In Search Of The Best Rod For Crappie Fishing

Maya Brown

July 25, 2023


A crappie fishing expedition is unthinkable without the right gear. Having the best rod for crappie fishing can make all the difference in catching some tasty underwater traits or coming home empty-handed. With so many options out there, it can be overwhelming to pick just one, but there’s no need to worry – here’s a handy guide outlining some of the best rods for your adventure.

Understanding Crappie and Crappie Fishing

Crappie fishing is a type of angling that typically involves using light tackle and live bait or lures, with the most successful trips often taking place in the early morning or late afternoon. As with any style of angling, understanding the behavior and habitat of the species you’re targeting, as well as having the right equipment and techniques, can greatly increase the chances of a successful fishing trip.

Crappie Species and Habitats

Crappie is one of the most common fish to catch in freshwater, as it is found in many lakes, ponds, and rivers all across North America, with the highest populations in the southeastern United States. They are often sought after by recreational fishermen due to their delicious taste and the challenge they pose to catch.

Crappies can be identified by their deep body shape, silver scales, and black speckles on their sides. There are two main species – the black crappie and the white crappie. The former are typically found in clear water with lots of vegetation, while the latter prefer murky water with fewer plants. This species is what we refer to as schooling fish, as they prefer to gather near submerged structures such as fallen trees, weed beds, and bush piles.


Person holding a crappie
Understanding crappies' behavior and habitat can help you reel them in

Key Factors in Choosing the Best Rod for Crappie Fishing

When it comes to crappie fishing, selecting the right fishing rod can make all the difference, no matter if you’re a beginner in this outdoor sport or a seasoned fisherman. The perfect pole should be sensitive enough to detect the light bites of crappie yet strong enough to handle their fighting nature.

With so many types and models on the market, it can be overwhelming to determine which gear is the best suited for landing this particular species. However, there are several key factors that can help you narrow down your search:

Rod Length

The length of a fishing rod is an important factor to consider when selecting this piece of equipment, as having the best size rod for crappie fishing by your side can make all the difference. Most anglers prefer a pole length between 7 to 10 feet, with 8 to 9 feet being the most common choice.

While greater length allows for longer casts and greater sensitivity, it can also be more difficult to handle in tight spaces, such as when angling from a small boat or in areas with low-hanging branches. So, it’s also important to consider the conditions you’ll be angling in – if you can sacrifice some casting distance and sensitivity, a shorter stick will do just fine, as it’s more maneuverable and easier to handle.

Rod Material

The most common materials used for all rods are graphite, fiberglass, and composite materials. Graphite is a great choice due to its lightweight, sensitivity, and responsiveness. While heavier than graphite, fiberglass is a more durable option better suited for rougher conditions. Last but not least, composite materials combine the best qualities of both materials, providing a lightweight, sensitive, and durable piece of gear.

Rod Power and Action

Rod power and action are two additional factors to consider when you’re looking to upgrade your equipment setup. Power refers to the amount of force needed to bend the pole, while action refers to where along the length it bends.

When looking to fish for crappie, a pole with light or ultra-light power is recommended as it provides the sensitivity needed to detect light bites. As for action, fast or extra-fast action is ideal as it allows for quick hooksets and better control of the target.

However, moderate or slow-action rods can be better suited for angling in calmer waters or with lighter lures. So, once again, it comes down to your personal angling style and the conditions you expect to encounter.

What’s the Best Fishing Rod for Crappie? Here Are the Top Five for 2023

Crappie fishing is a popular pastime for many anglers, and that’s why there are so many equipment options available. Selecting the pieces that are best suited for your style, as well as the conditions you’re angling in, is essential for a successful day on the water.

The selection I’ll present to you was made based on the rod’s sensitivity, power, action, and overall performance. But before I start discussing each piece in greater detail, here’s a brief overview of the main specifications of each one:

Fishing Rod Material Action Length Price
St. Croix Avid Panfish SCIII+ Carbon Fiber  Fast 6'4'', 6'9'', 7'0'', 7'3'' $200-$250
Ugly Stik Elite Spinning Rod Ugly Tech Graphite  Fast 6'0'', 6'6'', 7'0'' $50-$60
Pfueger President Spinning Combo IM8 Graphite Fast 4'6'', 5'0'', 5'6'', 6'0'', 6'6'', 7'0'', 7'6'' $75-$110
Lew's Wally Marshall Speed Shooter IM8 Graphite Fast 5'6'', 6'0'', 6'6'', 7'0'' $55-$60
B 'n' M Pro Staff Trolling Rod Graphite Fast 12'0'', 14'0'', 16'0'' $40-$50

St. Croix Avid Panfish

If you’re looking for an ultra-light spinning rod for crappie that won’t wear you out after a long day on the water, look no further than the St. Croix Avid Panfish Spinning Rod. Don’t let the name confuse you – yes, this pole is a great choice for targeting panfish, but it works just as well for getting some crappie caught on your fishing hook.

Here are some of the key features of the St. Croix Avid Panfish Spinning Rod that might just make it the perfect choice for you:

  • The ultralight body makes it easy to cast lightweight lines,
  • Very powerful and efficient,
  • Solid lockup on the reel,
  • Affordable option,
  • 15-year transferable warranty.

