The best crappie rods usually have ultra-light to light powers because the average weight of crappies caught by recreational fishermen weighs between one and two pounds. Keep in mind, too, that crappies are small panfish so heavier tackles aren’t recommended for a reason –the most important things about catching them are small baits and sensitive tackles.
Think about it: You can easily cast a large bass lure weighing nearly a quarter of a pound, even when you’re a relative beginner. But this isn’t so with some of the small jigs and beetle spins used for catching crappies. You will have more difficulty in casting them over far distances, especially on windy days when the wind works can throw your line in another direction.
You can, nonetheless, use different ways in targeting them, such as trolling with either artificial lures or minnows, casting light jigs, and cane polling, but a light tackle is a must. Such a wide range of fishing methods make crappies one of the most popular fishes for recreational fishermen including ice anglers; crappies are also active during the winter months.
Crappies are actually a genus (i.e., Pomoxis) of freshwater fish in North America; the genus itself belongs in the sunfish family (i.e., Centrarchidae). The two species –black and white crappies –are also highly regarded as among the best freshwater fish in terms of taste and texture when cooked well.
Trivia: Did you know that current world record for crappies caught in all-tackle fishing weighed 5 pounds for a black crappie and 5.2 pounds for a white crappie? Choose the best crappie rods and you may just beat these world records!
Top 10 Crappie Rods Reviews
The following best fishing rods have been chosen mainly for their suitability for crappie fishing. Remember that your choice in one of these rods will largely depend on several factors including your preferred fishing method, skill level, and fishing conditions.
#1 St. Croix Panfish Series Spinning Rods– Best of the BEST
The St. Croix crappie rod is widely considered as the best of the best for many reasons. For one thing, it has the perfect sensitivity and balance for catching small pan fishes including crappies and bluegill. You will find that, indeed, it is extremely sensitive so you can almost immediately tell an actual bite – and it’s a good thing, too, for beginner fishermen.
But due to the rod’s extreme sensitivity, it takes some getting used to at first. After a while, fortunately, you can become a pro at casting the line over quite a distance. You will need such a skill, too, considering the lightness of the spinning rod and bait.
For another thing, it is so durable yet so flexible that it can be used for catching larger fishes, such as bass, aside from crappies. The rod can be bent nearly to a full circle yet exhibit no signs of breaking, even with heavier and larger fish at the end of the line. Once the weight is off, it will go back to its straight nature afterwards so it can be used again and again.
The main reason for its durability, flexibility and versatility lies in the combination of premium SCII graphite and SCVI graphite. The latter is known for its high modulus, high strain quality, a must for successfully catching many types of panfish like crappie and bluegill. The combination means the St. Croix spinning rods in the Panfish Series are designed for optimum sensitivity, weight and balance.
The rod comes with premium cork handles for optimum comfort in handling. End to end, this is undoubtedly among the best crappie rods!
These spinning rods are available in different sizes. The 7-feet rods, for example, feature ultra-light to light powers that contribute crisp, clean and precise actions. The rods measuring between 8 and 11 feet have faster actions (i.e., moderate-fast), as well as feature better performance over other types of long, light powered rods.
#2 Shakespeare Micro Spinning Rods – Great Ultra Light Rod
Shakespeare – the brand of affordable fishing poles, not the world-renowned poet –has been in business since 1897 and it has manufactured many of the best crappie rods we have seen in recent years. The Shakespeare Micro Spinning Rod is a great ultra-light rod with a wide range of adjustable lengths and actions, thus, it’s highly adaptable to many fishing situations and fish species. The bottom line: You will not only find it convenient to use in crappie fishing but, more importantly, tailor it to your specific needs.
This is made of stainless steel reinforced with stainless steel inserts so it’s both durable and flexible while still being lightweight. You will find that it’s best used in catching panfishes like crappie but it’s also suitable for catching larger fish, such as bass. You can extend its length between 4’6” and 7” so it can be used for short and long distance casting.
You can easily hit the water with it, too, thanks to its multi-disc drag system and a ball bearing system resulting in smooth actions. This has a pre-spooled line so it’s ready for fishing out of the box. It’s suitable for both beginner and veteran crappie fishermen although the former will require practice in using it.
You also have greater control over the line when it’s being cast out into the water that also prevents tangles in the line, a useful advantage when fishing in difficult conditions like high winds. You have firmer control, too, when you’re pulling in your catch due to the rod’s good resistance.
Like the St. Croix rod, it can bend to nearly a full circle yet it will spring back, so to speak, to its original relatively straight line afterwards. For its affordable price, it definitely gives great value for your money.
