Last Updated on May 6, 2024 by Afsar

Catfish, renowned for their scrumptious taste and vigorous fight, stand out as a favorite target among anglers seeking the thrill of landing these formidable opponents. Known for their remarkable strength and fierce, tiger-like dashes, catfish present a unique challenge that requires more than your average fishing gear. To successfully capture these robust creatures, specialized catfish rods are essential. This guide is dedicated to unveiling the best catfish rods of 2024, meticulously selected to enhance your fishing expeditions.

Our goal is to equip you with the knowledge and tools necessary to secure these elusive giants. Catfishing, a cherished pastime for many, combines the excitement of the chase with the satisfaction of a delicious catch. However, newcomers to the sport often encounter a common stumbling block: selecting the ideal rod for catfishing. Catfish are notorious for their tenacity, engaging in a fierce battle to evade capture. This necessitates a rod that not only withstands their powerful struggle but also empowers you to reel in those massive catches with confidence and ease.

In this comprehensive review and guide, we aim to bridge the gap for both seasoned anglers and beginners alike, highlighting rods that promise durability, strength, and sensitivity needed to detect the subtlest of nibbles. Whether you’re fishing in serene lakes, flowing rivers, or vast reservoirs, our selection caters to all environments and techniques, ensuring that your next catfishing adventure yields impressive results. Dive into our expert recommendations to find the perfect catfish rod that will transform your fishing experience, allowing you to boast about the monumental catfish that didn’t get away.

Best Catfish Rods 2024

Ugly Stik® Spinning Combo

Ugly Stik Catfish Spinning Combo

The Ugly Stik Catfish Spinning Combo by Shakespeare stands as a testament to the brand’s commitment to excellence, especially for enthusiasts of catfishing. This combo is not just another addition to the famed Ugly Stik series; it’s a specialized tool crafted with the catfish angler in mind. Its distinguished clear tip design not only enhances sensitivity but also ensures high precision in every cast, a feature that catfish anglers will undoubtedly appreciate for its ability to detect the slightest nibbles.

Constructed for toughness, the Ugly Stik Catfish Spinning Combo promises enhanced durability that catfish anglers have come to rely on. Its robust build is complemented by stainless steel guides, which add to the rod’s resilience against the rigorous demands of catfishing. While some may view its one-piece design as a limitation, it’s important to consider the exceptional value this combo offers. The combination of quality and affordability makes it a compelling choice for both seasoned anglers and those new to the sport of catfishing.

Delving deeper into the specifications, the UGLY STIK 7’ Catfish Fishing Rod and Reel Combo boasts features that cater to the demands of battling the formidable catfish. The combo’s Ugly Tech construction, a synergistic blend of graphite and fiberglass, offers a balance of strength and sensitivity with a medium-heavy power ideal for catfishing. This rod comes with a generous 7-year warranty, underlining the brand’s confidence in its durability. The gear ratio of 5.1:1 ensures smooth operation, providing the mechanical advantage needed when reeling in those larger catches.

The Size 50 conventional reel is designed for smoothness and reliability, featuring a 2 ball bearing system and 6 stainless steel guides. These features are engineered to withstand the challenges of catfishing, including minimizing insert pop-outs under stress. The reel’s front drag system, capable of handling up to 16lb (7.2kg), coupled with an instant anti-reverse system, puts control firmly in the angler’s hands. Comfort is not overlooked, with durable and lightweight EVA handles ensuring a secure and comfortable grip during prolonged battles.

With a line rating of 15-30LB and medium-heavy power, this combo is prepared to tackle the challenges of catfishing head-on. The Ugly Stik Clear Tip design is the cherry on top, providing the strength and sensitivity needed for successful catfish angling. Whether you’re casting in rivers, lakes, or reservoirs, the Ugly Stik Catfish Spinning Combo is engineered to deliver performance, durability, and an unbeatable fishing experience.

