7 Best Crappie Rods: 2021 Buying Guide

Kenneth ReavesEdited by: Kenneth Reaves
Michael DarmontReviewed by: Michael Darmont

Last Update:

The Rundown

Best Overall: Berkley C-Series Crappie Pro (click to view)
“The Berkley Crappie Pro features a lightweight graphite blank, an ultralight power, and a comfortable handle. It’s ideal for anglers who spend a long day crappie fishing.”

Best Premium Option: St. Croix Premier Series (click to view)
“St. Croix Premier’s premium carbon rod blanks and cork handle give the rod its quality, something you can feel from the moment you pick it up.”

Best Budget: Lew’s Mr. Crappie (click to view)
“The Mr. Crappie features a unique rod length indicator. Its 10-foot length, power, and action match up for crappie, and it comes at a low price point.”

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Crappie and panfish are some of the most popular, most fished-for species in the United States. These small fish can put up a good fight, are easy to find and target, and are a perfect fish for a casual day on the water. But, to catch your fair share of crappie, you need the right gear.

A typical crappie rod will be about ten feet long, with an ultralight power and a slow action. They’re usually incredibly light yet durable. Spinning rods are the most popular variant, but you can find and use baitcasting rods as well. 

With so many people fishing for crappie, it’s no surprise that there are a ton of products on the market claiming to be the perfect crappie rod. We went through the top results and found the seven best crappie rods to fit your needs. 

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Quick View: Best Fishing Rods For Crappie

Top 7 Crappie Fishing Rods

Best Overall

Berkley C-Series Crappie Pro Spinning

Berkley C-Series Crappie Pro

Hi-vis tip

Titanium oxide guide inserts

Best Premium

St. Croix Rods Premier Spinning Rod

St. Croix Premier Series

Premium carbon and cork give the rod its quality

Outstanding reputation and performance

Best Budget

Lew's Mr. Crappie Custom Troller 10'-2 Light Crappie Rod, One Size, CG10L-2

Lew’s Mr. Crappie

Unique rod length indicator

Multi-piece rod is portable and easy to transport

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Best Short

Cadence Fishing CR5 Spinning Rods | 30 Ton Carbon | Fuji Reel Seat | Stainless Steel Guides with SiC Inserts | CR5-662S-LMF

Cadence

Shorter than most crappie rods

Carbon Veil wrap to make rod blank more durable

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Most Versatile

KastKing Brutus Fishing Rods, Spinning Rod 5ft -Ultra Light - Moderate-2pcs

KastKing Brutus

22 models of different lengths and powers

Graphite/fiberglass composite rod blanks

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Most Sensitive Tip

BnM Lelands TCB by BnM 6.5 ft 2pc Spinning Ultra Lite

BnM Lelands TCB

Very responsive and sensitive rod tip

Unique, lightweight reel seat

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Best Travel

Goture Telescopic Tenkara Fishing Rod Collapsible Crappie Rods 1 Piece Portable Hand Fishing Poles Carbon Fiber Telescoping Stream Ultralight Inshore Carp Bamboo Pole Bass Trout 12 15 18 20 21 24Ft

Goture Telescopic Rod

Performs like a cane pole for old-school anglers

Graphite construction keeps the overall weight down

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Best Crappie Rods

  1. Best Overall: Berkley C-Series Crappie Pro
  2. Best Premium: St. Croix Premier Series
  3. Best Budget: Lew’s Mr. Crappie
  4. Best Short Rod: Cadence
  5. Most Versatile: KastKing Brutus
  6. Most Sensitive Tip: BnM Lelands TCB
  7. Best For Travel: Goture Telescopic Rod

Berkley C-Series Crappie Pro Spinning Rod

Best Overall Crappie Rod: A rod designed for crappie, it meets all your needs and fishing styles.

Berkley C-Series Crappie Pro Spinning
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KEY FEATURES

  • Hi-vis tip
  • Titanium oxide guide inserts
  • Tapered handle to fit rod holders

Overall, the Berkley C-Series is everything you could ask for in a lower-cost crappie rod. Designed for crappie, it has plenty of durability and the features to handle everything from average fish to the rare trophies you might find. Overall, this rod is just a solid choice for any angler, and you won’t regret purchasing and using it.

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What Makes It Stand Out

The rod stands out thanks to its titanium oxide inserts and attention to detail. The guide inserts won’t rust or corrode, removing the possibility of extra friction on light lines. 

The rod itself has all the materials and features you want on a crappie rod. A lightweight graphite blank, ultralight power, and a comfortable handle. It’s an excellent choice for a long day of crappie fishing and light enough for anyone in the family to handle. 

St. Croix Premier Series Spinning Rod

Best Premium Crappie Rod: The highest quality materials and craftsmanship come together to make the highest quality rods.

