Catfish Rod and Reel Combos: Optimal Fishing Power!

As an experienced outdoor writer, my fishing adventures have taken me from the Arctic Circle to Central Mexico and everywhere.

Throughout these journeys, catfish have been a common and diverse catch encountered in various locations where I’ve cast my line.

Sometimes, they were simply a bycatch, but I specifically targeted these whiskered creatures on many occasions. In such instances, having the appropriate gear became crucial.

A successful catfish angler requires a well-matched rod and reel combo for catfish, one that offers both sensitivity and ample power to handle any challenge that comes their way.

In this article, I will highlight the top combos for catfish and provide a comprehensive guide to help you choose the perfect rod and reel combo for your catfishing endeavors.

When selecting a catfish rod and reel combo, there are a few important factors to consider:

Rod Power and Action: Catfish rods are usually medium-heavy to heavy power, which means they have the strength to handle the weight of big catfish and the power to set the hook effectively.

The action is typically moderate to fast, which helps provide a good balance of sensitivity and power.

Rod Length: Catfish rods are often longer, typically ranging from 7 to 9 feet. Longer rods allow longer casting distances and better control when fighting large fish.

Reel Type: Baitcasting reels and spinning reels are the most common choices for catfishing.

Some anglers prefer baitcasting reels because they can handle heavier lines and lures, while spinning reels are generally easier for beginners.

Line Capacity: Ensure the reel has enough line capacity to handle the fishing line you intend to use, especially if you target larger catfish.

Drag System: A smooth and strong drag system is essential for catfishing, as it allows you to control the fish during the fight and prevents the line from breaking under heavy pressure.

Catfish rod and reel combos

Material and Construction: Look for a durable rod and reel constructed from high-quality materials that can withstand the stresses of catfishing.

Budget:Catfish rod and reel combos are available in various price ranges, so it’s essential to take your budget into account and select a combo that provides the best value for your specific needs.

Popular brands that offer catfish rod and reel combos include Abu Garcia, Shakespeare, Ugly Stik, Penn, and Okuma, among others. 

Best catfish rod and reel combos

Catfish rod and reel combos are specifically designed to handle the unique demands of catfishing, which often involves targeting larger and stronger fish species.

These combos typically come with a catfish-specific rod and a reel that work well together to provide the necessary power and performance for catfishing.

Here are some of the best catfish combos in 2023:

Abu Garcia Catfish Commando Combo  

Abu Garcia Catfish Commando Combo  
Combo ModelAbu Garcia Catfish Commando Combo
Reel ModelAbu Garcia Catfish Commando Baitcast Reel
Rod ModelAbu Garcia Catfish Commando Casting Rod
Reel Gear RatioVaries by model
Ball BearingsVaries by model
Maximum DragVaries by model
Line Capacity (Mono)Varies by model
Line Capacity (Braid)Varies by model
Reel WeightVaries by model
Reel Frame MaterialGraphite
Reel Handle MaterialAluminum (sometimes with soft-touch knobs)
Reel Drag MaterialCarbon Fiber
Rod LengthVaries by model
Rod PowerVaries by model
Rod ActionVaries by model
Rod Blank MaterialGraphite
Rod Handle MaterialEVA foam or cork
Rod GuidesStainless Steel or Aluminum
Reel Handle PositionRight-handed (Left-handed models may exist)
Rod Pieces1-piece or 2-piece
Reel Brake SystemMagnetic or Centrifugal
Main UseCatfish fishing

The state-of-the-art Abu Garcia Catfish Commando Combo is expertly designed to exceed the expectations of passionate catfish anglers, delivering unmatched performance and formidable power.

Geared for heavy-duty use, the combo boasts the Ambassadeur 6500 reel, equipped with 2 stainless steel bearings for seamless operation, a robust Carbon Matrix hybrid drag system to conquer formidable opponents, and a 6-pin centrifugal brake that provides precise casting control.

This formidable reel is paired with the legendary Ugly Stik rod, known for its unrivaled strength and durability, ensuring an unbeatable catfishing experience.

 Overall, the Abu Garcia Catfish Commando Combo is a great choice for novice and experienced catfish anglers, offering a well-balanced and durable setup that will surely enhance your catfishing experience.