Ugly Stik Elite Spinning Rod

If you’re just starting to dip your toes into the crappie waters, there’s an affordable yet reliable option that is perfect for beginners – it’s the Ugly Stik Elite Spinning Rod. While it may not be as precise as some of the more expensive models, you’re getting a solidly built piece of equipment for a very affordable price. After all, with this budget-friendly option, you can reinvest all of that money for the tackle and bait you’ll need to land some crappies.

Here are the best features the Ugly Stik Elite Spinning Rod brings to the table:

  • Solidly build graphite composite blank,
  • Fiberglass tip to maximize strength,
  • Great cork grip,
  • Comfortable and sensitive grips,
  • Solid reel seat.

Pflueger President Spinning Combo

For those that are looking for a quality spinning combo without breaking the bank, the Pflueger President Spinning Combo should definitely be one of your top choices. It includes some of the best-quality rods and reels you can find on the market at the moment and best of all – it’s another cost-efficient option.

Here are the key features of the Pflueger President Spinning Combo:

  • Lightweight graphite blank,
  • Corrosion-resistant guides,
  • Wide selection of lengths,
  • Aluminum spool,
  • Cork handle with great grip.

Lew’s Wally Marshall Speed Shooter

If you’re looking for an effective way to angle for light-biting fish, you need to check out Lew’s Wally Marshall Speed Shooter. Its ability to cast the lightweight lure to the farthest and darkest corners of the river or lake you’re angling in makes it a great addition to your equipment setup for catching crappies.

Here’s what you can expect from Lew’s Wally Marshall Speed Shooter:

  • Solidly built graphite blank,
  • Corrosive-resistant guides,
  • Ringless inserts,
  • Sensitivity needed for light-biting fish,
  • Affordable price.

B’n’M Pro Staff Trolling Rod

While many available options are designed to catch panfish primarily, the B’n’M Pro Staff Trolling Rod is made specifically for the needs of serious crappie anglers interested in trying out their luck with trolling. This is a sensitive, lengthy, and well-balanced rod that will surely serve you well for years to come.

Here are the key features of the B’n’M Pro Staff Trolling Rod:

  • Fully graphite blank,
  • EVA handle,
  • Reinforced Hi-Vis (RVS) tip,
  • Corrosive-resistant guides and inserts,
  • Compatible with spinning and casting reels.
Fishing rods, spinning rods with fishing lines on a wooden background in the morning light. Fishing.
With a bit of research, you'll certainly find the gear that suits your needs and budget

Additional Crappie Fishing Gear and Accessories

Getting the right gear is important for any type of angling – you need to get the right rod, reel, and tippet line, as well as the right bait or lure. So, in addition to selecting a quality fishing pole, anglers need to consider other gear and accessories that will increase the chances of landing quite a number of crappies.

Fishing Reels

The most common types of fishing reels used for crappie fishing are spinning and spincast reels. The former is the more popular choice, as they are very lightweight, easy to use, and have the right level of sensitivity for these light-biting fish. However, spincast reels work just as well, especially for beginners or younger anglers, as they are easy to use and less likely to tangle. Fortunately, the chances of getting a hook stuck on your finger are not that great with a quality spincast reel.

Fishing Lines

The most common types of fishing lines used for catching crappies are monofilament and fluorocarbon lines. The monofilament line is usually tied to the hook for most anglers that are looking to catch crappies, as it has excellent sensitivity and is available in a wide range of sizes and strengths. Fluorocarbon lines are another good option, as it is virtually invisible in the water, so it’s less likely to spook the fish.

Crappie Baits and Lures

There are many types of baits and lures that can be used to catch crappie – live baits, soft plastic baits, and jigs. Live baits, such as minnows, worms, and crickets, are effective in attracting this type of fish due to their natural movement and scent, while soft plastic baits are versatile enough to be rigged in many different ways.

Jigs are another popular choice, as they are also versatile and easy to use, providing an attractive presentation that crappie simply finds irresistible. So, there are plenty of options, and they should be carefully selected depending on the style you want to try out, as well as the conditions you will experience during angling. You can even make it a DIY project and learn how to make a fish hook out of scratch.

Boat with six fishing rods at the back
Having the right setup makes all the difference, no matter what you're targeting

Crappie Fishing Tips and Tricks

Embarking on a crappie fishing adventure can be challenging, but with the right gear and a few tricks up your sleeve, you’re bound to end up with some fishy surprises. Here are some of the most important tips and tricks when it comes to angling for crappies:

  • Look for submerged structures, such as fallen trees, weed beds, and brush piles,
  • Fish in the early morning or late afternoon,
  • Have a fast-action pole by your side,
  • Match the bait or lure depending on the conditions,
  • Persistence is key for landing crappies.

Techniques for Setting the Hook

Setting the hook properly is an essential part of the whole ordeal. It’s important to keep the line tight and maintain steady pressure on the fish. Once the crappie bites and you see the line twitch, you should quickly set the hook with a sharp and decisive motion. Another technique is to use a quick snap of the wrist to set the hook rather than a slow and steady pull. No matter what technique you go for, when you have a sensitive rod and a high-quality reel, you’ll be able to set the hook more effectively

A man sitting by the river
It takes time and patience to figure out what technique works best for you

Once You Find the Best Size Rod for Crappie Fishing, Set Out for the Docks

All fishermen have different needs and preferences, so there’s simply no one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to finding the best equipment for catching crappies. However, there are quality options that can help you narrow down your search – and I hope my selection has been helpful. If you go by your needs and preferences, you’ll surely land on the perfect rod for you. All that’s left to do then is set out for the docks and land some crappies!