Best Catfish Rods
Fishing for catfish is just plain fun. It’s how many young anglers get started fishing, and, for some of us, it’s become a lifelong hobby.
Gearing up for a catfishing trip can be as simple as grabbing any old rod and some chicken livers and heading out the door. You’ll pick up a few catfish and have a good time doing it.
But if you want to take your catfishing game to the next level, collecting a small set of catfish-specific rods and practicing proven techniques is a good way to do it.
Sometimes it’s that first step, acquiring a couple of good catfishing poles, that gives fishermen trouble. There are so many catfish rods on the market, it’s hard to wade through all the choices and figure out which one to buy.
We’re here to help.
In this article, we’ll give you all the information you need to choose the right catfish rod.
You’ll get our top picks for the best catfishing rods, and we’ll examine all the details you should consider when shopping for these rods. There’s a run down on types of catfish, rod characteristics, price, and an overview of the materials that go into making the best catfish poles.
If you’d rather jump right to our suggestions on what to buy, we’ve included a quick-and-easy reference that matches catfish rods with specific catfishing scenarios. Check out our Catfish Rod Cheat Sheet to get a fast recommendation on the best rod for catfishing.
Scroll to Top Picks
Scroll to Buying Considerations
Scroll to Verdict
What Makes a Good Catfish Rod?A “good rod” for one catfishing technique might not be very suitable for other methods of catfish fishing.Finding the right catfish rod requires first answering a few questions:
- What type of catfish are you after?
- How big are the fish you’re trying to catch?
- What techniques do you plan to use?
- How much money do you have to spend?
Catfish Rod Cheat SheetThis section provides a shortcut to rods selection. You’ll see references to types of catfish and the terms weight (how easily a rod bends) and action (where the rod bends). All that stuff is covered in our Buying Considerations section, but, you should know that it factors heavily in these recommendations.
|If you’re fishing with…||The best type of rod is…||Example|
|Small channel catfish||B’n’M Silver Cat Magnum Casting Rod|
|Large channel catfish||Berkley Cherrywood HD Casting Rod|
|Blue or flathead catfish||American Premier Pro Nite Stick Catfish Rod|
Top Picks Overview
In this section, you’ll find a quick overview of the top catfish rods on the market.
Each one is also described in detail as part of our catfish rod reviews that appear later in this article.
Top Pick Reviews
Okuma Battle Cat Spinning Rod
Our first recommendation is for anglers seeking trophy catfish. The Battle Cat Catfish Spinning Rod is made from high-quality fiberglass and has double-foot welded stainless-steel guides. It features an EVA fore grip to give you something comfortable top grab on to, but the rear grip is cork, so it won’t bind in your rod holders.
You can buy this rod in an 8′, heavyweight model, or add a couple feet and go for the 10′ bruiser. If you get into a group of monster blues or flatheads, you’ll be glad you have an Okuma Battle Cat rod in your hand.
Though this is a 2-piece rod, it is butted in the handle. As a result, it feels just like a one-piece rod and the strength doesn’t suffice. This makes the Okuma Battle Cat a versatile and compact rod that you can easily bring on the road.
A flourescent tip grants you visibility if you’re hunting cats in the night.
Our rating: 4.5/5
- Durable & powerful E-Glass blanks
- Comfortable EVA foregrip
- Cork rear grip reduces binding in rod holders
- Double foot welded stainless steel guides
- Heavy-duty stainless steel hook keeper
- Graphite pipe reel seat with oversized anodized aluminum hoods
- Durable non-skid rubber gimbals on all models
- 2-piece blank construction, butted in the handle, giving 1-piece strength and feel
- Fluorescent wrapped indicator tip for night fishing
- Limited lifetime warranty
|Model||Line Weight||Lure Weight||Guides||Length||Power||Action|
|BC-C-762H||15-60 lbs||1-8 oz||9 + Tip||7’6″||Heavy||Mod. Fast|
|BC-C-802H||15-60 lbs||1-8 oz||9+Tip||8′||Heavy||Mod. Fast|
|BC-S-762H||15-60 lbs||1-8 oz||7 + Tip||7’6″||Heavy||Mod. Fast|
|BC-S-802H||15-60 lbs||1-8 oz||8 + Tip||8′||Heavy||Mod. Fast|
|BC-S-1002H||15-60 lbs||1-8 oz||9 + Tip||10′||Heavy||Mod. Fast|
Berkley Glowstik Casting Rod
Are you hunting for one of the best catfish baitcasting rods on the market? If so, then look no further. The Berkley Glowstik Casting Rod lets you take your night fishing game to the next level. It has a one-touch, battery operated, red LED that’s installed with a fiber optic cable, making the rod tip glow.
