Rod Size

Just curious, what size rods do yall use in rivers and lakes fishing for bass and catfish?

Usually a 6 foot medium action rod…
… with 20# test. Could probably get away with a 5 footer and 10#, except for dragging fish out of the weeds. A lot depends on the type water you’re fishing. For really big cats , you’re going to need heavier tackle.

Lots of variables

– Last Updated: Feb-04-15 5:35 PM EST –

You don't say what kind or what size catfish you go after, but since you lump them in with bass, I'll figure they aren't giants. Depending on the water, you probably don't need really robust tackle for most types of catfish fishing.

For a really long time I used a medium 6.5-foot spinning rod and a moderately heavy 5.5-foot casting rod, but since the casting rod had an old-fashioned short handle, the working part would be more like that of a 6-footer on most of today's rods (you don't see many one-handed handles on casting rods anymore). I used an ultra-light spinning rod all those years too, and it is only 5 feet long, but that's not really applicable to your question.

I recently got three more rods of the type applicable to your question (should have bought them a long time ago). Two are spinning rods and one is a casting rod, and all are 7 feet long, and all have a fast action. One spinning rod is medium-light and the other is medium. The casting rod is medium-heavy.

There's a lot to be said for using longer rods in many situations, but I'm not a pro and don't need special rods for every different situation. Also, when fishing from a canoe you need to balance the casting benefits of extra length against the inconvenience of your rods taking up more space in the boat. I myself wouldn't go longer than 7 feet for fishing from a canoe, unless I often faced a unique casting problem that really took priority over other things. If you aren't making super-long casts and you want to save space in the boat, I think 6.5 feet is enough for a spinning rod and 6.0 feet is enough for a casting rod.

No matter what anyone says, there's lots of room for individual preferences here!!

Thanks for your input! I have fished all my life growing up on the Mississippi Gulf Coast in fresh and salt water from wading out in the gulf, on boats in the gulf, on the rivers and even off my 4 wheeler in creeks. Ever since I moved to Texas I haven’t really been able to do the fishing like I did back home. Shoreline fishing just isn’t my thing so my cheaper alternative to get back on the water and to try something new was to go get a canoe. Now that I have one I was wondering what yall used in rod length. I am taking my first fishing trip out in it this weekend and was picking up a couple new rods to get ready. I have a big spincast, small spincast, and my baitcast. I picked up 2 6’6" today since that’s basically all they had and it’s the same size I’ve always used and from what yall say it’s no different in a canoe. Around here we have blue, channel, and flathead catfish and largemouth, striped, white, and palmetto bass. I’m not looking to land anything outrageous in these waters but you never know. Thanks again for your input!

New Fishing Places
I know what it’s like to have a sudden change in the type of fishing that’s available. For me it happened only during my college years, but then I came back to familiar places. Hope you make the most of your new environment.

You might have some fun with those blue cats. They tend to run pretty big. I’ve never seen one myself as we are on the extreme north end of their range.

I could have been more specific about my fishing outfits. In my case, “casting” rigs are “baitcasting”. I sometimes forget about spincasting because around here they are mostly used by kids, but there are exceptions, one being the fact that the best and most avid fisherman I ever knew used nothing but spincast rigs.

I want to apologize, I meant spinning, not spincast. My wife uses the spincast.

I’m hoping I don’t hook into a catfish that is going to pull me down the river in a canoe. I will probably do more bass and crappie fishing but I love to eat catfish so if I do some real big cats I will get to the bank and set up a big pole rig and see what I can bring in on some cut bait.

I’m really excited to get out on the water in the canoe and see what happens. Don’t know how long it’ll last since I’ll have my 2 year old with me but we’ll have fun!

9’ 7 weight
When I use spinning, it’s usually a 6’6" ML.

When I use baitcasting gear, it’s usually a 6’ - 7’ M, depending on whether I’m going to throw spinnerbaits or jigs.

  • Big D

rod size
for most of my fishing, i know what i’m going for and usually carry 2-3 rods and a limited amt of equipment.

i prefer 7’ ml, m (spinning) and 1 mh (casting). unlike most, i prefer 2 piece rods and can store them easily in tubes under the center seat. typically, i’ll have 2 rods ready to cast and the 3rd one stored

i used to prefer 1 piece rods but to many were shortened by fan blades, car doors and the front door to my house.

now my rods remain 7’ and typically last a long time.

Couple of things…
First of all, if you use walk the dog type topwater lures, you will find it easier to work them with a short rod. My topwater rod is a 5 foot casting rod with short handle. Reason is that working such lures most efficiently requires the rod to be angling downward with the tip near the water surface, and you get a better angle with a shorter rod.

Second, as mentioned above, one the the best advantages to short rods in a canoe or kayak is that they fit IN the boat better when you’re not using them, which is especially advantageous if you’re paddling through tight places lined with brush, but is also good when you hook a big fish that dives under the boat and you have to bring your rod around the front end of the boat to continue playing the fish.

None of my canoe rods are over 6 ft. 3 in. And most are 5.5 footers, with the topwater rod being 5 ft.

6 1/2’ to 7’

For bass
My bass rods are generally 6’ 6" to 7’. ML, ML and MH. I prefer fast or extra fast action.

In a canoe I usually bring my cheaper rods because there is no rack to safely store them and the odds of flipping are higher than in my motor boat.