Best Crappie Rods in 2020 – Buyer’s Guide

Crappie fish can be found all over the country. Whether you’re an expert or a beginner, there’s no denying the challenge that comes with crappie fishing.

Crappie fish are a little difficult to catch because they have excellent hearing, which makes them able to hide from potential predators.

That’s why you’d need the perfect rod that can handle crappie, provide you with comfort, and last as long as possible.

Picking a regular spinning rod could ruin your fishing experience if it’s not long enough for you to catch crappie from afar. Being too close to the crappie, they’ll hear you and run away, and that’s the last you want.

That’s why I’ve gathered this list of the best crappie rods on the market and why you should consider them.

So, without further delay, your next crappie rod could be just a few lines away.

List of the Best Crappie Rods:

  • Cadence CR5 – Best Overall
  • Fenwick Elite Tech River Runner – Runner-Up
  • St. Croix Premier – Premium Pick
  • Lew’s Fishing Mr. Crappie Slab Daddy – Budget Pick
  • B’n’M Duck Commander – Best Ultralight Crappie Rod
  • Shakespeare Crappie Hunter – Best Combo for Beginners

Our Top Picks:

Rod

MaterialGrip
Cadence CR530-ton graphite

Cork and EVA

Fenwick Elite Tech River Runner

GraphiteTAC and cork

St. Croix Premier

SCII graphite

Cork

Lew’s Fishing Mr. Crappie Slab Daddy

Fiberglass

EVA

B’n’M Duck Commander

IM6 graphiteCork

Shakespeare Crappie Hunter

IM6 graphiteEVA

The 6 Best Crappie Rods in 2020

1. Cadence CR5 – Best Overall

Cadence CR5

The Cadence CR5 easily takes my top position as the best crappie rod in 2020.

The high-quality rod is made from 30-ton graphite, which provides the rod with lightness, portability, and sensitivity. Crappie are small fish that require a very sensitive rod to allow you to feel their small bites.

Moreover, the CR5 comes with stainless steel guides for casting accuracy with minimal friction against your line.

It also comes with cork and EVA handles that provide the angler with comfort, especially when fishing for long periods. In addition, the rod has a fuji reel seat that adds to the rod’s lightness and comfort.

The spinning rod is available in a wide selection of lengths starting at 4’8” up to 7’ with power ratings ranging from ultralight to medium-heavy. The rod is also available in 3 different action options: moderate, moderate-fast, and fast.

However, having a wide selection of models doesn’t mean that they’re all suitable for crappie fishing. Crappie are small fish that don’t require much power, but they require sensitivity like no other.

That’s why I recommend the 7’ model in ultralight power and moderate action for the best crappie fishing experience. That model has a line-weight from 2 to 6, which is perfect for crappie fishing.

Pros:

  • Lightweight
  • Good value for the money
  • Sensitive
  • High-quality materials
  • Protective packaging

Cons:

  • Weak reel seat

Final Verdict

The Cadence CR5 has a model with just the perfect ratings for crappie fishing. The 7’ rod with ultralight power is your best bet if you’re looking for the perfect crappie rod. Moreover, the 30-ton graphite provides the rod with enough sensitivity for the angler to easily feel the crappie’s bites.

2. Fenwick Elite Tech River Runner – Runner-Up

Fenwick Elite Tech River Runner

Coming in second place is the Fenwick Elite Tech River Runner rod. The River Runner is a high-quality rod that offers unmatched durability without sacrificing lightness.

River Runner is made from high modulus graphite that provides the rod with enough lightness and sensitivity to handle any crappie you might come across.

The River Runner’s guides are made from titanium, which is known to be a lightweight material that is also durable. The titanium guides provide the angler with accuracy when casting while minimizing friction against the lines.

It also comes with TAC and cork handles and a reel seat that employs hidden handle design. Both the handle and the reel seat provide the rod with comfort without sacrificing performance.

The River Runner comes in a wide range of lengths starting at 5’8” up to 8’ with ultralight or light power rating. It also comes in moderate, moderate-fast, and fast actions.

Furthermore, the ultralight power models have a line weight of 2 to 6, while the light power models have a line weight of 4 to 8.

For crappie fishing, in particular, I strongly recommend one of the 8’ moderate action models. Besides, choosing between ultralight and light power ratings depends on your bait and what kind of crappie fish are in your area.

I really have nothing negative to say about the 2-piece rod, except that it’s a little pricey. However, you’ll be getting your money’s worth because that rod will last years and years without suffering a scratch.

Pros:

  • Lightweight
  • Sensitive
  • Comfortable to hold
  • Strong
  • High-quality materials

Cons:

  • Pricey

Final Verdict

The River Runner is a one of a kind rod; it offers everything you could ever want in a crappie fishing rod and more. Its graphite blank provides it with durability and sensitivity. Also, its TAC and cork handle, along with the titanium guides ensure the rod’s lightness and longevity.

