A woman is holding a giant catfish.

Best Catfish Rods of 2022 Leave a comment

Printed Sep 15, 2022 6:00 PM

Whether or not you’re pursuing feisty bullheads, aggressive channels, bully blues, or brutish flatheads, you’ll want a catfish rod that’s as much as the duty. Some anglers need rods which are limber and lengthy, with extra motion to allow them to play a fish. Others need shorter stout rods for leverage to rapidly get a fish to the boat or financial institution. Rod, reel, line, and different parts have to work in live performance that can assist you land a catfish effectively. Catfish, particularly huge ones, surge and roll, and bury round cowl. And In the event you simply slap a reel on the primary low-cost rod you discover at your native ironmongery store, these bucks you save may cost you the fish of a lifetime.

That will help you discover one of the best catfish rods, I interviewed fishing guides who pay the payments with monster cats to search out out which of them excel regardless of the place you propose to fish. 

Why It Made the Reduce

A terrific worth and sturdiness make the Ugly Stik an outstanding worth for catfishing.

Key Options

Ugly Stik clear tipGraphite-fiberglass blankOne-piece stainless-steel guidesRod Size: 7-, 8-, 9-, 10-, and 12-feet


Funds-friendlyFully rubberized handlesDurable


May use extra choices with heavy motion

Product Description 

Shakespeare’s legendary Ugly Stik fishing rods have confirmed themselves repeatedly for all kinds of species. They’re powerful sufficient to resist boat slams, cooler smashes within the truck mattress, inattentive youngsters (and adults), and battles with huge fish. The newest iteration for whisker fish anglers—the Ugly Stik Catfish Particular—is available in spinning and casting fashions in lengths from 7-12 ft. They’re rated for 10-40-pound-test and are designed with medium-heavy energy on average motion rods. That’s a very good middle-of-the-road mixture for a price priced rod that punches above its weight. 

Together with the rod’s guts—skinny woven sheets of graphite and fiberglass—particular touches and beauty add much more panache. It would look like catfish anglers solely care about smelly baits and massive fish, however fashionable rods are an added bonus. Shakespeare additionally has a 7-year guarantee, which is a heck of a deal for a $60 rod.

The Shakespeare Ugly Stik line are the best catfish rods for drifting.

Why It Made the Reduce

Inexpensive, powerful, and broadly obtainable, the Ugly Stick rods are one in all Capt. Richard Simms’ favorites when he’s drifting the Tennessee river for catfish.

Key Options

Number of rod lengthsClear tipEVA foam handles that work in moist conditionsMedium-heavy actions all through series7-year guarantee


DurableSpinning and casting fashions Funds-friendly


Restricted choices for lengths

Product Description 

Capt. Richard Simms with Scenic Metropolis Fishing in Chattanooga usually employs two major techniques for his Tennessee River catfishing journeys: drifting with the present whereas utilizing gentle spinning sort out, and “bumping backside” in deeper water with heavier sort out. For the previous, Simms strongly recommends the Shakespeare Ugly Stik line of spinning and casting rods. He makes use of each and prefers them for shoppers, as a result of they’re sturdy and simple to work even when they land a monster.

 “You don’t know your shoppers’ talents,” he says. “I at all times apply endurance over energy. The Ugly Stik rods, particularly the 7-foot spinning rods, have a comparatively gentle motion. I preach to shoppers to maintain the rod tip up and let the ‘bend be your pal’ whereas they’re preventing a fish.” 

A young client hauled in this trophy cat with an Ugly Stik combo.
A younger consumer hauled on this trophy cat with an Ugly Stik combo. Capt. Richard Simms

The Ugly Stik rods are available 7- and 8-foot lengths and medium-heavy motion for casting and spinning. Further choices could be a plus, however for simply $50 these are reasonably priced workhorses. Guides love them, shoppers gained’t (usually) break them, and so they work. So, whether or not you’re taking out a brand new angler or need one thing that may endure a beating, the Ugly Stik can deal with it, which is why Capt. Simms has been utilizing them for many years. 

“I’ve some Ugly Stik rods which are over 20 years outdated,” he says. “Lots of them are completely different lengths and actions with the unique guides, and I nonetheless use them.”

The B’n’M Poles Bumping Rod is the best catfish rod for bumping bottom.

Why It Made the Reduce

For giant baits, weights, and catfish, this Bumping Rod from B’n’M takes all of it in stride.

Key Options

Quick actionRod Size: 7 ft, 6 inchesHandles 25-50-pound-test


DurableCork handles are snug to holdStylish white coloration


Restricted rod, motion choices

Product Description

Drifting gentle baits, similar to reduce hen breasts (it really works), on gentle sort out is enjoyable. However when Capt. Richard Simms must go deeper, he prefers larger gear. Simms will upsize his rod, line, weight, and bait to float or anchor whereas bumping the underside for larger catfish. He and his shoppers catch all the pieces from 15-pounders to 65-plus brutes. That’s why he opts for a B’n’M Poles Bumping Rod to get the job finished. 

“Drift fishing in deeper water with heavier sort out with a suspended bait off the underside, or bottom-bumping, is a good tactic,” Simms says. “The Bumping Rod has a heavy spine and good tip, and it’s a very good all-around rod. While you’re bumping backside, you need one thing that has some sensitivity however nonetheless has the power to get a giant one to the web.”

For Simms, the Bumping Rod has simply sufficient sensitivity and loads of spine for plucking large river cats off the underside.

The Catch the Fever Hellcat is the best

Why It Made the Reduce

Justin Conner and Tabitha Linville, The Catfishing Duo, depend on the Hellcat rods after they’re guiding for large flatheads and blue cats in deep water.

Key Options

Energy Motion: Medium-extra heavyRod Size: 7 ft, 6 inchesColor Choices: Patriotic, inexperienced, orange, and pink


SensitiveReel seats gained’t enable reels to walkVivid colours straightforward to see at night time


Product Description

Justin Conner and Tabitha Linville, The Catfishing Duo, information frequently in West Virginia on the Ohio and Kanawha rivers for flathead and blue catfish. They’ve caught catfish as much as 65 kilos, and Linville says the Hellcat rods from Catch the Fever are the right dimension for large flatties and blues. 

“In spring the flatheads don’t chunk as steadily and have a softer chunk as an alternative of actually going for the bait onerous, so we go for the medium-heavy,” she says. “That offers us extra detection with the chunk, as a result of it has a extra delicate tip.” 

Linville with a monster caught on the Hellcat.
Linville with a monster caught on the Hellcat. Tabitha Linville

Through the summer season months, Conner and Linville do a whole lot of night time fishing. They usually each choose the brilliant inexperienced rod (and line) possibility, as a result of it’s straightforward to see bites at nighttime. 

The Hellcat collection additionally is available in medium, medium-heavy, heavy and extra-heavy actions, able to dealing with 10-pound-test for small cats to 80-pound-test for monsters. 

“We use the heavy motion in summer season, however it relies upon totally on the present,” Linville says. “There’s extra spine to these heavy rods and we’ll use them if we now have shoppers who aren’t as acquainted with holding the rods. The information are delicate, which positively helps. So that you’ll understand it’s a flathead as a result of the rod tip goes down actual sluggish, however a blue simply smokes it.”

The B’n’M Silver Cat is the best catfish rod for kids.

Why It Made the Reduce

These sturdy rods can deal with the abuse that children or novice anglers can impose on them.

Key Options

Rod Size: 7 ft, 6 inches100 % fiberglass blanksCeramic information insertsGraphite reel seat


Glow-in-the-dark tip helps detect bites at nightVersatile medium actionHandles line sizes from 10- to 20-pound take a look at


Would love extra choices within the casting line

Product Description

Over the previous 30 years Billy Blakely has caught or helped catch numerous catfish at Reelfoot Lake. This stump-filled whisker fish dream in northwest Tennessee holds fields of lily pads and water that’s deep sufficient to harbor giant cats by the winter. Blakley’s go-to rod for fishing Reelfoot is the B’n’M Silver Cat collection, which he prefers to make use of with youngsters or new anglers, who, no less than from his expertise, will be tough on rods.