Best catfish rod and reel combo

Notable Features:

  • Specialized Design for Catfishing: Tailored specifically for catfish anglers, featuring a clear tip for enhanced sensitivity and precision.
  • Robust Construction: Combines durability with the reliability Ugly Stik is known for, including stainless steel guides for added toughness.
  • Value-Oriented Combo: Offers a high-quality catfishing combo at a reasonable price, despite its one-piece design limitation.
  • UGLY TECH Construction: Utilizes a blend of graphite and fiberglass for a strong yet sensitive rod with medium heavy power, backed by a 7-year warranty.
  • Smooth Reel Operation: Equipped with a gear ratio of 5.1:1 for smooth casting and reeling, alongside a 2 ball bearing system for reliable performance.
  • Durable and Comfortable Components: Features a Size 50 conventional reel with a max drag of 16lb (7.2kg), instant anti-reverse system, durable aluminum spool, and EVA handles for a comfortable grip.
  • Versatile Line Rating: Supports a line rating of 15-30LB, making it suitable for various catfishing scenarios.
  • Ugly Stik Clear Tip: Delivers exceptional strength and sensitivity, critical for detecting subtle bites and ensuring successful catches.
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Berkley Big Game Casting Fishing Rod

Berkley Big Game Casting Fishing Rod

The Berkley Big Game Casting Fishing Rod stands as a premier choice for catfishing aficionados, blending unmatched tensile strength with the finesse required to land the most formidable catches. Renowned for its durability and responsive design, this rod is engineered to handle the rigors of battling large catfish and other sizable species, making it a versatile tool in any angler’s arsenal.

Merging your original content, the Berkley Big Game Casting Fishing Rod not only stands out for its striking black, white, and red aesthetic but also for its functional prowess. Its construction features a high modulus blank and stainless steel guide frames with titanium oxide inserts, coupled with TAC split full EVA handles for superior grip and comfort. Characterized by its moderate-fast action, this rod is specifically tailored for anglers targeting substantial catches, offering an exceptional choice for those dedicated to the pursuit of catfish and other large species.

Together, these elements make the Berkley Big Game Casting Fishing Rod a top recommendation for serious anglers seeking a blend of aesthetic appeal, ergonomic design, and unmatched performance for their catfishing adventures.

Notable Features:

  • Optimized for Big Catches: Designed with a 12-30LB line rating and medium heavy power, this rod is capable of casting lures weighing 1-4 oz., ensuring increased reactivity and effectiveness in capturing large fish.
  • Robust Fiberglass Construction: The tubular fiberglass blank construction offers the perfect balance of strength and flexibility, allowing you to reel in tough fighters without the fear of breakage. Weighing in at 11.6 oz, it combines heavy-duty performance with manageable weight.
  • Enhanced Casting Experience: Equipped with 7 durable guides featuring titanium oxide inserts, this rod guarantees strength, control, and smoother casting, enhancing your fishing efficiency and enjoyment.
  • Stable and Dependable Reel Seat: The graphite reel seat complements the rod’s sturdy construction, providing a reliable anchor point for the reel and ensuring overall balance and stability.
  • Comfortable Handling: The Type-B EVA rod handle is designed for maximum comfort, reducing hand strain during long fishing sessions and improving the overall handling experience.
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Berkley Big Game Spinning Fishing Rod

Berkley Big Game Spinning Fishing Rod

Berkley’s Big Game spinning fishing rod is among the top choices for catfishing enthusiasts, versatile enough to tackle various fish species. Pure Fish, the manufacturer, touts this series as ideal for larger catches. With its striking combination of black, white, and red, the rod is not only functional but aesthetically pleasing.

The rod boasts a robust tubular fiberglass blank construction, an x-veil high modulus blank, and a stainless steel guide frame with titanium oxide inserts. Additionally, it features TAC split full EVA handles, enhancing its usability. The EVA handles are notably comfortable, making the rod a joy to handle. Characterized by its moderate-fast action and medium-heavy power, this 8-foot catfish rod comes in two segments. Given its design for substantial catches, it’s an excellent recommendation for those seeking to catch catfish.