#3 Okuma Celilo Ultralight Review– Awesome Crappie Rod
The Okuma Celilo is an awesome crappie rod, from its ultra-light design to its cork grips. As an ultra-light rod, it has high sensitivity that veteran anglers appreciate in their panfish rods, it’s easier to tell whether a fish has been hooked or not due to said aspect. But newbies in crappie fishing may not appreciate it as much since some of them have a tendency to prematurely pull in and letting their catch escape.
Made of graphite composite blanks, The Okuma Celilo is lightweight, too, so it’s easy to bring from one fishing spot to the next, as well as a store in your car’s trunk. With its cork handle, it’s easy to handle and control even with slippery hands. The cork handle is also part of the reason for its lightweight nature.
It’s a long rod, too, which can be used for casting over longer distances of up to 14 feet. The longer casting distance is a great feature for crappie anglers who wish to go into deeper waters.
Emphasis must be made that the Okuma Celilo is a freshwater rod specifically designed for catching trout although it can also be used for crappie fishing. Be careful about using it in saltwater conditions and, if you do, you must immediately rinse it as part of its proper care.
The rod has aluminum oxide guide inserts and stainless steel hooded reel seats. The standard pipe reel seat has a short cork, too.
#4 M MAXIMUMCATCH Maxcatch Ultra-lite Fly Rod– Best Fly Rod For Panfish
This Maxcatch is the best fly rod for panfish for both newbies and veterans, partly thanks to its medium-fast action, three-piece construction, and relatively good casting accuracy. This may well also be the best crappie rod and reel combo– the rod itself is fairly balanced and fast requiring a delicate flick of the wrist for optimum casting while the reel features a variety of sensitivity options and adjustable drag.
As previously mentioned, its action ranges from medium to medium fast, a good thing for newbies and intermediate-level anglers. It casts so lightly and beautifully with light flies like caddie, hopper, and tricos, as well as forms supple loops that can be controlled well. It pairs well with a 2/3 weight reel although most anglers experiment with different reels depending on specific fishing conditions.
Made of IM8 graphite, the Maxcatch is a durable rod that can withstand relatively rough fishing conditions. Many veteran anglers say that they have caught 2- to 4-pound fish with it – the fish will bend the rod again and again while fighting to escape the line but it retains its backbone for a successful catch. Many newbies can also cast it well because it’ both short and forgiving enough.
This is a three-piece rod with alignment rods so it’s both easy to carry and setup. You can just fold it to its shortest length, place it inside your backpack, and then unfold it to its longest length when you want to use it. Easy-peasy.
#5 Shakespeare Four-Piece Wonder Pole Rod– Cheap & Sturdy
The Shakespeare Four-piece Wonder Pole may well deserve its name because it’s cheap and sturdy, a combination not so often found in ultra-affordable fishing rods. Due to its moderate action, it’s most suitable for crappie and bream, two panfishes popular among anglers for their excellent taste.
This actually five pieces in this rod with each piece measuring about 16 inches. It’s a spinning model with a brightly colored tip and line keeper for maintaining better control over the line. These features make it suitable for trolling and vertical jigging methods of crappie fishing, especially in deeper rivers and lakes.
These sliding sections are held together via tension, a lock that will hold even in tougher conditions. The tube’s diameter decreases as the length of the rod continue; the tip is about 1/16” thick while the base is just under an inch.
The rod itself is durable that it can take the weight of larger fish than your typical crappie. It’s a fiberglass rod, not a graphite rod, so the overall performance will be different. If a fish weighing about 5 pounds takes the bait, the first two sections of the rod will bend but not break; heavier fish will likely break it into two sections so be careful about reeling it in.
Keep in mind, however, that this is a modern fishing pole so it looks simpler than other more expensive fishing rods. Think of the fishing pole used 300 hundred years ago but with modern features like the stainless steel ring and SS sleeve at the tip.
#6 G.Loomis Trout Rod Reviews – A Great Versatile Rod
This G. Loomis spinning rod is a great versatile rod that can be used for fishing trout and crappie, both of which require finesse and precision for success. It’s an enabling rod, if you will because it enables its user to actually enjoy fishing for lighter and smaller fishes using the lightest yet extremely sensitive rod. The Trout Series Spinning Rods, by the way, these are specifically made for this purpose while the Classic Trout and Panfish Spinning Rods are heavier rods suitable for bass, sea trout, and bonefish, among others.
But the G. Loomis Trout and Panfish Series spinning rods can also be used for catching larger trout albeit with limitations. It doesn’t handle well in smaller and shallower waters, as well as in heavy currents.
