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Best Crappie Rods and Reels: High End Picks for 2022

Crappie is among the most popular species of fish residing in freshwater across the USA. It’s one of the best-tasting fish, so it’s no surprise, so many crappie anglers are after it.

It’s one of my favorite fish to catch, and I’ve found that the Cadence CR5 Spinning Rod to be the best for this fish, but other rods follow closely.

This spinning rod is a two-piece, which makes it easy to carry around. Plus, it’s durable and comfortable to use for hours when catching fish.

Below, you’ll find more about the Cadence CR5 rod and other best crappie rods that I’ve previously tested with some of my fellow crappie anglers.

Best Overall

4.5/5

Cadence CR5 Spinning Crappie Rod

Best For Beginners

4.2/5

Cadence CR7 Spinning Rod

Best by Budget

4.4/5

Lew’s Fishing Mr. Crappie Slab Daddy 2 Pc Rod

1. Cadence CR5 Spinning Crappie Rod

Best Overall

Standout Features:

The Cadence CR5 spinning fishing rod is affordable, easy to use, and durable. This product is made from sturdy materials to handle everyday use in rugged conditions.

The company (Cadence) offers plenty of variable lengths and actions, making it easy to find one for your needs. Combining moderate action with medium length lets you cast in shallow water.

The Cadence CR5 allows you to use light lines under lots of stress.

The flexible construction lets you notice even the slightest touch. As a result, this spinning rod is ideal for experienced anglers and beginners who work on their techniques.

2. Cadence CR7 Spinning Rod

Best for Beginners

Standout Features:

The Cadence CR7 crappie spinning rod is another affordable rod if you’re on a tight budget. Its construction and the feel it provides are perfect for easy crappie catches.

It’s constructed from 40-ton graphite, featuring also stainless steel guides with SiC inserts. Plus, it has a Fuji reel seat, and high-quality cork and EVA handles.

This spinning rod feels comfortable, providing excellent grip for powerful casts regardless of the distance. You can choose between a carbon slip grip and a full grip, depending on your needs.

The company Cadence, offers various lengths, configurations, and action options to catch different fish. Still, it’s best

3. Lew’s Fishing Mr. Crappie Slab Daddy 2 Pc Rod

Best by Budget

Standout Features:

The Lew’s two-piece is among the best choices if you’re looking to purchase a durable fiberglass crappie rod. It’s affordable, strong, and easy to use for both beginners and experienced anglers.

This one has EVA foam handle grips that make it comfortable to use for hours, so it’s ideal for long fishing trips.

The two-piece rod has stainless steel hook grippers. This helps to keep your line straight and tangle-free when it’s windy.

Since the Lew’s Fishing Mr. Crappie Slab Daddy is a two-piece, it’s easy to transport and carry around. Besides, it’s lightweight, so it’s great for traveling to distant fishing locations.

You can choose between 10′ and 12′ Lew’s Fishing rods, both of which carry a line of four to ten pounds. It’s made using Nanotechnology that delivers sensitivity and strength for best results.

4. St. Croix Rods Panfish Spinning Rod

Standout Features:

The St. Croix Panfish spinning rod is an excellent combination of sensitivity and weight. It’s a well-balanced rod, so it’s perfect for beginners.

What makes St. Croix panfish spinning rod stand out the most is the combination of SCVI carbon and SCII carbon. The two bring strength, resistance, and durability to make this a perfect rod for frequent use.

It’s easy to use for beginners and experienced anglers who like catching diverse fish. It has Pac Max Minima stainless steel guides, saving you up to 30% of weight as opposed to ceramic guides.

On top of that, St. Croix has Sea Guide XMS split style reel seats with custom inserts. This gives you added comfort and sensitivity.

The one-piece and two-piece configurations come in different sizes to suit everyone’s needs.

5. St. Croix Rods Premier Spinning Rod

Standout Features:

This Croix rods premier spinning rod is another excellent graphite rod from St. Croix. It’s made from graphite and aluminum oxide, so it’s durable and resistant to everyday use. On top of that, it’s lightweight and easy to carry around.

It’s made with the Fortified Resin system for durability and strength. This will help to catch fighting fish.

Again, you can choose between one-piece and two-piece models, depending on your needs. The company offers several length options, so make sure to check what fits you best.

One of the best things about this St. Croix is the full cork handle. It’s comfortable but doesn’t add any weight to the construction. Plus, it gives you a strong grip for achieving the best casts, even in wet and slippery conditions.