Rugged, fiberglass blank construction makes this durable rod extremely strong and sensitive, while its long, rubberized handle gives you increased leverage.
Grab the 7′, medium-heavy version of this rod, and head out into the dark of night to hunt for hungry cats.
Our rating: 4.5/5
- Fiberglass rod blank construction
- Stainless steel guide frames with titanium oxide inserts
- Full rubberized shrink-wrapped handles
- One-touch battery operated red LED core
|Length||Power||Action||Pieces||Line Rating||Lure Rating|
|6′||Medium Heavy||Moderate Fast||1||12-30 lb||1-4|
|6’6″||Medium Heavy||Moderate||1||10-20 lb||½-3|
|6’6″||Medium Heavy||Moderate Fast||1||12-30 lb||1-4|
|7′||Medium Heavy||Moderate Fast||2||10-20 lb||½-3|
Eagle Claw Catclaw Casting Rod
The Eagle Claw Catclaw Casting rod is a powerful fiberglass rod that’s also very sensitive and has the perfect action for lobbing large, heavy bait rigs.
This Eagle Claw catfish rod is tailor made for catching big blues and flatheads. You’ll be able to make long accurate casts with this 8′, medium-heavy rod.
A sturdy graphite reel seat, aluminum oxide guides, and a comfortable EVA foam handle fill out the feature list of this awesome, value-priced catfish rod.
Our rating: 4.4/5
- Style: Casting
- Length: 8’0″
- Line weight: 12-30 lbs
- Lure weight: 1½ – 2½ oz
- Power: Medium
- Sections: 2
- Action: Medium Heavy
- Water type: Freshwater & saltwater
- Finish/plating: Glass
- Species: Multi-species
- Guide type: Aluminum oxide
- Handle style: EVA foam
- Guides: 6+1
- Reel seat: Graphite
Constructed from 100% fiberglass, KastKing KastKat rods offer amazing performance, strength, and power. This rod features double-footed, stainless-steel guides that can handle any line type you use. A solid, nylon- reinforced reel seat means you can confidently attach your favorite reel and know it’s not going anywhere.
The handle of this rod is covered with slip-resistant rubber cross wraps on top of a comfortable EVA core. Plus, there’s a large fighting butt that ensures a solid grip when there’s action.
Like some of our other recommendations, the KastKing KastKat Catfish Rod offers a little help for night fishermen—a bright, fluorescent orange tip makes it easy to see strikes in the dark. If you’re looking for a midrange catfish rod that’s moderately priced, you can’t go wrong with a KastKing KastKat Catfish Rod.
The rod is available in both a casting and spinning version. Whatever floats your boat will do the job.
Our rating: 4.3/5
- 100% linear S-Glass blank construction for power
- Stainless steel double foot guides for durability and performance
- Reinforced nylon reel seats for strength and leverage
- Cross wrapped EVA handles for comfort
- Bright Orange Strike Tip for fishing at night
|SKU||Length||Action||Power||Line Wt(lb)||Lure Wt(oz)||Guides||Rod Weights (oz)|
American Premier Pro Nite Stick
The American Premier Pro Nite Stick Catfish Rod was professionally designed and engineered for serious catfish anglers. It’s made with a graphite composite blank that gives it incredible flexibility and durability. There’s a fluorescent glow tip to help you see strikes on those dark nights.
Tough stainless-steel guides, a solid graphite reel seat, and a premium grade cork handle round out the feature list on the awesome piece of catfish tackle. If you’re after big channel cats or blues, you can’t go wrong with the 8′ model of the American Premier Pro Nite Stick Catfish Rod.
Our rating: 4.3/5
- 2-piece rod
- 8’0″ length – ideal for catfishing
- Designed with tournament pros in mind
- Graphite blanks give flexibility and durability
- Heavy-duty stainless steel guides for extra strength
- Graphite reel seat with cushioned stainless steel hoods
B’n’M Silver Cat Magnum Casting Pole
Nobody knows what catfish anglers need in a rod like the guys at B’n’M. Their Silver Cat Magnum Casting Rod is made of 100% fiberglass, has aluminum oxide guides with ceramic inserts and features a no-slip, nylon cord grip.
A cool thing about this rod is the glow-in-the-dark tip. You can relax in the dark while waiting for a strike, then you’ll see that glowing tip start to dance, and the real fun starts.
