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The Best Catfish Rod and Reel Combo for 2021 (Reviews and Buyers Guide)

Best Catfish Rod and Reel Combo

Top Pick!

Top Pick!
Ugly Stik Catfish Spinning Combo

Ugly Stik has designed this series specifically for catfish. Ugly Stik catfish combos feature Ugly Tech construction, Ugly Tuff guides and the Ugly Stik Clear Tip design. The medium heavy action spinning rod is 50% stronger than previous models, with a sturdy aluminum reel seat and stainless steel hooded reel foot.

The durable aluminum spool is supported by a stainless steel main shaft that's built to last. The heavy duty graphite blank construction provides strength and sensitivity for hard fighting fish like channel catfish, blue cats, flatheads and more.

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In this post I’m taking a bit of time to talk about your catfishing setup. There’s a few things you want to make sure you look for when choosing a rod and reel combo for catfish. Here’s what I’ve found to be the best.

Similar catfish specific fishing combination rods cost well over $100, but ugly stik has engineered their catfish fishing combo to be both a premium setup and affordable for everyone. One of the coolest features often overlooked is that this rod comes apart into two pieces which also makes traveling with it a breeze.

 

Catfish Rod and Reel Setup Quick List

Whether you are brand new to the catfishing world or need a little refresher, there are things you’ll want to know to make the entire experience a success. The obvious first choice is finding the right spot to go fishing for catfish near you. The second is having the best rod and reel combo for catfish

There are hundreds of catfish rod and reel combos available on the market these days, and it’s really easy to get overwhelmed by all the options. The good news for you is that we have done exhaustive research and found the best one:

Best Catfish Rod and Reel Combo

1. ugly stik Catfishing Combo  (Top Pick)

Top Pick!
Ugly Stik Catfish Spinning Combo

Ugly Stik has designed this series specifically for catfish. Ugly Stik catfish combos feature Ugly Tech construction, Ugly Tuff guides and the Ugly Stik Clear Tip design. The medium heavy action spinning rod is 50% stronger than previous models, with a sturdy aluminum reel seat and stainless steel hooded reel foot.

The durable aluminum spool is supported by a stainless steel main shaft that's built to last. The heavy duty graphite blank construction provides strength and sensitivity for hard fighting fish like channel catfish, blue cats, flatheads and more.

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Why do I believe that the Ugly Stik Catfishing Combo is the best rod and reel combo for catfish?

Durability and Utility

This one is a no-brainer. Whether you’re pulling in 8-pound catfish or monster catfish (25+ pounds), much like fishing, you’ll need a rod that can withstand the weight of that fish and the fight it puts up. At 1.6 total pounds, this 7-foot medium heavy ugly stik catfish combo is the perfect blend of lightweight construction and durability.

The Ugly Stik rod is built with graphite core between fiberglass wraps. That graphite offers sensitivity while the fiberglass provides stiffness and strength. This is how ugly stik rods can be bent into a complete circle without snapping. That flexibility is particularly useful on difficult catches where the rod is bent from tip to reel and still won’t snap.

Many fishermen have cited catching 15-20 pound flatheads and channels with ease using this rod and reel combo and 50 plus pounders put up a fight but can be wrestled in using this combo also.

Ease Of Use

Fishing shows try to make it look like rocket science, but with the right fishing hole and the best rod and reel combo for catfish, you will have plenty of good days out on the water. In fact, the best catfish rod and reel combo isn’t the one with the most bells and whistles but the one that is easiest to use.

Most rod and reel combos are right-handed, and the ugly stik catfish combo is ambidextrous making it the most versatile rod in its class. It also sports a spinning fishing reel which increases casting distance, makes it easy to cast, and makes backlashes a rarity.

The other nice feature about this catfish rod and reel setup is the fact that the combo is available in 3 different types of fishing reels. 

  • Conventional
  • Spinning
  • Spincast

So whatever you’re preference is, ugly stik‘s got you covered.

Value

Similar catfish specific fishing combination rods cost well over $100, but ugly stik has engineered their catfish fishing combo to be both a premium setup and affordable for everyone. One of the coolest features often overlooked is that this rod comes apart into two pieces which also makes traveling with it a breeze.

I know what you are thinking, surely with all those pros there must be a drawback somewhere.

Drawbacks

The only issues I’ve found with this rod and reel combo is some users say that unusually heavy cats (35+ pounds) can snap the stock fishing line that comes with the pole which is a line rating of 15-30. So we recommend upgrading your fishing line from this stock test to something more appropriate for the monster cats you’re targeting. I’d recommend using a 50-pound test with an 80-pound leader like Power Pro Spectra Fiber Braided fishing line.

2. Abu Garcia Catfish Commando Fishing Rod and Reel Combo

Abu Garcia Catfish Commando Fishing Rod and Reel Combo

Abu Garcia Catfish Commando Fishing Rod and Reel Combo is the perfect set up for catfishing. The rod features a graphite blank with titanium guides, and the reel has a large arbor design for quick line retrieval. This baitcast fishing rod and reel combo is built to last, yet it’s lightweight enough to use all day without fatigue.


