Best Rod And Reel Combo For Catfish That You Shouldn’t Miss

Fishing is becoming more popular as a great method to release pent-up stress and worries. For the best experience when you’re out on the water, the best rod and reel combo for catfish. 

The right gear should be decent enough to catch small catfish and have a firmly built-in backbone to handle bigger ones. 

As an avid angler, besides choosing the suitable rod and reel for easy catfish catching, you’d better understand the characteristics of this species to boost your success. 

To help with this, keep reading the FAQs section to gain deep insight into this species. 

Related posts:

In-Depth Reviews Of The Best Rod And Reel Combo For Catfish in 2021

Here are 6 best rod and reel combos for any catfish-catching enthusiasts. They are affordable, durable, and powerful for multiple uses. 

All our picks are great and high-quality with their own strengths and limitations. 

Product images Product names Editor's rating Price
Amazon best-selling product B01LXKKYIQ Zebco Big Cat XT Combo Best For Big-Sized Catfish

Amazon best-selling product B0765YMNYZ Penn Passion II Combo Best For Beginner

Amazon best-selling product B011LV7B4O Abu Garcia Casting Medium Combo Best All-Rounded Combo

Amazon best-selling product B08BQPK8S2 PENN Battle III Combo Best Fishing Reel

Amazon best-selling product B076619DLV Ugly Stik GX2 Fishing Combo Best Budget For Medium Lightweight Option

Amazon best-selling product B07KG7389S Okuma Catfish Rod And Reel Combo Best Durable Catfish Rod

Zebco Big Cat XT Combo Size 50 – Best For Big-Sized Catfish 

Since 1954, Zebco has helped people to relish and explore outdoor activities through fishing. Products from this brand are famous for their versatility in catching a wide range of catfish.

This reel has all-metal gear, 5 bearings, a powerful drag system made from Magnum, a graphite rotor, and a machined and forged anti-oxidant aluminum-made spool. It is durable enough to handle heavy catfish.

Big Cat brings an exhilarating fishing experience with a reliable reel. Innovated with anti-reverse technology, a changeable hand retrieve, and a no-tangle-patented design, this reel will elevate any fishing trip pleasure. It helps to catch even the biggest catfish for your utmost satisfaction. 

The 2-piece, standard 7-foot E-Glass rod is featured aluminum oxide guides with stainless steel tip. What’s more, the rod’s firm hook keeper will provide medium-heavy power, working well to catch the biggest catfish. 

There has been some feedback that the pole’s tip was slightly rough. The tip is made with aluminum oxide guides with stainless steel materials, which is firm, stiff, and maybe rough with new users.

Zebco Big Cat XT Combo Size 50


  • For heavy-weighed catfish
  • Reliable and high-tech reel
  • Affordable 
  • Strong rod


  • Reported rough tip 

Penn Passion II Combo – Best For Beginner

For a new angler, getting used to the fishing gear is pivotal to take up this new form of entertainment. Therefore, here comes this combo for any beginner when first going fishing.

Firstly, its various size options make it perfect for beginners to test their capacity. If they are new or young, they’d better choose the light or medium-light combo. Or, if they want to try catching bigger catfish, there is a medium-heavy combo for them. 

The pole combined with the reel makes this a great combo, which is ideal for beginners. Why? This long pole allows a longer casting distance and also perfectly controls a really big fish on the other end of the line, provided that your rod hooks into a huge catfish. 

You can use this combo as a gift for your friends, even female friends or children, as it is easy to use. Also, if your friends or children are seasick, this combo is suitable for both freshwater and saltwater. 

Some users complained about the rod’s durability. The rod can break if they catch a bigger fish that exceeds its limitation. As this combo is for beginners, you should try catching medium-sized catfish instead of huge ones to avoid breaking the rod.

Penn Passion II Combo


  • Ideal for beginners
  • Reasonably priced 
  • Rigid Tech-Balanced rotor for better operation
  • Attractive color 


  • Reported bad packaging
  • Not durable rod

Abu Garcia Casting Medium Combo – Best All-Rounded Combo

Abu Garcia is specially engineered for serious catfish anglers who require relentless execution and power to subdue intense “battles”. This combo features a medium heavy rod and stainless steel guides, aiming for heavy applications.

This combo has many useful features. Carbon Matrix hybrid drag helps to provide a consistent and smooth drag range. Extended and compact bent handle and star wheels offer a fluid reel to decline fatigue and so on. All innovative features build up a superb fishing combo.

Another plus point is its durable and lightweight construction to give you a comfortable and easy experience even when you’re new to fishing. With a bold styling rod, this pick will undoubtedly catch your attention at first glance. 

As the tip needs meticulous care, the packaging must be neat and careful. In some cases, the packaging comes with low quality, resulting in scratched, even broken tips. So make sure to check after receiving the combo to detect any errors. 


Abu Garcia Catfish Medium Combo


  • Suitable for heavy application
  • Good-looking and bold design
  • Numerous useful and innovative features 
  • Highly durable


  • Reported bad packaging

PENN Battle III Combo – Best Fishing Reel 

PENN’s line of Battle reel has gone unrivaled in terms of strength, smoothness, and durability. So if you plan to go for surf fishing, this combo will be the right blend of power and casting ability for catching medium to big catfish from the shore.

PENN Battle III is an innovation from its previous version. It is equipped with state-of-the-art CNC Technology for precision when crafting reels, ensuring that you stand a higher chance of navigating the right catfish position. 

To help catch strong fish, it is a must to mention the reel’s powerful HT-100 drag system and superline spool. It provides an easy and smooth drag to handle the long-struggled battle with a large-sized catfish with no backing needed.

