10 Best Crappie Rods for 2023

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

But in this article, we are targeting panfish. Crappie requires a different approach than other fish. Here, thin lines, small lures, and light spinning rods are perfect. I have enjoyed successful Crappie fishing with cheap rods and expensive ones. Today, we’ve brought you ten of the best crappie spinning rods on the market. They have a variety of price points and pros and cons. All of them are suitable candidates for the job of catching crappie. Below find our top three favorite crappie rods for 2023. 

Before we get into the nitty-gritty, let’s begin with my favorite Crappie Rod. Spoiler Alert: it is the St. Croix Panfish. It is sensitive, strong, and durable, everything you need with a crappie spinning rod. It is my go-to Crappie Rod, and I have enjoyed many evenings on Georgian Bay in Ontario, Canada proving why it is an excellent choice. But if you are on a tight budget, the Cadence CR5-30 is an excellent option. Alternatively, you can also go for the Fenwick Eagle. It hits the sweet spot between the previous two.

Testing and reviewing these rods has been a labor of love for me. Any excuse to get me out fishing is a good day. Not all rods produce crappie. If you need to buy a new crappie fishing rod, read on for some pros and cons on our top choices. 

10 Best Crappie Rods Reviewed

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St. Croix Rods Panfish Spinning Rod

St. Croix Rods Panfish Spinning Rod
  • PREMIUM-GRADE CORK HANDLE: Comfortable cork handle...
  • FEATURES: Sea Guide guides w/ stainless steel...


  • 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 tailor-made for small fish such as crappie and perch. Both species are exciting when you hook into a mess of them, and the taste of their sweet meat is unlike any other fish. 

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

You can choose between pole lengths from 5’0” to 8’0”. In terms of power, there are ultralight and light options. The same goes for action- there are moderate and fast choices.  

The rod comes with Sea Guides rings of stainless steel. 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 sensitivity, and comfort. The 5’4,” model is one of my favorite rods.  Don’t be fooled by the length.  I have fought and landed some pretty large crappie with this rod.  


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


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

Cadence CR5-30 Spinning Rod

Cadence Fishing CR5 Spinning Rods | 30 Ton Carbon | Fuji...
  • What You Get From Cadence: Cadence fishing poles...
  • Ultra-High Quality 30-TON Carbon Fiber Blank: All...
  • Ultra-High Quality 30-TON Carbon Fiber Blank: All...


  • 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” rod 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 rod 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. Make sure to be extra careful when transporting the rod. These rods are sensitive, and smooth and dissipate heat in an instant. So, you will be able to tell if there is a crappie interested in your lure.

If you are a fan of live bait, you will even feel if your worm is still wiggling around looking tempting for passing pan fish. The composite handles are adequate but nothing special. They remain comfortable during long sessions. The cork grip is not durable. It tends to peel off after some time. Still, it might depend on how often you use the rod.

My friend Bill has this rod.  He has nothing but praise for it.  I found it to be a nice comfortable rod.  We often swap gear to see what we like the best.  Although I don’t own this rod, I would consider buying one.  The price point is comfortable for me.


  • Great value for your money
  • Several models to choose from
  • Sensitive


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

Fenwick Eagle Crappie Spinning Rod

Fenwick Eagle Spinning Fishing Rod, Brown, 6' - Medium - 1pc
  • Premium cork and TAC grips
  • Stainless steel guides with aluminum oxide inserts
  • Ergonomic minimal reel seat


  • 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

Fenwick Eagle is a good choice for those looking for quality. The best thing is that it is not that expensive. 

The Eagle features a 24-Ton graphite core. It comes in five 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 the ultralight or light models are the best.

Action-wise, options include fast, moderate-fast, and moderate ratings. The differences between each option are minuscule. 

The line rests on stainless steel guides with aluminum oxide rings. There is minimal friction, which is desirable for long casts. They are sensitive as well. The two-color cork handle looks great and performs even better. It is comfortable, giving you the grip you need to handle the rod.  On top of the handle, you have a handy hook keeper. This way, you can keep your rod rigged without any problem.