Rod Blank: Tubular Fiberglass
Rod Action: Moderate Fast
Rod Power: Medium-Heavy
Line Rating: 12-30lb
Lure Rating: 1-4
Number of guides with tip: 6

Notable Features:

  • X-veil high modulus blank
  • Available in different packages
  • Fenwick custom ergonomic reel seat
  • EVA & TAC split grip handle provides great comfort
  • Available in black, white, and red color
  • 8″ medium heavy 2PC
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Abu Garcia Catfish Commando Cast Combo

Abu Garcia Catfish Commando Cast Combo

Abu Garcia, a renowned fishing rod and reel manufacturer from Sweden, has introduced a catfishing rod that stands out from the crowd. One of its distinguishing features is the stainless steel ball-bearing, ensuring a seamlessly smooth operation when in action. Contrary to typical catfishing rods, this model boasts an ergonomic design, which might be an acquired taste for those accustomed to traditional rods. However, its Carbon Matrix Hybrid Drag system guarantees a consistent and smooth drag performance.

The rod benefits from a durable composite blank construction, a testament to Abu Garcia’s commitment to quality. The Catfish Commando combo is replete with features, notably the synchronized level wind system which enhances line lay and stability. With high-density EVA integrated into the design, users can expect remarkable sensitivity paired with durability. Tailored exclusively for catfishing, dedicated anglers will undoubtedly appreciate its superior performance.

Notable Features:

  • Carbon Matrix hybrid drag system offers smoother and more reliable drag performance
  • Consistent brake pressure with the 6-pin centrifugal brake
  • Smooth operation, thanks to the two stainless steel ball-bearing
  • Competitive price for a combo
  • Durable composite blank construction to handle big catfishes
  • Ergonomic design with a compact bent handle
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FIRE STIK The Catfish Casting Rod Fishing

Fire Stik 7’6″ Catfish Casting Rod | Casting Fishing Striper

Seeking a reliable catfish casting rod? Look no further than Fire Stik’s 7’6″ offering. Expertly crafted, it strikes a harmonious balance between aesthetic appeal and robustness. Measuring at a considerable 7’6″, its two-piece design ensures portability, making it a traveler’s companion for fishing expeditions.

Its design’s brilliance is accentuated by using a formidable E-Glass and Graphite composite in constructing the rod’s blank. This fusion not only contributes to its lightweight nature but also bolsters its strength. So when it comes to wrangling sizable catches, this rod stands up to the challenge. The manufacturer’s confidence is evident: they assert that it can effortlessly handle a 40lb flathead catfish.

In the realm of catfishing, finding a rod that promises such prowess at a modest price point is a rarity. Given the impressive array of features and its proven performance, it’s safe to say that Fire Stik’s 7’6″ catfish rod ranks among the most formidable contenders in the market. This rod is a commendable choice if you’re looking for dependability without breaking the bank.

Notable Features:

  • 7’6″ long
  • Stylish design
  • Non-Ceramic & never-fail stainless guides
  • IM7 graphite
  • 304 solid stainless line guides
  • Medium-heavy action
  • Two-piece design
  • E-Glass and graphite
  • Lure weight: 1-5 oz
  • Line Weight: 20-40 lb
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BnM Silver at Magnum Cast Rod MAG75Cn

On the hunt for a one-piece catfish rod? Turn your attention to BnM’s Silver Cat. Distinctively set apart from the majority, this rod boasts a unique one-piece design. Measuring at an impressive 7.5ft, it is equipped with nine stainless steel guides, ensuring smooth line maneuverability.

Notable Features:

  • Composition: A blend of 90% carbon and 10% fiberglass, conferring upon the rod both strength and flexibility.
  • Extra-long Cork Handles: Beyond the standard, these handles offer superior grip and comfort for extended sessions.
  • Stainless Steel Guides: Nine in total, they safeguard against line friction and ensure consistent retrieval.
  • Aluminum Reel Seat: This feature guarantees stability and longevity, providing a secure base for your reel.
  • Line Capacity: Designed to handle up to a 50 lb test line, readying you for the most challenging battles.

Furthermore, the rod integrates a traditional cork handle, beloved by many for its classic feel and ergonomic advantage. BnM’s dedication to quality and performance is evident; they assert that this particular catfish pole was meticulously crafted in collaboration with their pro staff to tackle even the mightiest of aquatic adversaries. In essence, if catching behemoth fish is your objective, the Silver Cat stands poised to be your premier ally.

