What makes a good catfish rod? A good catfishing rod varies depending on the size of fish you are targeting but there are some common factors all good catfish rods share.
A good rod will have an appropriate action for the size of fish you are after. Fast action rods will start bending in the top third of the rod or less and are good for smaller fish with a shy bite. Medium action bends on the top half of the rod while slow action rods bend at the bottom third.
A medium to slow action is good for large catfish as they tend to slam your rod pretty hard, not to mention if you like using live bait the fast action rod will be juking and jiving with every attempt your baitfish makes to escape.
Rod strength is basically how much balls your rod has and is necessary for pulling in those big kitties. Catfish rods typically come in 3 varieties: medium, medium-heavy, and heavy. Its up to you what size you choose as long as the rod can support the line test you intend to use and can handle the fish you are after.
The length of a rod, with all fishing, helps you get farther casts. It also can help absorb some of the pressure a big cat can put on your rod and help you land it without breaking something. A good catfish rod should be somewhere between 7′ and 10′ in length.
These rods are the 5 catfishing rods I recommend for under $50 that should be easy to find:
Zebco Quantum “Big Cat”
Constructed of tough E-Glass, this rod’s stainless steel reel seat can accommodate larger reels than most rods in this list. Uses aluminum oxide guides and chrome plated tip to support up to 60# test. For the price, this rod is a fantastic option performing much like it’s more expensive cousins at half the price.
Average Price: $35-$45
Built with super strong e-glass, this rod features a light-up tip powered by 3 AAA batteries giving up to 40 hours of quality night time fishing.
Average Price: $30-$40
Wildcat King Cat Supreme
Constructed of heavy graphite composite with padded stainless steel reel seat hoods, cork handle, and ceramic guides, this rod can handle anywhere from 30# to 40# line test depending on the model.
Average Price: $35-$45
Eagle Claw Cat Claw
Made with E-Glass, this tough rod has heavy duty ceramic guides and can handle up to 40# test line.
Average Price: $15-$25
Shakespeare Wild Cat
With stainless steel double footed guides, high visibility orange tip, and a comfortable EVA handle, this rod has become a cheap viable option for any catfish hunter.
Average Price: $25-$35
You can find many other rods (mostly discontinued) that have been excellent favorites of catfishing enthusiasts for years. It is very unfortunate that some of these rods are not being made anymore but some active searches of eBay and Craigslist may turn up a bargain. Here are a few to keep a look out for:
- Aurora Pro Cat
- St. Croix Classic Cat
- Berkley E-Cat
- Berkley Reflex
- Jim Moyer “The Boss”
- Cabelas King Kat Pro
- HT Enterprises Ol’ Whiskers Pro
- Wildcat King Kat Supreme