Ugly Stik Catfish Spinning Combo

Ugly Stik Catfish Spinning Combo

Ugly Stik 7′ Catfish Fishing Rod and Reel Catfish Combo – a robust and reliable setup tailored for catfish enthusiasts.

This combo comes equipped with an oversized handle knob, perfect for taking on those big cats and ensuring a firm grip during intense battles.

The Ugly Tech Construction of the 2-piece rod blends graphite and fiberglass, providing both strength and sensitivity in one package.

With its medium-heavy power, this rod is built to handle the challenges catfish pose.

The gear ratio 5.1:1 delivers smooth operation and mechanical advantage, making every retrieve effortless.

The size 50 conventional reel boasts a 2-ball bearing system, guaranteeing seamless performance.

The reel is fortified with 6 stainless steel guides, offering resilience against rough handling and eliminating insert pop-outs.

Equipped with a front drag system, this combo boasts a maximum drag capacity of 16lb (7.2kg).

The durable aluminum spool ensures longevity, while the Instant Anti-Reverse system empowers you to maintain control during thrilling fish fights.

The EVA handles provide both durability and lightweight comfort, and the handle can be set up for right or left-handed anglers.

With a 15-30lb line rating, this Ugly Stik combo is prepared to tackle various catfishing challenges.

The Ugly Stik Clear Tip adds further strength and sensitivity to the rod, enhancing your fishing experience.

For mono lines, the capacity is yd/lb: 280/12, 215/14, 195/17, or m/mm: 255/0.33, 195/0.36, 180/0.38.

With the Ugly Stik 7′ Catfish Fishing Rod and Reel Catfish Combo, you’ll have the confidence and tools to reel those impressive catfish and create unforgettable fishing memories.

Shakespeare Ugly Stik GX2 Spinning Combo

Shakespeare Ugly Stik GX2 Spinning Combo

Presenting the Ugly Stik GX2 spinning rod, a top-notch fishing companion that will elevate your angling experience.

This impressive spinning rod features 3 ball bearings alongside a one-way clutch instant anti-reverse bearing, delivering an irresistibly smooth gear feel and enabling swift hook sets for ultimate precision.

Built to endure the toughest challenges, the machined double anodized aluminum spool, combined with an oversized bail wire, ensures enhanced durability, giving you peace of mind during intense battles with aggressive fish.

Worried about the reel’s lifespan? Fear not; this combo incorporates compression bail springs designed to increase the reel’s longevity, keeping it in top-notch condition for extended fishing sessions.

With a length of 6 feet and a medium power rating, this spinning combo strikes an ideal balance between sensitivity and strength, enabling you to handle various fishing scenarios easily.

The 2-piece rod construction adds practicality to your fishing excursions, allowing for convenient transportation and storage.

Sporting a gear ratio of 5.5:1, this combo delivers the perfect blend of speed and power, ensuring a seamless fishing experience.

This exceptional combo comprises 4 bearings and a 140/6lb mono capacity, giving you the versatility to tackle a wide range of fish species and situations.

The Ugly Stik GX2 spinning rod is a reliable and high-performance choice, empowering you to embark on unforgettable fishing adventures with unwavering confidence. 

 Lew’s Mach Crush Speed Spool SLP Baitcasting Combo

Lew's Mach Crush Speed Spool SLP Baitcasting Combo
SpecificationMCR1SHLA (Left-handed)MCR1SHA (Right-handed)
Gear Ratio7.5:17.5:1
Reel Bearings9+19+1
Weight (oz)7.37.3
Braid Line Capacity (yd/lb)110/50110/50
Mono Line Capacity (yd/lb)110/12110/12
Recovery Rate30″76.2 cm
Max Drag (lbs)2020
Handle Style95mm Aluminum Handle95mm Aluminum Handle

Experience the rugged MACH® Crush Baitcast reel, constructed with a robust one-piece graphite frame and graphite side plates, offering an unbeatable blend of durability and lightweight performance.

Equipped with a potent Multi-Setting Brake System, effortlessly adjustable through external magnetic and internal centrifugal controls, this reel empowers you to make swift modifications for longer, more accurate casts.