After trying out this product, we found it to be an adequate rod for crappie. I like it for the smaller lakes I fish in Haliburton, Ontario. It handles well and gives a good bite indication. When playing crappie, the rod performed well. Overall, for the price, it’s a good solid rod.


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


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

St. Croix Rods Premier Crappie Spinning Rod

St. Croix Rods Premier Spinning Rod
  • PREMIUM-GRADE CORK HANDLE: Comfortable handle...
  • MORE FEATURES: Kigan Master Hand 3D guides with...


  • 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, there are only two action options- fast or moderate. The latter is better for crappie fishing, as we will discuss later. 

St Croix rods all have the same constructions. They are made with a graphite blank and have 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. 

After, putting it to the test, we found this rod an excellent product. Although I don’t currently own one, I hope to one day. All I have to do is convince my wife that I need this rod!  


  • Very sensitive
  • Smooth guides
  • It casts far
  • Good handles
  • Several combinations to choose from


  • 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

Lew's Fishing Mr Crappie Slab Daddy 2 Pc Rods, fiberglass...
  • Fiberglass 2 piece blanks
  • EVA foam handle grips
  • Unique rod length label indicator


  • 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’s fishing rod 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′. These lengths are the largest we have reviewed thus far. Therefore, the pole is more suitable for those looking to fish from the shore rather than in a boat. Thankfully, the rod comprises two sections for better storage and transportation. 

The fiberglass backbone is less responsive than graphite. That means that it may be more difficult to detect 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, with this price point, it is a good beginner’s rod. 

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

Our team discovered through using this product that it is only beneficial for shore fishing. The rod will land crappie, but it lacks sensitivity. It is also too long for small children.  


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


  • Too large to handle on a boat
  • Low sensitivity 

Shakespeare Crappie Hunter Spinning Rod and Reel Combo

Shakespeare CH9025SPBO Crappie Hunter Spinning Rod and Reel...
  • Fishing rod and spinning reel combo designed for a...
  • Lightweight graphite construction with aluminum...
  • Pre-spooled with 4-pound fishing line


  • 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 rod option the most. It retails for less than 50 bucks. Unsurprisingly, it won’t have the best performance, but, being a fan of getting products on the cheap, I give it a thumbs up. It´s a fantastic deal for folks wanting to get started with Crappie fishing.  

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 has a fair amount of sensitivity. 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 very thin. Thankfully you won’t be fishing for monsters. Fishing for crappies, the rod should not get too uncomfortable. The graphite spinning reel is adequate. You can use lines between 4 to 10 pounds. The rod has a 5.2:1 gear ratio, the average for crappie fishing.

Based on our observations, this is an adequate rod. It will do its job but it lacks finesse. It is a good rod for those who are just starting to fish. The price is right, and it will catch crappie. 


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


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

B’n’M Russ Bailey Crappie Wizard Rod

Russ Bailey Signature Series Crappie Rod 8ft/2pc
  • Elevate your crappie fishing with an 8-foot,...


  • 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 stronger than 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 love is the Portuguese cork handles. They provide comfort while keeping the grip sensitive 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. Unfortunately, the rings are not smooth. In addition, the short length makes the Russ Bailey Crappie unsuitable for long casts. Overall, it is a sturdy rod, and it’s not overpriced. I would consider buying this rod.


  • Good handles 
  • Fairly light 
  • Sensitive


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

Berkley C-Series Crappie Pro Spinning Rod

Berkley 10’ C-Series Crappie Pro Spinning Rod, One Piece...
  • 4-12LB LINE RATING, LIGHT POWER: The tapered...
  • 24-TON CARBON FIBER: Carbon graphite fibers create...


  • 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-piece 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′ rod. They are two and three pieces, making it easier for transportation. 

The C-Series feature a 24-Ton graphite core. It is light, flexible, and very responsive. The latter was something to expect, considering the length of the rod. No bite will go unnoticed with this rod. 

The stainless steel guides feature titanium-oxide rings, which are smooth and sensitive, allowing you to cast from afar. They also dissipate heat, making the line less likely to snap. 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. 