St. Croix Rods Premier Spinning Rod
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KEY FEATURES

  • Outstanding reputation and performance
  • Premium carbon and cork give the rod its quality
  • 5-year warranty

St.Croix’s quality extends to their ultralight and crappie models. While it may be a little shorter than other rods on the list at 8 ½ feet, the pure quality of the Premier Series Rod is something you can feel from the moment you pick it up. The best materials come together to make one of the best rods you can find and an excellent choice for crappie anglers.

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What Makes It Stand Out

The premium materials in the rod are what make the difference. It’s exceptionally balanced and lightweight. The rod blanks are made from SCII carbon that is as sensitive as you can find and the cork handles provide excellent grip and comfortable hold for long days.

Lew’s Mr. Crappie Custom Troller

Best Budget Crappie Rod: A solid choice without breaking the bank.

Lew's Mr. Crappie Custom Troller 10'-2 Light Crappie Rod, One Size, CG10L-2
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KEY FEATURES

  • Unique rod length indicator
  • Crappie specific power and action
  • Multi-piece rod is portable and easy to transport

Lew’s Mr. Crappie is the textbook crappie rod. Length, power, action, everything matches up, and it comes at a low price point. It’s a solid choice for anglers who want a crappie rod that won’t let them down but don’t want to spend too much on it.

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What Makes It Stand Out

The ten-foot rod breaks down into multiple pieces to make it easy to store away or pack. It has a unique rod length indicator that you can read to see how far away points in the water under the rod are. It also uses a light, graphite reel seat and cuts down as much weight as possible from the rod.

Cadence Spinning Rod

Best Short Crappie Rod: Not everyone wants to use an extra-long fishing rod, and if that happens to be you, you can’t go wrong with the Cadence.

Cadence Fishing CR5 Spinning Rods | 30 Ton Carbon | Fuji Reel Seat | Stainless Steel Guides with SiC Inserts | CR5-662S-LMF
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KEY FEATURES

  • Shorter than most crappie rods
  • Cork and EVA blend handle
  • Carbon Veil wrap to make rod blank more durable

The Cadence is another low-cost entry, an extremely durable rod thanks to its carbon coating on the blank. While it may be shorter than most crappie rods, the ultralight versions are perfect for the species and come with two different handle configurations to match the style you want.

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What Makes It Stand Out

The durability of the rod is really what makes it stand out. The carbon veil is essentially an extra coating on top of the rod blank that makes it hold up better than other coatings. The additional option for a split-grip or full handle design is also attractive since you can choose which is more comfortable for you. 

KastKing Brutus Spinning Rod

Most Versatile Crappie Rod: With 22 models, the KastKing Brutus has a model for handling any crappie you’re after for any angler that wants to try fishing.

KastKing Brutus Fishing Rods, Spinning Rod 5ft -Ultra Light - Moderate-2pcs
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KEY FEATURES

  • 22 models of different lengths and powers
  • Graphite/fiberglass composite rod blanks
  • Full-length EVA handles

The KastKing Brutus is the best option for anglers who want a lot of options. There’s a model available for any size angler, from kids to adults. The longer rods are the more typical crappie rods. However, the shorter, four and five-foot rods are perfect for introducing kids to the sport.

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What Makes It Stand Out

The sheer variety in the one model is what makes it stand out the most. It’s also one of the few “braid-ready” rods you can find, featuring guide inserts that won’t let braid or superlines dig into them. The rod has excellent durability, sensitivity, and performance to match the wide variety of options available.

BnM Lelands TCB

Crappie Rod With Most Sensitive Tip: Regardless of size, a rod’s sensitivity can make all the difference in detecting crappie bites, and the BnM is one of the most sensitive rods on the market.

BnM Lelands TCB by BnM 6.5 ft 2pc Spinning Ultra Lite
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KEY FEATURES

  • Unique, lightweight reel seat
  • Very responsive and sensitive rod tip
  • 6 ½ foot rod is 2-piece for portability

Crappie bites can be hard to detect, and that’s why sensitivity is one of the most important things to look for in a crappie rod. With a highly responsive rod tip and great overall sensitivity, the BnM is an excellent choice for a crappie rod.

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What Makes It Stand Out

Quality materials, responsiveness, and sensitivity are this rod’s strong traits. The graphite ultralight rod can detect even the smallest of bites and is the perfect size for short-range casting from rivers and lakeshores.

Goture Telescopic Tenkara Fishing Rod

Best Travel Crappie Rod: An exceptional ultralight telescopic rod, this one from Goture is perfect for packing and bringing along on a weekend getaway.