When catching more fish, reaching more fish is the key. Hold the MACH® Crush Casting Rod and feel the essence of quality and power.

Engineered with a premium IM8 graphite blank, this rod is tailored for anglers who demand the utmost strength without compromising sensitivity.

The full-length Winn® Dri-Tac handle is designed to handle the fight. At the same time, the full contact reel seat grants the angler an unmatched feel of the blank, enhancing sensitivity without sacrificing comfort during handling.

From the moment you set the hook to landing the prized catch, the Crush is expertly designed to excel at putting fish in the boat.

The MACH® Crush Gen 2 Baitcast Combo is a testament to remarkable performance and strength, serving you well in all fishing situations.

Robust enough for handling big baits and tackling the heaviest cover, yet light and sensitive for delicate approaches.

There’s simply no substitute for the Crush when it comes to casting, cranking power, and fish-fighting strength.

For those trophy-chasing endeavors, this combo has additional features that elevate your fishing game.

A 95mm bowed anodized aluminum handle ensures powerful reeling, while stainless steel guides prove tough enough for braid and substantial lines.

With the Crush’s Carbon fiber drag system, you remain in full control when the battle begins.

Daiwa D-Wave Saltwater Spinning Combo

Daiwa D-Wave Saltwater Spinning Combo
ModelReel SpecsLine Capacity (lb. test/yards)Rod SpecsRod LengthRod PCSCase Pack
DWB40-B/F702MStainless BB, ABS Aluminum Spool, Twist Buster 2 Line Roller, Gyro Spin Balanced Rotor12/350, 14/300, 17/220Fiberglass Blank, Aluminum Oxide Guides, Stainless Hooded Reel Seat, EVA Foam Grips7′25
DWB40-B/F802MStainless BB, ABS Aluminum Spool, Twist Buster 2 Line Roller, Gyro Spin Balanced Rotor12/350, 14/300, 17/220Fiberglass Blank, Aluminum Oxide Guides, Stainless Hooded Reel Seat, EVA Foam Grips8′25
DWB50-B/F902MStainless BB, ABS Aluminum Spool, Twist Buster 2 Line Roller, Gyro Spin Balanced Rotor14/410, 17/310, 20/240Fiberglass Blank, Aluminum Oxide Guides, Stainless Hooded Reel Seat, EVA Foam Grips9′25
DWB50-B/F1002MStainless BB, ABS Aluminum Spool, Twist Buster 2 Line Roller, Gyro Spin Balanced Rotor14/410, 17/310, 20/240Fiberglass Blank, Aluminum Oxide Guides, Stainless Hooded Reel Seat, EVA Foam Grips10′25
DWB50-B/F1102MStainless BB, ABS Aluminum Spool, Twist Buster 2 Line Roller, Gyro Spin Balanced Rotor14/410, 17/310, 20/240Fiberglass Blank, Aluminum Oxide Guides, Stainless Hooded Reel Seat, EVA Foam Grips11′25

Designed for both saltwater and heavy freshwater applications, the Daiwa D-Wave Fiberglass Spinning Combos offer versatility to anglers targeting a variety of species, including stripers, redfish, snook, baby tarpon, pike, musky, salmon, and more.

Whether casting big lures or pulling plugs and spinners, these combos are up for the task of providing an exceptional fishing experience.

The D-Wave rod has a full fiberglass blank, ensuring robust strength and sensitivity.

It is equipped with Aluminum Oxide guides and stainless steel hooded reel seats, specifically designed to withstand the corrosive effects of saltwater environments.

This durability makes it an excellent choice for saltwater fishing. The D-Wave spinning reel complements the rod perfectly, featuring a tough graphite body and rotor construction for enhanced performance.

The ABS aluminum spool adds further durability to the reel, withstanding the rigors of demanding fishing conditions.

The Twist Buster II line roller and Gyro Spin rotor balancing also deliver smooth operation, regardless of your fishing conditions.

For improved drive system performance, Daiwa has incorporated its precision Digigear technology into the design and production of the D-Wave B reel, ensuring optimal power and smoothness during retrieval.

Overall, Daiwa has created a reliable and ready-to-fish combo that anglers everywhere can trust.

