3 Best Catfish Rods

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Hey there my fellow anglers and welcome to my post where I will discuss my 3 best catfish rods to hold those whiskered monsters this year. Among the freshwater fish out there, chasing catfish is a favorite pastime for many fishers and like any other species, our chances of success increase if we have the right gear.

And although the reel is generally the most influential piece of gear, the kind of rod you have in your fishing arsenal can definitely affect things as well. Some of the qualities you should look out for are durability, flexibility and weight so to help you out, I have had a look around and come up with my 3 best options below.

Let’s check them out…

My three recommended catfish rods

I will review these in more detail below, but if you just want to get moving without all the carry-on, my recommended products are listed here for your convenience:

 Fishing Rods For CatfishPriceGet it
best catfish rods - BnM Silver Cat Elite RodBnM Silver Cat Elite Rod$CURRENT PRICE
best catfish rods - Ugly Stik Catfish Special Spinning Fishing RodUgly Stik Catfish Special Spinning Fishing Rod$CURRENT PRICE
best catfish rods - Okuma Battle Cat Catfish Spinning RodsOkuma Battle Cat Catfish Spinning Rod$$CURRENT PRICE

What are catfish rods?

As the name probably suggests, a Catfish rod is a fishing rod specifically engineered to capture catfish. One unique feature of catfish rods is their durable construction as catfish can grow into an enormous size however they should also be sensitive to feel when they are ‘sniffing’ around your bait.

best catfish rods - man with rod

What should you be looking for?

The information below outlines some of the factors you should be aware of as you look to purchase a good rod for catfishing:

  1. Type of rod
  2. Construction materials
  3. Length
  4. Power
  5. Additions

Type of rod

In catfishing, one of the questions you need to answer is what type of fishing rod you should use. There are two options here: spinning or casting rod. You will need to ensure that your rod matches your current reel as follows:

  • A spinning rod uses a spinning fishing reel (or egg beater) which sits underneath. The force of the line is exerted on the eyelet pushes the rod blank away from the fish. These are the best options for beginners or those looking for ease of use.
  • A casting rod is matched with a baitcaster reel and sits on top of the rod so it bends over with the guides pointing up. The result is the line becomes pushed down on the eyelets, and the rod blank all because of the fish’s force. Baitcasters are a little harder to use that spinners but good for accuracy and longer casting.

Note: the rods featured within this post are spinning rods.

Construction materials

The catfish rods you can find today are available in a wide range of shapes, sizes, and colors. They can be made of basic materials such as fiberglass or advanced materials like graphite or carbon fiber.

  • Fiberglass – Very strong and durable with very little maintenance required (rinse off after fishing is generally all that is needed). Also, very cost-effective with many good options available that don’t cost the earth – although these types of rods appear to be less available these days due to the introduction of carbon fiber technology. Newer technology is known as E-Glass.
  • Graphite – Graphite rods are generally more rigid with higher power ratings (see below) however tend to have greater sensitivity than their fiberglass cousins. Their composition also means that a little more cleaning is required over time to avoid them becoming brittle and snapping. These are good for shorter rods too as they can handle bigger fish without the ‘give’ that longer rods have.
  • Carbon Fibre – This is a newer compound in fishing rods being more rigid than the fiberglass/ composite rods but also lighter – which is great for bass fishing. These types are becoming more and more popular for all levels of experience due to their toughness and versatility.
  • Glass Tip – Glass Tips or ‘Hybrid’ rods are made from a combination of graphite and fiberglass. These are designed to give the best of both worlds with extra strength of the graphite rod added to the sensitivity of the glass tip. Great if you are using the rod in a number of locations and water types.


The length of a fishing rod has a significant impact on its performance and use. Your success rate is influenced by rod length and in general it should be matched to your fishing location. On a bank or jetty, the longer the rod, the easier it will be to hold the catfish while fighting it whereas you would be looking for a shorter option for a boat or kayak.

The general recommendation here is to use a 7 to 9-foot-long pole to seize a catfish.

best catfish rods - catfish


There are plenty of technical terms for the power settings of a fishing rod but in simple language, I have always known the power rating as a measure of how ‘bendy’ it is. Light power rods bend with little force and heavy ones need a lot of pressure to bend. So, in short:

  • Light – very bendy – even whippy – will bend a lot with even the smallest fish.
  • Medium – needs a bit more pressure to bend – this is a good measure for those who only use one rod and want the best of both worlds.
  • Heavy – takes a lot to make it bend – these are a bit harder to cast but I like a heavier power setting in my really short rods – especially if I have not need to try and cast in mangroves, etc.

