We’ve written before about selecting a rod for crappie. But there, we were taking a close look at the best general purpose rods for casting, shooting, and jigging–all-arounders that could get most jobs done for papermouths.
But spider rigging is specialized fishing, and a good general purpose rod isn’t going to be what you need.
Here, we’ll consider what makes an excellent rod for this technique, keeping a careful eye on price, since you’ll need to buy an armful! We also offer reviews of a few of our favorites to help steer you in the right direction.
Quick glance at some of the best crappie rods for spider rigging:
- B’n’M Capps & Coleman Series Trolling Rod – Our Pick!
- B’n’M Pro Staff Troller
- Grizzly Jig Company Dead Ringer Trolling Rods
- Ozark Rods Signature Series Tony Edgar Trolling Rod
- Southern Crappie Rods
Best Crappie Rods For Spider Rigging Reviewed
B’n’M Capps & Coleman Series Trolling Rod – Our Pick!
|Length: 12’,14’, 16’ |
Handle: EVA foam
Pieces: 2 (12’); 3 (14’-16’)
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Competition is fierce in the rod business, and in shorter lengths, the field is pretty crowded. B’n’M make legendary crappie rods, and we think they really shine when you’re looking at the longer stuff.
Designed in cooperation with seven-time National Champions Ronnie Capps and Steve Coleman, these trolling rods are simply outstanding. On the business end, they offer sensitive, high-vis tips to help you see a hit and react quickly. And their EVA foam handles feature a unique contour that lets you precisely adjust the depth of your tackle by simply moving the rod in the seat.
That’s an awesome touch, and these rods are among our favorite.
Expect medium/light-style power from the Capps & Colemans. That makes them a less than ideal choice if you troll crankbaits, but with a standard jig and ½ to 1-ounce weight, these are just about perfect. And the extra give they provide is a nice feature when the waves and wind start bouncing your boat around.
B’n’M Pro Staff Troller
|Length: 8’, 10’, 12’, 14’, 16’ |
Handle: EVA foam
Pieces: 2 (8’-10’); 3 (12’-16’)
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B’n’M also offers a stiffer trolling rod, the Pro Staff Troller. Equipped with Dynaflow guides with stainless inserts, a sensitive, high-vis tip, and plenty of backbone, what sets this rod apart from the Capps & Coleman is a stiffer blank.
If you like to troll crankbaits or throw really heavy rigs, these are an awesome option. They won’t provide the cushioning the Capps & Coleman do in wind and waves, but plenty of slab addicts swear by these rods.
Grizzly Jig Company Dead Ringer Trolling Rods
|Length: 10’, 11’, 12’, 14’ |
Material: IM7 Graphite
Handle: EVA foam
Pieces: 2 (10’-12’); 3 (14’)
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Grizzly Jig Company’s house brand, Dead Ringer, has earned a staunch following in the spider rigging community.
Available in four lengths, these IM7 graphite rods are lightweight, strong, and sensitive. Their EVA foam handles can take the wear of rod seats season after season, and they’re priced right, too.
I’d say these rods are medium to medium-light power, with a quick tip and plenty of backbone for trolling.
Ozark Rods Signature Series Tony Edgar Trolling Rod
|Length: 14’, 16’ |
Material: IM7 Graphite
Handle: EVA foam
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Ozark Rods Signature Series have been designed with the help of championship angler Tony Edgar, a fixture on the Lake of the Ozarks. If you’re familiar with the first iteration of these rods, the new models are a tad stiffer, offering a bit more backbone for trolling with heavier weights.
A touch we really like is that they sport neon markers every two feet on the rod, making depth easy to see at a glance. The tips are perhaps a tad more stout than you’ll find on its competitors, as they’re reinforced with stainless steel. And like many other trolling rods, these offer high-vis tips.
I’d say these are stiffer than the Capps & Coleman by a good bit, with a touch more backbone than the Pro Staff Troller, too. Whether that’s good or bad will depend on the conditions you’re angling in and your preferences.
Southern Crappie Rods
|Length: 6’, 8’, 9’, 10’, 12’, 14’, 16’ |
Material: Kevlar (6’-10’) and Kevlar/Carbon Fiber (12’-16’)
Handle: Cork (6’-10’) or EVA foam (12’-16’)
Pieces: 2 (6’-12’); 3 (14’-16’)
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Southern Crappie Rods has a unique approach to blank construction, using kevlar as a primary material on their shorter rods, while adding carbon fiber for the longer models. We’re not qualified to speak to the reasons behind that approach, but if you pay attention on the water, you’ll see plenty of crappie fanatics running their gear.
Available in lengths for casting as well as spider rigging, we’re focusing on the long rods purpose-designed for trolling. They sport EVA foam handles, kevlar/carbon fiber composite blanks, and three-piece construction.
I’d say these rods are medium-light action, roughly comparable to the Capps & Coleman from B’n’M. Stiff enough to run a reasonable rig and sensitive enough to reveal a tentative strike, count us as impressed. That they’re among the least expensive of these excellent rods comes as a real surprise, and they’re definitely worth a second look.
Our Pick- the B’n’M Capps & Coleman Series Trolling Rod!
Spider rigging for crappie demands a long, stiff rod that’s still sensitive enough to detect light strikes. If you’re new to the technique, or run your gear in deep water, a rod of 12’ or 14’ will do. But experienced spider riggers and those who prefer shallow water will want to step up to a 16’ rod.