Goture Telescopic Tenkara Fishing Rod Collapsible Crappie Rods 1 Piece Portable Hand Fishing Poles Carbon Fiber Telescoping Stream Ultralight Inshore Carp Bamboo Pole Bass Trout 12 15 18 20 21 24Ft
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KEY FEATURES

  • Performs like a cane pole for old-school anglers
  • Graphite construction keeps the overall weight down
  • Comes with spare rod tips for replacing tip sections

Cane poles are one popular way to go after crappie, allowing anglers to drop baits right on top of them silently. The Goture Telescopic Rod performs like a cane pole while collapsing down to a tiny size. Coming in lengths from 10 to 24 feet, you won’t have a problem finding the correct length for you.

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What Makes It Stand Out

The portability of such a long rod makes this stand out as a great travel option. The flexible, durable, and lightweight graphite construction of the pole makes it an excellent choice for crappie, as well as trout. The significant advantage of using a pole like this is the ability to silently drop your bait right on top of fish without casting and pull them right out of the water once you get them hooked.

What To Look For When Buying Crappie Fishing Rods

Handle

Like any rod, you want the handle to be comfortable and not chafe your hands during a long fishing day. Most crappie rods will have either a cork or EVA foam handle, and both are good options. If you aren’t sure which you would prefer, cork gives a better grip even when wet, and EVA is easy to clean and lighter than cork.

Material

Crappie rods work best when they’re as light as possible. This makes graphite the ideal choice for a material in a crappie rod. However, graphite rods are also more sensitive for fiberglass, and since you’re fishing for small fish with little bites, you’ll want that sensitivity never to miss a nibble.

Rod Length

Crappie fishing rods average around ten feet in length, but models can be found up to sixteen feet long. Longer rods let you cast farther and allow you to drop into the water without casting to avoid spooking skittish fish. Unfortunately, the longer the rod, the harder it is to transport and control, so the best options are typically about ten feet in length. 

Guides

All crappie fishing rods have guides to spread line pressure across your rod and let the rod flex to exert force. Look for stainless steel guides since they won’t rust or corrode you even if you get them wet. Solid guides are better than inserts since you don’t have to worry about inserts popping out and causing extra friction on your line.

Action

The crappie fishing rod’s action refers to where it tends to bend in the rod, with faster models bending towards the tip and slower models bending nearer to the middle. Crappies have small, easily torn mouths. Going with a slower rod lets you pull or jerk your rod with less risk of ripping your hook through the fish’s mouths.

Power

The best powers to look for are ultralight and light. The rod power refers to the amount of pressure it takes to bend the rod, and since you’re going for fish that average four inches, the lighter, the better. In addition, light and ultralight rods are much more responsive than heavier versions and give better sensitivity. 

Line and Lure Weight

For line weight, remember the fish you’re targeting average around four inches and between ¼ and ½ pounds. Use as light a line as possible, something like a 2-pound monofilament or 5-pound braided line. Larger diameter lines can cause ripples in the water that can scare away crappie.

The same things apply to lead weight as they do line weights. You’ll want to use tiny split shot leads at around ¼ ounce or smaller.

Questions & Answers

What type of rod is best for crappie fishing?

The best rod type for crappie would be graphite, ultralight power, slow action, ten-foot fishing rod. You’ll want to combine this with around a two-pound monofilament or five-pound braided line. 

This kind of rod lets you set your hook quickly and avoid ripping your hook through the crappie’s mouth. You won’t overpower the fish instantly either, making them fun to catch despite their small size. On top of that, it gives you the sensitivity you need to notice and react to the tiny bites you’ll inevitably end up with crappie fishing.

What action rod do you want for crappie fishing?

Slow action rods are the best option for crappie fishing. You want to be able to set your hook and pull without ripping the hook through the fish’s mouth. In addition, slower action rods bend much easier and bend more than faster action rods, making them more sensitive and forgiving for hook setting on small fish.

What are the most sensitive crappie fishing rods?

The most sensitive crappie fishing rods are made from graphite blanks, ultralight power, and slow action. This combination of traits makes the rod incredibly easy to bend, and they’ll pick up on the smallest touch of your line. This level of sensitivity is the best option for easily visible responses from small fish bites.

What is the lightest crappie fishing rod?

The lightest crappie rods are made from graphite blanks, have ultralight guides and an EVA foam handle. This combination should shave off as much weight as possible from your rod.

What is the main difference between regular and crappie rods?

A typical fishing rod will have a medium to fast action, whereas a crappie fishing rod uses a slow action blank. They’re also usually extra thin to cut out as much weight as possible and come in very light powers. They also average a longer length, coming in around ten feet, where an average fishing rod is around seven. Regardless of your rod choice, there’s plenty of year-round fishing holes to choose from.