Best Catfish Rods of 2020 – Buyer’s Guide Review

Is your idea of a relaxing Sunday going out fishing? Are you looking for the best catfish rod to get the biggest catch? Well, look no further because, in this article, you’ll find all the best catfish rods for fishing. So, without any further ado, let’s dive right in!

Catfishing is a sport that requires patience, skill, and strength. These well-loved bottom feeders can grow to monstrous sizes and will put up a fierce fight to keep you on your toes.

Catfish are found all over North America in bodies of freshwater, recognized by their iconic “whiskers” known as barbels. If you’ve felt the urge to attempt to catch a catfish in your local river or lake, there are many things to keep in mind when it comes to choosing a rod.

Catfish rods have specific qualities that make them different than regular rods, especially in length, materials, and power.

Comparison Chart of the Best Catfish Rods 

PRODUCTDETAILS
gm2-table__image

KastKing KatTech Catfish Rods

  • S-glass construction designed for catching large fish
  • Fuji Reel seats embedded to ensure tightness
  • Fuji Double Foot Guides to withstand heavy loads
View Latest Price
gm2-table__image

BnM Silver Cat Catfish Series Rod 7ft 2pc Casting

  • Made of 100% fiberglass
  • Ceramic inserts inside the rod
  • Comes with a glow-in-the-dark rod tip
View Latest Price
gm2-table__image

KastKing Brutus Spinning Rods & Casting Fishing Rods

  • Designed with Brute Tuff Composite Glass for extreme performance
  • Full-length handles made up of Eva material for durability
  • Best for the money
View Latest Price
gm2-table__image

Shakespeare Ugly Stik Catfish Spinning Fishing Rod

  • Has ugly tuff one-piece guides made of stainless steel
  • Comes with a clear tip design
  • Used for medium-heavy actions
View Latest Price
gm2-table__image

Ugly Stik Catfish Casting Fishing Rod

  • Sensitive clear tip design and one piece stainless steel guides
  • Comes in two versions and good for small to medium catfish
  • Sturdy guides, inexpensive pricing and covered by a 7 year warranty
View Latest Price
gm2-table__image

Okuma Battle Cat Catfish Spinning Rods

  • Durable e-glass rod blanks and sturdy stainless steel guides
  • Cork rear grip for convenience and EVA foregrip for comfort
  • Double foot welded stainless steel guides and two piece design
View Latest Price

What Makes a Good Catfish Rod? 

The most important question you should ask yourself before purchasing a catfish rod is which one to choose. There are several types of catfish rods available, and you need to choose the one ​that suits your requirements.

All good catfishing rods should have some specific attributes that will make them perfect for pulling in freshwater bottom feeders.

Type of Fish

The first thing you need to look for when buying a catfish rod is to check whether the rod is suited for the species of catfish that you want to catch. There’s a channel catfish rod, a blue catfish rod and even a flathead catfish rod on the market. You need to look for the one ​that is suited for your fishing need. If neither of them works for you, you can always get a custom one designed.

Size of the Fish 

Some catfish are larger than others. If the species that you want to capture is a large, bulky one, then you might need to consider a more powerful catfish rod that comes with a longer handle. This will allow you to get a better position and casting distance from the fish and will allow you to get a better catch.

Budget 

Of course, the main thing that it all comes down to is the budget that you have in mind. You need to wheel out a couple of options based on their prices if you’re not ready to splurge on them. So, before deciding which rod to choose, tell the shop manager your budget, and he/she will nick out the best options available to you within that range.

Caught catfish (Source)

Rod Length

Typically, great catfishing rods will be more lengthy than a typical fishing rod. There are several reasons for this. Rods with more length offer greater distance and casting accuracy. In addition, the length gives you more control over the fish, which is very important in catfishing as they will put up a fight.

Rod Material

There are many factors that come into play when selecting rod material, but good catfishing rods should be made of graphite, E-glass, S-glass, carbon fiber, or a composite.

Rippin Lips Super Cat Casting Rod with Glow Tip

Handle Material

Great catfishing rod handles should be made of cork, foam, or composite cork. Preference will come into play here, but typically cork is the most popular due to its comfort and durability.

Handle Length

Similar to rod length, having a longer handle will give you much more control over your catch. Extra space allows for a two-hand hold and plenty of leverage.

