5 Best Catfish Reel And Rod Combo Setup To Get The Best Bang For Your Buck

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Here is our review about the best catfish reel and rod in 2022.

Catfish are some of the best eating freshwater fish. If you want to catch them, you probably need a high quality rod and reel combo. However, There are many options on the market today, so it can be difficult to find the best one for your needs.

In this article, we have reviewed 5 different catfish rods and reels with their best features highlighted for easy comparison. We also included a detailed buying guide to help to make the decision easier for you. You’ll also find answers to frequently asked questions about catfish fishing equipment like how many lines should I use? What kind of bait should I use? And what’s best for me: spinning or baitcasting gear?

Now, let’s dive to the main bulk…

Best 5 Catfish Reel and Rod in 2022

We know that picking the right gear for fishing and especially catfish. So we prepared a detailed buying guide for you, but first let’s start by our list:

  1. PENN Squall 30 Level Wind Fishing Rod and Trolling Reel Combo.
  2. KastKing Centron Spinning Reel – Fishing Rod Combo.
  3. Shakespeare Ugly Stik GX2 Fishing Rod and Spinning Reel Combo.
  4. KastKing Crixus Fishing Rod and Reel Combo.
  5. Penn Squall Lever Drag Combo.

PENN Squall 30 Level Wind Fishing Rods and Trolling Reels Combo


  • Material: Stainless steel
  • Fishing Technique: Trolling
  • Hand Orientation: right
  • Length: 6’6″
  • Power: Medium Heavy
  • Pieces: 1pc
  • BB: 2 stainless steel
  • Max drag: 15 Ibs. 

Top Features

  1. Lightweight graphite frame and side plates.
  2. HT 100 carbon fibre drag system.
  3. Anti-reverse system.
  4. Marine grade bronze alloy main gear.
  5. Tubular glass blank construction with a solid tip.


PENN Squall 30 Level combo has a durable construction with a lightweight graphite frame which makes it a strong competitor. The side plates, bronze main gear, and stainless pinion gear add to the durability. There is an HT 100 carbon fiber drag system that provides powerful drag without sacrificing smoothness. The rod also features 2 stainless steel ball bearings and an instant anti-reverse bearing to eliminate rotor back play.


  • High Value for money
  • Light Weight
  • Suitable for beginners who learning how to fish (Check our article here to learn more)
  • Suitable for saltwater fishing.


  • Poor shipping
  • Weird handle design
  • Not very durable

KastKing Centron Spinning Combos


  • Material: Stainless steel
  • Fishing Technique: Casting, Spinning
  • Hand Orientation: Ambidextrous
  • Length: 6’0″ to 8’0″ (use 8 for catfish)
  • Power: Medium to Heavy
  • Pieces: 2 pcs
  • BB: 9+1 stainless steel
  • Max drag: 15 Ibs.
  • Gear ratio: 5.2:1 or 4.5:1

Top Features

  • Sensitive toray IM6 graphite blanks.
  • Stainless steel guides with premium O-ring inserts.
  • Contoured EVA handles.
  • Lightweight graphite frame and Aluminium spool.
  • Triple disc felt drag system.


KastKing Centron Spinning Combos is considered one of the best catfish reel and rod combos available on the market. It offers a variety of features that make them worth your time and attention.

These combos are 2 pc spinning rods, made Toray IM6 graphite blank which improves sensitivity and makes them lightweight. The rod is versatile and can perform with many species including Catfish and Trout.

All combos come with stainless steel guides w/O-Rings which are strong, lightweight, and durable. The guides are supported with premium O-ring inserts that perform well with a variety of lines including mono or braided.

It has been designed to provide you with comfortability while reeling in your catch by adding EVA handles. This product includes 9+1 Maxi-Dur ball bearings and a triple-disc felt drag system. They will ensure that you get the best quality experience possible when using it.


  • Very Sturdy
  • good value for the price
  • Lightweight
  • good Durability
  • Very smooth
  • It’s okay for saltwater, don’t forget to rinse after use.
  • Cheap price
  • Great look


  • The rod isn’t that durable nor very sensitive.

Shakespeare Ugly Stik GX2 Rod and Reel Combos


  • Fishing Technique: Spinning
  • Length: 6′ to 7′
  • Power: Light to Medium
  • Lure Wt.: 1/8-5/8 oz.
  • Line Wt.: 6-15 lb.
  • Handle: EVA Handle
  • Pcs: Available in 1,2 and 4 pcs.
  • BB: 3 + 1
  • Gear ratio: 5.2:1 

Top Features

  1. UglyTech™ technology Construction: the construction is made from graphite and fibreglass.
  2. Ugly Tuff one piece stainless guides.
  3. Clear Tip Design.
  4. Durable EVA grips.
  5. Instant anti-reverse system.
  6. Wide variety of models.


Ugly Stik Catfish GX2 Combo is a serious fishing combo for Catfish anglers. It’s lightweight, durable, and offers great sensitivity. The Shakespeare Ugly Stik GX2 combo include:

  • Graphite construction for durability and lightweight
  • Clear tip design to give responsiveness and strength
  • EVA grips for comfort when on lengthy fishing trips

The combo offers 3 BB with an anti-reverse mechanism to help you to focus on fighting fish without having to focus on your line getting pulled out. The 5.2:1 gear ratio is suitable for Catfish.


  • Super lightweight.
  • Smooth reel and sturdy rod.
  • Good value for the money.


  • The reel isn’t durable and of low quality.
  • A low number of ball bearings.

KastKing Crixus Fishing Reel and Rod Combo


  • Fishing Technique: Casting, Baitcasting, Spinning
  • Material: stainless steel, graphite
  • Length: 5′6″ to 7′
  • Power: Light-medium to Medium-heavy
  • Lure Wt.: 1/16-3/8 to 3/8-3/4 oz.
  • Line Wt.: 4-8 to 10-17 lbs.
  • Handle: Super polymer Handle
  • Pcs: 2 pcs
  • BB: 5 + 1 to 8 + 1
  • Gear ratio: 5.2:1 or 6.5:1

Top Features

  1. Suitable for various fishing techniques.
  2. Offers a wide variability of models.
  3. IM6 graphite blanks.
  4. Carbon infused frames with CNC aluminium spools.
  5. Comfortable and durable superpolymer handles.
  6. Stainless steel guides with zirconium oxide rings.
  7. Power Transitions System (PTS)


KastKing Crixus Fishing Reel and Rod have a lot of features to love. The rod is lightweight. The carbon-infused frames and drags with the CNC aluminum spools are powerful.

The 7+1 double-shielded stainless ball bearings in the baitcasting combo ensure smoothness. IM6 Graphite 2-pc fishing rod blanks offer increased sensitivity. It ranges in length from 5’6” to 7’0” which makes it versatile and suitable for different techniques and places.

KastKing Crixus Fishing combo offer stainless-steel guide frames with Zirconium Oxide ring. They provide deliver long casts and minimal friction. It also features a power transition system which makes you feel like it’s a one-piece.


  • Very lightweight
  • High value for money
  • Suitable for beginners
  • Comfortable
  • Cheap price


  • The drag has no noticeable clicking sound
  • Not very sturdy or durable, the rod is fragile.
  • The design looks cheap.

Penn Squall Lever Drag Combo


  • Fishing Technique: Trolling
  • Material: Aluminium, Stainless Steel, Graphite
  • Length: 6′6″ to 7′
  • Power: heavy
  • Handle: Stainless steel
  • Pcs: 1 pc
  • BB: 6 stainless steel
  • Max drag: 30 Ibs.

Top Features

  1. Lightweight and sensitive graphite frames and side plates.
  2. Dura-Drag system.
  3. Stainless main and pinion gears.
  4. Silent instant anti-reverse system.
  5. Forged and machined spools made from aluminium supported with line capacity rings


Penn Squall Lever Drag Combo is one of these Best Catfish Rods and Reels that are reviewed in this article. It is considered a premium one due to its high price compared to other options. The features include a lightweight graphite frame and side plates which makes it suitable for long fishing days.

The Forged aluminum spool with line capacity rings makes it stronger and more durable than graphite ones. Stainless steel main and pinion gears with 6 stainless-steel bearings for smoothness with Silent double-dog anti-reverse. The stainless steel material offers more corrosion resistance to the combo.

The main problem here is that it is poorly shipped when ordered online and gets broken easily.