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Rippin Lips Super Cat Casting Rod

Rippin Lips Super Cat Casting Rod

In pursuit of an exceptional one-piece catfish rod? BnM’s Silver Cat might be the culmination of your quest. Distinct in its one-piece structure, this rod spans an impressive 7.5ft and is adorned with nine stainless steel guides. These guides ensure the line’s seamless movement, setting the stage for efficient casting and retrieval.

Highlighted Features:

  • Material Composition: A meticulous mix of 90% carbon and 10% fiberglass gives the rod a harmonious blend of sturdiness and suppleness.
  • Extended Cork Handles: Surpassing standard lengths, these handles are tailored for superior grip. They promise comfort, even during extended angling sessions.
  • Stainless Steel Guides: With a total of nine guides thoughtfully integrated, they play a pivotal role in reducing line friction and ensuring fluid line movement.
  • Aluminum Reel Seat: Embodying resilience, this feature guarantees that your reel remains steadfast, even under strenuous conditions.
  • Line Compatibility: Engineered to adeptly handle up to a 50 lb test line, it’s primed and ready for those significant catches.

Moreover, the Silver Cat pays homage to traditional angling with its time-tested cork handle. Esteemed by many for its ergonomic edge and nostalgic charm, it enhances the overall fishing experience. BnM’s unwavering dedication to quality is evident. They proudly reveal that this rod has been refined in collaboration with their seasoned pro staff to ensure it’s adept at securing the water’s titans. For those impassioned by the excitement of landing massive fish, the Silver Cat emerges as a top contender.

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219087 Okuma Battle Cat 2pc – Heavy Casting Rod

This is undoubtedly one of the best catfish rods you can find on the market. Okuma Battle Cat is a heavy casting rod mainly used for catfishing. Okuma Battle Cat rod is made of durable E-Glass rod blank (construction) with high-quality materials. For better grip and comfort, it uses EVA Foregrip which helps when you are fighting big catfishes.

The two-piece blank construction allows it to store easily with less space. There are other features like the Fluorescent wrapped indicator tip, stainless steel guides, stainless steel hook, and mode. If you love fishing at the night, the Fluorescent wrapped indicator tip will let you have improved visibility at night. The length of the rod is 7 foot 6 inches while the line weight is 15-60lbs.

Notable Features:

  • Competitive price
  • Extremely durable E-Glass rod blank construction
  • The Cork butt section helps lessen binding when fishing in rod holders
  • Graphite Pipe reel seat used
  • 2 piece blank design for easy transportation and maintenance
  • Fluorescent wrapped indicator tip helps fishing at night
  • Heavy action
  • Stainless steel guides
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Shakespeare Wild Cat Spinning Rod

Shakespeare Wild Cat Spinning Rod

Shakespeare Wild Cat spinning rod is designed to catch monster catfishes. This catfishing rod comes with a 7″ length with high-quality materials. The two-piece design helps most users to transport them easily with less storage. The high-strength 2-piece tubular glass blanks offer a tough feel to the user. Also, the rod power of Shakespeare’s Wild Cat is medium-heavy.

The comfortable EVA handles come very handy when you are catching that big catfish. Packed with lots of features, a lot of newbies use this rod for its low price. In a nutshell, this is the best cheap catfish rod you can find on the market.

Notable Features:

  • Two-piece design to save space and easy transportation
  • Comfortable EVA handles
  • Medium-heavy rod power
  • Extremely cheap
  • The orange tip is used for better visibility
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How To Choose The Best Catfish Rods?

Catfishing is a fascinating and popular form of fishing that requires not only skill but also the right equipment. One crucial piece of this equipment is your fishing rod, designed to handle a catfish’s strength, weight, and fighting power. However, with many available options, it can be overwhelming to decide which is the best for you. Here’s a comprehensive guide on buying the best catfish rods to ensure an exciting and successful fishing experience.

Understand Your Target Species

Each species of catfish has unique behaviors and characteristics that impact the gear required to catch them.