Power

Rod power correlates with the strength of your rod. Depending on the species of catfish you’re hunting, rod power will differ. In general terms, great catfishing rods should have either medium (M) or medium-heavy (MH) power.

The combination of these attributes will make for a catfishing rod that’s sure to get the job done. Remember to think about the species of catfish you’re fishing for, the body of water you’ll be on, and your budget before making your purchase.

Quick Take | Best Catfish Rods

Review of the Best Catfish Rods

Now that you have gone over all the basics, let’s get into the reviews of the best catfish rods on the market:

KastKing KatTech Catfish Rods 7'6' H Power Fast 1 Piece Spinning

PROS

  • Allows for better casting accuracy
  • Gives better control to the fisherman in catching the fish
  • Rods are designed with S-glass which is lightweight yet powerful
  • Rubber Cork handles are custom-made for catching oversized fish
  • Comes with a Chartreuse “Strike Tip” for detection in low light conditions

CONS

  • May be pricey for some
  • Strictly for catfishing only
  • Might be difficult to handle for beginners

What Recent Buyers Report

This is a popular brand for fishing rods, and the users rely on this brand to deliver the best fishing products. The quality of construction of this fishing rod is impeccable, as the materials used in the building are premium. It is also lightweight and easy to maneuver.

Why it Stands Out to Us

This rod comes with tournament angling, which is the best angle you can get for catching catfish. It is also built with the best materials and high-quality components, such as the S-glass, which means that it is outstanding in its performance. It is capable enough to bait large fish easily.

Who Will Use This Most

If you’re an avid fisherman or a professional one, you will definitely find yourself impressed with this catfish rod. It is a great investment to make if you’re looking for a lightweight and comfortable rod that also performs like a dream and is capable of catching large amounts of huge catfish.

Bottom Line

If you’re on the hunt for the best catfish rod, then it doesn’t get better than this. It is equipped with the best components that you can get on the market, and it can withstand all pressures, making it the best catfish rod on the market. Give it a shot; you will not be disappointed!

BnM Silver Cat Catfish Series Rod 7ft 2pc Casting

PROS

  • Comes with aluminum oxide guides
  • Strong and precise for catching large fish
  • Glow in the dark tip helps with night-time fishing
  • Graphite reel seat can accommodate for any size reel
  • Nylon cord grip allows for better grip which is non-slippery

CONS

  • Can only be used for catfish
  • Hard to adjust to the nylon grip
  • Might not come with the best casting accuracy

What Recent Buyers Report

This is a lightweight fishing rod and is well balanced enough to be used for capturing large catfish. It comes with a high-quality fiberglass material that gives the fisherman the performance and strength to catch larger fish. It also has an outstanding tip sensitivity that is paired with a sturdy backbone.

Why it Stands Out to Us

This is an excellent rod because it is unique and designed with fiberglass to provide you the strength that you need to catch large catfish. The nylon cord grip allows for a non-slip handle even if you have slippery and slimy hands. It is also durable and can withstand heavy pressures.

Who Will Use This Most

This is a very versatile fishing rod and can be used to catch smaller channel catfish, especially where more sensitivity is needed. However, if you need to catch larger blue catfish or flatheads, this is a great option for that as well. It performs brilliantly, and you can get a lot of use out of it.

Bottom Line

If you’re looking for a high-quality fishing rod that is versatile enough to be used for any kind of catfish, then this is the one you should choose. It is made with great quality fiberglass and can hold up to large pressures, especially when catching larger and heavier catfish.

KastKing Brutus Fishing Rods, Casting Rod 6ft 6in-Medium - M Fast-2pcs

PROS

  • Comes with 5 stainless steel bearings
  • Drag of the rod is very smooth and easy
  • Handle grips are quite comfortable and easy to grip
  • The graphite frame is really durable and can withstand heavy pressures
  • Very convenient to use for catching large catfish for ambidextrous users

CONS

  • Does not have a hook keeper
  • Reel made up of metal would be stronger
  • Reel seat is not as durable as advertised for some users

What Recent Buyers Report

Users found this to be a very impressive fishing rod, especially for the price. It is made of zinc alloy and brass pinion gear that is durable and makes less noise. The draw is exceptionally smooth as well, and the shaft is easily adjustable. It is hassle-free and very comfortable to use.