As quality comes with its price, this combo is slightly expensive. However, it will be a top-notch option for durability, precision, and comfort when fishing with all superior features.

Penn Battle III Rod And Reel Combo


  • Powerful reel for heavy applications
  • Exceptional durability 
  • Firm and durable rod
  • Smooth action and balance


  • Slightly expensive
  • The all-metal reel makes it a bit stiff

Ugly Stik GX2 Fishing Combo – Best Budget For Medium Lightweight Option

Shakespeare is known for offering budget-friendly products without compromising quality and performance.

This combo combines extraordinary strength and great durability that makes fishing enjoyable, easy, and fun. Additionally, its lightweight EVA grips are designed specifically for smaller hands for a comfortable hold. 

The 2-piece stainless steel rod is durable and strong, and its backbone is robust enough to pull in various catfish sizes. The 30 size reel is attached with machined anodized aluminum and one ball bearing spool for smooth operation.

However, as designed for catching medium-lightweight catfish, this combo is slightly light for catching huge catfish. It is budget-friendly, but if you want a more thrilling battle, this combo may be limited.

At an affordable price, this combo is such a good deal. However,  remember to choose it for medium-heavy applications. 

Ugly Stik GX2 Fishing Combo


  • Budget-friendly
  • Good value
  • Sleek design
  • Suitable for medium-heavy applications


  • Slightly light for catching big catfish

Okuma Catfish Rod And Reel Combo – Best Durable Catfish Rod 

If you want to handle a monstrous catfish to break your own record, the rod and reel must be powerful and durable. This China-originated combo has been highly prized for its power, so this combo will meet your demand.

Let’s take a dig into the rod’s features that make the unit so strong. This combo has signature 2-piece rods developed with holder Kirk Kirkland and blank-filled with 24-ton carbon for durability, power, and responsiveness.

Rod tapers are specifically innovated for trophy cats and gar fishing. The rod tips are applied to UFR technology for precision, and the handle is wrapped with foam taper for durability, softness, and comfort. 

Thanks to all the superior features, this combo can cast weights from 1 pound to 8 pounds with no difficulty, making it incredibly flexible and durable. 

However, it needs techniques and experiences to handle this combo and make the best use of it. This combo is superb for an adept angler but not ideal for starters. 

Okuma Record Chaser Catfish  Rod And Reel Combo


  • Affordable price 
  • Powerful combo
  • Durable and versatile rod
  • Capable of casting various weights effortlessly


  • Might not be suitable for starters

Frequently Asked Questions

These are some frequently asked questions when catching catfish. Having a profound insight into this species, you will stand a higher chance of catching great cats.

What Is The Best Rod Length For Catfish?

In general, smaller rods cast shorter distances while longer fishing rods cast longer distances. Casting distance is important when you angle in transparent water. 

Long rods give more reach for you to control the rigs properly, allow quicker hooksets and control the bait better. They also permit more precise drifts and provide more powerful leverage for fighting heavyweight catfish.

When close combat happens, it is better to use shorter rods as they are less bent. However, there are more advantages to using longer rods that are at least 7 feet when catfishing. 

What Scent Do Catfish Like?

Catfish have acute scent receptors, and scented baits with a stinky or rotten smell are the best option. Basic baits like worms, shad, or small bream to carpsucker or skipjack tuna are top baits. 

Fishermen also use canned dog food, French fries, or spoiled shrimp to attract channel catfish. A chunk of dog food in squares with addictive flavors of bacon, cheese, or gravy is easy to use, and the catfish will love it. 

At What Water Temp Do Catfish Start Biting?

Catfish bite year-round. In cold weather, the fish are less aggressive and desirable for food. In spring, the temperature reaches up to 50s degrees, and catfish food requirements will fluctuate between 40s and 50s degrees. Generally, 50 degrees is the benchmark for big biting in spring.

What Are Catfish Attracted To?

Catfish love baits that have both smell and bright color. Therefore, the stinkier and more rotten baits are, the better they lure the catfish. Cow blood or spoiled food will give out an intense odor and easily attract the fish’s attention. 

The bright colors are also among targeted catfish’s attention. Top bright colors such as red, yellow, or even the colorful sprinkles on stale donuts can effectively attract them. So the fishermen can take advantage of these two important factors to easily catch catfish. 

How Do You Fish For Catfish?

Besides preparing items such as reel, rod, boat, and attractive baits, you have to understand all characteristics of each type of catfish. Try to find out more about their habitat, baits interest, behaviors, etc.

There are two general tactics that apply to most fish: still fishing and drift fishing:

Still fishing is simple and effective. Just lay your bait still and wait for the catfish to bite or take it. This is not the most preferably refined fishing style; otherwise, it’s top-notch for an unwinding day by the water. 

If you’re expecting more connections and less boring waiting time, you can drift the fishing baits under the bobber. This works effectively on lakes where spreading your scent trail is rare because of less current. However, you need to be on a boat.

How Long Do Catfish Live?

The lifespan varies across the species. Catfish can live from 5 to 20 years, though Wels catfish can reach an average lifespan of 30 years. Mekong giant catfish are known for the longest life expectancy of up to 60 years.

Read more:  How Long Do Catfish Live? (Average Lifespan Of Catfish)


Have you found out the best rod and reel combo for catfish? I bet you have found the answer for the type of combo suitable for your fishing purposes.

Fishing is a great way of entertainment and mind concentration. Hope you have a comfortable fishing time with your loved ones or on your own. 

See more: