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10 Best Catfish Rods: The Toughest Fishing Poles in 2022

Catfish rods are an important piece of equipment for fishermen targeting catfish. Not all fishing rods are created equal, and the best catfish rod for you will depend on the specific fishing conditions you typically encounter. In this article, we will take a look at ten of the best catfish rods on the market in 2022 and discuss what makes them stand out from the competition.

We have based our selections on a variety of factors including price, performance, and features. In terms of price, we looked at both the low and high end of the market, as there is a catfish rod for every budget. When it comes to performance, we considered the action, power, and sensitivity of each rod. Finally, we looked at features such as length, weight, and materials to come up with our list of the 10 best catfish rods.

So, whether you are a seasoned angler or just starting out, we have the perfect rod for you. Let’s get started!

Best Overall

Photo of Ugly Stik Catfish Casting Fishing Rod

Ugly Stik Catfish Casting Fishing Rod

Best For Beginners

Photo of Rippin Lips Supercat Rod

Rippin Lips Super Cat Spinning Rod

Best by Budget

Photo of Shakespeare Ugly Stik Catfish Spinning Fishing Rod

Shakespeare Ugly Stik Catfish Spinning Rod

1. Ugly Stik Catfish Casting Fishing Rod

Best Overall

Standout Features:

The Ugly Stik Catfish Casting Fishing rod is lightweight, but strong and durable which makes this rod our go-to choice.

The Ugly Stik medium-heavy actions help with handling even some of the largest fishes. It has good stiffness, and it’s relatively endurable allowing you to use it for bigger fish.

This product is a one-piece that’s made of stainless steel. It also has stainless-steel guides and a clear tip design for some added convenience.

The Ugly Stik is quite easy and comfortable to use. It has an EVA clutch allowing a secure and non-slippery grip at all times, even when the rod is wet.

The pole measures 7’ and has eight guides for a line rating of 15-30. Its lure rating is at 1/2-3, allowing you to use a wide range of different lures and baits.

2. Rippin Lips Super Cat Spinning Rod

Best for Beginners

Standout Features:

The Rippin Lips catfish rod is designed by John Jamison, who’s a master when it comes to catching catfish. The brand’s Super Cat Series features six different lengths/actions for different species, situations, and anglers.

This Rippin Lips model is a two-piece rod made with E-Glass, S-Glass, and graphite blank. It’s lightweight but also quite strong and durable. It measures 7’6 inch with medium heavy action suitable for both big and small fish.

It’s a Tourney angler’s #1 choice thanks to its heavyguides, improved blank and a fast tip. It ‘s also quite comfortable thanks to the Super Cat’s custom EVA split grip handle that allows great balance when you’re battling your catch.

The catfish rod features extra hard chrome-plated stainless steel guides. On top of that, all of its guide wraps are epoxy coated for some added protection and toughness.

3. Shakespeare Ugly Stik Catfish Spinning Rod

Best by Budget

Standout Features:

This one comes in several sizes, and you can also choose between one- and two-piece models. The 7’ medium heavy one-piece rod is by far the most popular option from the series for several reasons.

Though it might look the same as the Ugly Stik we mentioned above, there’s a crucial difference. This is a spinning rod, offering more versatility and ease of use.

It comes with medium heavy actions allow you to target even the largest fish. It includes tuff one-piece stainless steel guides for smooth performance and safe line movement.

Much like all Ugly Stik models, this one has a clear tip design. It’s a 7-foot rod that’s equally as suitable for large catfish as well as some smaller targets.

It’s sensitive enough to feel even the smallest bites, but also quite resistant to handle heavy and strong fish.

4. Eagle Claw Catclaw Casting Rod

Standout Features:

Catclaw is a casting rod made specifically for handling tough and resilient fish such as catfish. It has medium/heavy power and lots of backbone needed to land such a catch.

This one is great for maximizing sensitivity, accuracy, and distance, regardless of your experience and skill set. The Eagle Claw is one of the best catfish poles that we’ve ever owned.

It’s a two-piece measuring 8’ in total. Also, it includes 6+1 guides and is able to withstand a line weight of 12-30 lbs. When it comes to lures and baits, you can use anything from 1½ – 2½ ounces.

The reel seat is made of Graphite while the blank is made of glass. Its guide is aluminum oxide, and it also has an EVA foam handle for enhanced grip, especially when the rod is wet.

5. Shakespeare Wild Cat Spinning/Spincast Rod

Standout Features:

If you’re targeting the biggest catfish, you need some of the most durable catfish rods. The Wild Cat is high-strength, responsive, rod made specifically to handle such a target.

Its tubular glass blank construction combines balance and durability to deliver excellent performance. It’s a sturdy pole that’s also considered to be sensitive though it won’t show the smallest bites.

It comes with stainless steel guides and ceramic inserts, which is one of the best combinations. It helps eliminate pop-out and maintains smooth performance.

