Many of us started out with the original Ugly Stik Catfish rod. This rod is still a very affordable
option that catches catfish. In this photo, Braden Durick reels in a channel catfish.
Which Color Catfish Rod Catches More Fish?
by Brad Durick
Every time a new brightly colored catfish rod debuts, it seems like everybody wants one. But does rod color really affect the number of fish you catch?
When I submitted my ideas to CatfishNOW for 2024 articles, I threw this one in there as sort of a joke. The idea came from watching social media (which I do way too often) and the observation when rod companies come out with new colors, everyone has to have them. Every so often, a new rod company would pop up with new and fun colors, and soon after, I started seeing classifieds where people were selling off their old rods with the now boring colors so they could buy new rods with the pretty colors.
It has always baffled me why people spend a bunch of money on the latest and greatest just to turn around and sell those items so they can buy the next latest and greatest. I am more likely to buy a couple and, if I like them, use them. When the next new one comes out, I’ll get a couple of those and add to the collection.
I love new rods like the next person. If you saw my collection, you might be impressed. Some are now considered vintage as they are from the beginning of the catfish-rod revolution from companies that no longer exist. But they helped pave the way to the industry that we have now.
To learn more about this subject, I asked my Facebook friends two questions: 1) What color rod catches the most fish? and 2) Do you change rods or manufacturers when a new color comes out? Most of the answers in my unscientific poll confirmed some of what I thought, and some of the answers made sense based on human nature.
What Anglers Said When Asked About Rod Color
My favorite answer came from a walleye angler. He said his favorite rod color is the color of the clearance sticker at the store. I literally laughed out loud to that one because that is a game I play on many items, not just fishing gear.
Most anglers confirmed what I already eluded to—that fishermen just like to buy gear, and the availability of a new color is an excuse to add a new rod to the collection.
One answer posted by Minnesota guide Darren Troseth was something that I never thought of, but it is true. “You literally sit and stare at rods for hours and hours and hours,” he said. “Hanging things up is just for pure entertainment. I’ve gotten just as many wows and have seen as much picture taking from turning on the black light and seeing those rods glow as I have from people hooking into big fish. And that’s a fact.”
Here are some things said by others:
Scott P – I like to make if fun for my girlfriend and kids and, if all it takes is a mix of fun colors and bright rods, then so be it.
Zac B – The color doesn’t matter to me, but I do like my rods to match. It looks nice in the boat and in the garage.
Jory F- It’s great to have more stuff we don’t need, but it’s an addiction, and we all love new gear.
Andy O – It is a brilliant marketing strategy! Monkey see, monkey do.
Christina L – Colors catch fishermen, not fish.
The majority of the responses in my unscientific poll were that it really doesn’t matter. Many said black or white rods were all that are necessary to catch fish and that color made no difference to them.
Other responses were that people have had the same rods for years, and they got the job done. Others said they preferred Ugly Stik rods, but I think that may have been mostly because many know that I run Ugly Stik catfish rods exclusively.
The Author’s Favorites
With that said, perhaps you are wondering what a longtime catfishing guide like me thinks about rod colors. Well, I like the rod that works. I have used and tried many different rods while trying to find the right action and the right fight for the fish that I target.
Early in my career, I had an arrangement with a custom rod builder, and I had many different colors and wraps for my rods. My favorite, and one still in my collection, is black with pink eye wraps and accents. Its name is “Fighting Siouxsy.” (You hockey fans should understand the reference.)
Besides that one rod, I am very simple and use mostly Ugly Stik rods. From the original white Ugly Stik catfish to the Catfish Special, which is orange, I don’t tend to veer away from those rods that provide me the action and fighting ability that I like and want my customers to enjoy.
Going back to the comment by Zac B, I like a matching set because it looks good in the boat. I also like the matched set so everything is the same no matter what rod you pick up with a fish on.
Now back to the original question, what color catfish rod catches the most fish? The answer is, it really doesn’t matter. The color of the rod is for the angler and not fish. It is understandable that people love new gear and love bright colors. The bottom line is the right rod for the job is more important than the color it is.
(Captain Brad Durick is a nationally recognized catfish guide on the Red River of the North, seminar speaker, and author of the books Cracking the Channel Catfish Code and Advanced Catfishing Made Easy. For more information go to www.redrivercatfish.com.)