With its quality components and well-thought-out design, the Daiwa D-Wave Fiberglass Spinning Combos are a solid choice for experienced and novice anglers seeking a versatile, high-performing fishing setup.

Pflueger President Catfish Combo  

Pflueger President Catfish Combo
ModelRod LengthRod PowerNumber of PiecesReel SizeGear RatioLine RatingMax DragReel Spool MaterialRod Blank Material
PRESSP-4820UL2CBO4’8″Ultra Light2205.2:12-6LB6LB20.2″51CM
PRESSP-5025ULCBO5′Ultra Light1255.2:12-6LB8LB22.4″57CM

Experience smooth and reliable performance without breaking the bank!

The President® spinning reel is packed with impressive features that will leave you amazed repeatedly.

Coupled with an incredibly responsive and sensitive IM-8 rod, this combo delivers an unbeatable fishing experience.


10-Bearing System: Enjoy silky-smooth operation with the 10-bearing system, providing effortless retrievals and precise control.

Braid Ready Spool: The spool is designed to handle braided lines, offering increased line capacity and optimal performance.

Aluminum Handle: The durable and lightweight aluminum handle ensures comfortable and efficient reeling.

IM-8 Graphite: The rod boasts high-quality IM-8 graphite construction, offering exceptional sensitivity and responsiveness for detecting even the subtlest of bites.

Stainless Steel Guides: These guides are built to last, providing smooth line flow and reduced friction during casts and retrieves.

Sealed Drag System: The drag washers are fully sealed, protecting against water and debris infiltration while delivering consistent and powerful drag pressure.

Slow Oscillation Gearing: The slow oscillation gearing ensures even line lay, improving casting distance and line management.

Cork Handle with Full Grip Design: The cork handle looks great and provides a comfortable and secure grip for extended fishing sessions.

The President® spinning reel and IM-8 rod combo offer exceptional value and performance, making it an ideal choice for anglers of all levels seeking a reliable setup for various fishing situations.

Prepare to be impressed by the seamless operation and sensitivity this combo brings to your fishing adventures.

KastKing Centron Spinning Rod and Reel 

KastKing Centron Spinning Rod and Reel 
Combo ModelKastKing Centron Spinning Rod and Reel combo
Reel ModelKastKing Centron Spinning Reel
Rod ModelKastKing Centron Spinning Rod
Reel Gear RatioVaries by model
Ball BearingsVaries by model
Maximum DragVaries by model
Line Capacity (Mono)Varies by model
Line Capacity (Braid)Varies by model
Reel WeightVaries by model
Reel Frame MaterialGraphite
Reel Handle MaterialAluminum
Reel Drag MaterialCarbon Fiber
Rod LengthVaries by model
Rod PowerVaries by model
Rod ActionVaries by model
Rod Blank MaterialGraphite
Rod Handle MaterialEVA foam or cork
Rod GuidesStainless Steel or Aluminum
Reel Handle PositionInterchangeable (left/right)
Rod Pieces1-piece or 2-piece
Reel Brake SystemFront drag or Rear drag
Main UseFreshwater and light saltwater fishing

These sensitive and lightweight blanks are carefully crafted to provide outstanding value and performance for anglers of all levels.

A KastKing Centron Spinning Combo suits every fishing preference and is available in various lengths, ranging from 6′ for Bass, Trout, and Panfish to 8′ for Catfish, Steelhead, and even Salmon.

Each combo boasts strong and durable stainless-steel guides with premium O-ring inserts, ensuring seamless performance with both mono and braided lines.

These guides look great with lightweight stainless frames and contribute to a well-balanced rod blank.

The rods are finished with contoured EVA handles and fighting butt to enhance comfort during extended fishing sessions, providing a sure grip and all-day comfort.

The 6′ to 7′ all-purpose combos feature split rear handles, while the 7’6″ medium heavy & 8′ heavy action combos sport full-length EVA handles, perfectly suited for catfish, salmon/steelhead, or other large fish.

Each combo is paired with a perfectly matched KastKing Centron spinning reel, designed to match the rod and the intended type of fish.

The reel sizes range from compact size 2000 to powerful 5000, ideal for the 8′ heavy action rod intended for Catfish, Salmon, and Steelhead.