Why it Stands Out to Us

This fishing rod is very easy to use, and it is a bang for the buck because of its high-quality design and construction. Moreover, it is also a treat to look at because it is visually appealing as well. The performance and functionality of this rod are also outstanding.

Who Will Use This Most

If you’re on a budget and looking for the best fishing rod that you can get on the market, then this is the one for you. This is a very durable, lightweight, and high-quality rod that can be used to catch any sort of fish. Whether it’s trout, bass, salmon, or catfish, it can catch them all!

Bottom Line

This is an excellent choice for those who are looking for a rod that is versatile and can be used to capture catfish and other species too. It is also a great choice if you are strapped for cash and need a high-quality rod that doesn’t break the bank.

Ugly Stik Catfish Spinning Rods

PROS

  • Very comfortable and easy to use
  • Well balanced rod for larger catches
  • Medium-heavy action helps polish skills
  • This is a powerful fishing rod and can perform brilliantly
  • Slow action and power rating help in controlling larger fish

CONS

  • Not used for monofilament
  • One-piece rod at 7 ft. can be harder to travel with
  • Spinning reels may not be easy to use for beginners

What Recent Buyers Report

This is a great rod and can be used for many applications. It is sensitive enough to catch smaller fish, but can also withstand the weight of larger blues and flatheads. It provides enough control and power to catch larger bait, making it an amazing choice for all sorts of fishermen.

Why it Stands Out to Us

This fishing rod is exceptional because it is made of high-quality materials, and performs like any other high-end fishing rod. It is durable and can be used in tough conditions, and is also easy to use for catching different species of catfish. It’s a great rod to practice your fishing techniques on.

Who Will Use This Most

This is a rod that is specifically designed to be used by beginners since it is easy to use. It can be used by an angler who is new at fishing for catfish but needs equipment that is designed to catch catfish. It is also durable and can perform its best for several years.

Bottom Line

This is an excellent all-rounder fishing rod that can be used for capturing any species of catfish. The high-quality construction and materials used in it provide the best fishing experience. It can even be used for casting as well as trolling, as it comes with a reliable medium-heavy design.

Okuma Battle Cat Catfish Spinning Rods (2-Piece), 7-Feet 6-Inch/Heavy

PROS

  • It can be broken down to make it easier to travel with
  • Compatible with multiple line types and tackle designs
  • Comes with heavy power for a better catfishing experience
  • EVA foregrip allows the user to feel comfortable when fishing
  • Equipped with double foot welded guides made of stainless steel
  • Features a hook keeper
  • Best suited for experienced fishers
  • Double-footed stainless steel guides

CONS

  • Reel fit in this rod is not universal
  • Not as durable as other one or two-piece rods
  • Not a great ​beginner’s rod
  • Less flexible than a graphite or composite rod

What Recent Buyers Report

Users absolutely love this rod and find it very convenient to travel around with. It is very heavy-duty and can be used to catch larger catfish. It has the backbone needed to catch huge fish that need more power and better casting distance and control. Overall, this is an impressive rod.

Why it Stands Out to Us

This is an outstanding fishing rod because it comes with a lot of features that add to the convenience and ease of use to the customer. It can fit easily in any storage compartment and is built with high-quality materials to provide heavy power and medium-fast action to catch bulkier fish.

The Okuma Battle Cat Catfish rod is a luxury piece, beautifully designed for fishers with a little more experience.

This professional rod features E-Glass structure along with durable double-foot, welded stainless steel guides. Its extra long handle provides an EVA foam foregrip for comfort and a cork-rear grip designed to avoid binding in rod holders.

There are three different sizes available, 7’6’, 8-foot, and 10-foot, all with heavy power.

Who Will Use This Most?

This is an excellent choice for those who like to travel a lot and are looking for a rod that can be easily broken down. It is a good choice for fishermen looking for versatility in their fishing rods as well. It has features and a backbone that makes it strong enough to catch a wide variety of fish.

Bottom Line

If you’re on the hunt for the best catfish rod to travel with, you will not be disappointed with this fishing rod. It is a superior unit that is easy to break down and can be used for spontaneous fishing trips to wherever you want to go. Overall, this is an excellent fishing rod that has great functionality.

Battle Cat rods are great for the more experienced catfisher looking for trophy catches. If you’re a first-timer, skip this one; there are more user-friendly rods that will have a similar effect.

