Best Crappie Rods

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While there are plenty of all-around options to target almost any kind of fish, there is nothing like having the right tools for the job. It will be a lot much easier this way. For example, catching a monster requires a heavy rod, thick lines, and big lures.

In contrast, targeting panfish, like crappie, takes a different approach. Here, thin lines, small lures, and light spinning rods are the thing that you must get. Today, we’ve brought you ten of the best crappie spinning rods in the market. All of them are suitable candidates for the job. However, because we know you might not have enough time to check them all, we’ve also shortlisted three of the best options. 

The St. Croix Panfish is our top choice. It is sensible, strong, and durable, everything you need on a crappie spinning rod. But if you are on a tight budget, then get the Cadence CR5-30. Alternatively, you can also go for the Fenwick Eagle. It hits the sweet spot between the previous two. 

Now, if you have the time, go on and keep reading our other suggestions.

St. Croix Rods Panfish Spinning Rod

Features: 

  • Lengths: From 5’0” to 8’0”
  • Action: Fast and moderate
  • Power: Ultralight and light
  • SCVI carbon blank with resin reinforcements 
  • Stainless steel guides and rings 
  • Fuji reel seat
  • Cork handles
  • 2-Piece and single-pole options

The Panfish spinning rod is another suitable option from St. Croix. It is tailor-made for small fish such as crappie and walleye. 

The high-modulus carbon fiber blank has SCII carbon and resin reinforcements. The added material increases strength and integrity, making the pole less likely to break without increasing weight. 

You can choose between pole lengths from 5’0” to 8’0”. In terms of power, we have ultralight and light options. The same goes for action. We are stuck with moderate and fast. 

The pole comes with Sea Guides with stainless steel rings. They are not as smooth as Alconite or silicon carbide. Nevertheless, the friction doesn’t affect the casting range that much. 

The premium-grade cork handle is strong, durable, and doesn’t peel as easily as other options. The graphite reel seat, on the other hand, keeps the reel close to the pole. Thus, increasing sensibility and comfort.

Pros: 

  • Very sensible
  • Decent casting 
  • Impressive strength-to-weight ratio
  • Ergonomic reel seat

Cons: 

  • It is more expensive than other models
  • Fragile upper quarter
  • Small than average guides 

Cadence CR5-30 Spinning Rod

Features: 

  • Lengths: From 6’0” to 7’0”
  • Action: Fast and moderate
  • Power: Ultralight and medium-heavy
  • 30-Ton carbon blank
  • Stainless steel line guides with SiC inserts 
  • Fuji reel seat
  • EVA and cork composite handles
  • 2-Piece and single-pole options

Cadence is one of the few brands that offer quality gear with an affordable price tag. There are several CR5-30 models available, ranging from a 6’0” pole to a 7’0”. Action-wise, you only get moderate and fast. Naturally, the first options are a better deal altogether. Power, on the other hand, comes with ultralight to medium-heavy ratings. 

As the name suggests, the pole has a 30-Ton graphite core. We found the rod to be strong yet light. It is very responsive as well. So, nothing to complain about in this department. 

Although the stainless steel guides with SiC inserts perform well, the ones near the top are prone to bend. Thus, make sure to be extra careful when transporting the rod. The good thing is that they are sensible, smooth, and dissipate heat in an instant. So, you will be able to tell if there is a crappie interested in your lure. 

The composite handles are good, but nothing special. They remain comfortable during long sessions. Still, the cork is not that durable. It tends to peel off after some time. Still, it might depend on how often you use the rod. 

Pros: 

  • Great value for your money
  • Several models to choose from
  • Sensible pole 

Cons: 

  • The guides near the tip are prone to bend
  • The cork peels off
  • The tip is rather fragile 

Fenwick Eagle Crappie Spinning Rod

Features: 

  • Lengths: From 5’6′ to 7’6”
  • Action: Fast, moderate-fast, and moderate
  • Power: From Ultralight to medium
  • 24-ton graphite
  • Stainless steel guides with aluminum-oxide rings
  • Cork handles
  • Single and 2-piece models

With plenty of options to choose from, the Fenwick Eagle is the weapon of choice for those looking for quality. The best thing is that it isn’t that expensive. 