There is also a measurement that some rods have in regards to what they call Action or Speed. This is determined by where the rod bends. Fast action bends from the top third which increases their sensitivity whereas slow rods bend down towards the reel.

For a generalist catfishing rod, I would go moderate or medium, unless to have a need to cast a long way from your location, then maybe edge towards a fast rod as they allow for heavier rigs.


  1. Rod handle – Cork handles are available on some catfish rods, but EVA foam is more common. Finally, it comes down to personal preference, but cork, composite cork, or EVA foam are the most likely choices for catfishing.
  2. Rod guides – These are the round pieces wrapped around the fishing rod and run across its length. Most best-selling fishing rods have at least one line guide per foot of length.
  3. Rod tips – These are typically brightly colored to stand out against their background. Some manufacturers even add glow-in-the-dark tips to make the rods visible at night.

My three recommendations broken down

So based on the information above and my own experience, I recommend the following options:

1. BnM Silver Cat Elite Rod

This first catfish rod option has impressive strength and sensitivity with a reel seat made of aircraft-grade aluminum. It is bright in colour, making it easy to see while night fishing with strength capable of bringing in a 20+ pound catfish. See its specifications below:

  • Brand: BnM
  • Length: 7.5 feet
  • Weight: 0.95 pounds
  • Power: Medium-heavy
  • Action: Fast
  • Blank material: E-glass
  • Pieces: 1

Other inclusions:

  • E-glass composite blank
  • High-visibility tip
  • Double locking reel seat
  • Hi quality X-Grip

Why have I chosen it?

I like this one for its durable build and fast-action tip for extra sensitivity and casting length. It also comes with an X-grip non-slip handle at the perfect length for other fishing exploits as well. All in all this is a great option for those looking to get started in catfishing.

2. Ugly Stik Catfish Special Spinning Fishing Rod

My second catfish rod is extra tough and strong and an excellent choice for novice and experienced catfishers alike. The manufacturers combine composite material design and dependable MH action, providing confidence in casting and trolling with bait or lures. See its specifications below:

  • Brand: Shakespeare
  • Length: Available in 8 to 10 feet
  • Weight: 0.70 pounds
  • Power: Medium-heavy
  • Action: Fast
  • Blank material: Composite Graphite and Fiberglass
  • Pieces: 1

Other inclusions:

  • Stainless steel guides
  • Rubberized full grip handles
  • Hook loop near handle
  • 7-year warranty

Why have I chosen this?

The fishing rod comes with a high name reputation with noted durability that can handle monster cats hiding within dams or along shorelines and banks alike. It is sized for maximum leverage with rubberized full-grip handles for extra comfort. With an impressive 7-year warranty, you could definitely do worse than this option in my opinion.

3. Okuma Battle Cat Catfish Spinning Rod

This final product combines several high-performance features that ensure proper control and perfect balance making them suitable when angling in freshwater or quickly flowing streams where catfish typically dwell. It comes equipped with a guide system consisting of welded stainless for reliable strength as well. See its specifications below:

  • Brand: Okuma
  • Length: Available in 7. 6 to 10 feet
  • Weight: 1.1 pounds
  • Power: Heavy
  • Action: Moderate-fast
  • Blank material: e-glass
  • Pieces: 2

Other inclusions:

  • EVA fore grip
  • Stainless hook keeper
  • Cork rear grip

Why have I chosen this?

It has an 8-foot length, making it ideal for various types of fishing. It will also handle saltwater if needed due to its stainless steel guides and hook keeper. And if you are chasing catfish from a boat or kayak, the cork butt section complements the rod’s heavy action by reducing binding when fishing in the rod holders. A great option for catfishers of all levels.


There you have it, my three best catfishing rods for use this year. As always, please let me know what you use or of your experiences with the options above.

Also, please do not hesitate to comment below if you have any questions, concerns, corrections or would like me to check anything else out for you.

Until next time

Have fun


best catfish rods - Pinterest

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Hi, I'm Paul

I am a passionate fishing, camping and four wheeled driving hobbyist who researches, tests and educates around issues and equipment relevant to them.

I am by no means a professional however my passion is to assist you in making informed decisions about buying and using awesome gear that will give you the best chance of success at whatever you are doing for the best price.

Please get in touch if you have any questions.