These rods are another option for those who wish to fish from the shore. Will I ever own one of these rods?  Probably not.  I do most of my fishing in a boat.  If it suits your fishing area, it’s not a bad option.


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


  • Heavy
  • There is some play between the sections 

KastKing Brutus Spinning Rod for Crappie

KastKing Brutus Fishing Rods, Spinning Rod 5ft 6in-Light -...
  • Brute Tuff Composite Glass/ Carbon Fiber Fishing...
  • Brutus Braid Ready Line Guides – Brutus...
  • Durable and Comfortable Full-Length Eva Handles...


  • 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 no exception.  

The rod is a stiff, durable fiberglass and graphite mix. The main problem with this rod is that it is not as sensitive 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 one of the only spinning rods with two different line guides. The first few are 100% stainless steel. 

The tip guide uses Zirconium oxide rings. It increases sensitivity, offsetting the fiberglass stiffness. But it certainly is not anything like a graphite pole or what it has to offer. 

Brutus spinning rods have a graphite reel seat and EVA foam handles. The handles did not impress me as the layer was thin. Therefore, it is not that comfortable in the long run.

Is this the best rod on the market?  No. It has some flaws.  Is it suitable for crappie fishing?  Yes.  Everyone has a price that they will spend on a rod.  If this price range is within your budget, buy the rod.  It’s a great starter rod for crappie and won’t break the bank. 


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


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

Ugly Stik Elite Spinning Rod

Shakespeare Ugly Stik 7’ Elite Spinning Rod, Two Piece...
  • UGLY STIK 7’ ELITE SPINNING ROD: 35% more...
  • DURABLE CONSTRUCTION: Constructed from graphite...


  • 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 Stiks have been around long enough that it is now the favorite pole of many anglers, including my Father-in-Law. As he swears it is the best rod on the market, 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 wanting a sensitive pole. The lack of sensitivity on this rod may be why I catch more crappies than my Father-In-Law when we are out fishing. 

You can choose between three lengths: 6′, 6’6”, and 7′. The latter is our favorite as it has both 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.

Having tested this rod, do I want one? The answer is no. I find it too stiff and not sensitive enough for crappie. As I mentioned, my father-in-law loves it!  To each their own. Love it or hate it, this rod will catch fish.  


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


  • Not sensitive at all
  • Not great for long casts

Crappie Fishing Rod Buying Guide

best crappie rods

Finding the right rod for crappie might take some time. It is necessary to consider several aspects of the rod- 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 necessary to bend the rod. There are three standard power ratings: Light, medium, and heavy. 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. While the names are standard, a heavy rod from KastKing may not be as equally strong as the same rated rod from St. Croix. 

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

What Rod Power for Crappie? 

As we said before, power depends on the fish. In this case, that fish is crappie, which isn’t known for its massive size. Most crappies are under 4 pounds. We recommend 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 the rod bends and how fast it returns to its normal state. As with power ratings, most brands offer three regular action ratings: Fast, moderate, and slow. 

Fast-action rods bend around the tip. Therefore, they return 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 rods bend around the upper midsection. These rods are a happy medium between all available options. They aren’t as responsive as a fast-action rod but the moderate-action rods aren’t as slow as slow-action models.  

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?

Crappies are small fish, and they have delicate mouths. A rod with moderate or even slow action is perfect for Crappies. You will lose sensitivity, yes. But at least you won’t tear the hook out of the fish’s mouth

Rod Blank

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

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

But carbon fiber has its drawbacks. For instance, fiberglass is stronger. It is brittle as well. It doesn’t handle as fiberglass does. Nevertheless, the perks of having a light and sensitive 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, go for a 7′ plus rod. But if you want to travel light and value maneuverability above anything else, go for something shorter. 

Rod Line Guides

The circular pieces that the line goes through are the rod line guides. They have two parts: The frame and the rings. The frame 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 a lot of difference between them. However, we fancy the first option rather than the latter. Stainless steel-only guides are typically less sensitive than others. You should know by now that sensitivity matters when 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 that are so oversized you can move your hands around. Others are so small that you can barely move them.


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 is 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 on 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 the 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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