Best Rod And Reel Combo For Catfish – Top 6 Combos Catfish Rods and Reels

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. 

Top 6 The Best Rod And Reel Combos Reviews For Catfish in 2021

Here are top 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 imagesProduct namesEditor's ratingPrice
Amazon best-selling product B01LXKKYIQZebco Big Cat XT ComboBest For Big-Sized Catfish

Amazon best-selling product B0765YMNYZPenn Passion II ComboBest For Beginner

Amazon best-selling product B011LV7B4OAbu Garcia Casting Medium ComboBest All-Rounded Combo

Amazon best-selling product B08BQPK8S2PENN Battle III ComboBest Fishing Reel

Amazon best-selling product B076619DLVUgly Stik GX2 Fishing ComboBest Budget For Medium Lightweight Option

Amazon best-selling product B07KG7389SOkuma Catfish Rod And Reel ComboBest Durable Catfish Rod

Zebco Big Cat XT Combo Size 50 – Best Catfish Rods 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 spinning 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 retriever, and a no-tangle-patented design, this spinning reel will elevate any fishing trip pleasure. It helps to catch even the biggest catfish for your utmost satisfaction. The two-piece, standard 7-foot medium-heavy 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 spinning reel
  • Affordable 
  • Strong rod


  • Reported rough tip 

Penn Passion II Rod and Reel Combos – Best For Beginner 

For a new angler, getting used to the fishing gear is pivotal to taking 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 good rod combined with the spinning 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 limits. 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 Rod and Reel Combo – Best All-Rounded 

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 size rod and stainless steel guides, aiming for heavy applications. This rod and reel combo has many useful features. Carbon Matrix hybrid drag helps to provide a consistent and smooth drag range. Extended and compact bent handles and star wheels offer a fluid reel to decline fatigue and so on. All innovative features build up a superb rod and reel 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 Rod and Reel Combo – Best Fishing Reels 

PENN’s line of the Battle spinning reels has gone unrivaled in terms of strength, smoothness, and durability. So if you plan to go 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 rod and reel 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 – Best Budget For Medium Lightweight Option Catfish Combo 

Shakespeare is known for offering budget-friendly products without compromising quality and performance. This rod and reel 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 two-piece stainless steel rod is durable and strong, and its backbone is robust enough to pull in various catfish sizes. The 30-size spinning 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 rod and reel combo may be limited. At an affordable price, this combo is such a good deal. However,  remember to choose it for medium-heavy size. 

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 – Best Durable Catfish Rods

If you want to handle a monstrous catfish to break your own record, the two-piece fishing rods and spinning 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 experience to handle this combo and make the best use of it. This rod and reel 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 good Catfish rod length?

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. 

Related Post: 5 Effective Catfish Bait Recipes For Beginners (Detailed Guide)

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.

Related Post: How Long Do Catfish Live? (Average Lifespan Of Catfish)

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 the 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. 

Related Post: What Do Catfish Eat? 13 Foods You Need To Know

How do people get caught catfishing?

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 were spreading your scent trail is rare because of less current. However, you need to be on a boat.

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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 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: Best Baitcasting Reel For Catfish – Top 10 Baitcaster Catfish Reels