It can be used with lures including small spoons and jigs, thus, its versatile uses although many anglers use a single egg for a light bite. The fast tips allow for better control no matter your preferred fishing method, whether a marabou jog or a spinner.
There are two versions available: first, the four models made of GLX graphite, a lightweight yet sturdy material; and second, the models made of the G. Loomis proprietary blend of fiberglass and graphite. The GLX models are available in 1-piece and 2-piece rods so there likely will be a crappie and trout fishing rod for every need and want.
This series also comes in several versions, length-wise, from 5’9” rods to 7’6” rods. These usually range in action from ultra-light to light so the rods are suitable for newbie and veteran anglers.
#7 B’n’M Duck Commander Ultralite Crappie Spin Rod– Ultra Light Crappie Spin Rod
The B’n’M Duck Commander Rod is an ultra-light crappie spin rod made of 40-million IM6 graphite blank, a lightweight yet tough material used in many of the top-of-the-line fishing rods. This is designed with high sensitivity in mind so it’s quick and easy to tell whether a fish has taken the fishing bait – the rest of the catching is up to the fishermen, of course.
This rod is a product of the collaboration between B’n’M Poles, a well-known manufacturer of fishing poles for all types of fishermen, and the Robertson family of Duck Commander fame; Duck Commander is a popular reality television show featuring the outdoor adventures of the Robertson family. The result is the line of Duck Commander Crappie Rods and Poles including the Ultralite model.
The spinning telescopic rod has a maximum length of 8 feet and comes in a 2-piece set. It has a high visibility tip for fast and easy striking and a Portuguese cork handle for better control on the handle. It has Dyna-Flo stainless steel guides and monitoring wraps, too, which are useful in landing impressive crappies.
#8 Zebco Crappie Rod
The Zebco rod is widely considered as the best crappie rod for jiggingfor many reasons. This is a brightly-colored rod – bright orange, in fact – so it can be easily seen in clear and murky waters. Many anglers even say that they were first attracted to it because of its attractive design and then became fans due to its high-quality design.
Made of surprisingly stable and sturdy glass blank, it has an EVA handle for a secure and comfortable grip. It’s one of the fishing rods specifically made for virtually all kinds of crappie fishing techniques, thus, its moniker “crappie fighter”. It can be used, too, for other small panfish but not for larger fishes due to its lightweight quality.
And speaking of light, it has light power suitable for crappie fishing. Light power is all that’s necessary for crappie fishing anyway since the small panfish will not put up enough of a fight to break it or to require a cover.
But don’t go around catching and keeping panfish under the legal limit lest you find yourself in trouble with the fisheries warden. The Zebco rod has a 10” ruler printed on its rod blank for fast and easy reference. You should use it if you’re in doubt about the crappie’s length and, thus, follow the rules.
The rod measures 7” and comes in two pieces. There are six guides aside from the tip.
#9 Lews Fishing Mr. Crappie Slab Daddy 2 Piece Rod
This Mr. Crappie Slab Daddy rod is made of fiberglass for the two-piece blanks so it’s sturdy and lightweight at the same time. It also has stainless steel inserts and stainless steel guides for long-lasting use, as well as a secured graphite reel seat useful for fighting fish effectively. It also comes with a practical rod length label indicator, a good tool for beginners who want to find their rods’ optimum length for fishing in various conditions.
The rod blank is highly sensitive, too, so it’s easy enough to know when to pull in the line and when not to. Its lightweight quality means that it can cast over fairly long distances although good control is a must; in windy conditions, it may not work as well as expected due to its lightness. You should be able to maintain a fairly good grip over the handle, thanks to the EVA grip, as well as grip it with less fatigue.
The actions are great for crabbie fishing, too. According to the manufacturer, the actions have been approved by Wally Marshall, a well-known crappie angler.
#10 SHIMANO Stimula 2-Piece Spin Rod
This Shimano spin rod is beautiful in both its design and performance, thus, its inclusion in this list. The finish is attractive, the wrappings are tight, and the cork handles and hook holder are great features, among others. At its price point, it gives good value for your money, too.
The rod is available in several lengths ranging from 5’6” to 7’ so every panfish fisherman will have a choice depending on his or her preference. It has aluminum oxide guides, a useful tool found in most crappie fishing rods, too.
It can be used to catch most panfish species as well as larger fish like salmon and trout although there will be limitations due to its light power. An effective and efficient grip on the rod is a must when using it to catch larger fishes lest these escape the line.
Remember that the Shimano rod is ideal for freshwater fishing. But if you have to use it in saltwater, be sure to rinse it well as soon as you’re finished using it. Otherwise, it can become prematurely rusty.
