Best Rod and Reel for Crappie (for 2021)

crappie fish

Whether you are looking to put food on the table or just want to enjoy nature and have some fun, crappie fishing is a great activity. Crappie are fish that have some fight in them, you can catch in large batches, and provide a ton of fun.

Today we’ll be talking about the best rods and reels for crappie fishing. Here is some more information about crappie setups and some examples of the best on the market!

If you’re in a hurry…

Our favorite rod and reel combo for crappie is the Zebco Crappie Fighter Spin Combo

It’s a solid rod for a reasonable price. It’s perfect for experienced fisherman, but also works great for beginners.

What to consider when choosing a crappie rod

Best Crappie Rod Length

When it comes to length, there are no hard and fast rules. Some anglers like to use 5-6 foot rods as this helps hone in on sensitivity. However, there are some crappie specific rods that are 8-11 feet long. So, there is a bit of discrepancy within the fishing community.

Although it does come down to personal preference, longer rods can yield better crappie results. This is for a couple of reasons. Firstly, your approach can be quieter and more subtle thanks to the longer reach. When you can reach out 10+ feet, there is a better chance that you will not spook the fish. There is also less of a threat of getting snagged or hooked on underwater structure and compromising a certain spot.

Rod Action/Power

Although the rods may be longer, the action and power of the rod is such an important detail that may differ from other longer poles. The power of a rod is in reference to how much weight or pressure it takes to bend the rod. Coinciding with that, action is how light or heavy that flex is.

If the rod is very stiff and only the tip is flexing, it will have fast action, and vice versa. These two aspects are important, because you want to be in the best possible position to hook up and stay that way.

Crappie rods are best when they have a light or ultralight power, because this gives you the best sensitivity possible. If you beef things up too much, it may be overkill. This will lead you to potentially missing those subtle bites.

Reel Type

Generally, spinning reels work best for catching crappie. Spinning reels are fantastic for lightweight presentations, which is what you will be using for crappie. So, you need to ensure that your spinning reel is paired with a spinning rod.

The best reels are light, yet strong. You also need one with good line capacity so you do not run low on line in case you are fishing deep areas. Although there are a ton of specifications that you could dive into, the key to getting a good spinning reel is keeping it simple, figuring out the quality, and sticking with some of the better brands.

You can also crappie fish with push-button reels, but these are generally just for beginners and children. These are super easy to use, but the quality and performance do suffer in comparison.  

Budget

When it comes to buying any gear, your budget is a super important variable. After all, if you cannot afford a certain rod, you shouldn’t be spending more than what you allot. Obviously, no one can set your budget except for yourself, so it is important to weigh your options and figure out what you can afford.

The fishing industry has a ton of options and there can be a large gap between the basics and the top-of-the-line products. So, you can end up spending a ton of money on the best products out there. For example, a crappie rod can range from $30 to $200 very easily. So, see what you can responsibly afford to spend and find options that fit in that range.

Also keep in mind that there are many aspects that contribute to a fishing setup. If you blow your whole budget on a rod, there will be no money left for a reel, bait, tackle, and accessories.

Best rods for crappie

St. Croix Panfish Series

Of the versatile spinning rods on the market, the St. Croix panfish rod is one of the best. Not only are these great for crappie, but you can use them for basically any smaller fish as well.

Due to the smaller and more sensitive size, it is very versatile. Plus, St. Croix is a top brand in the space. So, you can take advantage of a high reputation and a superior product.

The Panfish Series rod is super durable while being sensitive enough to pick up the lightest of bites. Outfitted with incredibly strong resin, you will not have to worry about durability issues down the line.

Pros:

  • High reputation backed by a top brand
  • Super strong while still being light and sensitive
  • Top of the line blank system

Cons:

  • Quality costs a bit more

This is the rod only. We recommend pairing this rod with the Pflueger President Spinning Fishing Reel.


