Best Crappie Rod and Reel

Crappie are so small and delicate it’s easy to think that you’ll be able to catch them with any old rod and reel. In fact, it’s exactly these features of the crappie that makes them so tricky to catch, and why so many anglers love to go after them.

As any crappie angler will be able to tell you, the best crappie rods are lightweight, and not heavily powered. The heavier and more powerful rods work against if you fish crappie because it’s easy to pull your hook out of their soft mouths when you’re trying to set it.

Best Crappie Rod and Reel

If you want to catch crappie you need a light, fast action rod where you can set your hook with the lightest touch. If you’re too aggressive after the bite you’ll lose the catch, which is why you need the best-suited rod you can find.

If this is your first crappie rod than it might seem daunting when you see the number of options available to you. This guide is here to remove of the stress of finding the right rod and reel combo for you and your needs, we’ve assembled 5 of the top options currently available and we’ve also made a buyers guide to remind you of some of the features you need to think about before you make a decision.

Top 5 Best Crappie Rod and Reel

OUR TOP PICK

Abu Garcia Ike Dude Spinning/Spincast Fishing Reel & Rod Combo

This affordable rod and reel combo from Abu Garcia has been inspired by the set-up professional anglers use, and it’s a brilliant option for beginners or if you’re trying to introduce the sport to the next generation. This is a highly accurate and precise combo that comes with 2-piece composite blank construction.

This is a very portable rod and if you’re looking for something that you’ll be able to travel with, this is a great one to look at. The lightweight reel in this combo is housed inside the graphite body with a graphite rotor and aluminum spool. The spool comes pre-spooled with a 6-pound monofilament line that can be used whenever you want.

The reel has a 2-ball bearing design which gives you articulate casting while the EVA handle is comfortable and gives you a powerful grip that’s easy to maintain for long periods. This is a tough rod and reel combo that’s likely to last you a couple of years minimum.

The rod has a good feel to it, and the whole setup is more than capable of catching you some sizeable fish if you wanted to. It’s certainly flexible and fast enough to catch crappie, and it’s easy for beginners to use. With supervision, younger children would be capable of using this rod, and it’s a great option if you’re looking for something to get kids into fishing.

That said there’s a lot to like about this rod, and experienced anglers may appreciate it more as a back-up rod, or one to keep in a vehicle for the spontaneous fishing moments. The rid is designed to be ambidextrous which is a nice touch by Aby Garcia and it’s clear that time and effort have been spent designing this rod, it’s a great option for kayaking fishing and it’s very easy to set the hook and catch some of the small and delicate crappies.

Pros

  • Excellently constructed with high-quality materials
  • Innovative ambidextrous design
  • Great for beginners
  • Lightweight and durable
  • Comes with pre-spooled line

Cons

 Shouldn’t be used regularly in saltwater
Abu Garcia Ike Dude Spinning/Spincast Fishing Reel & Rod Combo
  • 2 ball bearings
  • Lightweight graphite body and rotor
  • Aluminum spool
  • High density EVA
  • Lightweight composite blank

EDITORS CHOICE

Shakespeare Ugly Stik GX2 Ice Fishing Reel & Rod Combo, 26” Light Action Rod, USGXICE26LCBO

If you’re looking for a rod and reel combo that’s high quality but isn’t going to break the bank then this is an excellent option from Ugly Stik. As you’d expect from such a permanently popular brand like Ugly Stik, this well-designed and constructed combo is well balanced and light enough to catch crappies.

This is a strong rod that’s sensitive enough on the tip for you to easily feel when small fish are nibbling. The sensitivity of this rod is due to the clear tip design which lends itself to responsiveness and sensitivity. If you’re looking to start ice fishing this is a great rod for it and considering the rods versatility, it’s excellent value for money.

The reel is also lightweight thanks to the aluminum ported spool which is very resilient and is very easily operated. The reel seat has a twist-lock design that helps securely hold the reel in place, and minimized movement which may be damaging to the reel. The rod features one-piece stainless-steel guides which let the line run smoothly and with minimal friction while also improving the rod’s sturdiness and durability.

The reel can easily be used in ice fishing and the whole set-up is so easy to use that beginners may want to take a look at this option. The rod is light action enough for catching crappies to be simple and fun, but the rod can still handle bigger fish if you wanted to use it. If you’re regularly fishing in tight rivers or other similar spots, then you may find this rod a useful one to take with you.