The Eagle features a 24-Ton graphite core. It comes in five different lengths, ranging from 5′ to 7’6”. You may also choose between ultralight, light, medium-light, and medium power ratings. While all of them are suitable for crappie fishing, we think that ultralight or light models are the best.

Action-wise, we get fast, moderate-fast, and moderate ratings. There is not much difference between each option. 

The line rests on stainless steel guides with aluminum oxide rings. There is minimal friction, which is desirable for long casts. They are remarkably sensible as well. 

The two-color cork handle looks great and performs even better. It is comfortable and gives you the grip you need to handle the rod with ease. On top of the handle, you have a handy hook keeper. This way, you can keep your rod rigged without any problem.

Pros:

  • Sensible and strong
  • Suitable for long casts
  • The line guides are strong and won’t break

Cons: 

  • Fragile upper quarter
  • The breakable models are not as strong as their single counterparts

St. Croix Rods Premier Crappie Spinning Rod

Features: 

  • Lengths: From 4’6” to 8’6”
  • Action: Fast and moderate
  • Power: From ultralight to Heavy
  • SCII graphite blank
  • Kigan Master line guides with aluminum-oxide rings 
  • Fuji Reel seat
  • Cork handles 
  • Single or 2-piece poles

St. Croix has always been a brand that you can rely on. But they come at a price. 

The rod is available in several different configurations. For example, you can choose a 4’6” pole or an 8’6”. You can go for an ultralight to heavy power blank. However, you are stuck with fast or moderate actions. The latter is better for crappie fishing, as we will discuss later. 

All poles have the same constructions, regardless of the configuration you choose. That is a graphite blank with resin reinforcements. The added support increases the overall strength of each weak point. On the other hand, the premium-grade cork handles are comfortable and perform well when wet.

Lastly, the Kigan Master line guides feature aluminum-oxide rings. They provide a smooth surface for the line to squeeze through, thus, enhancing casting distance. 

Pros: 

  • Very sensible
  • Smooth guides
  • It cast far
  • Good handles
  • Several combinations to choose from

Cons:

  • The sections don’t fit as tightly as we would want
  • You are stuck with only two action configurations

Lew’s Fishing Mr. Crappie Slab 2-piece Rod

Features: 

  • Lengths: From 10′ and 12′
  • Action: Fast
  • Power: Light
  • Fiberglass
  • Stainless steel line guides with aluminum-oxide rings
  • EVA foam handles
  • 2-Piece Pole

Mr. Crappie fishing pole is quite popular among beginners. It doesn’t pack top-notch features. But it still gets the job done at an affordable price. 

There are two lengths available: 10′ and 12′. Larger than anything we’ve seen thus far. Therefore, the pole is more suitable for those looking to fish from the shore rather than a boat. Thankfully, the pole comprises two sections for better storage and transportation. 

The fiberglass backbone is less responsive than graphite. So, you might have a hard time detecting subtle movements. The good news is that it is sturdier and less likely to snap under load. 

The stainless steel lines come with aluminum-oxide rings. They are smooth. But nowhere near to what you get on more expensive rods. However, you will hardly find something better at this price point.

The EVA foam handle is thin. It barely has enough cushioning. So, the rod might feel uncomfortable on your hand. 

Pros: 

  • Great for long casts
  • The pole breaks for better transportation
  • Great for beginners 

Cons: 

  • Too large to handle on a boat
  • Low sensitivity 

Shakespeare Crappie Hunter Spinning Rod and Reel Combo

Features: 

  • Lengths: 9’0”
  • Action: Fast
  • Power: Light
  • IM-6 carbon fiber pole
  • Stainless steel guides and rings 
  • EVA foam handles

Beginners are the ones who will benefit from this purchase the most. It retails for less than 50 bucks, and it already comes with a rod. Naturally, it won’t be anything amazing in terms of performance. Still, it is a superb deal for those looking for something to get started. 

