Best Panfish Rods of 2021 – Complete Buyer’s Guide

| Last Updated June 3, 2021

Fishing is the most fun when it is in freshwater, isn’t it? 

The water current is just perfect, and the fish species are great too. Panfish is a favorite of most people who go fishing in freshwater due to both its size and meat.

This is why people want to have a supple panfish rod that they can rely on while fishing. Considering this, we have brought you the complete buyer’s guide to help you get your best fishing friend. 

Comparison of the Best Panfish Rods

  • High sensitivity makes flexing easier
  • Panfish rod with high-quality material
  • Premium grade construction of cork handle
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  • Panfish rod with high reliability
  • Stylish black pouch to keep the rods safe
  • 4 piece set to use according to your needs
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  • Best for the money
  • Available in 9 highly useful sizes
  • Has a lightweight construction at 2.5 ounces
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  • Best panfish rod and reel combo
  • Reinforced rubber handle for greater ease
  • All black rod has an impressive construction
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  • Best ice fishing rod for panfish
  • 24-inch rod has a greater usability
  • 3 differently sized guides for reinforcing line straightness
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  • Best fly rod for panfish
  • Sleek design with a deep blue finish
  • 4-piece travel design with wooden handle
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Are All Panfish Rods The Same?

All panfish rods are not the same, just like no other products are the same. They vary with every brand, and rods are different in their working even if they have the same manufacturer. Without further ado, let’s have a look at what differentiates each panfish rod from others.


Panfish rods have different construction material in them, which leads to different working. Most of the rods have graphite in their construction, as it is lightweight and durable. Meanwhile, others still are made of nylon and other materials. Their working and strength differ from each material. 


The length of all panfish rods is not the same as they come with different specifications. The standard size for panfish rods is 10 feet, and most rods follow this. However, some rods come with a greater length, which is according to the needs of other users. 

Rod Action

Rod action refers to the speed of the rod with which it comes back to its original state after you flex it. The rod action has to be quick enough for you to keep the fish still attached to the hook. There are three speed levels for this, namely slow, medium, and fast. You can choose one that goes with your needs the best.

What Makes a Great Panfish Rod?

With so many panfish rod options on the market, it is hard to settle on one rod, right? This is because all of them are advertised so well that you do not know which one to go for. So, you need to know what the best features to look for when it comes to panfish rods are. Here are the aspects that make a panfish rod worth the investment.

Light Weight

This is no secret that the panfish rod has to be very lightweight to avoid any hand or wrist fatigue. The heavy panfish rods are hard to handle and are not great for fishing. However, if the rod is too light, then it might break even with the weight of a panfish. So, you should choose a lightweight panfish rod, but one which is sturdy enough to take the load.

Ease of Use

Ease of use is still one of the primary concerns when people buy a panfish rod. The easier a rod is to spool and carry, the better the fishing experience will be. So, you should choose a panfish rod wisely while considering its specifications and your preferences.

Moderate Length

The length of panfish rods is important, too, as it affects both the ease of use and time taken to fish. You should go for a moderate length between 10 and 12 feet as it is best suited for panfish. 

Review of the Best Panfish Rods

As we have already established what makes a panfish rod great, it is only right to look at some of the best models. So, here are our favorite panfish rods reviewed in detail.

Best Overall:
St Croix Panfish Series


  • Improved comfort with a customized reel seat
  • SCII graphite used in the construction of the rod
  • Slow cure finish with a double coating of Flex-Coat
  • 20 to 30% weight saving with Pac Bay Minima guides
  • Optimal weight maintenance with high modulus SCVI graphite


  • Does not have a long life
  • Difficulty in fixing hooks on the go

What Recent Buyers Report

This panfish rod has succeeded in impressing its recent buyers with its ease of use. They liked its cork handle a lot, which is easy to grip even when it is moist. The buyers found this rod to be highly flexible too, which made fishing easier for them.

Why it Stands Out to Us

This makes it to our list as the best overall rod with its premium-grade construction. It is made of SCII graphite and has SCVI graphite too. This improves the weight further, making the rod even more supple.

Who Will Use This Most

This rod is good for everyone who likes to catch panfish as it has a nice construction. In addition to that, it is long-lasting and has simpler guides through which you can pass the rope easily.

