8 Best Crappie Rods: Ultralight, Trolling & More Reviewed

Fishing for crappie can be a lot of fun for some experienced anglers. They’re around to catch all year long and are easily accessible in rivers or during the ice-fishing season. But, if you're a novice angler that is new to the game, you may start feeling overwhelmed at the sheer number of rods on the market to cater to crappie fishing.

We have reviewed and compared the best crappie rods on the market. From trolling to spinning rods with baitcasters in between, we cover some exceptional technique-specific rods that won’t let you down.

Preview

Product

Rod Length

Line Weight

Action/Power

Check Price

St. Croix PFS50ULM Panfish Graphite Spinning...

St Croix Panfish 7

5’0”

2-6 Lbs

Moderate/Ultra-light

Lew's Fishing Wally Marshall Pro IM8 Premium...

Lew's Fishing Wally Marshall

9’0”

4-12 Lbs

Moderate/Medium-light

Cadence Fishing CR5 Spinning Rods | 30 Ton...

Cadence

CR5-30

7’0”

8-15 lbs

Medium

B'n'M Duck Commander Ultralite Crappie Spin...

B'n'M Duck Commander Ultralite Crappie Spin Rod

6’

1-8 Lbs

Fast/Ultralight

fenwick HMG Ice Spinning Rod - HMGICE25LM

Fenwick

HMG

25”

6-12 Lbs

Fast/Medium-light

Lew's Fishing Mr Crappie Slab Daddy 2 Pc...

Lew's Fishing Mr. Crappie Slab Daddy

10’

4-6 Lbs

Fast/Light

Lew's Mr. Crappie SS Custom Graphite 10-Foot...

Lew's Mr. Crappie SS Custom

10’

4-10 Lbs

Fast/Light

Jenko Cypress Creek Crappie Fiberglass Rod,...

Jenko Cypress Creek Crappie Rod

10’

4-10 Lbs

Medium/Light

Why Crappie Fishing Requires Specific Rods

Before we delve into the details of the best crappie rods on the market, you’re probably wondering, what’s so special about crappie fishing rods? Why do they require specific rods for certain applications? How do I choose a rod that better suits my needs?

There are hundreds of thousands of crappies swimming around lakes and streams throughout the U.S. Experienced anglers know that they can be caught year-round. They're always moving in waterways that are about 4-8 feet deep, so trolling is always a fun way to fish for them, but you can drop shoots, jig, or catch them under the ice, too. They're a versatile fish and can be caught in several ways, including casting light jigs, trolling with minnows or artificial lures, using small spinnerbaits, or using bobbers.

An ultralight, fast action rod will have enough flex to catch them without snapping as they tend to stay below 6 lbs. With the right equipment, in-depth knowledge of the crappie's predictable habits, and a little luck, you can hit the jackpot in almost any place and time you fish.


Buying Guide: What Makes A Good Crappie Rod?

Fishing Environment & Water Clarity

Finding crappies won’t be too much of a bother, but knowing how to fish for them in certain fishing environments will differ from every season or location. In warm weather, crappies tend to stick to shallow waterways to begin their spawning activities, so scouting shorelines, mouths of streams, or inlets to lakes is your best bet.

In colder water conditions, crappies like to retreat to deep-water hangouts. Anglers get great results fishing with live bait or within minnows and get great results. The trick is to fish slowly and in water from 20 to 30 feet deep. This type of fishing is great when accompanied with a fishfinder. It can locate schools of crappie fish faster and with ease.

Rod Type & Material

When catching small panfish like crappies, it’s important to get a rod that can cast small lures or baits at a far distance. This may sound pretty straightforward, but often or not, it's easier to cast a quarter-pound lure easier than small jigs or spins, especially on a windy day. Spinning rod and reels are a great choice for novice anglers as they’re easy to use. Whereas, experienced anglers who enjoy trolling, drifting, and dipping will stick with baitcasters.

Whether you pick a spinning rod or a baitcaster, the material and action/power needs to be suitable for crappie fishing. The best fishing rod for crappie is a light or ultralight rod with a fast or light action. And a rod composed of fiberglass or a graphite blend should be durable enough for even your biggest catches.

Rod Length

Baitcasters tend to be longer, whereas jigging and spinning rods are shorter. If you're looking for a good all-around length, try to get a rod between 8-10 feet long. This may seem large, but some crappie fishing rods will exceed 12 feet. A rod that's a little shorter will give you better control, and it will be a little lighter to hold, too, making it more comfortable to hold for long periods.