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Abu Garcia is a very well known manufacturer of fishing rods and are recognized the world over.  And Abu Garcia brought their fishing expertise to the world of catfish angling with this great catfish rod and reel setup.

This combo is a good choice for catfish anglers of all experience levels. The Abu Garcia Catfish Commando provides an excellent combination of value and performance.

Features:

  • Baitcast fishing rod and reel combo specifically designed for catfishing .
  •  2 stainless ball bearings for ultimate silky smooth reel action.
  • Carbon Matrix drag system provides consistent drag when you need it.
  • 4-pin centrifugal brake applies constant pressure for precision casting.
  • Durable and lightweight composite blank construction will decrease long day fatigue.

 

catfish rod reel setup

Catfish Rod And Reel Setup (Buyers Guide)

In this section, we’re going to go over some of the things you want to look for when choosing your next rod and reel setup for catfishing. In short, what you’re going to want to pay attention to are the: 

  • Length
  • Power
  • Action
  • Type of Fishing Reel

Length

When I’m targeting catfish specifically, I’ll generally gravitate towards using a fishing rod that’s between 7 and 9 feet in length.

With that said, there’s a huge range of sizes of catfish. Most of the catfish I catch are brought in just fine with my 7 foot fiberglass fishing rod. But I mostly target catfish that fall in the 1 to 2 pound range. 

If casting distance is the name of the game, then you’re going to want to consider using a longer rod. Longer rods cast farther. And if the cats are out in the middle of the pond and away from the bank, a longer fishing rod is what you’ll need.

Power

Fishing for catfish often times requires a rod that’s rated with a higher power. Another way to think of this is you need a fishing rod that’s somewhat stiff. An ultralight rod that you use for rainbows and bends easy won’t pack the punch you need when hefting in larger (and sometimes even smaller) sized catfish.  

My personal choice is to use a fishing rod that is rated as medium heavy (MH).  Many anglers, including myself, find that a medium heavy catfishing rod works well for catching small cats and the occasional giant.

Action

How does a rod bend? Does the whole thing bend? Or just the end of the rod? This factor is a determination of the “action” of the rod. The action refers to how much of the rod is engineered to bend.

Rods are generally sold in a range and combination of three actions; slow, moderate, and fast. The faster action rods bend only near the tip. On the contrary, a slow action rod bends throughout the entire length of the rod. 

Generally, if you are targeting larger catfish with larger baits, you may be better off using a faster action rod.

Type of Fishing Reel

In the catfishing world, there are two types of fishing reels that are most commonly used; baitcasters and spinning reels. Each type of reel you select will require the same type of rod. 

Spinning Reels

Spinning reels are by far the most popular style of fishing reel and are an ideal selection for use by amateur anglers and pros alike. The reel sports an open-faced design that has superior accuracy over the spincast reel and is easier to use than the baitcasting reel.The best use of spinning reels is on smaller bait fish but wrestling in 20+ pounders is more easily accomplished than with a spincast setup. Old spinning models were made to be super lightweight and primarily for rapid casting and finesse casting. However, many modern spinning reel options are available targeting big game fishing as well.

Baitcasting Reels

Baitcaster reels are not suitable for beginners because they are more difficult to learn to cast and the frequency of backlashes upfront requires a lot of patience and maintenance knowledge to troubleshoot effectively.

Typically they are used by more experienced anglers and considered a staple of fishing tournaments for the following reasons:

  • The drag systems are sophisticated and designed for landing bigger fish because the line comes straight off the spool rather than turning like on a spinning reel.
  • Superior line capacity with the capability of wielding a heavier fishing line
  • Higher gear ratio giving the reel greater power and durability

Baitcaster reels are the preferred choice for experienced anglers targeting all species and sizes of freshwater fish including bass, catfish, and more.

Final Thoughts

Top Pick!
Ugly Stik Catfish Spinning Combo

Ugly Stik has designed this series specifically for catfish. Ugly Stik catfish combos feature Ugly Tech construction, Ugly Tuff guides and the Ugly Stik Clear Tip design. The medium heavy action spinning rod is 50% stronger than previous models, with a sturdy aluminum reel seat and stainless steel hooded reel foot.

The durable aluminum spool is supported by a stainless steel main shaft that's built to last. The heavy duty graphite blank construction provides strength and sensitivity for hard fighting fish like channel catfish, blue cats, flatheads and more.

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The ugly stik catfish rod and reel combo is ideal for avid fisherman who primarily fishes for catfish in local rivers. It is comprised of the best combination of materials which make the rod durable and lightweight and give it a wild degree of sensitivity that makes casting smooth and effortless.

 If you are looking for a premium catfish rod and reel combo that will outperform your expectations and still fit in your budget then look no further than the ugly stik Catfish Fishing Combo now available on Amazon. Get yours today while they are still in stock!

Written by Don

When I'm not bass fishing or looking for steelhead in my home state of Oregon I can be found working on house projects dreaming of my next fishing adventure.

I started this website to share just some of the things I've learned along my fishing journey, and the many things I'm still learning. Enjoy!

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