Bottom Line

The final word is that it beats other panfish rods with a long shot both in terms of its construction and working. The Flex-Coat makes the rod shinier, and it looks new. The length and weight of this rod are also great, so getting it will be a great decision.

Daiwa Presso Ultralight Pack

Daiwa Presso Ultralight Pack Spinning Rod 4-Piece


  • Very lightweight at only 2.45 oz.
  • Sleek black rods look quite attractive
  • Supple rods provide a higher durability
  • Wooden cork handle for carrying easily
  • The sensitivity of the spinner is very high


  • Has a brittle tip
  • Cast is a little tricky

What Recent Buyers Report

The recent buyers found its 4-piece set very impressive as it makes it easier to choose a rod better fitting their needs. The buyers loved the black pouch too, which helps in keeping the rods safe. It also protects it from any scratches while you are traveling.

Why it Stands Out to Us

The rod set catches our eye with its supple construction and easy to spin spinners. This makes it more practical, and you can save a lot of your time while using it. The rod is also very lightweight, and its 2.45 ounces do not seem to be a problem.

Who Will Use This Most

This is the best option for you if you need something that provides you multiple options. You can set aside each rod for a different time and kind of fishing. Moreover, these go with most reels, so you can use any line with them.

Bottom Line

Summing it up, this Daiwa Presso panfish rod set is great for all the panfish that you come across in freshwater. It is strong enough to deal with the bulkier panfish too. Its high flexibility is another great feature, so it is worth the investment.

Best for the Money:
KastKing Calamus Ultra-Light Spinning Fishing Rods

KastKing Calumus Ultra-Light Spinning Fishing Rods, Spinning-4ft 6in- Ultra Light-1pcs


  • Guide frames are made of titanium
  • Thin rods are easy to pack for traveling
  • EVA for wrapping handles has a high density
  • IM7 graphite material has a micro finish coating
  • Reinforced spigot ferrules for higher sensitivity


  • Could be a little longer
  • Reels lack friction and comes loose

What Recent Buyers Report

Recent buyers came up with mostly positive feedback regarding this panfish rod. They liked the fact that it comes in so many sizes as they could choose theirs better. They also approve of the EVA on the handles, which protects them from any damage.

Why it Stands Out to Us

It stands out to us with its lightweight frame of only 2.5 ounces. This means that the rod is almost a non-existent weight when you are packing for a long fishing trip. Its guide frames are titanium-made, which makes them light and reliable.

Who Will Use This Most

This rod is the one for you if you are up for something that you can use easily. The guides and inserts are in all the right places which keep the fishing line straight. So, there will not be any problem when it comes to keeping the rope aligned.

Bottom Line

To sum up, this panfish rope has all the right features at the most affordable price. This is why it is so popular among fishing lovers who have to stick to a strict budget. So, choose this one if you want a low price but a high-quality.

Best Panfish Rod and Reel Combo:
Shakespeare Ugly Stik GX2

Ugly Stik USSP502L/2SC GX2 Spinning Combo, 5'


  • Strong rod has high durability
  • Lightweight rod has an easy lure
  • Lines are sturdy and do not break
  • The reel is smooth and easy to spool
  • 7-year warranty to make it more reliable


  • Has only one guide for the line
  • Case for the rod and reel combo is too big

What Recent Buyers Report

This Shakespeare Ugly Stik panfish rod and reel combo have been a hit among the buyers. The black finish and detailing on the rod have impressed the buyers greatly. They are also fond of the handle, which goes well with the overall design.

Why it Stands Out to Us

The strength of the rod helps it make it to our list as it matches the strength of the reel too. The rubberized handle makes it easier to handle even when using it for long durations. The reel is simple and has a practical spooling, which makes this combo even better.

Who Will Use This Most

This is perfect for those who want to have something that does not need any extra investments. The rod and reel combo comes with a warranty of 7 years, and this makes it more trustworthy. The low weight of this combo is also great for those who are looking for something light and nice.

Bottom Line

To sum up, this is the most reliable reel and panfish rod combo available on the market right now. This is both strong and light, which makes catching fish even more fun. So, you should go for it if you want something classy and practical.