This rod is great because it has the ability to hook big fish with ease and strength, and has many added attributes that make it admirable. Not many catfishing rods feature a hook keeper or a two material rod handle.

Ugly Stik Catfish Casting Rods

PROS

  • Seven-year warranty
  • Medium-heavy power
  • Suitable for all catfish
  • The flexibility of rod prevents damage
  • Rod material made with “ugly tech” construction

CONS

  • Two-piece design can be bulky and awkward
  • Not as powerful when it comes to 50 lb + fish
  • Some users complain of casting issues with this rod

This rod might be called ugly, but it works beautifully. This rod has earned popularity among long time catfishers for a multitude of reasons.

This casting rod comes in two models, a seven-foot version and an eight-foot version. The eight-foot version is a two-piece rod, while the seven-foot is one piece.

Its medium-heavy power makes it great for pulling in catfish. Its length allows for long casts with controlled accuracy.

Bottom Line

The Ugly Stik Casting Rod is a great starting catfish rod for beginners. If you’re planning on dipping your toes into the catfishing world for the first time, this is a great place to start. The price is cheaper than average for eight-foot rods and has a seven-year warranty as an added bonus. 

This rod is sensitive enough to detect smaller fish but also won’t break under the pressure of a larger cat. If a two-piece design isn’t for you, avoid the eight-foot rod.

Rippin Lips Super Cat Casting Rod with Glow Tip, 7-Feet 6-Inch/Medium-Heavy

PROS

  • Medium-heavy power
  • Strong and great for pulling in big fish
  • Epoxy-coated guide wraps for added durability
  • Includes a glowing tip for low-lighting situations
  • Made with “super cat glass”, a blend of E-glass, S-glass, and graphite

CONS

  • Some users complain the design isn’t as suitable for small catfish
  • S-glass makes this rod a little more stiff, and therefore easier to damage

This rod is a favorite among anglers for many reasons. Measuring in at 7’6”, it’s an ideal length for catfishing and will offer the maximum amount of control over your fish.

It’s also a composite rod, with a blend of E-glass, S-glass, and graphite. This means that it is lightweight but also durable enough to catch larger fish.

Its medium-heavy action will give you the power you need to pull in giant catfish with ease. It’s also gorgeously designed with chrome-plated stainless steel guides.  

Bottom Line

This rod is great for anglers who plan on fishing for larger species’ of catfish, but can also work for those fishing for smaller catfish. It’s fairly lightweight, but still has the power needed to make it durable. However, this rod is fairly stiff, which is more easily damaged than more flexible rods.

Rippin Lips Super Cat Casting Rod with Glow Tip, 8-Feet/Heavy

PROS

  • Heavy power
  • Best suited for large catfish
  • Thick, durable stainless steel guides
  • Won’t crack under the pressure of large catches
  • Features a high visibility glowing tip for low-lighting situations
  • Made with “super cat glass”, a blend of E-glass, S-glass, and graphite

CONS

  • Bulky design can be obnoxious to transport
  • Some users have complained about the durability of the reel seat
  • The thickness of the rod, causes it to lose some sensitivity, resulting in difficulty in detecting bites from smaller fish

This heavy duty catfish rod handles monstrous bottom feeders with ease. A composite blend of E-Glass, S-Glass, and graphite, it gains major durability and power points while still managing to stay relatively lightweight.

This rod was made with battling big fish in mind; it’s EVA foam handle allows for maximum control and balance in high-pressure fish fights. It’s also got some extra length, measuring in at eight feet.

Bottom Line

This is a beautifully designed rod with the power to pull in the largest sizes of catfish. You won’t have to worry about this piece breaking or bending, even if a fifty-pound fish is on the other end.

Because of the rod thickness, it’s tougher to detect bites from smaller catfish. This rod works best for trophy fishermen and those looking for larger species of catfish. If you’re looking to exclusively catch smaller fish, skip this one.

KastKing KastKat Catfish Rods, Spinning Rod 7ft 6in - MH - 1pcs

PROS

  • S-glass construction
  • Best suited for large catfish
  • Rubber-coated EVA handles
  • Medium-heavy/heavy power
  • Constructed with strong material
  • Features a bright orange “strike tip” which helps detect strikes in low light situations

CONS

  • Less sensitive to smaller catfish bites
  • Heavier than graphite or composite rods
  • S-glass construction makes the rod a little stiff

The KastKat catfish rods are made with 100% S-Glass. This means they have strength and lifting power that other rods lack.