The rod is 9′ long with an IM-6 graphite core. The light power means that the Crappie Hunter bends with ease. So, we can say that it is fairly sensible. The line guides running along the pole have a stainless steel construction. Although they are smooth, the casting range is limited. 

The EVA foam handles are another point of concern. They are simply too thin. Thankfully you won’t be fishing for monsters. So, the rod might not get uncomfortable. 

The graphite spinning reel is adequate. You can use lines between 4 to 10 pounds. Sadly, there is no information on how many lines it holds. What we do know is that it has a 5.2:1 gear ratio, which is the average for crappie fishing. 

Pros: 

  • Rod and reel combo 
  • Strong pole 
  • Great value for your money

Cons: 

  • The casting range is not that great
  • The spinning reel is not smooth 

B’n’M Russ Bailey Crappie Wizard Rod

Features: 

  • Lengths: 8’0”
  • Action: Fast
  • Power: Light
  • IM-7 carbon fiber pole
  • Stainless steel guides and rings 
  • Cork handles

Standing at 8′, we have the B’n’M Crappie Wizard. It has an IM-7 graphite core. It is slightly stronger than that of the Shakespeare Crappie Hunter we’ve reviewed before. Sensitivity is adequate, although it is somewhat stiffer than many other rods we’ve tested. 

One thing that we loved has the Portuguese cork handles. They provide comfort while keeping the grip sensible enough for crappie fishing. They are huge as well. You have plenty of room to move your hands around.

The line guides feature stainless steel frames and rings. Nevertheless, they are not smooth. In addition, the short length makes the Russ Bailey Crappie unsuitable for long casts. 

Pros: 

  • Good handles 
  • Fairly light 
  • Sensible 

Cons: 

  • Not suitable for long casts 
  • The line guides are not that smooth

Berkley C-Series Crappie Pro Spinning Rod

Features: 

  • Lengths: 10′ and 14′
  • Action: Moderate Fast
  • Power: Light
  • 24-ton graphite
  • Stainless steel guides with titanium-oxide rings
  • EVA foam handles
  • 2 and 3-pieces models 

If long casts are your thing, then the Berkley C-Series Crappie spinning rod is the one for you. You can choose between a 10′ and a 14′ pole. They comprise two and three pieces, respectively, for better transportation. 

The C-Series feature a 24-Ton graphite core. It is light, flexible, and very responsive. The latter was something to expect given the length. There is no way that a bite will go unnoticed. 

The stainless steel guides feature titanium-oxide rings, which are smooth and sensible, thus, granting you the ability to cast from afar. They do a superb job at dissipating heat as well, making the line less likely to snap. In fact, you will be able to feel even the slightest of movements. That’s why the Berkley C-Series is a fantastic option for crappie anglers. 

Pros: 

  • It cast long
  • Smooth line guides 
  • Strong backbone
  • Comfortable and large handles

Cons: 

  • Heavy
  • There is some play between the sections 

KastKing Brutus Spinning Rod for Crappie

Features:

  • Lengths: From 4’6” to 7’0”
  • Action: Fast, moderate-fast, and moderate 
  • Power: From ultralight to medium-heavy
  • Graphite and fiberglass composite pole
  • Stainless steel guides with stainless steel or zirconium rings
  • EVA foam 
  • Single, 2-piece, and 4-piece poles 

Value hunters know KastKing well. The brand offers quality products at an affordable price, and the Brutus series is not the exception.  

The pole is a stiff, durable fiberglass and graphite mix. The main problem here is that the rod is not as sensible as a full-graphite one. Thankfully KastKing added a chartreuse tip that helps you to detect movement. 

