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Best Catfish Rod and Reel Combo

Last Updated: 24.04.24

Catfish Rod and Reel Combos – Buying guide, Reviews and Comparison


If you want to save some time, this paragraph should tell you everything you need to know about the best catfish rod and reel combo. We’ve gone through the opinions of amateur and professional fishermen and women alike, and in the end, we decided that the Shakespeare Complete CATFISHSPKIT is the one you should consider getting. This model is a spinning combo that comes with virtually anything you might need to get you started. There’s no one stopping you from using the setup for other types of species if you have the opportunity to practice your angling elsewhere than you normally do. If you have no means of getting your hands on this alternative, perhaps you should take the time to check out the specs of the Shakespeare Ugly Stik as appears to be the second best choice.



Comparison table:


The Good
The Bad



4 Best Catfish Rod and Reel Combos (Reviews) in 2024


The best products in this category will be showcased below. These are all units that have been highly spoken of by many Amazon buyers, who seem to think that the models we’ll discuss offer just the right value for a reasonable price. What’s more, both the rod and the reel in the next combos are well-built, sturdy, and comfortable to use.



1. Shakespeare Complete Catfish Spinning


While catfish combos are considerably more budget-friendly than other fishing combos you might have stumbled upon while prospecting the market, some aren’t exactly made to fit the bill. If what you’re focused on is getting a good-quality alternative that you can use now and again, you may have to give some thought to the CATFISHSPKIT.

Both the rod and the reel in this setup are entirely capable of doing what they’re supposed to. The neat thing about them, however, is that they are accompanied by a small collection of bait and line. This way, you have a fishing package that’s ready to go right out of the box.

Portability is another benefit offered by this choice as it is not particularly heavy nor will it take up a lot of room in the trunk of your car. As such, there’s nothing stopping you from taking the combo with you virtually everywhere you go. Who knows when a fishing occasion might arise out of the blue?

Based on the user feedback that we have analyzed in order to determine whether or not the unit is worth every cent, it appears that it is indeed so. Most anglers praise the value offered by the combo and say that it has helped them catch more catfish.


Considering how the entire kit is designed to be superbly portable, you can easily put the entire package in the trunk of your car so you can do some fishing when the urge hits you.

Since this kit comes with its own small collection of tackle and bait, you certainly have everything you need right out of the box.

Even first-time anglers will really get to explore the sport because they have the basic elements of any fishing rig to enable them to enjoy their first day in the water.

Because you wouldn’t need to purchase each item separately, this kit provides genuine value for the money and saves you the effort and time spent on shopping.

You have the assurance of the Shakespeare brand in this choice, which guarantees genuine functionality, durability, and dependable performance for the type of angling you do.


While the Shakespeare brand has long been known for high-quality fishing gear, this particular model seems to be still relatively unknown to customers as of this writing.

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2. Ugly Stik Catfish Spinning Combo


2.Shakespeare USSPCAT702MH-50CBOAs is the case with the previously discussed Ardent Combo, the Shakespeare model is also a spinning combo that makes durability and toughness two features that are worth looking out for.

This unit seems to have been designed particularly for catfish as it comes with the patented ugly Stik clear tip for enhanced sensitivity and the excellent construction in various other Shakespeare products that increases the sturdiness of the item.

The length of the pole is 7 feet, which means that it’s a tad smaller when compared to the Ardent Combo.

For ease of transport, this rod can be taken apart and split up into two pieces. As for the reel provided in the pack, it seems that owners have encountered no issues with it as some claim they have been using it for over two years now and it’s still a winner when it comes to meeting their expectations.


Don’t ever let the name of this product fool you because it performs beautifully in the water via the clear tip engineered for remarkable sensitivity. You feel even the tiny nibbles the fish makes on the lure.

The fishing pole boasts more than enough durability and toughness to connect you to your catch because of its premium quality construction.

Thanks to the one-piece stainless steel guides, the fishing line flows smoothly and without horrible tangles. This prevents friction from building up and causing disheartening line breakages.

The stainless steel guides are also resistant to corrosion so you wouldn’t have to worry about getting them exposed to the water.

This is ideal for catfish because of its construction and sensitivity that enable it to withstand the force that the fish can generate when fighting to avoid being landed.


One customer doesn’t think the 7-inch pole length is sturdy enough to battle with large fish.