Rod Handles

All anglers will agree on the importance of having a handle that's comfortable hanging on to for long periods. Some of the more common handles consist of mainly cork, foam, or a Winn polymer material. The best crappie rods can have split grips, pistol grips, or a full grip. If in doubt, a full handle composed of cork is an excellent option as it will keep your hands cool in Summer, and it's easy to hold in Winter with gloves.

Power Rating

The power rating of a crappie rod is significant as it refers to the rod's resistance when it's being flexed. Heavier action rods require more pressure to bend, while light action rods bend much easier.  Rod power ratings are designed to help anglers know what and where your rod should flex, and for crappie fishing, the flex should just be at the tip or top third of the rod. Stick with rods with medium, light, or ultralight power ratings as they tend to work best with light lines and lures.

Line & Lure Weight

Here are some of the best crappie lures and baits, and the best lines to use them with.

Lure/Bait

Type of Line/Application

Lunker City Fin-S Fish

Best with braided lines on spinning rods

Skipper’s Moon Jig

Best with monofilament lines for trolling applications

 Swimbait, Storm WildEye Swim Shad

Monofilament line for shallow water

Fluorocarbon for deeper waterways

In-Line Spinner

Braided or monofilament fishing lines will work well

Guides

Crappie fishing rods tend to have relatively small guides to keep the overall weight of the rod down. Keeping the guides smaller in size also keeps the upper portion of the rod steady and light.

You may worry about setting up your lure and line through such small inserts, but there really shouldn't be any issues as long as you don't put a bobber stop on your line.

Most of the guides come with stainless steel or aluminum materials. These materials allow you to use your rod in both salt and freshwater without worrying about corrosion.

Price & Warranty

You'll be happy to hear that there's a ton of rods that perform exceptionally across a range of price points. Top-of-the-line rods tend to be over $100, and middle-of-the-road crappie rods are between $50 to $100.

You can get a crappie rod for as little as $10, but don’t expect it to be in the same league as a $100 rod. If you’re going to be investing a lot of money into your new fishing arsenal, then checking for a warranty is essential.

We’ve listed each warranty period for each of our product reviews to make your job of buying a new rod a little easier.


8 Best Crappie Rods Reviewed

1. St Croix Panfish 7

Our Top Pick

Rod Length

5’0”

Line Weight

2-6 Lbs

Handle Type

Full-grip, Cork Handle

Primary Material

SCVI & SCII Graphite Blend

Action/Power

Moderate/Ultra-light

Warranty

5-Year

Fishing for crappies will never feel as tricky after you use the Panfish Series by St. Croix. This rod was specially designed for catching crappies and bluegills so you can expect the line to run smoothly when casting and retrieving. It's light and sensitive, but limber so bouncing darts or swinging spoons won't become an issue on your fishing excursion.

The Panfish 7 performs superbly because St. Croix used killer materials and features when producing this range. The rod is constructed from a dynamic blend of SCVI and SCII graphite. It's St. Croix's perfect mix to create a rod that's both power and lightweight while staying durable and sensitive at the same time.

The Panfish 7's guides work like a dream and keep the line very steady and secure. It has 'Sea Guide' guides with stainless steel rings and frames. It also features ‘Sea Guide XMS’ split style reel seat with a custom insert for sensitivity and comfort.

Finish this exceptional crappie rod with a premium grade cork handle that's soft to touch, and that's comfortable to hold for long hours, and you've got yourself a fantastic rod. To give you further peace of mind once you buy, you'll be happy to hear that the Panfish 7 has a 5-Year warranty.

Pros
  • St. Croix’s blend of graphite makes it 33% stronger
  • Stainless steel guides run smoothly
  • Two coats of Flex-Coat slow cure finish
Cons
  • Short rod for a crappie
  • Casts aren’t as long

2. Lew's Fishing Wally Marshall

Best Rod for Shooting Docks for Crappie

Rod Length

9’0”

Line Weight

4-12 Lbs

Handle Type

Full-grip, Premium Cork Handle

Primary Material

IM8 graphite blank

Action/Power

Moderate/Medium-light

Warranty

1-Year Limited

If you enjoy drop shooting for crappies, then you’re in luck. The Lew’s Wally Marshall Pro Series of spinning rods takes crappie fishing to a whole new level of form and function. You can cast long distances with lighter crankbaits or drop-shot rigs with ease as this rod length is an impressive 9’ long. This series features rods from 8' to a whopping 12'. But for drop shooting, this size is best.

