Choosing A Catfishing Rod
Maybe you’ve lived in Calcasieu or Cameron Parishes for some time and never really got down to catfish angling. Maybe you thought there were too many variables in what rods to get, what kind to fish for, how much is reasonable to spend. It’s certainly true that there are all kinds of rods and techniques for catfish, but today we can help a little with some of the basics of choosing a rod, and we can start with the materials.
What are you fishing for? Are you a number-before-size angler who just wants to catch as many as possible, are you mainly looking for trophy catches, or do you want a little bit of both? Because there are three main types of catfish you can find in American waters.
Channel catfish are the most common, with a range encompassing the whole East Coast, the Mississippi Watershed, and part of Mexico. While some over 40 lbs. have been caught, most are between 2-4 lbs. Landing a 10 lb. channel catfish would be something to be proud of.
The flathead catfish has a more inland range, as it can only take so much salinity. Adults are 15-14” and up to 45 lbs. on average, though larger ones have been found.
The largest catfish you’re likely to catch in Louisiana is the blue catfish, and a 40 lb. one would be pretty average, though they’ve been caught at up to 130.
E-glass is the basic. It’s affordable, strong, and durable, but also kind of heavy and less sensitive. The “workhorse” option, it’s a good choice if you’re just starting out.
S-glass is like e-glass with twice the tensile strength and weighing less. Its lighter weight makes it better for angling that requires constant holding of the rod (rather than setting it in a holder). Because of its higher cost, not many manufacturers use it.
Graphite is what you use if you need the light weight and sensitivity of s-glass but not the strength and expense. Most bass rods, for instance, are graphite. The sensitivity difference is considerable; whereas you can feel major movements with an e-glass rod, a graphite rod will let you feel even if a catfish is just nibbling on the bait. Graphite rods are not strong enough to be suitable for anything trophy-sized.
Composite fiber rods combine the sensitivity of graphite with the power and resilience of e-glass, but are pretty expensive. You definitely want to be sure you’re into catfishing and on the right track before you invest in one of these.
Which material for which fish?
As a rule channel catfish are the smallest. The though the world record is almost 60 lbs. and 30 pounders are not unheard of either, most channels are in the single digit lbs. range, and for these you are fine with an affordable but sensitive graphite rod like one from Falcon Rods or 13 Fishing.
If you’re going after the larger blues, which can sometimes get over 100 lbs., you’re going to need a lot of durability and power on your side. That’s going to mean choosing between the affordability of fiberglass and the sensitivity of composite. If you go with fiberglass you’d want something like the Zebco Big Cat baitcast combo.
Hopefully this helps you out by covering a little of the ground. If you want to hear more about what catfish rod is best for you, Lake Charles Tackle would be happy to answer your questions at 337-479-2999, or you could stop by our store on Common St. in Lake Charles