This 7’5″, medium weight rod is made from a combination of carbon and fiberglass, giving it the strength and sensitivity that’s just right for targeting small- to medium-size channel cats.
Our rating: 4.2/5
- Rod Type: Casting rod
- Blank Construction: 100% fiberglass
- Action: Medium
- No-slip nylon cord grip for extra sensitivity and control
- Glow-in-the-dark tip for fishing at night
- Aluminum oxide with ceramic insert guides for strength and durability
- Sensitive tip for feeling even the smallest hooks
Shakespeare Ugly Stik Catfish Fishing Rod
The Ugly Stik Catfish Casting Rod is made with what the manufacturer refers to as Ugly Tech construction. It’s a fantastic combination of graphite and fiberglass that results in a very strong, sensitive rod.
The rod is equipped with one-piece stainless-steel guides, a comfortable EVA grip, and an ultra-sensitive tip that will help you detect light strikes.
This rod was designed specifically for catfish. Pick up an Ugly Stik Catfish Casting Rod, (the 7′, medium-heavy model), and you have no trouble putting more catfish in your cooler.
Our rating: 4.0/5
- Built specifically for catching catfish
- EVA handles
- Ugly Tech blank construction for incredible strength and durability
- Ugly tuff one-piece stainless steel guides
- Ugly Stik clear tip for sensitivity and fishing at night
|Length||Power||Lure Rating||Line Rating||Action||Pieces|
|7′||Medium Heavy||½-3 oz||15-30 lbs||Moderate Fast||1|
|8′||Medium Heavy||½-3 iz||15-30 lbs||Moderate Fast||2|
Berkley Cherrywood HD Casting Rod
The Berkley Cherrywood HD Casting Rod features through-handle construction, which means the blank extends all the way through the handle to the butt. This gives the rod a solid feeling in your hand and has a big impact on power and sensitivity.
A through-handle design is just one of the high-end features you’ll find in this value-priced rod. Tough guides with stainless steel inserts and a premium cork grip are also included.
It’s no secret that this is a very versatile casting rod. We also included it in our guide covering the best rods for bass fishing.
The Berkley Cherrywood HD Casting Rod is available in a 7′, medium-heavy model that would be ideal for battling larger channel cats.
Our rating: 3.9/5
- Hybrid design construction for increased sensitivity with the security of through-handle construction
- SS304 guides with Stainless Steel inserts
- Cork handle design for added comfort and grip
|6′||Medium Heavy||Fast||10-20 lb||1|
|6’6″||Medium Heavy||Fast||10-20 lb||1|
|7′||Medium Light||Fast||6-14 lb||1|
|7′||Medium Heavy||Fast||10-20 lb||1|
Shimano Stimula Spinning Rod
We’re not sure how Shimano can create such a high-quality rod for such a low price, but their Stimula Spinning Rod is one heck of a bargain.
This tough catfish spinning rod is constructed using a durable graphite composite blank and is available with the right length, weight, and action for catfishing.
The Stimula Spinning Rod is a good choice if you’re looking for the best catfish rod for the money. It includes some features you see on more expensive rods, like aluminum oxide guides that will last forever and minimize line friction.
For all fishermen who are looking for a great catfish rod but don’t want to break the bank, the Shimano’s Stimula Spinning Rod is a good choice.
Our rating: 3.7/5
- Responsive graphite composite construction
- Comfortable full cork handles for solid grip
- Lightweight aluminum oxide guides
Zebco Graphex Casting Rod
The Graphex Casting Rod from Zebco is a low-cost rod that performs like a much more expensive piece of tackle.
To make this rod, they bond graphite with EX-Fiber, giving it remarkable strength and sensitivity. With aluminum-oxide guides, there’s minimal line friction, regardless of the type of line you use.
The Graphex Casting Rod has a cork handle and a rock-solid reel seat that allows you to securely attach your favorite casting reel.
If you’re into catfishing with casting gear, pick up the 7′, medium-heavy version of this rod. You won’t be disappointed.
Our rating: 3.5/5
- Rod type: Casting
- Lengths: 6’0″, 6’6″ and 7’0″
- Action: Medium/Heavy
- Taper: Fast
- Line Weight: 6-12 lb
- Seat: Quantum
- IM6 graphic bonded with EX-Fiber
- Fast taper tips for great lure action and control
- Aluminum-oxide D-Ring DynaFlow guides
- High-quality cork handles