This Pro Series rod by Lew’s Fishing features a premium IM8 graphite blank with weight, sensitivity, and performance in mind. Its guides and inserts are constructed of stainless steel for reliable use with all types of lines. It also means that these guides won't erode with saltwater if maintained and cleaned correctly after every use. Lastly, the handle is constructed of premium cork with Duracork accents, so not only is it practical, but it looks snazzy, too.

From handle to tip, this moderate action, medium-light powered rod is a perfect catch for many fishing applications. Not only is it suitable for shooting docks, but it's also great for dipping and flipping for bass. It has a lot of bend and is a fun rod to take when you’re fishing off the shore or from a boat around banks. If it was a light faster in action, it could easily overthrow our top pick for the title.

Pros
  • Sensitive rod - you’ll feel every bite
  • Great for a range of fishing applications
  • Sophisticated design
Cons
  • Faster action would be better suited for this rod

3. Cadence CR5-30

best spinning rod for crappie

Rod Length

7’0”

Line Weight

8-15 lbs

Handle Type

Split Grip

Primary Material

Carbon matrix graphite

Action/Power

Medium

Warranty

1 Year

When it comes to catching crappie fish, you’ll need a rod that has a lot of flex and for novice anglers, one that’s easy to use. Spinning rods are a great choice as they're very straightforward and versatile.

One of the best spinning rods for crappie fishing has to be the CR5-30 model by Cadence. This company may not be on the scene as long as its competitors, but it hasn't stopped them from gaining popularity for producing many technique-specific fishing rods.

The CR5 model incorporated Cadence's advanced tech to design a product that is not only likable but practical. It is available in different lengths that vary from 4'8" to 7'0". On the other hand, the action is grouped according to moderate, moderate-fast, and fast, whereas the power changes from ultralight, medium-light, medium, and medium-heavy. We feel the 7'0" medium-fast one-piece rod is the best for crappie fishing, but all models work well for numerous fishing styles.

The blank is constructed of High Quality 30-ton carbon matrix graphite and offers a durable yet lightweight feel. This spinning rod is known for its durability and sensitivity that other rods may often lack.

Not only are crappie fish potentially on the menu, but you could catch many game fish, including freshwater fish like bass, walleye, and trout as well as popular inshore species like redfish, speckled trout, and flounder.

Pros
  • Best spinning rod for casting crankbaits
  • Extremely lightweight
  • Premium construction
  • Ease of use
  • Excellent value for money
Cons
  • The diameter of the handle is a bit narrow
  • Not ideal for prolonged use

4. B'n'M Duck Commander Ultralite Crappie Spin Rod

Best Ultralight Crappie Rod

Rod Length

6’

Line Weight

1-8 Lbs

Handle Type

Full-grip, Portuguese Handle

Primary Material

IM6 Graphite

Action/Power

Fast/Ultralight

Warranty

1-Year Limited

When two companies with years of expertise in crappie fishing come together, it’s bound to produce a high-tech technique-specific rod. And that's precisely what happened when the B'n'M Duck Commander spin rod was created. The president of B'n'M Fishing reached out to Duck Commander about "doing a crappie fishing jig pole with them," they agreed, and a killer, ultralight rod was made.

This rod may be short in size, but it doesn't lack in performance. So as long as your catch is below 8 lbs, then you're in the clear. The blank is made of 40-million Modulus IM6 Graphite, so there's no need to worry about strength. And it's paired with a Portuguese cord handle constructed of cork, so your hands will be comfortable all day.

What makes this rod unique is its attention to detail in regards to crappie fishing. Both of these companies put their expertise together when making this rod, and it shows.

For starters, all the rods were marked with bright-chartreuse marks around the rod at 1-foot intervals to help crappie fishers measure exactly how deep they have their bait out. It will also help you know how much line is out. And as it has an ultralight tip, no bite will go unnoticed. You'll be pulling in crappies in no time with this spinning rod.