6. B’n’M Duck Commander Ultralite Crappie Spin Rod

Standout Features:

The B’n’M Duck Commander Ultralite crappie spin rod is a good choice if you’re looking for a strong and secure piece to carry on your fishing trips. It’s made from modulus graphite for most durability in different conditions.

One of the most standout features of this crappie spin rod is the double-touch system that helps to cast even if you’re a beginner. Plus, its Portuguese cork handle gives a good grip that remains secure even when wet.

It has Dyna-Flo stainless steel guides to keep your line in place at all times. And, it’s suitable for more than crappie, making it easy to catch other small fish.

7. Berkley C-Series Crappie Pro Spinning

Standout Features:

Barkley C-Series has a 24-ton carbon-graphite body. It’s sensitive, lightweight, and easy to use for both beginners and experienced anglers.

It has an ergonomic EVA grip for control and comfort regardless of how rugged the conditions are. It helps to reduce fatigue during prolonged fishing sessions.

This C-Series crappie rod has titanium oxide inserts that give strength and durability.

Still, it’s lightweight enough to use all day long.

The solid carbon fiber tip gives more sensitivity and sturdiness. The construction fits spider-rigging techniques we use for crappie and other similar fish.

It’s one of the best crappie rods, thanks to its materials and design. Its two handles allow the greatest comfort and control you need for all-day fishing trips.

8. Zebco Spin Fishing Rod and Reel Combo

Standout Features:

This Zebco is a great crappie rod and reel combo that can be used for left or right handed people. 

The reel has durable metal gears sturdy enough to handle crappie and much larger fish. Still, its light power and action are perfect for hauling delicate fish like crappie.

Another thing worth mentioning is the anti-reverse feature. It keeps you from pulling the line out when you don’t want to.

It makes it easy to throw different casts with precision. On top of that, it allows you to pull crappie out without too much fight.

This Zebco crappie rod is 8 feet long, so think about if this fits your needs and preferences.

Buying Guide for Crappie Rods

Action

Most anglers go for slow action when it comes to crappie rods. The reason behind this choice is that slow action can absorb more shock that occurs as you pull the rod. This means it’s less like to rip the hook out of the fish you caught.

You might also see people using medium-light power, which is also fine for crappie fishing.

Material

Crappie rods are meant to be lightweight but durable thanks to the materials used. Graphite is a common choice that’s light yet sturdy so that it doesn’t break.

Graphite is great for longer lengths, so you might see other materials used for shorter rods. Another important thing about a graphite rod is that it’s hyper-sensitive.

It allows you to feel even the tiniest nibble and nudges from small fish like crappie.

Fiberglass is another standard option, but it’s not as lightweight. It’s robust but heavier than graphite, so you might not find it as comfortable for crappie fishing.

Light Power

Light power is always important because crappie is small fish. The average size is 4 inches, but it can also grow up to 8 inches.

Because it’s so small, you don’t need a crappie rod with lots of power. More power means less sensitivity that’s crucial for catching this small fish.

Light or ultralight crappie rods are the best since it takes a little pressure to make them bend.

Durability

Durability should be among your top concerns when buying a crappie rod. It can only last long if it’s strong and durable, especially if you’re fishing in rugged conditions.

It depends on many things like the materials used. As we said, a graphite rod is the most durable while also delivering enough sensitivity.

Other materials can be durable and strong but might not be the best for sensitivity. They can be too stiff for crappie since it’s small fish you won’t feel nibbling on the bait.

Rod Length

A good crappie rod can measure up to 10 feet long with 16 feet being the longest.

Choosing a size depends on what you’re trying to achieve. You want a longer rod for further casts, but keep in mind you’ll have to sacrifice portability and weight.

A longer crappie rod allows you to sneak up on crappie without having to cast. It also helps to avoid rocks and plants where this fish likes to hide.

Line and Lure Weight

Look for a lightweight lure and line when it comes to crappie fishing. The best lures and baits are the lightweight ones that won’t tear the fish’s mouth.

It’s also important that they don’t weigh down your fishing rod. A heavy fishing line can cause excessive movement that scares the fish away. Still, one that’s too lightweight is challenging to use in muddy waters for which you need a heavy line.

Reel Selection

Choosing between a bait caster, spinning reel, or a closed face reel is a matter of preference for crappie fishing. Each option brings advantages and drawbacks, so it’s best to think about this in advance.

Any quality reel will work well if you use it and care for it. Still, ensure the size matches your rod, keeping in mind the size of the line and the balance of the rod.

It can still work if you don’t match it well, but you’ll notice lacking balance and quality of performance.

Handle

Most anglers choose cork for crappie fishing as it’s the traditional handle material.