  • Channel Catfish: These are the most popular among anglers due to their wide distribution and the fact that they are easier to catch. They typically weigh between 2-15 pounds but can occasionally reach 30 pounds.
  • Blue Catfish: These are the largest species of catfish in North America, often weighing between 20-40 pounds and can grow up to 100 pounds. They are strong, aggressive fighters, requiring heavier gear.
  • Flathead Catfish: These catfish are also large and strong, typically weighing between 20-40 pounds, with some specimens exceeding 100 pounds. They are often found in structures like fallen trees or rock piles, which might require specific tactics and rod features.

By identifying the species you are targeting, you can choose a rod matching that species’ typical weight and fighting behavior, maximizing your efficiency and success.

Rod Power

Rod power, or the rod’s weight rating, is related to the rod’s stiffness and lifting power. A rod with too little power will bend excessively under the weight of a large catfish, making it difficult to control and potentially leading to breakage. Conversely, a rod with too much power won’t bend enough, reducing casting distance and increasing the chance of the line breaking when a catfish strikes.

  • Medium power rods are best suited for channel catfish, as they offer the right balance of flexibility for casting and stiffness for reeling in these smaller, less aggressive fish.
  • Medium-Heavy power rods are a versatile option that can handle larger channel catfish and smaller blue and flathead catfish.
  • Heavy power rods are designed for targeting large blue and flathead catfish. They are stiffer and offer more lifting power to handle these powerful fish.

Rod Length

The length of your rod can influence casting distance and accuracy, as well as your ability to control a hooked catfish.

  • Shorter rods (7-8 feet) provide more control, making them ideal for precise casts to specific locations, like underneath overhanging trees or among submerged structures where catfish often hide. They’re also easier to handle in small boats or crowded fishing areas.
  • Longer rods (8-9 feet) allow you to cast further, which is beneficial when fishing in large open waters where catfish might be spread out. These rods also offer more leverage when fighting a large catfish, making it easier to control the fish and steer it away from obstacles.

Rod Action

Rod action refers to where the bend occurs along the length of the rod when pressure is applied at the tip.

  • Fast action rods bend primarily in the upper third, near the tip. This action allows for longer casts and better sensitivity, meaning you can feel even small nibbles more easily. However, they might not provide as much control over a fighting catfish.
  • Moderate action rods bend in the upper half. They offer a balance between casting distance and control, making them a versatile choice for a variety of catfish species and fishing conditions. These rods also have more flex, which can absorb sudden pulls or lunges from a large catfish, reducing the chance of the line breaking.


The material of your rod greatly influences its durability, sensitivity, and weight, all of which affect your fishing experience.

  • Fiberglass: These rods are known for their toughness and durability. They are less likely to break even under high stress, making them suitable for heavy-duty catfishing. However, they are generally heavier and less sensitive compared to graphite rods, so they might not be the best for detecting light bites.
  • Graphite: These rods are lighter and more sensitive, allowing you to feel the slightest nibble at the end of your line. This can be especially useful when fishing for smaller or less aggressive catfish species. However, graphite rods tend to be more brittle, meaning they can break if mishandled or if they’re used to catch catfish that exceed their weight rating.
  • Composite: These rods are made from a mix of fiberglass and graphite, aiming to offer the best of both worlds. They’re designed to be durable and robust like fiberglass rods, while also being lighter and more sensitive like graphite rods.


The handle or grip of the fishing rod is where you hold the rod, so it needs to be comfortable for extended periods.

  • Cork: This material is lightweight and provides a warm, soft grip. It also offers a decent amount of sensitivity, allowing you to feel more of what’s happening on the line. However, cork handles may deteriorate faster than EVA foam, especially if frequently exposed to water and sun.
  • EVA Foam: This material is durable, lightweight, and water-resistant. It offers a comfortable grip, even in wet conditions, and tends to last longer than cork. However, it might not provide the same level of sensitivity as a cork handle.

Reel Seat

The reel seat is where the reel attaches to the rod. A quality reel seat is crucial because it holds the reel firmly in place, allowing you to control your line effectively.