Pros
  • High-quality construction
  • Impeccable attention to detail
  • Ultralight 2-piece rod
  • Created by leading professionals
  • Great for novice anglers
Cons
  • Basic for experienced fishermen

5. Fenwick HMG 25"

Best Ice Fishing Rod for Crappie

Rod Length

25”

Line Weight

6-12 Lbs

Handle Type

Full-grip, AAA Premium Handles

Primary Material

High Modulus Graphite with spiraled carbon thread

Action/Power

Fast/Medium-light

Warranty

1-Year on Ice Fishing Ranges

When it comes to crappie fishing under the ice, your typical light and fast trolling rod just won't do. You'll need something with a little more backbone, and that’s durable in all-weather conditions.

The 25”, light in action, Fenwick HMG Ice Fishing Spinning Rod, has tons of features and won’t break the bank. It's hard to find this kind of power in a rod that's shorter than 34 inches long, but this rod has it, and that makes it perfect for seeking out crappies, walleyes, or pike fishes from the comfort of a hole.

Once you unbox your new rod, you'll see a classic design, with beautiful finishing touches. Not only are the guides stainless steel, but they have a beautiful black finish with aluminum oxide inserts for more practicality. The blank doesn't look cheap and is made with high modulus graphite. Its tapered construction is impeccable, and it comes with more moderate action to better suit ice fishing.

It's important when ice fishing that your rod has a good handle, and the HMG model fits the bill. It features a AAA cork handle that's full-grip and is very comfortable even with gloves on. You'll never love your grip when you're fishing for crappie fish.

Pros
  • Good value
  • Beautiful design and finishing
  • Open-ended hook keeper
Cons
  • Little heavy in weight

6. Lew's Fishing Mr. Crappie Slab Daddy

best trolling rod for crappie

Rod Length

10’

Line Weight

4-6 Lbs.

Handle Type

EVA foam handle

Primary Material

Fiberglass

Action/Power

Fast/Light

Warranty

1-Year Limited

Trolling for crappies is a fast pace, high energy form of fishing, with Mr. Crappie Slab Daddy 2-piece, your boating adventure will go by without a breeze. This 10’ Slab Daddy Fiberglass Spinning Rod is approved by Wally Marshall for its crappie specific action. This rod has exceptional performance and the ability to bring in plenty of fish, especially when trolling.

Just like the B'n'M Duck Commander rod, this lightweight and durable rod comes with some state of the art features. One of those features is its unique rod length label indicator. This helps anglers know exactly how much bend is being flexed and how much line is out when you're casting.

It's travel-friendly as it comes in a 2-piece, and you can use it all day as it features EVA foam handle grips. Getting some splashback of seawater won't be a problem on your guides as they're constructed of stainless steel. And it's backed by Mr. Crappie's limited one-year warranty. The list of pros is endless, but one thing that could be worked on is its reel mount. Unless you get a perfectly matched reel, it could be mounted out of line with the guides.

Pros
  • 2-piece
  • Fiberglass construction
  • Wally Marshall approved for crappie fishing
Cons
  • Reel mount did not line up with the guides at first. Check this before fishing!

7. Lew's Mr. Crappie SS Custom

Best 10-Foot crappie Rod

Rod Length

10’

Line Weight

4-10 Lbs

Handle Type

Full EVA foam Handle.

Primary Material

Graphite

Action/Power

Fast/light

Warranty

1-Year Limited

A crappie rod between 8-10 feet is a great choice for beginner anglers, whereas 10-12 feet is perfect for more experienced fishers. This puts the Lew's Mr. Crappie SS Custom 10-foot spinning rod right at the sweet spot and will suit a range of anglers.

This black and neon green crappie rod is constructed of premium high modulus graphite and is only available in a 2-piece blank. It makes it a great travel companion as it’s very portable.

This is another model that Wally Marshall approved as a technique-specific rod specifically for crappie fishing, so those small touches are prominent throughout its design. It has a rod length indicator along with stainless steel guides. The handle may not be as comfortable as some of its competitors as its constructed of EVA foam. Still, it's a good-quality material for a rod that performs exceptionally and at a reasonable price.

The Lew’s brand thought of everything when designing this light action crappie rod. You can even buy additional tips so you can have peace of mind on the water. You’ll be casting long distances and pulling in 4-pound crappies in a hurry with this rod.

Pros
  • Durable, long rod
  • Perfect size for crappie fishing
  • 2-piece
Cons
  • Not suitable for harsh weather conditions

8. Jenko Cypress Creek Crappie Rod

Best Jigging Rod for Crappie

Rod Length

10’

Line Weight

4-10 Lbs

Handle Type

Full EVA foam Handles

Primary Material

Graphite

Action/Power

Medium

Warranty

2-Year

The last rod on our list is the Jenko Cypress Creek Crappie rod that’s not only perfect for jigging but also great for pulling or pushing crankbaits or spinners. This fiberglass rod brings quality and affordability together and wraps them into one neat package. You won’t want to jig for crappies again without it.