Cork and EVA foam handles are the most common. But, again, choosing between the two is a matter of preference, so there’s no way anyone can tell you which is better.

EVA foam is cool and soft to the touch, so many people consider it more comfortable. It’s tough and can handle frequent use in rugged conditions.

Guides

The best crappie fishing rods have stainless steel guides. Stainless steel guides are most durable, lightweight and resistant to corrosion.

Stainless steel guides have longevity and are efficient.

Price

Price is another crucial factor you want to think about when buying the best crappie rod. Some are pretty expensive and can be too much for everyone’s pocket, so it’s essential to look at all the options.

A high price doesn’t always guarantee top quality. This means even the more affordable crappie fishing rods can be good.

Make sure to look for durability and robustness since these will help in the long run. Also, don’t forget to check the warranty you’re getting for the price you’re paying.

How to Use a Crappie Fishing Pole

How you’ll use a crappie fishing rod depends on your style and fishing technique in season. Still, some tips and tricks can help you get the most out of your crappie rod.

As we said, you might want to go for a longer rod that allows you to creep up on the fish. Find a spot where crappies are hiding and drop your line with precision.

This fish likes to hide around piers and docks, in which case you can make it work with a shorter rod as well.

Think about your technique if you don’t see any positive results, and type of natural bait used. For example, try jigging when using a casting rod isn’t an option due to insufficient space.

How to Take Care of Your Crappie Rod

Taking good care of your fishing rods is crucial for longevity and durability. It’s even more important if you fish every day.

Start with a sponge, dabbing warm and soapy water onto its surface. Next, use hot water to rinse the soap, leaving it to dry for several hours.

Also, think about how you store it. For example, avoid leaving it leaned against a hard surface for too long. This can result in bends that are impossible to fix.

Looking to cook your fish after a successful catch? Read through our guide on how to clean & prepare crappie properly.

FAQ for Crappie Rods

Where Can I Find Crappie and Are They Hard to Catch?

Finding crappies often tends to be the trickiest part of catching them. This fish moves all year round regardless of the season or the water temperature.

Luckily, it has some habitat requirements that remain unchanged to help us locate it. Look for underwater features like weed beds, fallen trees, and cairns as it likes to hide there.

Unless it’s spawning season, you can find crappies in deeper water, at around 10 to 15 feet.

Crappie can also be pretty hard to catch because of their mouth structure. It doesn’t allow an easy hook which is why it’s often called papermouth.

The fish is also scattered around, making it that much more challenging to catch. In most cases, you’ll need to move around to find and catch them.

Why Should I Use a Long Rod?

As we said, long rods are often best for precise casting because crappie likes to hide. Having a long crappie rod lets you place the lure exactly where you want it without making noise.

Although this fish likes to hide near the shore, there’s usually lots of foliage in these areas. A long rod makes it easy to cast with precision and without snagging.

What is the Best Jig Size for Crappie?

Jigs are versatile, and you can use them in both freshwater and saltwater conditions. They’re designed to form a vertical, jerky motion and are ideal for crappie.

Still, make sure to go for 1/32 – 1/24 ounce jig head with a 1-2 inches jig. It should also have bright colors that attract the fish.

What is the Best Color Jig for Crappie?

The role of fishing dark lures in dark waters doesn’t apply to crappie. Instead, it’s recommended you use a bright and sparkly jig in the darkest waters. Oranges, yellows, and metallics are for neutral waters.

You can also use contrasting colors like a combination of black and white.

Since there’s a great variation, it’s often best to figure this out with trial and error.

Are All Crappie Rods the Same?

Not all crappie rods are the same. The difference is in the length, materials, and features.

As said, most crappie rods are between 6 and 16 feet, featuring a wide range of things to help your performance. The best models are graphite and are lightweight and durable.

Things like slow action, minimal power, and a lightweight body should be common for all rods.

What is the Difference Between a Regular Rod and a Crappie Rod?

You won’t be able to catch large, fighting fish using a crappie rod. Although they’re durable, they’re also too light and flexible.

Still, the most significant thing that makes it stand out is the length. These are longer than regular rods, so they’re better for sneaking up on the fish.

Final Thoughts on the Best Crappie Rods and Reels

Fishing for crappie doesn’t have to be difficult, but you need the right fishing rod. The right crappie pole is ultralight or light, durable, and sensitive, so you can even use it for other small fish.

As mentioned, Lew’s Fishing Mr. Crappie Slab Daddy is great for beginners and experienced anglers, so you can’t go wrong.

But, other best rods we reviewed don’t fall far off regardless of whether you’re into freshwater or saltwater fishing. Click the links below each rod to check their prices.

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