“I’ve had individuals with a variety of fishing talents through the years,” Blakely says. “We use flat backside aluminum boats, and whereas we deal with our gear they do get banged round a bit. I’ve used the Silver Cat collection for fairly some time and so they’ve at all times held up.” 

Blakely famous that the price-to-performance ratio of the Silver Cat is one purpose he retains utilizing them. And simply because the Silver Cats are a number of the finest catfish rods for teenagers or new anglers doesn’t imply they aren’t for seasoned fishermen both. These rods have sufficient spine for large cats, so if you happen to dangle a 40-pounder, you will get it in, Blakely says. 

How you can Select a Catfish Rod

Catfish are discovered all all over the world. You’ll discover them in virtually any water: clear, soiled, sizzling, chilly, swift rivers or placid lakes, farm ponds, and small creeks. Some anglers imagine that finding them is the hardest half. However as soon as they’re hooked, the struggle isn’t straightforward both. That’s why it’s vital to have the fitting rod for the job.

No matter where you're chasing catfish, the right rod can help you land fish more efficiently.
Irrespective of the place you’re chasing catfish, the fitting rod might help you land them extra effectively. Capt. Richard Simms


The wonderful thing about most catfish rods is that they’re fairly reasonably priced. Most price between $50 and $100, and if you happen to’re actually eager on one thing particular you may pay extra for a customized one.  

Rod Motion

Are you concentrating on small- to average-sized fish in a farm pond or round boat docks on the lake? A medium-heavy spinning rod will do the job. In the event you’re going after giant catfish, you’ll want extra spine that heavy-action rods present. 

Deal with Size 

While you land a fish, particularly a giant one, you may want an extended deal with that you would be able to tuck underneath your arm for leverage when you’re reeling. In fact, if you happen to’re concentrating on farm ponds or smaller cats, this gained’t be as huge of a difficulty.  


Q: Is graphite or fiberglass higher for catfish rods?

For years, graphite, fiberglass, or a mix of each have been the staple supplies for catfish rods. Graphite is extra delicate and lighter, which helps you detect extra bites, and so they’re extra snug to carry and forged, too. Nonetheless, graphite is extra fragile. Fiberglass rods—often E-Glass or S-Glass—aren’t almost as delicate, however they’re extra sturdy.

Q: What bait ought to I exploit for catfish?

The bait it is best to use for catfish is determined by the species and goal dimension. In the event you’re in a farm pond or small creek with smaller fish, think about using nightcrawlers, hen livers, or some type of stinkbait. 

On larger waters for bigger blues and channels, reduce shad works nice. Contemporary shad is finest. The bloodier, oilier and guttier, the higher. Reduce into chunks or fillets. Use the intestine sack by itself or on a hook with a fillet. In the event you use the top, step on it a bit to get the juices working. 

For giant flatheads, reduce bait is an possibility however reside bait—bluegills or shad—is best. Clip a fin so the bait seems wounded and drop both of these right into a flathead’s lair. Remember to verify state laws for utilizing reside bait.

Q: How do you take away a hook from a catfish?

You wish to fastidiously take away a hook from a catfish as a result of they’ve spiny fins, and so they’re particularly sharp. Utilizing a fish gripper, like a Boga Grip or Berkley Massive Recreation Lip Grip might help you management the catfish when you’re dealing with it. Further lengthy, needle-nose pliers are my go-to for eradicating hooks from catfish.

Last Ideas

In the event you’re attempting to place extra catfish within the cooler, you’ll need one of the best catfish rods to get the job finished. Simply ensure you match your rod to the species and elegance of fishing you like.


I’ve fished for greater than 40 years for catfish and different species on giant and small waters with associates, household, and guides. For this evaluate, I compiled my very own expertise and ideas from fishing guides to make these picks. These guides depend on gear that may face up to lots of of powerful fishing days (and nights) yearly. Take into account their ideas whenever you resolve to improve your catfish rig.

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