The KastKing Centron reel boasts premium specs at a value price, featuring a 5.2:1 or 4.5:1 gear ratio, 9+1 Maxi-Dur ball bearings, an anti-twist line roller, a lightweight graphite frame, and an aluminum spool.

A powerful triple-disc complements the reel’s super-smooth action felt drag system, ensuring you can handle any fish with ease and confidence.

With the Centron Spinning Combos, you get a winning combination of high-quality components, impressive performance, and a budget-friendly price, making them an excellent choice for all anglers seeking a versatile and dependable fishing setup.

Quantum Bill Dance Catfish combo

Quantum Bill Dance Catfish combo

Ready to take on the mighty whiskered giants lurking in the deep? Look no further than the Quantum Bill Dance Catfish Baitcast Combo, a perfectly matched rod and reel system that covers all your bases for battling the biggest and meanest catfish out there.

The Bill Dance Catfish Baitcast Reel boasts a classic round reel design, delivering efficient power to handle even the most demanding catfish encounters.

Equipped with a high-capacity aluminum spool, you can load up with heavier lines, ensuring you’re fully prepared for the toughest fights.

The strong power handle maximizes torque, providing the necessary muscle to subdue big cats, stripers, or gar easily.

The Bill Dance Catfish Rods are tailored with heavy catfish actions, utilizing a durable and ultra-powerful Z-glass blank that balances flexible responsiveness with the raw power required to conquer the largest fish.

The rod has strong, double-footed guide frames with highly abrasion-resistant ceramic guides, ensuring smooth line flow and durability during intense battles.

The comfortable EVA grips allow you to fight your catch to the finish with reduced fatigue, maintaining your focus on landing that prized trophy fish.

With a gear ratio of 4.2:1, 2 ball bearings, and a maximum drag capacity of 12 lbs., this baitcasting combo offers the performance and strength necessary for an unforgettable catfishing adventure.

Get ready to confidently tackle the biggest challenges the catfish world offers, thanks to the Quantum Bill Dance Catfish Baitcast Combo.

Catfish rod and reel combo setup

Setting up a catfish rod and reel combo involves selecting the right components to match your fishing style, the type of catfish you’re targeting, and the fishing environment.

Here are some key considerations for setting up a catfish rod and reel combo:

Rod: Choose a sturdy and powerful rod designed for catfishing. Catfish can be large and powerful, so a medium-heavy to heavy-power rod is typically recommended.

Look for a rod length between 6 to 8 feet, depending on your fishing preferences and the fishing environment (e.g., longer rods for casting distance or shorter rods for tighter spaces).

Reel: Select a reel that complements your chosen rod and offers sufficient line capacity.

Baitcasting reels are popular for catfishing due to their ability to handle heavier lines and big baits.

Ensure the reel has a durable construction, a smooth drag system, and sufficient ball bearings for smooth operation.

Line: Use a strong and abrasion-resistant fishing line that can handle the weight and power of catfish.

Monofilament or braided lines are common choices, with pound-test ratings ranging from 20 to 50 lbs or more, depending on the catfish species and fishing conditions.

Terminal Tackle: Use appropriate terminal tackle such as swivels, hooks, sinkers, and leaders.

Catfish have sharp teeth and strong jaws, so use heavy-duty hooks and leaders to prevent break-offs.

Bait: Select the right bait for the catfish species you’re targeting. Common catfish baits include live or cut bait like shad, worms, or chicken liver.

Fishing Technique: Consider your preferred fishing technique, such as bottom fishing, drift fishing, or using float rigs. Different techniques may require specific setups and rigging.

Environment: Adapt your setup to the fishing environment. If fishing in heavy cover, opt for a stronger rod and heavier line to handle potential snags and obstacles.

Personal Preferences: Finally, take your personal preferences into account. Choose a rod and reel combo that feels comfortable in your hands and suits your fishing style.

Always check local fishing regulations and guidelines for the area you plan to fish.

Proper setup and gear selection will increase your chances of success and make your catfishing adventures more enjoyable.


Choosing the right catfish rod and reel combo is essential for a successful and enjoyable catfishing experience.

Catfish can be powerful and challenging to catch, so having a well-matched setup is crucial.

Check out the Fishing Boat Shoes available on our website.

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