  • Lightweight
  • Great price for the combo
  • Very versatile and Suitable for trolling reef fishing
  • suitable for saltwater
  • High quality
  • Great price


  • Poor shipping
  • Many customers reported that they received the combo broken, especially the tips.
  • Low durability rod, but a nice reel.

A Buying Guide On the Best Catfish Rod And Reel Combos

best catfish reel and rod buying guide image -  a rod and reel combo photographed in the air

Here are some questions and factors that you need to consider when buying your Catfish gear:

What Should You Pick? Catfish Rod, Catfish Reel, or Combo?

If you are new to fishing for catfish, I would recommend going with a combo. There is a couple of reasons why this might be the better choice. It’s highly related to what kind of experience that person has had so far – but let’s make things easy here! Here is a couple of reasons why should pick a catfish combo as a beginner:

This is a great opportunity to get started with some of the best products on the market. If you’re new in this field, it makes sense not to invest a Huge budget when there are other options out there that offer better value for money and help without breaking your bank account!

You can avoid imbalances like having a reel that’s too heavy for your rod or one that is incompatible with your reel. This is because catfishing combos are designed to work together in perfect harmony. There is no need to mix and match components due to the manufactured balance they offer you as a customer!

Every fisherman has certain needs when it comes to their fishing equipment. These decisions are all up in the air since there’s no true right answer!

If I had more experience with catfish gear then maybe I would have known that stiffer ones work better than softer ones. As long as everyone knows what kind of technique they use, anyone can find something just right for themselves and be happy with anything at hand.

How to Choose the Best Rod And Reel Combo For Catfishing?

When selecting a catfish gear, you must think about three things:

Your Technique

There are two approaches you may take, and the one you use will determine the type of setup you require:

  • Using a bait
  • Using artificial lures

Every technique of them requires different gear.

The Place Of The Catfish

The type and amount of tackle you’ll need will be determined by the location according to the following:

If you’re fishing in a location with strong currents, you’ll need a rod that can cast a heavyweight, so it can stay at the bottom.

If you’re fishing in a location that’s smaller or more approachable, casting distance isn’t as important. As a result, you won’t need an equipment with the same considerable strength.

If you’re having trouble getting ahead, consider wading.

The Size Of The Catfish

The size of fish you’re pursuing is also a consideration when selecting the best catfishing setup. If you’re just getting started, you’ll want an all-around setup that will enable you to discover your stride. If you’ve been at it for a long time and are only after big game fish, you could want something more durable.

Let’s talk about the most important features to look for in catfish rods and reels.

Catfish Rod

Generally for Catfish fishing, you need heavy duty gear. However, picking the right rod isn’t all about this. It’s better to watch some teaching you about the tricks of buying a rod instead of just reading about it. So, here is a video that shoes the process:


The power of a baitcasting or spinning rod is defined by how much force is needed to bend it. The power, along with its action, can provide you important information on how it will perform.

The amount of material present in the cross-section (taper) and the material from which a rod is formed have an influence on its strength.

The power is also determined by how long it is. Shorter lengths of the same substance and taper are more rigid than longer ones.

Medium Power

Medium-powered rods are the backbone of any angler’s arsenal. They’re strong enough to handle large fish. Also, in shorter lengths, they make for great fishing tools that can take on anything from tuna or wahoo all while providing excellent performance when fighting off those pesky catfish!

One size fits all – that’s the motto of these guys. When it comes to Catfish rods, medium works fine for a variety of applications. They work from running crankbaits and jerk bait hooks through yo-yoing swimbaits off the bottom. It works with live bait too! Which makes them one heckuva popular choice among anglers everywhere (and not just because fishing is fun).

The most popular line weights fall between 6 and 12 pounds, with lures weighing between a quarter and three-quarters ounces being common.

Medium-heavy Power

Medium-heavy rods provide a lot of power, allowing anglers to muscle enormous fish and firmly drive single hooks into them. Because they are quite rigid, largemouth anglers often utilize them for techniques that require a strong hookset. They also can land some trophy catfish winners.

Fiberglass material offers great strength in medium-heavy range.

The most popular line weights range from 10 to 20 pounds, and you also can’t use lures or live bait that is lighter than ⅜ ounces.

Heavy Power

You need heavy rods for big fish and mean bass. These stiff, strong materials will provide an instant hookset on largemouths or to make your presentations more powerful!

