Choice Gear: Catfish Rods and Reels for 2018

Catching big catfish requires an understanding of the fish and the gear needed to put them in the boat. Here's a look at top catfish rods and reels for 2018.

RODS

Berkley Mudcat

catfish rods and reelsFor tough, value-priced rods, its hard to beat Berkley's Mudcats. They're designed to withstand the worst beating a cat can dole out, with fiberglass blank construction, rubberized shrink-wrapped handles and double-footed guides. The come in lengths between 6 and 8 feet, with moderate to moderate-fast actions. berkley-fishing.com $40

CATFISH RODS AND REELSBerkley Tec Cat and Tec Cat Hunter

Tec Cats are designed for boat anglers, Tec Cat Hunters for bank fishermen. Both feature Complex Matrix blank construction and durable heavy-duty components. Tec Cats come in 6-foot, 6-inch to 7- foot, 6-inch lengths, with moderate to moderate-fast actions, oversized guides and handles. Hunters run 7, 8 or 9 feet, with moderate-fast to fast action blanks for long, accurate casts. berkley-fishing.com $85

catfish rods and reelsB'n'M Redesigned Silver Cat Magnum

With the help of its catfish pro staff, B'n'M has redesigned this 7 1/2-foot, one-piece rod. A cork handle has been added, along with an aluminum reel seat and eight solid-steel guides along the entire length of the rod. bnmpoles.com $70

>> Related: Catfish Tricks to Find, Catch More Bruisers

Shimano Tiralejo

catfish rods and reelsThis is a rod that allows extreme long-distance casts. Available in 10-, 11- and 12-foot models, it features Shimano's C4S blank construction, which utilizes a high-modulus blank and wraps four outer layers of 90-degree graphite. This increases hoop strength for maximum pulling power without inhibiting sensitivity. shimano.com $300

catfish rods and reelsWarrior Cat Tackle Gen-2 Casting

This 7-foot, 6-inch medium-heavy casting rod, built with E-glass, features a tip sensitive enough to detect small cats, but has exceptional backbone to tame trophies. Features include a 16-inch handle (cork or EVA with X-Flock), 10 double-footed stainless guides and double locking reel-seat nuts. warrior-cat-tackle.com $85

REELS

catfish rods and reelsKastKing Sharky III

This new spinning reel has features ideal for catfish anglers, including a braided-line-ready aluminum spool that eliminates the need for backing line and provides more line capacity; new Intrusion Shield System to protect body, rotor and spool from water and dirt; 10+1 stainless-steel ball bearings; and triple-disc carbon-fiber drag. kastking.com $48-$56

CATFISH RODS AND reelsShimano Ultegra XTD

Designed for serious surf casters, but this new reel can be paired with Shimano's Tiralejo rod to create a long-casting combo that's ideal for fishing tailwaters from shore. It features consistent long-casting performance, super-slow oscillation for precision line lay and Shimano's X-Ship gear system for improved durability even under the heaviest loads. shimano.com $190-$210.

catfish rods and reelsZebco Big Cat XT 350 Baitcaster

This baitcaster holds 200 yards of 20-pound mono to prevent getting spooled by fish, and features a graphite frame, aluminum spool, QuickSet anti-reverse and 4.2:1 gear ratio. zebco.com $70 

catfish rods and reelsZebco Big Cat XT Spincast

Also new from Zebco is a sturdy medium-heavy spincast reel built with a titanium-nitride-plated, stainless-steel spinnerhead commonly used on cutting tools to add durability and reduce friction. Features left or right-hand retrieve, steel front cover and powerful 2.6:1 gear ratio. zebco.com $40

>> Click here for more articles about fishing gear

Magazine Cover

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Temporary Price Reduction

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Get the top Game & Fish stories delivered right to your inbox every week.