This is a sensitive and durable rod that’s a lot of fun to use, but is versatile enough to be used for other techniques and won’t have broken the bank if you decide that crappie fishing isn’t for you.

Pros

  • Innovative twist and lock reel seat design
  • Versatile rod, great for ice fishing
  • Very responsive and sensitive due to the clear tip design
  • Good for a variety of skill levels
  • Very durable

Cons

  • The reel may need replacing before the rod
Shakespeare Ugly Stik GX2 Ice Fishing Reel & Rod Combo, 26” Light Action Rod, USGXICE26LCBO
  • Size 20 spinning reel suited for ice applications
  • Ported aluminum spool
  • Genuine ugly Stik blank with clear tip design
  • Twist-lock reel seat with EVA handles
  • One-piece stainless steel guides

BEST VALUE

Cadence Fishing CR5 Spinning Rods | 30 Ton Carbon | Fuji Reel Seat | Stainless Steel Guides with SiC Inserts | CR5-702S-MHF

If you prefer inshore or freshwater fishing than this is a great combo to have a look at. This model has a 3-layer carbon blank construction, this means that the first layer is diagonal, then there is a second vertical layer and a third reversed layer wrapped around a graphite blank core with highly adhesive resin.

The construction of this rod makes it very durable and sturdy, but the design means that sensitivity isn’t sacrificed for strength and the rod is excellent at allowing you to feel even the lightest bite from small fish. The durability of this rod is assisted by the stainless-steel guides frame which is designed to minimize friction so that the line runs more smoothly.

The guides also feature insert guide rings with a ninety-degree angle which are robust, and conducive to high temperatures. The design of the line guides also means that vibrations are transferred up the rod more quickly and smoothly which also helps with the sensitivity of the rod. This rod is a great option for the hiking angler as it has a 2-piece design system that is easily portable. The rod can fit easily into a fishing backpack and it’s lightweight enough that you won’t even notice it.

The handle has 2 configurations which make it comfortable to use and enhance your grip so that you can use the rod for longer. This rod really is extremely lightweight and easy to use with excellent balance. Under load, this rod has quite a lot of bend to it, but there’s enough backbone to easily haul the catch in. The rod has an excellent casting distance and it’s not hard to see how it would make an excellent addition to any angler’s arsenal.

Pros

  • Very portable due to its 2-piece construction
  • The handle is very comfortable and it’s easy to find a great grip
  • Durable and well-constructed
  • Ultra-lightweight
  • Excellent casting distance
Cadence Fishing CR5 Spinning Rods | 30 Ton Carbon | Fuji Reel Seat | Stainless Steel Guides with SiC Inserts | CR5-702S-MHF
  • 【What You Get From Cadence】Cadence fishing poles offer high-performance premium features at an unbeatable value. Fishing with quality, dependable gear should not mean breaking the bank. Cadence has a reliable customer service team and we will solve any problem you have. Customers have a risk-free guarantee when purchasing from us!
  • 【Ultra-High Quality 30-TON Carbon Fiber Blank】All CR5 1-piece and 2-piece fishing rods are constructed with 30-ton carbon matrix graphite blank offers strongest ,lightweight, durability and sensitivity than other rods. Ideal for game fish including freshwater fish like bass, walleye and trout as well as popular inshore species like red fish, speckled trout and flounder with a rinse after fishing.
  • 【Premium Materials】Cadence CR5 spinning rods are made from materials that bring strength and sensitivity without weight. Made of 30 ton carbon, SiC guides with durable stainless steel frames, a comfortable Fuji reel seat and a blank wrapped in carbon veil to enhance the durability. Rods comes in 2 handle configurations; carbon split grip and full grip using a premium cork and EVA, is made to deliver a premium rod at a greater value than the competition.
  • 【Super Smooth Power】Stainless steel guides with SiC inserts makes it more smooth and durable, avoids line sticking into the guides, minimizes friction while also enhancing sensitivity by transferring vibrations from the line through the guide to the rod and to your hand.
  • 【Travel Friendly】Unique 2 piece design makes it easily and affordable to fit in car, trunk, boat hatch than traditional one piece,but using feel like a one-piece fishing rod ! 2 piece spinning rod allows you to travel to your favorite fishing spot and enjoy fishing whenever and wherever you want.

