Admittedly, I’ve also been more of a walleye, bass, and pike angler, but growing up in Iowa – most of my friends loved to go catfish fishing. My hometown was right on the Iowa River, and there were numerous farm ponds and lakes nearby that housed some nice catfish.
Of course, some of my friends would go Noodling (catfish fishing with your bare hands) – but I was always one to use a fishing rod.
So, to be part of the group I had to make sure I had a really nice catfish fishing rod to ensure I could really handle some of those larger river cats.
Picking that fishing rod was a major learning experience for me. I’ve always used composite rods, so sorting thru Glass and S-Glass options was unique. My catfish rod also ended up being a little bit bigger length wise than my bass & walleye rods.
If you are new to catfish fishing, hopefully this article will help you pick the right rod. If you are an experienced catfish angler and just want to see some of the best catfish fishing rods that are out there – I think you will enjoy this list as well!
So here are some tips that we have and a complete review of some of the best Catfish Fishing Rods you can buy today.
Tips for Picking the Best Catfish Fishing Rods
Here are some quick tips we would recommend for picking the best catfish fishing rods. Serious catfish anglers normally prefer casting rods, but these tips really apply to both spinning rods and casting rods.
Materials – The industry standard for Catfish Fishing Rods has always been E-Glass because it is very strong and very durable. They aren’t as sensitive as some other materials, and they are going to be heavier, but they provide the strength you need to land large catfish.
S-Glass is the newer material used for catfish fishing rods. It is still very strong, but lighter and more sensitive than E-glass. Traditionally graphite rods are very light but won’t be durable enough to land large catfish. The most expensive fishing rods will normally be composite rods – which are a mixture of graphite and other materials to provide a very light, very durable, very sensitive, and very expensive fishing rod.
If you are a serious flathead catfish angler- E-Glass or S-Glass is normally the best, but some specially designed Catfish Composite rods are becoming incredibly effective and affordable.
If you occasionally hook channel catfish while fishing for other species, you can use a graphite type rod. Composite Graphite & S-Glass rods are becoming more and more popular in the catfishing world.
Rod Power – For catfish fishing, I prefer a Medium Heavy power. I would never use a fishing rod below Medium Power for strictly catfish fishing. Heavy powered rods are also very popular in the catfish fishing community as well.
1-Piece vs. 2-Piece – Full disclosure, I’m from the world of bass fishing and walleye fishing where 1-piece rods are the standard. However, for catfish fishing – a two-piece rod will be perfectly fine, especially because catfish rods are often 7-feet or taller and can be difficult to store.
Rod Length – I prefer a rod length of 7- feet or taller. Longer fishing rods let you cast further and land fish easier, which are both important factors when catfish fishing.
Quick Table of the Best Catfish Fishing Rods
With all of those tips listed above, we have put together a great list of the best catfish fishing rods to help you find the right fishing rod for your fishing situations.
Below this quick list is a much more detailed review of each individual fishing rod. Enjoy!The Best Catfish Fishing Rods
Shakespeare Ugly Stik Catfish Rods
I have been fishing with Ugly Stik Fishing Rods since I was a kid and have always loved them. For our catfish fishing friends, we had to recommend the Shakespeare Ugly Stik Catfish Rods as our number one recommendation.
These rods come in both spinning and casting rod variations. For those looking for a spinning rod, the Shakespeare Ugly Stik Catfish Spinning Rods are available in a one-piece 7’ option, a 7’ two-piece option, and an 8’ 2-piece rod option.
All these spinning rods are medium heavy in power, with a moderate fast action. The provide a lot of backbone, and support fishing line in that 15 – 30-pound category. They will also handle lures in the 1/2 oz. to 3 oz. range with no problem.
The Shakespeare Ugly Stik Casting Rods are most commonly found in two varieties. You have a 7-foot, medium heavy 1-piece rod & an 8-foot, medium heavy 2-piece rod. These rods also have a moderate fast action to them and will support fishing line in the 15-30-pound category.
It doesn’t matter if you pick a spinning or a casting rod; if you buy an Ugly Stik you are going to get a very durable fishing rod with their legendary clear tip design. They are also going to a graphite composite rod– creating the extraordinary sensitivity and durability these fishing rods are known for.
Plus, the price is pretty much unbeatable. These rods can normally be bought for under $50.00 – which is an amazing bargain for such a high-quality rod.
Because of these factors, we had to rank these as our number one catfish fishing rod recommendation!
St. Croix Mojo Cat Fishing Rods
This line of fishing rod is going to be a combination of S-glass and graphite to provide a great mixture of sensitivity & rod strength. They are going to be made with cork handles, which is my favorite fishing rod handle material.
The guides and other rod components are made from the premium materials you would expect to come from St. Croix.
The St. Croix Mojo Cat Spinning Rod line has 2 options – a 7-foot, medium power, fast action rod – and an 8-foot, medium power, fast action rod. These rods are normally priced in the $150 – $200 range.
The St. Croix Mojo Cat Casting Rod line has 5 options ranging form 7-foot to 8-foot in length; and from medium power to extra heavy in power. All of them will be fast action rods. There is an 8’ 2-piece rod option in this line as well.
The Extra-Heavy power 8-foot casting rod is built to handle line weight in the 50-100 range – making this a rod designed for lunker catfish fishing!
Here is a quick link to Amazon if you are interested in purchasing these rods.