  • Quality Construction: The reel seat should be sturdy and made from corrosion-resistant materials. It should firmly hold the reel without wobbling or loosening over time.
  • Comfort: It should feel comfortable in your hands, with no sharp edges or protrusions that might dig into your hand.
  • Size: Make sure the reel seat fits your chosen reel. Too large, and the reel may wobble or fall out; too small, and the reel won’t fit at all.


The guides or line guides are the loops that lead the line from the reel to the tip of the rod. They affect casting distance, accuracy, and the overall performance of the rod.

  • Material: Ceramic or metal guides with ceramic inserts are typically the best for catfishing. They are smooth and reduce friction as the line moves, allowing for longer casts. They’re also durable enough to withstand the strain of a big catfish pulling on the line.
  • Alignment: The guides should be aligned perfectly along the spine of the rod. Misaligned guides can lead to reduced casting accuracy and even damage the rod.
  • Spacing: Proper spacing ensures the rod bends uniformly when under pressure. If the guides are too far apart, it can create “flat spots” where the rod doesn’t bend, potentially leading to breakages.

Frequently Asked Questions About Catfish Catching?

What kind of bait is best for catfish?

Different types of catfish prefer different types of bait. Channel catfish are fond of prepared baits, also known as stink baits, which are often cheese or meat-based. Blue catfish respond well to cut bait like herring, shad, or skipjack. Flathead catfish prefer live bait, such as small sunfish or perch.

Where can I find catfish in a lake or river?

Catfish are usually found in deeper, darker parts of the water during the day. They like to stay near the bottom, often in areas with structures like fallen trees, logs, or rock formations. During the night, they move into shallower waters to feed.

What is the best time to fish for catfish?

Catfish are more active during cooler parts of the day. Therefore, early morning and late evening are generally the best times to fish for catfish. They are also nocturnal, so nighttime can be an excellent time to catch them, especially in the summer.

What kind of gear do I need to catch catfish?

Medium to heavy-duty rod and reel setups are typically recommended for catfish due to their size and strength. You’ll also need suitable line strength, catfish hooks, sinkers, and bait. A good pair of fishing gloves can protect your hands from catfish spines.

Is it necessary to use a bobber when fishing for catfish?

It’s not necessary, but it can be useful. Bobbers can help indicate when a fish is biting, especially when fishing in deeper water. However, a sliding sinker rig without a bobber may be more appropriate if you’re fishing near the bottom.

What should I do once I’ve caught a catfish?

Be careful when handling catfish as they have sharp spines on their pectoral and dorsal fins. If you plan on releasing the catfish, make sure to handle it gently to minimize stress and potential injury.

How can I distinguish between different species of catfish?

The three most common types of catfish in the U.S are the Channel, Blue, and Flathead catfish. Channel catfish have a smaller head and a forked tail, while Flatheads have a flat, wide head and a square tail. Blue catfish are similar to Channel catfish but can grow significantly larger.

Do I need a license to fish for catfish?

In most regions, a fishing license is required for both freshwater and saltwater fishing. The exact regulations depend on the area and sometimes the specific body of water. Always check local regulations before fishing.

What’s the best method to clean and prepare catfish for cooking?

To clean a catfish, you’ll need to remove the skin, head, and entrails. Many people also prefer to remove the “mud vein” (a dark line along the fish’s back) as it can give the fish a stronger, muddier taste. After it’s cleaned, the catfish can be filleted, battered, and fried, or prepared in a variety of other ways.

How big can catfish get?

Catfish can vary greatly in size based on species and age. Channel catfish typically reach sizes of 2-4 pounds, Blue catfish can reach over 100 pounds, and Flathead catfish can also reach over 100 pounds. The world record for a catfish catch is a Mekong giant catfish, caught in Thailand, that weighed 646 pounds.

Choosing the ideal catfish rod can make a world of difference in your angling experience. The year 2024 has brought with it a myriad of exceptional options tailored to various needs and preferences. Whether you’re an amateur just dipping your toes into the world of catfishing or a seasoned pro looking for that next gear upgrade, our comprehensive review and guide for the best catfish rods of 2024 is your one-stop resource. Always remember to align your choice with your specific needs, the type of waters you fish in, and your budget. Here’s to successful and enjoyable catfishing adventures ahead!