Things to Consider Before You Buy
When you’re shopping for a crappie rod, you have to consider several factors – length, action, power, material, modulus and sensitivity. You must also consider your own fishing skills and techniques, as well as the environmental conditions where you intend to use the rod.
The rod’s length is largely determined by the user’s comfort although factors like sensitivity also affect the final choice. Crappie being a panfish, most anglers prefer shorter rods in catching it although longer rods are more suitable when fishing from a boat (i.e., using angling techniques).
The length can vary greatly, too, from 6 to 10 feet, the most common lengths. But there are also variations between the types of fishermen – for example, ice fishermen prefer shorter crappie poles ranging from 2 to 3 feet while freshwater fishermen can use rods measuring between 14 and 16 feet.
Longer rods are suitable for jigging, casting at longer distances, and mustering fish from its heavy cover. Shorter rods are better for making quick, precise and short casts into tight spots, such as small pockets and overhanging brush; these are also better for getting faster hook sets.
The action refers to the speed with which the rod’s tip returns to its straight design after it has flexed. There are three types of action, namely:
- Slow action –Best for hooking and playing panfish like crappies because of their paper-thin mouths
- Fast action – Greater sensitivity but harder to control
- Light action –Bends and absorbs the pressure better
Crappie rods usually have light action because the hook doesn’t rip through a crappie’s mouth. It’s also important in giving a crappie sufficient time to latch on to the bait yet not provide pressure on the line. It’s just as important in ensuring that the line doesn’t break even when the rod significantly bends.
The power refers to the stiffness of the rod. It can range from ultra-light to heavy with most, if not all, crappie rods ranging from the ultra-light to light. This is because a light power rod will catch small panfish like crappie since they will put up less of a fight. Plus, high sensitivity is key catching crappies by the buckets.
The material may either be fiberglass or graphite (i.e., also known as carbon fiber), both of which are durable and flexible. Many crappie fishing rods are also made with a hybrid of both materials. Fiberglass rods are more affordable and durable than graphite but these are typically heavier and with lower sensitivity.
The term “modulus” refers to the thickness of the material’s weave from which the rod blank has been molded. The higher the modulus, the lighter, quicker and stiffer the rod will be although stiffer doesn’t necessarily equate to less flexibility; most high modulus rods are, in fact, surprisingly flexible. But high modulus rods tend to be weaker.
The level of sensitivity in a pole is determined by two main factors –the material of the rod and the handle development. In terms of the handle, check that it feels good in your hands and that it feels secure instead of feeling fragile.
Check that the goad development can also be felt through the rod so that you can determine whether the fish is attracted to your bait correctly. This is especially true when you’re using artificial bait.
Quick tip: Choose a crappie rod with higher sensitivity when you’re fishing in deeper water. Your goal is to feel more of the unobtrusive bites.
When you have considered all of these factors, you should also look at the cost of the rod. If you’re a newbie, you may want to consider getting the more affordable ones. You will be less likely to regret the purchase if it breaks due to your inexperience.
Don’t forget to consider the type of reel you will use with your chosen crappie rod, too. Most crappie enthusiasts prefer a spinning reel but it isn’t a fool-proof choice either.
Common Questions & Answers
Q1.What’s the best crappie rod and reel setup?
A.Many fishing experts agree that a spinning rod and reel setup is the most effective gear for crappies, especially for artificial lures and jigs as well as in shallow water. Also, an ultra-light to light combo is best for casting small lures and jigs because it’s easier to cast them; a light line will become heavy enough to take a small lure when it’s cast.
We also suggest a spinning rod with a 4- to 5-feet length and with a medium action. Keep in mind that the slower the action, the more bend there will be to the rod and the longer it can be cast. But with a faster action rod, it will bend less so it has more sensitivity, an important aspect in feeling the bite from crappies.
Q2.Are there alternatives to the spinning reel?
A. Yes, there are alternatives. Baitcasting combos are also effective but only in certain situations, specifically dipping, drifting and trolling.
Cane poles are great for crappie fishing in tight spaces, such as rivers and lakes with channels and/or deep cuts in the banks; it’s also suitable for fishing in an area where there’s structure like a fallen tree. Flyrods are best for winter spawn since the fish are more likely to move closer to shore so it can be caught in shallow water, usually 2-5 feet in depth.
These are the best crappie rods in the market today, of course, and you will not regret whichever one you choose and use in your fishing expeditions. Just remember, nonetheless, that the rod and reel aren’t the be-all and end-all of successful crappie fishing – these are just tools that should be used in the right manner for best results. You must then practice your crappie fishing skills, no matter your preferred technique for the season and place, so that your chosen rod and reel combo works beautifully.