You can expect to have excellent strength with quite good control during fights.

In shorter lengths, heavy rods work great for sharks and other large saltwater species. They’re also popular with lake trout who need longer casts when fishing in lakes as well as trophy pike fishermen looking to catch big fish on fly-fishing lines.

When fishing for larger fish, longer rods are a popular option for all types of largemouth applications such as flipping and pitching, as well as worm fishing with single hooks. Fast hooksets are to be expected, especially with braided lines.

The most popular line weight ranges above 12 pounds with the ability to use a wide variety of lures.

Rod Action

A rod’s power and action, when in use, will provide you with important information about how it will perform in any given situation. Action refers to the way in which a rod flexes and recovers. Action is best defined by looking at the difference between flexing in an open-loop and flexing in a closed loop. A closed-loop flexes and recovers quickly, while an open-loop rod flexes continuously before recovering.

Some anglers work best with slow to medium reacting rods that provide great control over finesse techniques such as jigging or pitching. Others prefer fast-action ones that allow them to throw and run larger crankbaits and other lures at deep depths where fish feed aggressively on top

For catfishing, A through action is the one you will look for. This means that the whole length of the rod bends to take the strain of the cast, This feature is valuable when fighting big fish like Catfish.

It is important to have a rod with the ‘through’ action when catfishing, as it will allow you more control and versatility in fighting bigger species. through action means that the whole rod flexes when casting.

For lure fishing, you’ll want a rod with quick action. This is because lures are usually light and flexy so they can be easily casted without having too much pull on your end of things. This will tire someone out quickly if fighting an extended battle against the water (though some people preferring this).

On top of that when retrieving one’s line back towards them in order to start moving forward again after setting their original direction- faster actions allow for imparting more life into anything being fished; increasing chances at provoking takes from fish approaching or waiting patiently below!

Here is a video that demonstrates the difference between fishing rod power and action:


The higher the power, the higher quality you need your guides to be.

Guides can be your gear’s best friend, as they protect your line from harm and distribute force over the length. The more points of contact there are on both blank and guides, the less stress is at any one point during use. They also help to spool the line from spinning reels.

Typically, one guide per foot of the rod is adequate, with an additional one at the end.

Guide Material

Feet are used to link the guides to your reel. Some sort of wrapping and adhesives are used to keep them in place.

The most important aspect of quality guides is that they are securely fastened, that they are strong enough to endure some abuse, and that they are corrosion resistant. Stainless steel is a popular choice for high-quality guide materials. It’s robust and durable, as well as resisting rust.

Casting Distance

Big catfish live in long rivers. They also tend to prefer the bigger and bolder game, which means that you might find yourself casting a long way when big catfishing! Take a look at these features, so you can search for them:

  • No-friction: The beauty of ceramic-lined rings is that they always help to cast distance. They minimize line friction, allowing your bait or lure to go long-distance.
  • You also have to consider how much line the rod will be able to cast.
  • Another aspect to put in consideration is the lengt. The longer the rod, the further the distance you will cast.

Rod material

The best material for making catfish rods is carbon fiber. Carbon fiber is strong, flexible, and durable. It is also lighter than most other materials so it helps with long casts. Good equipment will be made of carbon fiber because it has all these traits.

Here is also some cheaper materials that are a good fit:


Graphite is a material that is best when it comes to making rods that are less expensive but have decent quality. Graphite is flexible and durable, but it cannot hold the weight of bigger fish like steel can.

The good thing about graphite is that it has a perfect combination of lightweight, stiffness, and sensitivity.


Fiberglass is best for those on a budget as it is not as expensive as carbon fiber. But fiberglass is best suited for use in catfish rods when the fisherman intends to target large catfish. It has the best of both worlds: very stiff, durable enough for heavy-duty use with having the required flexibility. However, it sacrifices sensitivity.

Carbon Fiber

Carbon fiber is great because it is durable, strong, lightweight, and flexible. It can hold a heavier weight than graphite and it also has the best casting distance of any material.

As you may be expecting, Carbon is one of the most expensive, but high-quality materials.


This material are great when you want fishing rods that have good durability and strength. One of the best composite rods is most often a graphite composite with a graphite backbone and a fiberglass or graphite wrap. This is best because it offers lightweight, high-modulus performance for the dowel and the spine construction offers increased stiffness in most applications.