Made to handle large fish, these rods won’t fail you in a battle with a giant. There are several length options to choose from ranging from seven-foot spin rods all the way to nine-foot casting rods, each having either medium-heavy or heavy power.

All feature durable stainless steel double-foot guides and reinforced nylon reel seats.

Bottom Line

KastKat catfishing rods are a great choice for trophy fishers. Because they’re built with the strongest material available for catfishing rods, they will hold up over time, even after fight after fight with these monsters of the deep.

This brand does tend to be a little bit pricier than other rods available and is less lightweight than rods made with graphite.

Benefits of Using a Rod Designed to Handle Catfish, Compared to a Standard Rod

Here's what you need to know:

Longer Rod Equates to More Power

If you own a rod with a longer handle, it can give you a huge advantage over the standard fishing rod. A longer fishing rod gives you more leverage and domination over the catfish because of the added strength. It also helps in keeping the reel of the rod away from the body and in a better position to catch more fish.

Ease of Use

There is a big difference in catching large catfish with a standard and a catfish rod. The ease and power that you get when fishing for bigger fish using a longer catfish rod are extraordinary. If you use the same standard rod, you will be able to catch a large fish with a lot of struggle and strength required. However, with a longer rod, you will find yourself at ease and catch more fish with less human labor required.

Performance

If you own a catfish rod, it will give you better length and accuracy of catching the fish. The casting distance of this rod will be far more precise and accurate than a shorter, standard fishing rod. The longer your fishing rod is, the better the rod’s performance will be at baiting larger catfish.

Durability

Catfish rods are very durable compared to standard fishing rods, which is necessary for the sport of catfishing. Because you’ll be competing with powerful, often large, fish that like to fight, having a rod that will last is very important.

Power

Similar to durability, catfish rods tend to be more powerful because of the fish they are designed to catch.

Design

In comparison to standard fishing rods, catfishing rods are long, ideally up to seven to ten feet. This makes it easier for the fisher to control their catch and also the accuracy and length of their cast.

Typically, standard rods will only be around six feet long. Longer handles allow for management of catfish because they’re typically found at the bottom of a body of water where having leverage on your rod is very important.

Types of Catfish Rods

Catfish rods differ in material, size, and appearance.

Graphite rods are lightweight and very sensitive, which means you’ll feel even the slightest nibble from a catfish. They are great for catching small catfish that live in rivers and shallow bodies of water. However, they tend to be less durable and can break easily if you come across a trophy fish.

E-Glass and S-Glass rods are the workhorses of the catfishing world. They are very similar, but S-Glass tends to be more powerful than E-Glass. Both are powerful, durable, and not likely to crack under pressure.

These attributes make them great for fishing blue and flathead catfish, which tend to be larger and more powerful. Because of the rod’s durability, however, they lose the sensitivity that lightweight rods have.

Composite rods are a combination of graphite and S-Glass. This offers catfishers the best of both worlds; sensitivity from graphite, and a durable backbone from S-Glass. Unfortunately, these rods tend to be more expensive.  

What Do I Need To Know Before Buying?

Catfishing is a different experience compared to fishing for other species in freshwater. Catfish are excellent fighters and need more control and power to bait them. Here’s what you need to know before buying a rod that is going to maximize your catfishing experience:

Length

You need to look for a fishing rod that has a great length. Since these fish are larger than other types of species, the rods should be no shorter than 7 feet. The longer length will provide you better manageability and ease of use when fishing. It will also give you better casting and accuracy.

Power

Power can be Heavy, Medium-Heavy, Medium, or Medium Light. Depending on the type of catfish you want to catch, you must check for power sensitivity. Since catfish are good fighters, you need to stick within a medium to heavy range, so that you can get better control. A firmer rod will help you much better in catching the fish.

Action

Action is the flex of the rod that can be described as slow, medium, medium-fast, and fast. If you need to catch smaller fish, you obviously need faster action. However, if you’re an angler looking for deeper and bigger catfish, then you need a slower action so it can fight the fish and catch it in the bait.