In the catfishing world where composite rods are becoming more and more popular than just using a traditional glass rod, you are going to be very happy if you purchase a St. Croix Mojo Cat Fishing Rod!
KastKing KatTech Catfish Rods
KastKing is one of the new up and comers in the world of fishing gear, and their products have been super impressive. The reviews have also been extremely positive for their catfish fishing rod line – the KastKing KatTech Catfish Rods.
It doesn’t matter if you prefer casting or spinning rods – KastKing has you covered. There are actually 9 different KastKing KatTech Casting Rod options and three different KastKing KatTech Spinning Rod options.
These fishing rods are made with a great graphite/S-Glass combination that provides the sensitivity and strength that catfish anglers crave. This combination also keeps the rods light and makes them easy to use over long periods of time.
These rods also have Fuji guides, Fuji reel seats, custom rubber cork handles – really high-quality materials that you are going to love. The custom rubber cork handles are durable, very comfortable for the hand, and give you a great grip.
A unique feature of these rods is their Chartreuse tips. This bright tip makes it easy to see catfish strikes – especially for those nighttime catfish fishing adventures.
If you want a casting rod – you have options that range from 7’0” to 9’0” – and will range from Medium heavy to Heavy in power. The longer rods are two-piece options, but you do have some smaller one-piece options.
Your spinning rod options are all 1-piece rods. You can pick from a Medium powered, Medium-Heavy powered, or Heavy powered fishing rods.
KastKing just continues to impress and make waves with their fishing gear, and you are going to love any catfish rod you pick from them. They are a must on our list of the best Catfish Fishing Rods.
Rippin Lips SuperCat Fishing Rods
These rods are made from a unique blend of E-Glass, S-Glass, and graphite to provide the unique strength and action required from good catfish fishing rods.
They have stainless steel guides and a great split handle grip that is designed for maximum comfort while still providing a great grip.
These rods also have a cool “glow tip” which lets you detect bites at night. You have casting and spinning rods you can select from, and they come in numerous different sizes and styles to help you find the right rod for your situation.
Here are some of the great options of Rippin Lips SuperCat Fishing Rods you can pick from:
All of these rods are highly rated, have great positive reviews, and will make a great addition to any angler’s fishing rod collection.
Abu Garcia Catfish Commando Combo
I am going to throw a slight curve ball into this list and include one rod/reel combination package. I love Abu Garcia reels (I’ve had at least one Abu Garcia reel since I was 14) – and they create a great Catfish Rod/Reel combination.
You basically have two options: the Abu Garcia Catfish Commando Spin Combo and the Abu Garcia Catfish Commando Casting Combo.
The Spin Combo obviously comes with a spinning rod and reel. The Rod is a 7’0” Medium Heavy Rod with stainless steel guides. It is a 1-piece rod as well and you should love the balance and power you get out of it.
The reel is built to be great with a 3+1 stainless steel ball bearing system, a great drag system, and honestly the durability and functionality you would expect from an Abu Garcia reel.
Here is a quick link to the Abu Garcia Catfish Commando Spinning Reel Combo.
You also can purchase the Abu Garcia Commando Casting Combination. This also features a great 1-piece, 7’0” Medium Heavy Rod.
The reel is again the big selling point with 2 stainless steel ball bearings, 6-pin centrifugal brake, great handle, and more features that will excite you about this casting reel.
Here is a quick link to the Abu Garcia Commando Casting Combo.
If you are looking for a great rod & reel combination, then I would have to recommend the Abu Garcia Catfish Combo as the best Catfish Fishing Rod and Reel Combination.
LurEra Catfish Casting Rod
This is a 2-piece, 7’0”, Heavy-Action fishing rod that has a really nice stiffness to it, giving you the ability to set the hook hard with those large catfish.
The rod is a carbon fiber black which provides the strength needed for catfish fishing, but still gives you a nice sensitivity balance. It has a plastic reel seat which helps keep the rod lightweight; and it has great line guides.
The handle is very comfortable, but also very good looking. It has a unique black and white camouflage color and design that should get people’s attention. Those little extra design details make these rods fantastic.
LurEra also provides fantastic customer service and a 1-year warranty; which we all want to have with our fishing rods!
It is also a great cost, normally right around $40!
Shakespeare WildCat Spinning Rods
There are two spinning rod options; one is the 7’0” Medium Heavy Shakespeare WildCat Spinning Rod and the other is the 8’0” Medium Heavy Shakespeare WildCat Spinning Rod.
Both of these options are two-piece options designed for easy storage and transportability (that is a word right?). They are also made from a glass blank which will provide the desired strength and durability required from a catfish fishing rod.
The guides are stainless steel and it comes with a foam grip. I always prefer cork grips, but that isn’t a make or break feature for most anglers.
The selling point with these fishing rods is the price. They are normally $25 and under, which is just insane for a good quality fishing rod.
These fishing rods don’t have the longevity, some of the bells & whistles, warranties, and things of that nature some of these other rod options have, but the price makes it a perfect starting rod for catfish anglers!
Other Links of Interest:
We know that not everybody is looking for a Catfish Fishing Rod, so check out these other great articles we released about different fishing rods:
Of course, you might also need a really good fishing net to land those giant catfish you are catching with your new rod, so we had to write this article as well:
Hopefully between all of these articles, you will find the fishing rod that makes your fishing trips a successful adventure!