How To Choose A Catfish Rod
Fishing for Catfish is much less subtle than most fishing. When you’re thinking about picking up your first specialized rod, there are three things you should know catfish fishing:
- Catfish are always keen to take the bait
- They’ll put up a good fight and
- Sometimes, they’re seriously big fish.
Knowing these three things is going to inform your approach to choosing the right rod. Having said that, there is no “one size fits all” approach to getting the best catfish rod. Different species will be suited to different rods so have a look in your local area to see what type of catfish you’ll most likely be fishing.
The length of a Catfish rod is usually slightly longer than a traditional fishing rod. The reason for this is that catfish tend to be larger and stronger than say river trout. Having a longer handle gives the angler greater leverage which is useful when baiting larger fish. The other reason long handles are favored by catfish people is because they can be used with rod holders. Rod holders are a common feature of catfishing and longer handles are easier to fit than shorter ones. When you’re choosing ask yourself, whether you’ll be using rod handles, and, on average how large are the catfish in your area. If you’re going for the biggest fish, you’re going to need a long handle with a lot of leverage.
When it comes to rod length, you’re going to need, at the very least, seven feet. Most cat-fishermen will look to use rods that are up to eight or nine feet long. Similar to handle length a longer rod will give you more leverage when attempting to haul in a big catch. The other reason you’re likely to want a longer rod is casting. If you’re planning to cast from the banks of the river, you’ll want a longer rod length so that you can reach as far as possible. The other method of casting is known as ‘drifting’. Drifting, involves trawling in a boat, dropping a line, and dragging it into different areas of the lake to maximize potential bites.
In recent years, catfishing rods have been constructed from a material known as E-glass. E-glass is popular because it’s sturdy and relatively cheap to buy. The issues with E-glass is that it can be a little difficult to wield, it’s really a blunt instrument when it comes to catfishing. Newer technology has seen the mass production of graphite rods, which, are much more dynamic. They are easier to break but the additional dynamism means less broken lines because you can adjust the angles quicker and easier.
Power is usually measured as rod weight by most anglers. The categories for power are as follows: H, MH, M and ML. The acronyms list from Heavy to Medium, to Medium Light. The power is measured by how much weight needs be attached before the rod bends, or ‘flexes’. When it comes to catfishing you’re most likely to want a Medium or Medium heavy rod. That’s because cat-fish like to fight back. The bigger fish will also put a lot of strain on your rod so you’ll need a sturdy, powerful rod to counteract that.
We’re going to take an in-depth look at the best catfish rods available in 2017. Just to give you an idea of what I’m looking for, I’ve selected these rods on the following criteria: That they’re strong enough to handle the stress of catching some of the biggest catfish around, that they are light enough to catch smaller catfish of between 1 to 5 pounds, and finally that they are not going to require remortgaging my house to afford. Yes, I’d love a $2,000 fishing rod, but let’s be realistic here, I’m not going to go out and buy on anytime soon.
5 Best Catfish Rods Review
The first up on our list is the Okuma Battle cat two-piece rod. Two-piece rods tend to be the subject of scorn in the fishing world but, when it comes to catfishing they’re a necessity. As I said in the beginning of this piece, catfishing rods need to be long length to get enough leverage. Splitting this length in two makes it easier to transport, plus, they are still nimble enough to catch smaller fish.
The Battle Cat is in the middle of our budget and comes available as a seven-foot rod all the way up to an impressive 10 foot. The battle cat is only available as heavy power, which means the rod is designed for catching the biggest fish around. That means it’s strong, sturdy and will put up a real fight even against a 50 pound fish. It also has a decent length cork handle which makes it ideal for attaching to a rod holder.
Overall, the Battle Cat is a slightly more expensive product, but given the performance, particularly when facing up against larger fish, it’s great value for money. Sometimes investing a little more can save you money overall as you won’t need to upgrade or replace this rod any time soon.
The second up on my list of the best catfish rods available is from a household name in the fishing world, St Croix. I’d file this rod under the wish list category as it slots into the upper range. I’ve included it here because, if you’re an experienced cat fisher and want to take the next step up, this is the rod for you.
The Mojo is hand-built using a blend of graphite and high-tech S-glass. It’s been designed for serious anglers who are looking to catch flat-head and blue catfish. These fish can weigh up to fifty pounds, so the St. Croix is a heavy duty powerful rod, built to survive in the most intense fishing battles. For a rod so sturdy, the Mojo is also surprisingly nimble, allowing you to adjust your rod dynamically easily enough to make big catches easy.
The handles are long and made from premium cork which gives a lot of leverage and is also suited to a rod holder. It features a Fuji ECS spinning caster with aluminum hooks as standard. Overall, the St. Croix represents a serious outlay but features the latest, and greatest, technology on the market right now. You get a five year warranty as standard which helps to off-set the cost a little bit too.
Zebco is a relatively small brand that has been producing cheap, but useful fishing rods for over twenty years. I’ve fitted the Zebco into my list of the best catfishing rods because it’s a rod that’s available on a small budget. A great way to introduce beginners to catfishing.
The Zebco comes in two pieces which makes it easy to transport without compromising too much on the stability of the rod. The Big Cat is made from E-glass which is sturdy enough to handle the bigger catches. It does of course sacrifice some agility in favor of strength but at this price point that’s expected.
What I wasn’t expecting was such a good build quality alongside some really cool features. The Zebco is a medium-heavy rod, with a high vis glow tip that makes it easier to detect even the slightest bites. It’s not going to set the world alight, but it’s a great little fishing rod for a beginner and serves as a low cost introduction to catfishing.
I’m going to close this list of the best cat fish rods with a rod that sits right in the middle of our budget. The Ripping Lips Super Cat casting rod is perfect for regular cat fishers who are looking to upgrade their rod to the next level. Ripping Lips are an established brand in the fishing world so you can expect excellent build-quality, attention to detail and a smart rod.
The Ripping Lips Super Cat casting rod is built from fiberglass which makes it a unique entry on this list. Fiberglass offers all the stability of an E-glass rod with the dexterity of graphite. I particularly like the nylon grips which offer a strong grip even when your hands are wet. Power-wise the Super Cat rod is a medium strength, this makes the rod very agile and perfect if you’re looking to catch smaller fish.
Overall, the Ripping Lips Super Cat casting rod is a excellent choice for medium skilled catfishers. Lots of cool technology that is really useful lakeside. This rod is the editor’s pick because it is light-weight, versatile and comes in at a very reasonable price. Top marks all round.