Our top choice is the excellent B’n’M Capps & Coleman. Available in a nice range of lengths, stiff enough for 1-ounce sinkers, and built with the sensitivity you need, we couldn’t find a better rod for this technique. And with durable handles designed to allow precise depth changes, this rod really is a step above its competitors.
The Southern Crappie trolling rods come close, however, and for the price, they deserve a careful look. You won’t be disappointed! And if you want a stiffer action, we recommend you give the B’n’M Pro Staff Troller a try.
Whatever your choice, you’ll be well equipped for spider rigging with any of these rods.
Let us know how they’ve worked for you, and please leave a comment below.
Check out our rod and reel combo for crappie buying guide!
What We Consider When Selecting a Rod for Spider Rigging
Good crappie rods come in a variety of lengths, powers, and actions, and you’ll see an impressive range of options sported by slab addicts. Some people fish light actions and longer rods for awesome casting performance. Others like the feel of a shorter ultralight. And a surprising number of people have (re)discovered the joys of cane poles for dipping!
But for spider rigging, a good rod is as much about length as anything else, and while action and power matter, most of the usual considerations don’t hold much weight.
These rods will be static and stationary, held firmly in place by a rod seat. You won’t be casting or shooting with these bad boys, though you could try your hand at dipping with one! Instead, they’ll be dragging a weighted rig and need to be stiff enough to keep your line nearly vertical in the water.
Let’s get into the meat of the issue.
When we reviewed our favorite crappie rods, we stuck to 7 feet or thereabout as nearly ideal for a variety of situations. But with spider rigging, longer is almost always better, and sufficient length is critical to avoid tangles and other problems.
Since you’ll be rigging 6, 8, 10, or even 12 or more rods, they need to keep their lines apart, especially in turns or when a fish is on. The only way to achieve this is with extra-long rods.
We recommend nothing less than a 10-foot rod, with 12 and 14 being better options. Lengths of 16 feet are common, and they can help you entice older, more skittish fish into a bite (especially in shallow water). Keep in mind, though, that they’re a handful in a small boat! We’d shy away from the longest options unless you’ve got some experience with this technique.
Action, Power, and Line and Lure Weight
Normally, these would be the defining characteristics of a rod. But with spider rigging, it’s really brand, model, and length that tell the story.
That sounds strange–we know it–but let us explain.
A rod’s action describes where along its length it will begin to bend under weight. Fast action rods are stiff for most of their length, bending near the tip. By contrast, slow action rods begin to give closer to the handle and reel seat, curving over a much greater percentage of their length.
Power describes how much force is required to bend a rod. Together with its action, a rod’s power tells you a lot about how it will perform.
For casting and most other techniques, you’re looking for very light power and fast action in a good crappie rod. Think light and ultralight rods that have sensitive tips.
But spider rigging rods are a different beast.
In spider rigging, you’ll be running weighted rigs to create a vertical presentation as you troll. With ½ to 1-ounce sinkers on your rig, plus the drag of two minnows or jigs, there will be constant force applied to the rod. If you regularly run a crankbait or an even heavier rig, you’ll need a stiffer rod.
In short, you’ll want plenty of backbone, and an ultralight just can’t deliver. Spider rigging rods are purpose-built for the weight and drag of this technique, and they’ll generally be a good bit stiffer than a rod you’d normally select for crappie, somewhere in the vicinity of a medium power, fast action–but much, much longer!
And unlike most conventional rods, you won’t see a power/action combo listed near the reel seat. You buy a brand, model, and length and trust that the manufacturer has done its homework–and in our experience, they have.
You’ll have a lot of lines in the water, and since you won’t have the rods in your hand, there’s no “feel” that tells you a slab is having a go at your lure.
That’s why it’s important that you run identical rods; mixing and matching make it very hard to reliably see a bite.
As Barry Morrow, a crappie guide on Oklahoma’s Lake Eufaula explains, “The key is to make sure the rods are all the same. All the rods should be the same length, power, and action, and they should be adjusted to the same height in the rod holders, so that you are able to decipher the motion of the rod tips to detect bites. If you are using different types of rods, they’re all bowed differently and respond differently to strikes, making it more difficult to interpret rod-tip and line movement.”
Guide quality isn’t a pressing concern with panfish, especially when you won’t be casting, and there’s not much attention given to them in the spider rigging world.
Expect pretty basic stainless steel with the occasional insert. Even the “high-end” Dynaflow guides you’ll find on some of the rods were old tech more than a decade ago.
Spider rigging rods can be made from a variety of materials. Some feature composite construction, using more than one option in the blank. Three materials are most common:
- Graphite is strong, stiff, and ultra-light. Due to its high stiffness, it’s also quite sensitive, and it makes a great, durable choice for a rod.
- Fiberglass is heavier than graphite, and usually less expensive. It’s not quite as sensitive or as stiff, but it can be incredibly strong, earning it a place in your angling arsenal. Especially for crappie, this is not necessarily a disadvantage, as cushioned hooksets are ideal. But the extra “give” this material offers can be a problem when trolling.
- Carbon fiber is the stiffest, strongest, lightest, and most expensive material used for rod blanks. Its performance is unparalleled, but so is its price!
You’ll often be looking for graphite and fiberglass rods to control the total cost of your spider rig, but there are some affordable options that feature carbon fiber as well.
Much about which handle to choose is a personal decision, but keep in mind that these rods will be spending much of their lives going into and coming out of a rod seat. We’d generally recommend EVA foam for that reason. As you’ll see, the rod manufacturers do, too!
Pretty much any decent spinning reel will get the job done, and you’ll mainly be concerned about their drag settings and longevity.