3. St. Croix Premier – Premium Pick

St. Croix Premier

The St. Croix premier is my premium pick, which means that this rod offers high-quality, but it comes with a price. Literally.

The Premier is made from SCII graphite for sensitivity and durability. Also, the graphite provides the angler with a high-quality feel while maintaining the rod’s lightness and portability.

It also comes with Kigan Master Hand 3D guides that are made from aluminum-oxide rings and black frames. These guides provide the rod with durability, accuracy, and a modern look.

Moreover, the rod comes with a premium-grade cork handle that eliminates wrist fatigue. It also comes with a Fuji DPS reel seat with frosted silver hoods for that premium and comfortable feel in hand.

The rod comes in the broadest model selection on this list with lengths starting at 4’6” all the way up to 8’6”. It also comes with power ratings ranging from ultralight up to extra-heavy along with moderate and fast actions.

However, this is just a regular spinning rod, not a crappie specific rod, which means that not all models are suitable for crappie fishing.

I strongly recommend the 8’6” model in a light power rating and moderate action for the best performance possible. Also, that model comes with a 4 to 8 line weight.

Pros:

  • Modern design
  • High-quality materials
  • Strong
  • Lightweight
  • Sensitive

Cons:

  • Expensive

Final Verdict

The St. Croix Premier is a premium-quality rod in every way possible. Its SCII graphite blank is sensitive yet durable. Its cork handle is comfortable to hold, while its guides are strong aluminum-oxides. Moreover, the 8’6”, light power, and moderate action model is perfect for crappie fishing.

4. Lew’s Fishing Mr. Crappie Slab Daddy – Budget Pick

Lew’s Fishing Mr. Crappie Slab Daddy

There are a few things I can’t get over about this rod. Starting with how affordable it is despite its high-quality materials, and how much of a bargain it would be if you go for the combo.

The Mr. Crappie Slab Daddy is made from fiberglass, which is a material known for its durability. However, fiberglass is also known for its heaviness when compared to graphite.

The rod comes with stainless steel guides for smooth and accurate casting. It also comes with an EVA grip and a graphite reel seat.

The other materials used in this rod, like the graphite and EVA, contribute significantly to making the rod lighter, which is a plus when you consider the heaviness of the fiberglass.

In addition, the rod is comfortable to hold without feeling weak or cheap in spite of its very low price point.

Mr. Crappie Slab Daddy comes in three different lengths: 9’, 10’, and 12’. All the models come in a light power rating, which is suitable for crappie fishing.

Because this rod is a crappie-specific one, I don’t really have a recommended model. However, I do have some other sort of recommendation. This rod comes in a combo with a reel at a very affordable price.

I strongly recommend going for the combo if you’re a beginner and looking to expand your collection without spending too much money.

Pros:

  • Affordable price
  • Comes in a rod and reel combo
  • Sensitive

Cons:

  • A little heavy
  • Poor packaging
  • Not very long-lasting

Final Verdict

After including my premium-pick, it’s only fair that I mention my budget pick, too, which is the Mr. Crappie Slab Daddy. Besides the catchy name, there are a lot of things I love about this rod, like its sensitivity and budget-friendly price. The fiberglass rod is perfect for beginners, because fiberglass is more durable, and therefore more forgiving than graphite.

5. B’n’M Duck Commander – Best Ultralight Crappie Rod

B’n’M Duck Commander

Next on my list is the B’n’M Duck Commander, which is the best ultralight crappie rod in 2020.

The ultralight rod is made from 40-million modulus IM6 graphite that provides the rod with its unmatched lightness and portability.

In addition, the rod comes with Dyna-Flo stainless steel guides that are lightweight and durable to provide the angler with casting accuracy and reduce friction against the lines.

It also comes with a high-quality GenuinePortugese cork handle to provide comfort, especially on long fishing trips.

Sadly, though, the ultralight rod is only available in two models: 4’ and 6’. For crappie rods, anglers prefer longer rods so that they can fish for the crappie without getting too close. Crappie fish have a strong sense of hearing, and if you’re close enough, you could scare them away.

However, these lengths are perfect if you’ll be fishing in small areas and can’t cast long distances.

Pros:

  • Lightweight
  • Affordable
  • Comfortable to hold

Cons:

  • Only available in 2 models

Final Verdict

If you’re looking for an ultralight short rod, the Duck Commander should be your best bet. Its IM6 graphite construction ensures the rod’s lightness, portability, and durability. In addition, its stainless steel guides provide the angler with casting accuracy, while its cork grip provides comfort.

6. Shakespeare Crappie Hunter – Best Beginners Combo

Shakespeare Crappie Hunter

If you’re new to the world of crappie fishing and looking to expand your collection, the Crappie Hunter combo is the one for you.

The rod itself is made from IM6 graphite for lightness and sensitivity. Also, the rod comes with a high-vis tip that provides the angler with accuracy when casting.