How to Use a Catfish Rod

If you want to get insight on how to use a catfish rod, then read over these instructions below. For a more visual guide, you can refer to the video down below to understand better:

  1. Get some bait: It could be live worms or catfish chunks or even dough

  2. Put a braid on the rod so that it makes for a decent caster for better accuracy

  3. Use a slip-sinker rig as a setup to get the catfish out from the bottom

  4. Thread the sinker on the mainline, and then thread a bead

  5. Tie the mainline at the end of the swivel

  6. The rig can be left on the bottom or above the floor

Sometimes, the catfish turn up and strike when least expected. Other times, they tend to play with the bait before they strike into it. If you are in doubt, then set the hook. A popular strategy used to bait catfish is a feeding line to a catfish that likes to nibble. This way, it won’t feel resistance, and when the fish takes the line, it’s time to set the hook.

Below is the video that will give you a more detailed description of the rod used as well as the method used for catfishing.

How to Clean and Care for a Catfish Rod

Taking care of your catfish rod is an important aspect of making sure you get your money’s worth.

Generally, never let your rod strike against hard surfaces. If you lay your rod directly on the ground, you risk having someone step on it.

To avoid accidentally breaking off the tip of your rod, always carry it horizontally with the tip facing backward. Be conscious when transporting your rod; never place it where there is a potential for it to be damaged by something else (in the back of a crowded truck bed, trunk, etc.).

To clean your rod, sponge the rod with warm, soapy water. Rinse off with hot water and leave to dry thoroughly on a rack.

Never lean a pole against a wall for an extended period of time, as it can result in unwanted bends. For a thorough cleaning, take a q-tip and ensure that all guides and ferrules are free of dirt and grime.

How to Use a Catfish Rod

Catfish tend to be curious, resulting in quite a few bites. Using a catfish rod is very similar to using any standard rod.

Because these fish like to lurk on the bottom of bodies of water, a slip sinker rig is arguably the most popular set-up to catch a catfish. It’s fairly uncomplicated and versatile.

This rig is created by threading a sinker on the main line followed by a bead. This main line is tied to a swivel; the other side of the swivel is followed by a foot-long leader and hook.

As always, ensure you’re being as safe as possible by being aware of your surroundings when casting to avoid hooking a power line, foliage, or your friends.

All catfish have a sharp spine on their dorsal and pectoral fins which contain a venom that can result in a hospital visit; be careful when unhooking and always keep away from children and pets.

Conclusion

This article was meant as a guide on choosing the best catfish rod. Make sure to check the specifications and match them for your intended usage, so you get the best possible one that is suited for your fishing needs. Hopefully, this article was helpful to you. Good luck fishing!

Spending money on a catfishing rod can be a daunting task. There are so many things to think about during the process, and if you’re looking for the best of the best, there really isn’t a clear winner. However, all these recommendations are champions in their own ways.

Remember to think about the species of catfish you’ll be hunting, your own skill level, and the amount of money you’re willing to part with when you make your decision.  

Happy fishing!

People Also Ask

If you still have a few queries that need to be cleared out, you can read over these frequently asked questions portion to eradicate some of the doubts. This will help you get more insight on catfishing, and help you decide which rod to buy:

How Long Should a Catfish Rod Be?

A catfish rod should be around 7 feet or longer. This is because catfish are known to be aggressive and feisty, and they put up a good fight. So, in order to gain better control and fight back, you need a longer rod that helps with casting and accuracy.

How Do You Rig a Catfish Rig?

You must use a 3-way rig with a 20-pound test line as well as a 17-pound leader. Firstly, you should secure a bell sinker weighing at least 2 to 4 pounds to one ring of the barrel swivel or at the bottom ring of a 3-way swivel. Once you cast the rig into place, and the sinker is hanging at the bottom, hold it until the fish gets caught.

How Does Noodling for Catfish Work?

Noodling is done by catching the fish with bare hands and is usually practiced in the southern areas of the United States. The fisherman noodles the catfish by placing a hand inside the catfish’s hole, and this is usually done in shallow water, as it is much safer to do it then.

Do Catfish Eat Catfish?

It depends on the species of catfish. The standard catfish will eat fish and other live animals such as fish eggs or invertebrates. Flatheads rarely feast on anything else except live fish, and they could even feast on other catfish flesh. Channel and bullheads eat frogs, crayfish, and clams.