RUNNER UP

Daiwa DSK20-B/F602ML D-Shock Freshwater Spinning Combo, 1 Bearing, 6' Length, 2Piece Rod, Medium/Light Power, Fast Action, Ambidextrous

This is an excellent crappie combo for the weekend angler who wants to give something new a try, or the novice looking for a quality set-up that’s going to get them out of the water and catching their prey. This rod/reel combo from Daiwa has an ultra-smooth retrieve thanks to light action that makes them perfect for catching crappie.

The rod is made of fiberglass and it’s a great model for freshwater fishing, the rod flexes easily and delivers a fast line speed. As the rod is made of fiberglass it’s as durable as you’d expect and gives a flexible finish to the rod. The rod has a nice action and is plenty sensitive enough to be a great use while fishing for crappie.

The reel body is made from graphite and is ultra-light, it features an ABS machined aluminum spool with the patented Twist Buster II line twist reduction design. This reel prevents line twisting by reducing the overall friction and is a great feature for beginners or anglers who don’t fish every day and don’t want to waste the time they have on the water with line problems. The overall design of the reel improves the spooling and the overall cast itself.

This is a great rod for beginners, or anyone looking to get back into crappie fishing after some time away. This combo helps you make the most out of your fishing experience, and this option is capable of catching a variety of species easily and without hassle. It cast well and easily, and it’s a great way for beginners to learn as they land some great catches.

Pros

  • Reduced line twists
  • Lightweight and durable
  • Well-constructed and designed
  • Excellent for beginners or weekend anglers
  • Fast action and casts well

Cons

  • Reel could be a little smoother

RUNNER UP

KastKing Brutus Spinning Fishing Rod and Reel Combo,5ft, L Power,Moderate,2 pcs,2000 Reel

This option from KastKing is exactly what any angler who wants durability and sturdiness in their fishing gear is looking for. Made from a special Brute Tuff glass and carbon composite this option is very durable and is sure to last you a long time and not break at the first sign of trouble. Many anglers love this combo for its versatility as the powerful blanks featured in this rod also make it suitable for catching bigger fish as well as the delicate crappie.

The strike tip is colored chartreuse to make it bright enough to easily see, even in poor light conditions. Features like this, coupled with the lightness of the rod make it an excellent option for those looking to fish for long periods or at a variety of different times.

The rod has very smooth line running thanks to the zirconium oxide rings, and it casts well. The sensitivity on this rod isn’t enough to rival some of the other options on this list, but it is more than enough to help you catch a variety of fish including crappie. The full-length handles are made from EVA and are comfortable to use for long periods. The reel is easy to work and very reliable in a variety of different conditions.

The reel features with 4 smooth stainless steel ball bearings and 1 anti-reversal roller bearing which is responsible for the smoothness of the reel’s action. The CNC spool is made of aluminum and combined with a graphite body that is very lightweight and helps to enhance the drag on this option.

This combo would suit a range of skill levels and there most anglers will find something to like in this option. It’s very durable and the whole set-up is well constructed. Beginners will find this a great combo to grow on, and it could help them improve quickly. The reel is very smooth, and the rod isn’t going to break suddenly on you. Experienced anglers may like this rod for a back-up rod, but it has a lot to offer and a lot of fun to use.

Pros

  • Tough and durable
  • Comfortable handles and easy to use
  • Very smooth reel
  • Great at a variety of skill levels
  • Brightly colored tip to help you fish in poor light