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3. Abu Garcia Catfish Commando Cast Rod & Reel Combo


3.Abu Garcia Catfish Commando Cast Rod & ReelThe Catfish Commando Series developed by Abu Garcia, one of the most well-known manufacturers in the industry of building top-notch rods and reels, has people raving about its specs.

For example, this 7-foot medium-heavy alternative makes catching catfish a pleasurable experience on all accounts. The 2 stainless steel ball bearings system in the reel provided in the kit makes it possible for users to enjoy the smooth operation. Besides, the drag system in this reel ensures that the drag performance is both harmonious and reliable.

If you’ve been trying to find a rod that helps you keep your line as stable as possible, perhaps you’d like to check out this Abu Garcia model; it has been built with a unique synchronized level wind system that does just this.

Finally, the ergonomic design of the compact bent handle makes holding the rod an activity to look for, regardless of the species you’re targeting or the place you’re doing your fishing in.


This is a baitcast fishing rod and reel combo that is made to endure the battle involved during catfish angling, with a comfortable, fluid feel to help minimize user fatigue.

The two stainless steel ball bearings on the reel are geared to ensure smooth retrieves and casts so you can release and roll back the fishing line without much effort and without worrying about tangles or breakage.

A consistent and smooth drag is delivered via the quality Carbon Matrix drag system, which supports the need for enough resistance to fighting fish.

Subdue hard-pulling fish using your angling skills and aided by this fishing rig suitable for creek angling or in rivers or reservoirs.

Enjoy precise casting and line lay as the 4-pin centrifugal brake generates a consistent pressure to ensure a consistent control throughout the cast.


A common gripe about this option was the lousy way it was packaged and shipped to at least two customers who still consider the product a good buy nevertheless.

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4. Ready 2 Fish Catfish Spin Rod and Reel Combo


If you are just thinking about starting to go after catfish, this specifically designed rod and reel is a very good choice. You must keep in mind that it is a model created with novice anglers in mind, although plenty of more advanced fishermen say that it is a convenient choice they prefer to others. The “How to Fish” guide that is included with your purchase is full of practical tips.

You will be given detailed instructions on the rigging guides, and you will experience no troubles when you want to setup your gear for fishing catfish. In other words, you get everything you need to start fishing right from the get-go.

There are many great things about this model that will have you think that it is an excellent choice. The selection of the material is superior, for instance. The rod is made from durable fiberglass, and it is resistant to plenty of action. The EVA handle is built for ergonomics, and the reel seat is made from graphite, another material that is lightweight and durable.

The whole package is wrapped in an ETS closure that keeps things secure and organized. Now you no longer have to worry about breaking the tip of the rod, or losing your tackles, as everything will be held in a single place.


This is a great option for people who are starting to fish, as, besides the actual combo, they also receive a full guide on how to fish for catfish. However, more seasoned anglers will find the guide instructional and practical.

The ETS closure helps you keep easy track of the combo during transportation, and it is a handy feature you will most probably like. It serves for eliminating the risk of losing the tackle or having the rod tip break when not properly handled.

The aluminum spool is lightweight and mounted on a medium heavy rod. This will allow for quick action, which is essential when you are going after catfish.

The EVA handle is paired with a fiberglass rod, which also helps to keep the overall weight of the combo to a minimum.


It may be deemed too light for more advanced fishermen, so it is not an excellent choice for anyone.

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Great lures for your fishing adventure



ROSE KULI Swimbait


With this Multi Jointed Life-Like Fishing Lure from Rose Kuli, be sure you’re getting closer to enjoying that big catch you’ve set your mind on. The ultra-realistic design and colors and the flexibility that ensures natural moves make this fishing bait an alternative you might want to consider when stocking up on your lures.

This bait could easily be mistaken for a real fish even by fishermen themselves thanks to its 3D holographic eyes, the chromatic options, and the flexible fin and tail. The realistic appearance has been developed with the help of a special printing process through which the image of a true baitfish is transferred onto the bait.

The hard ABS plastic, the textile fabrics and metals used provide both durability and natural moves that will allure hungry fish. It is ideal for saltwater and freshwater fishing targeting predator fish such as trout, bass, pike, and yellow perch.

