Get free tips to catch more and bigger catfish

The Long Rod Advantage: What The Best Anglers Know

catfish rods the long rod advantage

There are many options when it comes to length of your catfish rods and many anglers don’t have a good understanding of how much the length of a fishing rod impacts their fishing abilities.

Longer fishing rods provide a number of advantages.There are many options when it comes to fishing rod length and many anglers don’t have a good understanding of how much the length of a fishing rod impacts fishing.

Extra length provides a substantial advantage when you are casting.  The longer the fishing rod, the further you can cast (when used properly).

When using finesse fishing techniques, casting in and around heavy cover, a longer fishing rod will provide more accuracy. This added accuracy when casting into tight areas is a huge benefit and also gives more control for pulling fish out of the heavy cover.

Extra length also allows you to better control larger fish when fighting them and bringing them into the boat.

When fishing from a boat and using certain techniques (like drift fishing) longer fishing rods can help you cover more water, therefore increasing the number of fish you come into contact with.

What’s the ideal rod length?

It depends on where you are fishing from and what you are fishing for.

When fishing from a boat I prefer a fishing rod no shorter than 7’0 or 7’6” in length and my overall preference is an 8’6” fishing rod.

If I was fishing from the shore exclusively and needed the ability to make super long casts to get to the fish, I would be using the longest fishing rod I could find.

This is why most successful shore anglers use fishing rods that are as long as ten feet.

The most successful anglers I know, from a large group of hardcore tournament fishermen, professional catfish guides (myself included) and serious catfish anglers all use longer fishing rods and all understand the advantage of a long fishing rod.

What Is The Long Rod Advantage?

With a longer fishing rod you get increased casting distance not only when casting in open water but also in and around heavier cover.

You get more control and accuracy when casting with a long rod as well.

When landing fish with a longer fishing rod you get more control through more leverage and the ability to do more from a fixed position.

One of the funniest things I have seen on the water over the years is anglers trying to land big catfish with short fishing rods typically used for bass fishing.

The biggest challenge when you hook a big fish is getting it off the bottom and then controlling it. When a fish is on the bottom the fish is in control. Once you get the fish off the bottom and can hold it there the angler is in control.

When you get a large catfish up to the side of the boat or the edge of the bank, the fight is not over.

More often than not large ill tempered fish will make another “run” towards the boat, under the boat, or in any other direction imaginable.

Particularly problematic is when these fish run towards anchor ropes, drift socks or anything else that they can “break off” on or get tangled in.

When you are landing a good fish you are going to have to do some moving around and with a short rod and lack of leverage it certainly makes things interesting trying to manage a large fish.

I lost one of the best fish a client had ever hooked while we were channel catfishing with shorter fishing rods.  After a lengthy fight the big blue catfish “made a run” for the back of the boat and broke off on the propeller, never to be seen again. I’m convinced to this day had we been fishing with my longer blue catfish gear we would have landed the fish.

What Is The Best Length For A Catfish Rod?

For boat fishing a fishing rod of at least 7’0 or 7’6” inches is best but my preference is an 8’6” fishing rod as it provides better casting distance as well as more leverage and control over the larger fish.

If you are fishing from the shore, the longer your fishing rod the more casting distance you will have so the longer the rod the better off you will be in many instances, unless you are finesse fishing near the shore.

The biggest challenge with most fishing rods build for shore fishing in extra long lengths is most of these rods are really heavy and lack sensitivity, but there are options available that provide length for casting distance, sensitivity and a strong backbone.

Check out the other articles in our catfish rods series to get more information on choosing a catfish rod for different species of catfish and different catfishing techniques.

This article is an excerpt from the FREE eBook Catfish Gear 101: Catfish Rods and Reels from Learn Catch Catfish. 

The Catfish Gear 101 eBook covers everything everything you need to know about getting started with the right rods and catfish reels to increase your fishing success.

Click here to get your FREE copy of the Catfish Gear 101 eBook, or simply enter your email address below.

catfish rods and catfish reels

Top 7 Tools Trophy Blue Catfish


Enter your email address below and get FREE catfishing tips and tricks to increase your fishing success.

About Chad

Chad Ferguson is a professional catfish guide and founder of Learn To Catch Catfish. Click here to subscribe for more exclusive catfish fishing tips by email and then follow on Twitter or Google


  1. chuck harrelson says:

    Love reading everything u post thanks a a million …

    • Thanks for reading Chuck!

      • chuck harrelson says:

        Oh man thanks for replying back I have like 100 of your posts on stuff that I can’t delete cause I always go back an read them just read the one about the rod length that helped me gettin my next rod cause I needed one to help with getting my bait out further since I fish on the bank ..

  2. No problem. I’m trying to get things in a much easier to follow format. I appreciate the kind words, send me some pictures of those big catfish you catch!

  3. oran vaughn says:

    In my many years of fishing I caught many cats mostly by accident, but now want to get my son into it mostly from shore, and I thank you for your wisdom, and straight forward approach, I caught many pike and Musky but my best fight ever was a huge flat head and loved it I’m hooked. Thank you!!

  4. Would it be better to use a longer rod when trout fishing from the shore? And would you cast it differently using a longer rod like a 14ft than you would using a 8ft rod? THANKS

Leave a Reply