Length is an essential factor in choosing the best catfish rod. Be sure to check your type of fishing for the best lengths. Catfish rods are best suited for long-distance casting, with lengths between 6-8 feet in most cases (as they can provide both accuracy and long-distance).

Remember to pick a longer rod for casting distance and shorter rods for more accurate casting.


The handles mostly depends on personal preference. A good catfish rods should have a strong, durable grip to withstand the toughness of larger fish. They also have to be comfortable. Here are 2 good handle types to choose from:


Cork is a natural material that feels warm to the touch and just firm enough to provide a secure, restful grip. Premium-grade cork is also beautiful, and though it isn’t as long-lasting as synthetics, it can endure quite a beating.

EVA foam

EVA foam offers a soft feeling as it’s made of synthetic material. It’s cheaper than cork handles, however, it’s durable enough. I like how soft and durable they are.

Catfish Reels

4 reels with an orange line

Drag System

The best catfish spinning reel has a drag system that is best for casting. A drag system is best for quickly bringing the fish to the surface once it’s caught. This is because as soon as you start reeling, the fish will know it’s been hooked, and will try to swim away from the line. The best spinning reel should have a drag system that prevents this from happening by making it difficult for the fish to escape from the line. You’ve to consider the quality, not only the drag power, however, you need no less than a 20-pound drag system.


The best catfish spinning reel also has brakes that assist with casting distance. Brakes are more of an optional feature sometimes found on more expensive rods. They allow you to stop your lure or bait instantly so that you can cast farther than usual. Overall, it’s not a deal-breaker, but it’s good to be there.

Anti-reverse Feature

Another feature to look for is an anti-reverse feature that prevents the hook from tearing your catch up if it’s accidentally released.

Gear ratio

The gear ratio describes how fast your reel turns and can best be defined as the number of line wraps you get on the spool per turn. Catfish spinning reels usually are above 5.2:1.

Line Capacity

A good catfish reel should have a line capacity that best fits the type of fishing you will be doing. If you’re going to do a lot of deep-sea fishing, then your reel should have a larger line capacity that can sustain more weight. Keep in mind that you need a high capacity line for catfish fishing as you’re is going to snag into trees and you will need to cut it.


Durability is an important factor to evaluate when investing in an expensive fishing reel. A durable catfish reel will last much longer than one that’s made with cheaper, less durable materials. That’s why it’s best to invest in a reel that is made of Carbon steel, steel, Graphite, or other high-quality material. This way ensures durability and resistance to corrosion.

Ball Bearings

Generally speaking, the higher the BB number, the better and the smoother. However, you have to consider quality as a more important factor. An example of good ball bearings materials is ceramic and stainless steel.


What kind of rod is best for catfish?

A medium-heavy one is usually good for catfish.

They range in lengths from 7 to 8 feet and have a medium-fast action, so the fish won’t feel threatened when you start reeling them in. Catfish can be very strong and need some strong rods to land them safely.

For materials: Fiberglass/graphite composites are great for Catfish and offer strength without sacrificing much sensitivity of flexibility.

What size reel is good for catfishing?

A size of 10 or 20 may be enough, however, you need to put in mind that your line may get snagged a lot and you will have to cut it multiple times. I think a 30 size reel is good to land a big Catfish.

What is a good size fishing rod?

As a general rule, the longer the rod, the further you can cast. The shorter the more accurate. If you’re looking for accuracy, go for shorter than 6 feet. If you’re fishing in a place where distance is required, an over 7 feet one is the way to go.

Can you catch catfish with a baitcaster?

Of course, you can. Baitcasters are strong and can hold a large amount of fishing lines. This makes them suitable for different techniques and definitely makes them a great choice for Catfish fishing.

The Bottom Line

For those looking for a new Catfish rod and reel, it can be hard to choose the best one. With so many products on the market today, there are several factors you need to consider when buying your next fishing gear. They include durability, ball bearings quality, line capacity, etc…

One way to make this decision easier is by reading reviews from other customers who have already done their research before purchase. This article contains 5 Best Catfish Rods and Reels Combos that will help you get the most out of your fishing journey with recommendations for different budgets as well as pros and cons. We hope that our review makes it easy for you to make better decisions and feel free to check our fishing gear reviews here.