In addition, it comes with an EVA handle that is comfortable to hold without causing wrist fatigue.

The rod comes in three length options: 9’, 10’, and 12’ that are all optimum for crappie fishing. Longer lengths would allow the angler to catch crappie without scaring them away.

All the models come in a light power rating, which is perfect for crappie. Light power allows you to feel the bites and still withstand fights against crappie without breaking.

Also, the combo arrives with the line pre-spooled, which is optimum for beginners who are just learning how to fish crappie.

My only complaint about this combo is that it’s not very long-lasting. I strongly recommend this combo for beginners, not experienced fishers. It most likely wouldn’t last very long.

Pros:

  • Sensitive
  • Lightweight
  • Affordable

Cons:

  • Poor packaging
  • Weak reel

Final Verdict

The Shakespeare Crappie Hunter is best for seasonal anglers or beginners. It’s lightweight, sensitive, and affordable. However, this rod and reel combo isn’t the most durable or high-quality out there.

How to Pick a Crappie Rod

Before committing to the first crappie rod you use, there are multiple factors that you need to consider. Crappie fishing requires a light power and a long rod, and going for unsuitable measurements could ruin your fishing trip entirely.

So, here’s everything you need to know about each factor and what the optimum measurements are.

1. Material

The most common material used to manufacture crappie rods is graphite and its derivatives.

Graphite is perfect for crappie fishing because it is a lightweight material that also offers sensitivity and durability. Lightness and sensitivity are critical when it comes to crappie because their bites are small, and you’d need the right material to feel them.

Another less popular material is fiberglass. The reason it’s not as popular as graphite is that fiberglass is heavier than graphite. However, fiberglass is your best bet if you’re looking for a durable rod and willing to sacrifice quality.

2. Length

Crappie rods are usually longer than regular spinning rods because crappie fish have a great sense of hearing.

If you’re fishing from a boat or a kayak, crappie will run away if they hear you around, and it’ll just be difficult to actually catch one.

The longer lengths of crappie rods allow the angler to fish crappie without needing to get too close.

I recommend going for a length within the 8’-12’ range for the best crappie fishing experience.

3. Power

Crappie fish don’t require much power to reel in. An ultralight or light power should be sufficient.

Keep in mind that going for a power that’s higher than necessary will not allow you to feel the crappie’s bites, which would ruin the whole experience.

4. Grip

Most anglers prefer cork grips because they’re more comfortable to hold. However, they’re more expensive than EVA, that’s why not all manufacturers use cork handles.

Cork grips are excellent at resisting moisture rather than absorbing it, which would provide you with a tighter grip on the rod.

However, EVA grips have some advantages as well. EVA grips are more long-lasting than cork handles, and they’re lighter in weight.

There’s no right or wrong when it comes to picking the grip. Try both options and settle for the one you personally prefer and don’t get affected by the public’s voice.

Frequently Asked Questions:

How Long Should a Crappie Rod be?

Crappie rods usually fall on the longer side of the spectrum. They’re generally around 10’ to 12’, and there’s a reason for that.

Crappie fish have good hearing, so they require a quiet approach. Being as far as possible from the crappie while fishing for them is the best way to ensure a successful crappie fishing trip.

What is the Best Time of the Day for Crappie fishing?

Crappie fish usually feed around the time of minimal lighting.

To guarantee catching crappie, I recommend fishing around midnight to dawn. That’s when crappie would come out to the shallows to feed.

Also, try to avoid fishing crappie during midday, because that’s when they usually stay in deeper areas.

How Deep Do Crappie Feed?

The depth of crappie fish depends on multiple factors, like temperature, time of the day, and time of the year.

Your best bet is fishing around 2 to 6 feet deep. However, they tend to go deeper as the weather gets colder. I recommend you start around 4 feet down and feel your way around from there.

Final Thoughts

Nobody can resist the challenge of crappie fishing. Whether you’re a beginner or an expert, crappie will always remain one of your favorite fish to catch.

For that, the last thing you’d need is a rod that will break down under the slightest pressure. Also, you’d need the rod with the right length, action, and power.

Throughout this article, I’ve described my top picks for the best crappie rods in 2020, but if you feel like you need a memory refresh, here’s a recap of my top three picks.

In first place is the Cadence CR5, which is one of the lightest rods you can ever hold. The CR5 is comfortable to hold, lightweight, and sensitive enough for crappie fishing. Not to mention, it comes at a very affordable price.

In second place is the Fenwick Elite Tech River Runner. The River Runner offers the perfect specs for crappie fishing. It is comfortable, sensitive, and durable. Even though it’s more on the expensive side, it’s worth your investment.

Lastly, my premium pick is the St. Croix Premier. If you’re not held back by a budget, the Premier rod should be your best bet. Its durability ensures that it’ll last years and years without suffering a single scratch.`