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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello I'm still new to this forum so I apologize if this is in the wrong place I'm going to seriously start fishing for big catfish I have seen some nice ones caught in the river I fish in anyway I have 2 older Abu garcia reels 6500 C3 what rods would you suggest and should I change out the handel's on the reels​
 

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Neill from NW Arkansas
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I like the power handles but at $17 apiece they get kinda pricey.
I am a big believer in a good rod. The rod gives leverage over the fish while the reel essentially just takes up line. I don't recommend trying to winch a fish in, (takes all the fun out anyway).
For the money, Berkeley Big Game and Ugly Stik Catfish special are good rods. I really like Meat Hunter rods. They are made in Arkansas and they will customize them in several different ways. Price is reasonable but shipping can be quite high. They have dealers all over the country so maybe a search in your area will help you find one.
There are a lot of rods available and many specifically built for big cats. I just haven't used them all so I can't offer an opinion on them.
You are in the right place----prepare for a lot of advice! :)
 

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Neill from NW Arkansas
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I should have mentioned Fire Stick. Made and sold by Firewater Marine. Amazon prime carries them so free shipping to members. I have one and it handles fish up to 20 lbs very well. Haven't caught a bigger one than that yet. The one I have caught only flatheads for some time so I named it "flathead killer". Finally broke that run at the Ohio River gather last year with a 10lb Blue.
 

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Big Sam Arkansas
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I like meat Hunter , B&M, teamcatfish, ripping lips, recently when I went to stay and fish with Chris I took him 3 - 8ft meat Hunter rods from 2005 I won in a tournament...they had the old ceramic eyes....he stripped them and customized them for me they are a sight to see...forgive my pictures there upside down
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Chris does some excellent work... They will be my tournament rods... Thanks old friend 🤗
 

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I really like the feel of a cork handle but that is just a personal thing. The big thing to me on a catfish rod if that it needs a soft tip that allows you to spot even the gentlest nibble and then a base that will allow you to turn a big catfish that is headed into the brush. I was raised on the coast and used 7' popping rods for redfish in shallow water. They work eqully well for catfish. I still use the same ABU 6000s and 6500s that I used back then too. You probably won't need that much line capacity in freshwater but you never know what may grab your bait. A striper or big blue will burn up a cheap reel's drag and then break off the line or/and the rod if the reel locks up.
 

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MEAT HUNTER
....and as far as handle, use what you have or can get. I have many many and many more 6000 and 6500, all with power handles. Most are power handles but I have 3 power handles I think are from SlimeCat reels.
I am on the Pipeline Pro Staff, who service all of my reels, and Cory gave me those "other" handles, which I think are slimecat, but they fit and are almost exactly an ABU handle.
....and if you didn't read my first 2 words..........MEAT HUNTER
 

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Lucky, you probably will not be at the annual Catfish Conference in February but they have the best selection of catfish rods you will find. And they all seem to be on sale with even more off for two rod sales. You also save shipping which makes a big difference.

All I am getting at is, it is a good place to get some good prices. If your not going, maybe someone in your area is and will pick up what you want. Just a thought.

As for good rods, there are several that will work well. I have not used a Meat Hunter but the Tangling with Catfish Extreme rods are really good. Medium heavy seems to be best unless you fish real heavy current then go to the heavy. I prefer the white/red ones but the blue/black ones are the same rod.

I also have the Rippin Lips rods in med heavy. They are a little cheaper and are slightly, just slightly more flexible.

The choices you need to decide on are do you like cork or PVA grips, do you want a trigger or not and do you want an aluminum or composite reel seat. Then find the rod that fits those needs.

You have time, think about it.
What you have will do for now.
 

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It is in Louisville, Ky in late Feb. They have a good number of venders there selling rods, reels, anchors, rod holders and other gear and have a few seminars about different subjects. You can get some info about it here or online.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Thanks again I just looked it up would like to go but to far of a drive for me
 

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I thought it might be Lucky. We are closer but still some can’t go. We have had others pick up a rod for them. Can get all a batter price. May not be possible but is a thought.

also if you decide to order a rod, remember if you order two or three the shipping is often the same as one. Just some things to think about.

good luck
 
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