The bait can be reused as its build and materials will keep it sturdy enough even for big fish. Thanks to the built-in steel ball, you can raise your throw distance and even make some noise when underwater to attract the fishes.


This fishing lure will help you attract the fish with greater ease thanks to its realistic colors and designs. The 3D holographic eyes further add to its natural look.

Thanks to the use of hard ABS plastic and the textile fabrics for connections, the lure swims naturally. The multi-joint body ensures high flexibility, which makes the bait look and move like a real fish.

Although flexible, the fishing lure is sturdy enough to resist even big fish. This means you can reuse it and save money and space at the same time.

The product features a built-in gravity ball that increases the throw distance. What’s more, it will also make the noise you need to attract the fish.


At least one customer said that, although it looks great, the lure failed to remain underwater a few times when being reeled in.

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Runcl Frog Lure


This frog lure from Runcl is so realistically designed that even a fisherman could mistake it for a real one. Imagine what your desired catch will see it like. The high-resolution body details and life-like 3D eyes will help you attract even bigger fish.

The lures are made of high-quality PVC materials that are both durable and flexible. Although they are soft, they are bite-resistant so you can reuse them whenever needed. This means you will get to save money and space. Plus, thanks to these materials, the baits imitate the taste of a frog.

The rugged double barbed hook will make sure the fishes are hooked firmly whereas the weedless design will ensure smooth fishing as the lure won’t hang up by lily pads or weeds.

The frog lures are available in various designs so you can choose the ones that best suit your fishing needs. You can go for frogs with twin skirts, 2-legged frogs, and frogs with single skirts, just to name a few. No matter the ones you go for, they will make a great addition to your tackle box.


The life-like colors and designs will help you lure your desired catch successfully. The 3D eyes and high-resolution details can make one easily mistake them for real frogs.

The quality PVC materials used for these frog lures are durable and flexible at the same time. This means that you can reuse them, which makes this pack a long-term investment. You will save both space and money.

The lures are soft yet bite-resistant so you can use them even when trying to catch bigger fishes. They imitate the taste of a frog which further adds to their effectiveness.

Thanks to their soft hollow body, they won’t sink. In case they still do, the user needs to squeeze the water out. The fishes will get hooked firmly due to the rugged double barbed hook they come with.


Some customers had trouble preventing them from sinking. The company says the water should be squeezed out of the lure when it starts to sink in order keep it on top of the water.

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Heddon Zara


If you’re a bass angler fishing on the top of the water, you probably know that the best lure you can get for your catch is a spook. Such accessories count a lot as they decide the success of what gets caught on your hook. At least, that’s what Heddon had this in mind when creating the Zara Spook Lure.

Offering an iconic walk-the-dog action, the lure was designed to catch fish from small to memorably big. Even though the Zara spook lure is almost the same as it was 75 years ago when it was invented, it provides a pronounced action that proves successful no matter your bass fishing level.

With this spook lure, you will be able to draw fish even from a great distance since the lure delivers a time-tested performance that has made many anglers use it for their fishing. The strikes the lure creates are aggressive enough to catch any fish.

When used correctly, the lure should have a back-and-forth type of movement across the surface of the water which is followed by a smooth wake. The lure measures 3.2 x 0.8 x 0.8 inches and is available in different colors so you can cover various needs.


The lure is ideal for bass fishermen in need of topwater baits to lure the fish they’re interested in.  It can be used no matter the angler’s bass fishing level.

The product can help create a back-and-forth movement across the surface followed by a smooth wake as well as aggressive strikes that will make hungry fishes fall for it.

The spook lure comes in various colors to suit different needs. You will find designs ranging from bones to bullfrogs. It measures 3.2 x 0.8 x 0.8 inches, which makes it great for bass fishing.

It offers the iconic walk-the-dog action and it can draw fish in from great distances when used properly.


One customer received lures featuring different eyes than the usual spooks. When touched, the eye fell out. This has been a singular case, though, or at least no other similar case was mentioned in the reviews we’ve found.

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Buying guide


Purchasing the best rod and reel for catfish these days can prove to be quite a daunting task as the market is downright overflowing with alternatives that you might need to give a shot to. As such, we’ve come up with a short buying guide that can assist you in making the right call. If you have the time and plan to invest your pennies into something worth the while, we urge you to go through the best cheap catfish rod and reel combo reviews so that you see how accessible models can compare to high-end ones.