The Cypress Creek Crappie Rod is available in four sizes, 8', 10', 12', and 14' Models. Most come in a 2-piece design, whereas the 14' model comes in a 3-piece design. They all weigh very little, and their components are all the same, so you can choose your ideal size, and you should still expect a top-quality crappie rod.

This rod is finished with EVA foam handles, stainless steel guides, ceramic inserts, and a chartreuse-colored high visibility tip. The only downside is the action rating. It's marked at medium action, and usually, crappie rods perform better when they are light and fast. But, this model didn't disappoint us when jigging, and we were pretty impressed with its sensitivity when we were out by the water.

Pros
  • Best rod for pushing and pulling jigs/crankbaits
  • High-visibility tip
  • Good value rod
Cons
  • Fiberglass is a heavier material than a lot of its competitors

How To Set Up A Fishing Rod For Crappie

Once you choose the right size and style of crappie fishing rod that you prefer, it’s time to set it up and get it ready for the water. You’ll need a few other things from your fishing arsenal than just your rod. You’ll also need a line, some lure, hooks, and a reel that’s compatible with your crappie rod.

First, tie a long-shank hook onto the end of your line with a clinch knot. Depending on your fishing environment, if the fish is swimming low, you’ll need to attach a bobber about 2 feet from the hook.

Add the line, lure, and bobber onto the line and be sure to spool enough line into the reel. If you need more tips and tricks, try searching on YouTube for some good visual representations to help you learn.

Crappie Fishing Tips For Beginners

For novice anglers, make sure to do your research and find which size and weight of rod will suit your ability and environment. Go for a crappie rod that's in your budget and within your needs, too.

Once you're more experienced with the size you have, then opt for a longer model. By progressing in sizes gradually, you've got a better chance at casting accurately, which in return, gives you an impressive level of control even as a beginner.


Frequently Asked Questions

What are the best crappie fishing rod brands?

Some of the leading brands creating high-quality crappie fishing rods have to be B’n’M, Jenko Crappie, Lew’s, and St. Croix. These are just a few, but all of these brands have put years of research behind each product they've produced, and most of these brands will offer at least a 1-year limited warranty.

What is spider rigging?

Spider rigging allows anglers to cover a lot of water while fishing with multiple rods. A typical setup involves six to eight rods spread evenly across the bow of the boat. These rods will need to be able to sit comfortably in a crappie rod holder.

Are all crappie rods the same?

Not in the slightest. To the untrained eye, they may all look the same, but many rods operate differently. Some crappie rods and reels are baitcasters, whereas others could be spin casting or jigging rods. You can also use a cane pole for crappie fishing, and these work completely differently to the rods you see day-to-day.

What does dock shooting mean?

Dock shooting was created by "Mr. Crappie" himself, Wally Marshall. It's used to target fish under docks in cool weather. You're basically turning your spinning rod into a bow to shoot a crappie jig up under the decking of residential docks. It's become trendy amongst anglers for its positive returns.

Are there any special care and maintenance steps for crappie rods?

If you’re hoping to keep your crappie fishing rod for as long as possible, then washing and storing your new piece of equipment is essential. Wash your rod down with some warm, freshwater, and pay special attention to the guides. You can use some light reel grease on the rod guides to prevent corrosion. When you’re doing this, be sure to check that all guides aren’t damaged. Damaged or cracked guides will cause your fishing line to break.

Where is the best place to find a quality crappie fishing rod?

From crappie rods, rod holders, lines and lures, you can buy all you need and more impulse purchases right off Amazon. On the site, you'll have the chance to read other reviews from anglers using the product, and there's a lot of good advice that can be found there, too. If you live close to a fish and tackle shop, you could also check which models they have in stock.


Conclusion

From baits, to live lures, to lines, holders, and reels. Not only do you have all of the information on some of the best crappie fishing rods on the market, but you also have some valuable advice on setup, and accessories that will guarantee you a fun and stress-free day by the water.

If you bring the St Croix Panfish 7 along with you, you’re bound to be casting all day, in style, and with ease. Have fun on your next fishing adventure!