Zebco Crappie Fighter Combo

Our pick for the best budget setup is the Zebco Crappie Fighter rod and reel combo. For a very low price, you can have a good beginning rod and reel setup that can get you used to catching crappie.

Zebco is a really old, traditional brand that focuses on affordability. If you are attempting to fish on a tight budget, this is the option to consider. Plus, it is not just a rod. The reel comes with it, so you can have a decent spinning setup for really cheap.

Now, this is an entry-level rod. Once you commit to the sport or hobby, you will want to upgrade. But, this is a great starting point.

Pros:

  • Very affordable
  • Zebco is a classic brand
  • Comes with rod and reel

Cons:

  • Not super strong
  • Will not last forever
  • Cheaper materials and a cheaper design

Lew’s Mr. Crappie Slab Daddy Combo

Another excellent combo is the Lews’ Mr. Crappie Slab Daddy. When you are looking for a slight upgrade from the most basic level, this is a great option to look to. Coming in a a moderate-low price point, you get really good value out of the setup.

The rod is nine feet long, so it is really specific to crappie fishing. You also get a decent reel with the combo purchase.

Because of the long length, this is a 2-piece rod, so it is great for travel.

Pros:

  • Compact and travel-friendly setup
  • Comes with both rod and reel
  • Specific crappie design
  • Comes from Lew’s, a reputable brand
  • Affordable

Cons:

  • A few rare complaints of the rod breaking after not much use

Berkley C-Series Crappie Pro

Our pick for the best value rod is the Berkley C-Series Crappie Pro. This is a spinning rod that is of excellent quality at a great price.

You can pick between 10 and 14 feet options, so there is a little bit of customization. The 10-foot option is two pieces and the 14-foot option is three. So, either way, you can break them down easily and travel without many issues.

Pros:

  • Affordable price for the value you get
  • Very good mid-tier rod
  • Two long length options that can be compacted down

Cons:

  • Not the most durable option

This is the rod only. We recommend pairing this rod with the SHIMANO FX Spinning Fishing Reel.


KastKing Resolute Crappie Rod

KastKing has emerged as a global brand that focuses on function and affordability. Although it is not one of the big brands in the West, it is growing like crazy in Asia and in online markets. The Resolute rod is one of the most versatile in the space.

It is a 2-piece rod that can be used for a number of species and presentations. The rod comes in a variety of sizes, but they all fall between 5 feet and 8 feet. So, you can use thai rod for crappie, bass, panfish, and anything else you may find yourself facing.

You also have a good choice of weight and action options. If you know you will only be fishing for crappie, then you can specify your setup accordingly.

Pros:

  • Breaks down to two pieces
  • Incredibly versatile
  • Good price point

Cons:

  • Is not from a traditional, established brand
  • Does not have a long, 10+ feet crappie option

This is the rod only. We recommend pairing this rod with the KastKing Sharky III Fishing Reel.


B’n’M Sam Heaton Super Sensitive Rod

If you do want that classic, long crappie rod, the B’n’M Sam Heaton rod is an excellent option. It is 10-feet long and breaks down into two pieces. So, if you do want that traditional presentation that is specific to crappie, this is one of the best options.

This is a graphite rod outfitted with the ever-so-cool cork handle to provide the best look and comfort possible. Overall, this is a rod that will become a staple of your arsenal and will last a long time.

Pros:

  • 10-feet long to provide an excellent crappie setup
  • Graphite build adds strength and a light weight
  • Excellent price point for the quality

Cons:

Not great for many other species

This is the rod only. We recommend pairing this rod with the Pflueger President Spinning Fishing Reel.

Other considerations

Now that you picked the best rod, make sure the rest of your tackle is suitable for catching crappie. It’s important to use the right bait, hooks, and even line. We helped with that last one by listing the best line for crappie.

Wrapping up

Hopefully one of these rods fits your style and budget. They’re all great option for crappie, and work well for similar species as well. Good luck and happy fishing!


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