The rod is available in seven lengths ranging from 4’6” to 7’0”. In our opinion, the 7′ and 6’6” models are the best ones for crappie fishing. You also have plenty of options regarding power and actions, ranging from ultralight to heavy and fast to moderate, respectively. 

The Brutus spinning rod is maybe the only spinning rod with two different line guides. The first few are 100% stainless steel. 

The tip guide uses Zirconium oxide rings. It increases sensitivity, thus, offsetting the fiberglass stiffness. Still, it is nowhere near what you get with a graphite pole. 

The Brutus spinning rods come with a graphite reel seat and EVA foam handles. We weren’t impressed by the latter. The layer is too thin. Therefore, it is not that comfortable in the long run.

Pros: 

  • Great value for your money
  • Sturdy pole
  • Several options to choose from 

Cons: 

  • It is not that sensible
  • The guides are not that smooth 

Ugly Stik Elite Spinning Rod

Features: 

  • Lengths: From 6’0′ to 7’0”
  • Action: 
  • Power: Ultralight, medium, and medium-heavy
  • Graphite and fiberglass composite pole
  • Stainless steel guides
  • Cork handles
  • Single and 2-piece models 

Ugly Stik has been around long enough to the point that they’ve become the favorite poles of many anglers. Thus, we couldn’t leave it out of our crappie spinning rods review. 

Like all Ugly Stiks, the Elite features a graphite and fiberglass composite blank. It is strong but stiff, which might be a deal-breaker for those looking for a sensible pole. 

You can choose between three lengths: 6′, 6’6”, and 7′. The latter is our favorite as it strikes a balance between maneuverability and long casts. Plus, it is easier to detect movement with it. Still, you can go for the shorter poles if you favor maneuverability the most. 

The stainless steel line guides are virtually indestructible. The downside is that they are so dense that they absorb vibrations, which is undesirable for crappie fishing. Nevertheless, it is a suitable option for beginners.

Pros: 

  • Sturdy, nearly indestructible
  • Great for beginners 
  • Quality handles 

Cons: 

  • Not sensible at all
  • Not great for long casts

Crappie Fishing Rod Buying Guide

Finding the right rod for crappie might take some time. You need to consider several aspects such as length, line guides, handles, power, action, and materials. Each one of these features plays a role in performance. Therefore, it pays to learn how and which is the best combination of features for crappie fishing. 

So, with no further ado, let’s get started. 

Rod Power

Also known as weight, it is the amount of weight needed to bend the rod. There are three standard power ratings: Light, medium, and heavy. Naturally, it takes less pressure to flex a light spinning rod than a rod with medium power and so on. 

Some brands offer intermediate power levels such as ultralight, medium-light, medium-heavy, and extra-heavy. Note that, while the names are standard, a heavy rod from KastKing might not be as strong as an equivalent rod from St. Croix. 

Which rod power to choose depends on the fish you are after. For example, massive fish require a stronger pole. A medium spinning rod is suitable for a wide range of scenarios. Thus, we recommend going for one when you are in doubt or if you are not targeting a specific fish. 

What Rod Power for Crappie? 

Like we said before, power depends on the fish. In this case, that fish is crappie, which isn’t known for its massive size. In fact, most crappie is under 4 pounds. Therefore, you can go for an ultralight, light, or even medium-light rod.

These rods have enough backbone to land any crappie that you might catch. But more importantly, they bend easily, which helps to detect bites. 

Rod Action

Action refers to how much of the rod bends and how fast it returns to its normal state. As happens with power, most brands offer three regular action ratings: Fast, moderate, and slow. 

Fast action rods bend around the tip. Therefore, they get back to the rested state quicker than moderate and slow poles. 

Fast action rods store a lot of power in the tip. That’s why they are ideal for long casts and better hooksets. 

In contrast, moderate action poles bend around the upper midsection. Such rods strike a good balance between both ends. They aren’t as responsive as a fast-action pole. But they aren’t as slow as slow-action models either. 

Lastly, slow-action rods bend along their entire length. Thus, they absorb more shock, making them suitable for delicate fish. 