Best Ice Fishing Rod for Panfish:
 Berkley Cherrywood HD Ice Fishing Spinning Rod

Berkley Cherrywood HD Ultralite Spinning Ice Rod, 24' - 1323297


  • The rod has a durable finish
  • Has 100 percent fiberglass blanks
  • Sliding reel seat has graphite construction
  • Full cork wooden handle with reinforcements
  • Guides and inserts have stainless steel in them


  • Has less sensitivity

What Recent Buyers Report 

The people who bought this ice fishing rod recently found it to be great in terms of use and reliability. They liked the length of the rod, which makes it easy to handle panfish like crabbies. The buyers also liked the durable finish as it looks shiny and new.

Why it Stands Out to Us

The three guides on the rod make it stand out to us the most. These are in three different sizes and make the line stay perfectly straight while you are spooling the reel. They also keep the rope from breaking when you have caught a fish and are preparing to unhook it.

Who Will Use This Most

The panfish rod is best suited for the people who need something with a great grip. The handle provides a firm grip and avoids any accidental slips. The panfish rod is also great for those who want something long-lasting as it has graphite construction.

Bottom Line

All in all, it is a great panfish ice fishing rod if you want to have a reliable unit. It has a durable graphite material in it, which makes it stay around longer. The rod surely has less sensitivity, but you can make up for it with your own expertise.

Best Fly Rod for Panfish:
 Echo Base Fly Rod

Echo Base Fly Rod, 376-4


  • Blue case for easy packing and carrying
  • Lifetime manufacturer’s warranty by ECHO
  • Chrome guides for a better line placement
  • Alignment dots to help in a quicker assembly
  • Long wooden handle for a firm and comfortable grip


  • Tip can break easily
  • Spooling can be hard due to a slippery line

What Recent Buyers Report

The recent buyers reported a great experience with this ECHO panfish rod. They found its deep blue finish quite striking as it looks really good. They also loved the blue case that comes with it. It made it easier to keep all four rods together and safe.

Why it Stands Out to Us

It stands out to us with its long wooden handle. The handle makes it easier to use the rod while fishing. It also makes it safer as it covers the end nicely and does not let the pointed end come in contact with skin.

Who Will Use This Most

This is most useful for people who travel a lot as the case makes carrying it easy. Regardless of how many days you are going to be away from home, you can keep it with you. The case is super slim and accommodates the rods well. So, there is no hassle when it comes to packing and carrying these rods.

Bottom Line

The bottom line on this panfish rod is that it comes with reliable construction and a slim frame. This makes it supple and provides a quick rod action. This helps you save time, and you can detach the caught fish without any damage to it.

Pros and Cons of Panfish Rod

Panfish rods come with a lot of perks that make them a must for all the fishing lovers. But, like every other good thing, they have a few drawbacks too. Here are both the pros and cons of panfish rods to let you decide if they suit you or not.


Let’s first look at all the positive aspects of such a rod. 

Better Rod Action

With a quality panfish rod, you are sure to get a better rod action. It lets you enjoy fishing without having to worry about being too slow. This also helps you save time as it is quick to spool as well. 

No Damage to Fish

When you specifically buy a rod for panfish, you will be sure to have less damage to fish. The hook will come off easily and will not tear the flesh of the fish unnecessarily. 

Light Power Needed

The best thing about panfish rods is that they need low power for operating. They are supple enough to work well with even the lightest tugs. 


On the other hand, it has the following drawback.

Restricted Versatility

Although admittedly panfish rods are great and they make fishing easier, they are not for all kinds of fish. You are restricted to only small fish when you are using it. 


To summarize it all quickly, you need a strong yet lightweight panfish rod for smaller fish. The rod has to have a quick rod action and a sturdy construction material. If a rod fulfills all these criteria and falls within your budget range, then you should not waste any time and get that one.  

My name is Jeff and I have been hunting and fishing for over 40 years. I am an avid archery lover, bass fisherman, and all-around outdoorsman. Currently, I'm obsessed with elk hunting but I'm sure I'll move onto a different favorite soon. You gotta love hunting for that reason :) If you have any questions, or just want chat about your latest hunting score or big catch, you can reach me at Read more about Big Game Logic.