Cons

  • Some anglers may find it a little stiff
KastKing Brutus Spinning Fishing Rod and Reel Combo,5ft, L Power,Moderate,2 pcs,2000 Reel
  • Brute Tuff Composite Glass/ Carbon Spinning Fishing Combos – For brutal conditions! KastKing Brutus fishing combos are made with incredible toughness and durability that anglers want without losing performance and feel. Brute Tuff composite fishing rod blanks are made for extreme fishing conditions, hard fighting fish, and anglers who challenge the elements for bigger fish. KastKing Brutus rod blanks features a bright chartreuse “Strike Tip” for early strike detection in low light conditions
  • Brutus Fishing Combos with High Performance Spinning Reels – For anglers who want a perfectly matched spinning rod and reel combo, there are KastKing Brutus fishing combos from 5’ to 7’ long in light to medium heavy power ratings. They include a perfectly matched spinning fishing reel featuring CNC aluminum spools, 4+1 Performance BBs, strong yet light weight graphite frame, rotor and handle, a smooth and powerful drag, they’re brute tough and ready for the challenge of any fishing condition.
  • Brutus Braid Line Guides – Brutus components are as tuff as the fishing rod itself! Unlike other brand models, Brutus fishing combos are braided line ready and made for extreme fishing conditions. KastKing uses only stainless-steel running line guide frames with corrosion resistant stainless rings. The tip top guide is a Zirconium Oxide ring and is perfect for fluorocarbon, mono or braided fishing lines. Durable, graphite spinning reel seats keep your reel firmly in place under heavy pressure.
  • Durable and Comfortable Full-Length Eva Handles - There are full-length EVA handles on every Brutus spinning rod and reel combo. They deliver all day long comfort and are the most durable handles made today. KastKing high-strength special blend EVA is easy to clean, provides cushioning and aren’t cold or crack when the temperatures drop. Each fishing rod also uses the same EVA material in the foregrip to give you additional leverage for landing large fish.
  • Five Rod and Reel Fishing Combos – KastKing Brutus spinning fishing rod set ups are available in 5 different combinations of power, action, and length. There’s a Brutus fishing pole designed for most freshwater fishing adventures including trout fishing, bass fishing, panfish, walleye fishing, pike, catfish fishing and more. All Brutus rods are 2-pcs, that are easy to pack as travel rods or store. Go fishing with peace of mind.

Best Crappie Rod and Reel Buying Guide

You should now feel a bit more at ease with the sort of crappie rods and reel combos available, and maybe have some idea about the kind of thing that might suit you.

If you’re not there yet, don’t worry this section of the guide is here to take you through a few of the features you need to be on the lookout for when buying a crappie rod and reel combo.

Action

The action of the rod describes how easily the rod bends and then bounces back to its original shape. All rods have different actions and are suited to different things, as we mentioned earlier the key with catching crappie is not to be too aggressive. This is why a crappie fishing rod is better when it’s slow action. As crappie are so delicate they’re easy to damage as you catch them, a slow action rod absorbs more shock so you’re less likely to damage the crappie during the chase.

Power

The power rating of your rod tells you how resistant the rod is to being bent under pressure, every rod has a different power rating and they essentially tell you what fish you can and can’t go after without risking damage to your rod. For catching crappie you want a rod that is light to medium. Crappie is a smaller fish, so you need lightweight baits and lures to have a chance of catching them.

Length

As with any fishing rod you need to choose the best length rod for you when your catching crappie. Some species of fish need a certain length of the rod, but crappie fishing is far more personal. The length of your rod when catching crappie completely depends on what technique you’re using. Most anglers use rods ranging from 4 feet to 10 feet long, but if you choose ice fishing as your go-to technique then the rods you’re looking at will be much shorter.

It’s worth remembering that the shorter your rod the more accurate your casting tends to be. Another good way to choose the length of your ideal rod is to look at the location you’re fishing in. Longer rods are better for fish that hide in marsh or vegetation and they give you a longer cast. You have to pay attention to these factors if you want to make the best choice for you.

Material

Most of the best crappie rods are made from graphite, fiberglass, or a composite of the two. Graphite is normally more sensitive, and fiberglass is sturdier and less likely to break under pressure. You want your rod to be sturdy, lightweight, and durable, so think about what features you value most in your rod and pick accordingly.

When picking a reel, you need it to be water-resistant, at the very least anti-corrosive, sturdy and lightweight. Most of the best reels are made from aluminum or graphite for these reasons, and which of these you prefer is up to you. Plastic reels are not recommended as they break easily and normally aren’t strong enough.

Best Crappie Rod and Reel - FAQ's

Why should I pick a rod/reel combo?

A rod and reel combo is a great way to get out on the water and start fishing straight away, without needing to worry about whether you’ve picked a rod and reel that suit each other. Combos can help you catch some great fish and they’re a good way for beginners to master the basics.

When’s the best time to catch crappie?

Crappie can be caught all year round, but the best time of the day to go after them depends on the time of year that you’re fishing. In summer you’ll be able to catch crappie at pretty much any time of the day, and during spring when they spawn it’s very easy to find them. In the winter though, the best time of the day to go crappie fishing is in the late afternoon. Plan your trip around the best time of day for whatever you want to catch for the biggest chance of success.