The pole comes with EVA grips for enhanced feel and non-slippery grip. It’s comfortable to hold the entire day even when it gets wet.

Because it’s not made for small fish, you might want to pain its tip with a bright color so you can track movement better.

6. LurEra Catfish Casting Rod

Standout Features:

If you want a strong rod that’s also sensitive, you might want to look into the LurEra Catfish Casting Rod. It’s powered by 30-ton carbon fiber blank allowing optimal levels of sensitivity and power.

Its high-strength reel seat is durable but also lightweight, which is quite important. Another thing worth mentioning is the addition of stainless guides with ceramic guides. This reduces friction while protecting the line from breaking under pressure.

It features a comfortable camouflage-color EVA handle along with some high-density rubberwood base. This allows you to hold on to the pole for an extended period without feeling sore or uncomfortable. It’s non-slippery as well, even when it’s wet.

This one comes with a one-year warranty, which is also quite important to mention. It doesn’t break easily and is able to handle some of the toughest catfish.

7. KastKing KatTech Catfish Rod

Standout Features:

KastKing is among the most popular names in the industry thanks to the quality products they put out. This one is made of Composite Graphite and S-Glass, designed to target massive fish.

The composite blanks are made of 24T Graphite combined with S-Glass for strength and lifting power, all while maintaining a light weight.

It comes with Fuji double-footed MN guide frames along with SiC right. These are tough and able to handle extreme loads with heavy braids.

Also, you get Fuji DPS, and ECS reinforced reel seat ensuring the reel never comes loose. It’s a high-quality piece that’s durable and keeps everything into place even under extreme conditions.

It comes with the brand’s custom rubber cork handles that are non-slippery, durable, comfortable, and easy to remove from the rod. The large foregrip adds leverage for easier use and smoother performance.

8. Rippin Lips Supercat Rod

Standout Features:

If you’re looking for a simple rod that’s easy to use at all times, you might want to check out the Rippin Lips Supercat. It’s meant for beginners and recreational anglers as their first catfish pole.

This one is a two-piece which makes the general use somewhat simpler. Though it’s not as sturdy as a one-piece would be, it’s easy to use, which is quite essential for beginners.

It features a split-grip design meant for bump casting. The blank is made of a blend of E-Glass, S-Glass, and Graphite. It’s lightweight, yet quite strong and able to handle some of the biggest fish.

It measures 7’6 inch with medium heavy action allowing smooth performance. Also, you get heavy stainless steel guides and a fast tip for dragging, bottom fishing, hanging and bumping.

9. Okuma Battle Cat Catfish Spinning Rod

Standout Features:

Okuma is often a good choice when it comes to different types of fish and is no different if you’re after catfish.

It’s a well-known name with years of experience, and it’s held as one of the best catfish rods when it comes to reliability.

The Battle Cat has sturdy and durable blanks for enhanced strength and overall longevity. This helps you land some of the biggest fish with ease.

On top of that, it also has EVA foregrip for some added comfort. It doesn’t become slippery even when you get the rod wet. This gives you more control over your catch once the battle of landing it begins.

Its cork rear grip reduces binding and makes the experience that much more comfortable. For guides, the brand included its double foot welded stainless steel pieces.

10. Abu Garcia Catfish Rod and Reel Combo

Standout Features:

If you’re looking for both a rod and reel, you should check out this combo by Abu Gacia. It’s a baitcasting rod combined with a reel specially engineered for catfish.

This one is built for smoothness as it has two stainless-steel ball bearings. This enhances the smooth performance and makes it easy to land even some of the biggest fish.

Its Carbon Matrix drag system allows constant and smooth drag, which is crucial when it comes to catfish. Because this is such a strong fish, you want a pole that can withstand the pressure.

Also, its 4-pin centrifugal brake applies pressure at all times. This helps with precise casting and helps beginners build their skills.

The composite blank construction is lightweight yet quite durable. It won’t break nor damage as easily, and it has a bold design to match its performance.

Buying Guide for Catfish Rods

Choosing the right catfish rod is based on materials, drag, sensitivity, length, weight, balance, flexibility, and even the type of bait you’ll use.

These are some of the most critical factors you want to consider before opting for one of the catfish poles above.

Various Types of Catfish

There are three different catfish species: blues, channels, and flatheads. While beginners might struggle to differentiate one from another, it’s recommended you learn how to do this.

By knowing how to tell them apart, you can select the best catfish rod needed to catch each of them. Each type requires different equipment as well as fishing technique regardless of whether you’re a beginner or a more experienced angler.

  • Flathead – the best way to target this type is by hooking your bait and leaving the rod. Leave it there for an extended period and make sure not to touch it unless there’s movement.
  • Blues and channels – you can use a similar technique, but it might be better to hold the rod in hand instead of leaving it in the holder.

Some fishing rods are specifically made for the particular type of catfish, while others claim to work with all of them. It’s up to you to choose, though most people recommend you go for a rod suitable for one type only.