What Rod Action for Crappie?

Like crappies are small fish, they have delicate mouths. Therefore, you should go for a rod with moderate or even slow action. You will lose sensitivity, yes. But at least you won’t tear the hook out of the fish mouth. 

Rod Blank

Most fishing rods today either have graphite or fiberglass cores. Some even use both materials to create flexible and sturdier poles. While you can use either of them for crappie fishing, some differences might tip the balance. Let’s see. 

Graphite is inherently more flexible than fiberglass. Thus, it allows the creation of sensible rods without compromising strength and weight. 

But carbon fiber has its drawbacks. For instance, it is not as strong as fiberglass. It is brittle as well. It doesn’t handle hits as fiberglass does. Nevertheless, the perks of having a light and sensible rod outweigh the cons, especially for crappie fishing.

Rod Length

The length of the rod determines how heavy and maneuverable it is. It also influences how far you can cast. The longer the pole, the heavier it gets. But you can also cast farther and haul more weight. 

Being able to cast from afar is an advantage in terms of stealth. You can place your lure near the fish while it remains unaware of your presence. 

Conversely, shorter poles are more maneuverable and lighter. But you get a reduced casting range and a lesser weight capacity. 

So, it begs the question. Which is the best length for crappie fishing? Well, it depends on what you want. If you want to cast from afar, then go for a 7′ plus rod. But if you want to travel light and value maneuverability above anything else, then go for something shorter. 

Rod Line Guides

The line guides are those circular pieces where the line squeezes through. It comprises two parts: The frame and the rings. The first is the external section that supports the inserts. It also serves as an anchoring point between the rod and the guide. 

Most crappie rods come with stainless steel guides. These are light, durable, and highly resistant to corrosion. On the other hand, the ring selection is quite diverse. Some brands use aluminum-oxide rings, while others opt for SiC, Zirconium-oxide, and even stainless steel inserts. There is not much of a difference between them. However, we fancy the first option rather than the latter. Stainless steel-only guides are typically less sensitive than others. And, you should know by now that sensitivity is key when it comes down to crappie fishing. 

Rod Handle

Cork and EVA foam are the most common handle options. Both offer comfort. But cork excels when the handle is wet. In contrast, EVA foam handles are lighter and typically last longer than the first. But it is up to you in the end.

Another thing that you must consider is the handle size. Some rods come with grips so big that you can move your hands around. Others are so small that you can barely move them. 

FAQ

How Long Should a Rod for Crappie Be? 

Anything between 6′ to 10′ should be more than enough for crappie fishing. Go for the 10′ option if you want to perform long casts. 

An 8′ pole is a good middle-ground for those in doubt. 

What is the Best Rod for Crappie? 

Crappie are small fish. Here using light gear is the smartest move. And we all know what that means: Spinning rods. 

Spinning rods use thinner lines, smaller reels, and lighter lures and hooks.

Can I Use My Crappie Rod for Other Fish?

Yes, of course, you can. Your crappie rod is suitable for any other panfish that you want to catch. However, you will struggle to land anything bigger with it. 

Best Fishing Rod for Crappie: St. Croix Panfish

St. Croix has always made rods of quality. There is a rod for any fish. Their Panfish model is the best rod you can find in the market. It might be among the most expensive options. However, it will pay itself in time. 

It is light and extremely sensitive. You will feel virtually anything, lowering the chances of missing a bite. The smooth line guides increase casting range and make the line less likely to snap.  Plus, the ergonomic reel seat adapts to the shape of your hand and acts as a highway for vibrations. In short, it is a truly remarkable crappie fishing rod. 

Lastly, there are plenty of lengths, action, and power combinations to choose from. You can get yours here!

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I am an avid life long fisherman, having caught over 25,000 fish over the years. My life-long passion for fishing began when my father taught me how to fish at the age of ten. I started luremefish.com to share my extensive knowledge of all things fishing.

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