Size of the rod and versatility

One of the things you ought to take into account for the first time when starting to analyze your options is whether the rod of your choice will be easy to use both in small ponds and big rivers. As such, perhaps you might be better off with a shorter version of the rod you’ve been eyeing. Maybe a 10-ft alternative isn’t the best one, in this case. As for versatility, your rod has to be easy to carry around and pack so that you’re able to travel light.



This feature refers both to the rod and the reel, and even to the line. However, the best material for a catfish rod isn’t necessarily the sturdiest one as we’ve seen that each catfish species requires a different kind of rod. For example, graphite rods work best for channel catfish. Blue and flathead species require the use of an e-glass, s-glass, or composite rod but any of these three is fit to catch all the catfish you might feel like.


Type of reel

All three types of reels that can be found out there are being used for catfish, but they differ depending on the species you’re targeting. For instance, spin cast reels are ideal for channel catfish or any other kind of smaller fish. Spinning reels are the preferred choice of many fishers particularly when aiming for small catfish as they are more efficient and capable of way more performance compared to their spin cast counterparts. They’re even more durable, as well. Bait cast reels are commonly employed if you’re unsure of the species you want to catch or the technique you want to employ. In terms of line capacity, gear ratios and durability, bait cast reels are the best of all.


Extra features

When you’re spending your money on a new product, even if it has everything you wish it had, it is a good idea to check if it offers something extra. This is a smart thing to do because you never know when you’re going to make use of that bonus, so you will be glad you made that initial investment.

Besides a premium construction that ensures you’ll be able to detect the lightest nibbles, the model you go for should also have heavy-duty handles. The materials they’re made of are not relevant unless you have a personal preference. However, the handles should have a nice texture so you can use the rod and the reel without gloves and without them hurting your skin.

Another cool feature for the passionate fisherman is a double coating, especially if it is UV rays-resistant. This nifty addition will ensure the rod will look brand new for years, even if used intensively under any weather conditions. Some brands also offer a limited lifetime warranty, although that is not always necessary.


Ergonomics are important

There’s hardly any better thing than a combo that feels good in the hands of the user. And premium manufacturers know that, and they offer plenty of options for you to choose from. You just have to know some tips and tricks before clicking that “to buy” button.

For example, double check that the handles of the rod provide a comfortable grip that lasts for years. Look if it also has indentations for the fingers, as that is a way to make sure you can face even a more stubborn fish, that just won’t quit. Also, read to see if the materials chosen for the construction of the handles are hydrophobic.

If they are, that is the sign of a great buy, since it means the product won’t slip from your hands even if it rains or if your fishing gloves get wet when the fish is putting up a fight. All of these improvements shouldn’t come at the cost of its light body, as that is more important sometimes.


Beginner vs. Expert

If you are new to catfishing or fishing in general, and you just want to get started without going through the trouble of advanced features, then a basic combo should be enough. As a beginner, you don’t need all the bells and whistles an expert might want.

It might be quite hard for you to get the hang of this activity if complicated mechanisms get in your way. If this is the case for you when you strip everything back, and the core features all combos should have are decent materials, enhanced ergonomics and a lightweight body that is easy to handle even by someone with weak arm muscles.

If you are an experienced fisher, then you should not dismiss more premium features such as a non-slip handle, a centrifugal brake meant to reduce backlash, or a stainless steel finish, because these are going to add more versatility to the combo so you can use it for more than one task.



Products which are no longer available


Ardent Combo


1.Ardent Combo Spinning ReelThe Ardent Combo is the best one for the money particularly if you’ve been tossing and turning about getting a new pack that does what it’s supposed to do and costs less than fifty dollars.

This kit is composed of a spinning reel that works best when utilized with small species of catfish.

The medium-heavy action of the 7-feet 6-inch rod makes it a sight for sore eyes and a dependable option if you want both sturdiness and flexibility. The reel is made of a lightweight graphite frame whereas the rod is a 2-piece fiberglass unit of which the ease of use partly comes from the EVA grip.

Considering that the reel has three ball bearings, you’ll have no issue with the accuracy of this model. It might be worth underlining that the reel comes pre-spooled with 20 lb. of line.

All in all, the Ardent Combo has garnered some remarkable reviews and is said to be worth every cent.

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