3 Types of Anglers for Catfish

Anglers have different preferences and fishing styles we use to tell them apart. There are three main types of anglers for catfish, and they differ in style, needs, and preferences.

  • Catching as many fish – the first group is the one trying to catch as many catfish as quickly as possible. They might catch both small and big, but the size doesn’t matter as much anyway. Their main goal is to stay active and have constant action while catching as many fish as possible.

In some cases, these people prefer to do it this way. However, some might not have any larger catfish in their nearby waters, so these small ones are all they have to work with. They usually go for channel or blue catfish though exceptions can be made.

  • Trophy anglers – unlike the group above, these people want quality over quantity. They’re targeting big fish only and have no desire for smaller ones. Some trophy hunters are competing in tournaments while others are just casual, recreational anglers going after big fish.

For this, they need beefy and durable gear to catch the big flatheads, channels, and blues.

  • The in-between – this group is a combination of the two above. In most cases, they focus on catching small fish, though they won’t object a bigger one either. Sometimes, they catch a big catfish by accident or on purpose.

They focus on all catfish depending on the season, so they might catch both big and small examples of different catfish types. For the most part, these people are recreational anglers fishing for pleasure and fun.

Because these groups differ from one another in several ways, they also use a different kind of equipment. Trophy hunters who are targeting bigger fish need stronger poles, while people targeting small fish don’t need as much strength.

Planning to cook your catfish after a big catch? Read through our complete guide on how to fillet properly.

Materials Used For Catfishing Rods

Different catfish rods are made of various materials depending on the type of fish you’re targeting. If you’re going for the big catch, you want something more durable than what’s needed to catch smaller fish.


E-Glass is one of the most popular materials for catfish rods. E-Glass is on the lower end of the spectrum and is considered a standard. It’s quite popular due to its strength and durability. These catfish rods can withstand some rough handling, and they hold up very well.

Still, E-glass are usually heavy and aren’t as sensitive as other styles. An E-Glass material rod has a strong backbone and is able to hold up quite well in different situations.

Because it can withstand some abuse, e-glass material is the most suitable for big fish. Make sure the pole is well-made and what you’ll get is a durable piece that can manhandle and land large targets without snapping.

In most cases, they’re used by trophy hunters and other anglers who are after the biggest catfish.


S-Glass material is similar to E-glass, but it’s much stronger. It has nearly twice the modulus of E-Glass, and as a result, it’s much stronger and more resistant.

On top of that, S-Glass material for catfish rods is much more lightweight helping reduce the overall weight you’d have to work with.

The material has become more popular in the past few years. The increasing popularity is due to anglers continuing to innovate and use different techniques requiring more sensitivity. In most cases, these techniques also require a lighter rod that you can hold for a more extended period of time without feeling sore.

However, only a few catfish rods on the market are made purely out of S-Glass. This is because the material is somewhat pricey due to increased strength and durability. Though it’s worth the money, such a pole would cost a lot more than the one made of E-Glass.


Graphite material for catfish rods are usually lighter, more sensitive, and far less powerful and durable than the other two types of materials: E-Glass and S-Glass.

If you ever came across a graphite rod, you probably noticed how lightweight it is. Plus, if you go to a fishing store and ask for a catfish rod, what you’ll get is almost certainly a graphite pole.

They’re more sensitive and don’t weigh as much as the other types. This means somewhat more comfortable use before anything. If you’re holding it for a long time or using specific casting techniques, you’ll enjoy its lightness and ease of use it delivers.

The difference between a graphite piece and the ones made of E-Glass and S-glass is significant. The one made of Graphite allows a more hands-on feel than the other two materials.

The sensitivity lets you see and feel even the smallest movement from the fish nibbling on the bait. E-Glass might also show this, but not as clearly.

There’s a disadvantage, though, and it’s a big one. These catfish rods aren’t as durable, and they’re quite easy to damage.

They break easily, so you might not want to use them for catching big fish. It might break if you hit it against something while casting, so it’s good always to have an extra piece with you. Even if it doesn’t break immediately, it will break soon after.

Final Thoughts on the Best Catfish Rods

As you can see, choosing catfish rod for catching catfish isn’t always as hard as people make it be. As long as you know your style and what you’re after, it’s easy for you to pick the right one.

Consider the information we’ve discussed above and use it to choose one of the products we reviewed. These are the best ones on the market at this moment, so it’s unlikely you can go wrong with either one of them.

We tried to make a versatile list of products with something for everyone. Still, if you’re indecisive and cannot choose one, we recommend you try the Ugly Stik Catfish Casting Fishing Rod.

It’s among the most popular choices due to its overall quality, durability, and performance. It’s lightweight at just 12.8 ounces and sporting moderate fast action. The pole is comfortable to use for an extended period equally as well as for shorter fishing adventures.

While this one best catfish rod overall, it’s up to you to make the final decision. Consider your needs and preferences before choosing since only then will you make the right choice.