out there thanks to the glow-in-the-dark tip which will help you haul in a great catch even in the dark.
The rod has more than enough power to help you pursue hard-fighting catfish easily and the classic Ugly Stik durability means it can take a lot of punishment without damage so it’s a rod that’s more than capable of handling some monster cats if that’s what you’re looking for.
This isn’t the most portable rod, but you’re going to struggle to find a rod with this much power that’s also easy to transport.
If you want to catch some large catfish or you want to give fishing at night a try then this rod is packed full of features that’ll help you snap up some big cats with ease and efficiency. Ugly Stik rods are always durable and fun to use, and this rod is a great option to include in your kit because if it’s power, sensitivity, and just how much fun you’re able to have with it.
- This rod is designed to handle the bigger fish
- Durable and well-constructed
- Glow in the dark tip, great for night fishing
- Sensitive and flexible
- Powerful, but isn’t going to break the bank
- Not easily transportable
If you want a versatile rod, a lot of fun to use that’s not going to need to be replaced in five minutes than we’ve got the rod for you.
This beautiful model from Rippin Lips has been designed with the help of John Jamison the master catfisher, and it’s not surprising that with his help this rod is strong, lightweight, and perfect for catching catfish.
The EVA grip handles on this rod gives you great balance and more than enough control to go after some very tough fish, and there’s certainly the power in this one to back you up.
Rippin Lips have used S-glass blank construction which is more durable than E-glass and makes the rod stronger and lighter. Making the rod lightweight removes some of the stress for your wrists which means you can put up more of a fight with the tougher catfish.
The rod has chrome-plated stainless-steel guides with ceramic inserts that give you a consistent and smooth cast and make it easy for you to handle the rod easily with a lot of control. The rod comes in at 6 different lengths so it’s easy to find the right one to go after different species of cats if you wanted to, and dependent on the action you wanted these rods could easily be used in tournaments for the competing angler.
The glow-in-the-dark tip is a sign of the versatility of the rod, and the amount of effort that has gone into the design to make it versatile and suitable for a variety of different anglers.
If you want a rod that’s fun to use, but more than capable of handling the big fish than this is an option well worth thinking about. If you want something strong and lightweight that you can use in a range of ways from fishing trips to tournaments then this is an excellent high-value rod that can last for a long time.
- Lightweight and flexible
- Made from high-quality materials which make this a very durable rod
- Versatile rod suitable for a range of purposes
- A comfortable grip that gives you excellent balance
- Stiffer than some of the other available options
Best Catfish Rods Buying Guide
Finding the right catfish rod can take time and can seem a bit overwhelming at first when you see the wide range of options available. You hopefully will feel a bit more confident now about the sort of rods that are out there, and might have more of an idea about might suit you and your needs, but if you still feel confused than don’t worry this next section will show you some of the most important features to look out for and remember when you buying your catfishing rod.
The most important thing to bear in mind is that your rod needs to suit you and your style, skillset, and what fish you want to go after. Keep those things in mind first and foremost and you’ll end up with a rod that you like and will get a lot of use out of.
Like all fishing rods, rods made to go after catfish generally are made from a few specific materials to give them the strength and power they need to handle the ferocious fish, especially considering how big some catfish can get. Unlike a lot of other kinds of rods, catfish rods are generally made with fiberglass constructed blank instead of graphite.
The reason for this is that glass is stronger than graphite, which when you’re up against a monster of a catfish is important because you don’t want your rod to break on you or get damaged in the fight. The downside to fiberglass is that it’s much less sensitive than graphite which can be an issue with feeling the bites.
There are some great graphite cat rods out there, and if you value sensitivity than don’t worry if your rod isn’t made from fiberglass. Make sure you have the power behind you to go after the fish you want, and you’ll be absolutely fine.
If you want to catch catfish than you’ll probably find it easier with a rod that has a lot of backbone. You don’t want a rod that flexes as easily as a rod to catch trout for example, and ideally, your rod will be quite stiff with not a lot of flexibility in the tip.
You need to be able to set the hook even for the biggest catfish and this is the best method to achieve this.
Best Catfish Rods - FAQ's
How long should a catfish rod be?
A catfish rod should be around 7 feet to 9 feet in length. You might be able to catch smaller catfish with a pole that’s 6-feet in length, but most poles are at least 7. Beginners might want to start at the shorter end of the scale and build their way up so they can maintain control.
When’s the best time to catch catfish?
The best window to catch catfish in is normally an hour or so before sunset until 2 hours after sunrise. In the winter, late morning until just before sunset is a good time to give catching catfish ago.