Chad Ferguson Signature Series Catfish Rod

Chad Ferguson Signature Series Catfish Rod From Whisker Seeker TackleAfter months of testing, tweaking and designing I’m pleased to announce the Chad Ferguson Signature Series Catfish Rod from Whisker Seeker Tackle is finally available.

Whisker Seeker Tackle is accepting pre-orders now and the rods will begin shipping in late July 2014.

This covers all of the information on the design, building, testing and the story behind why I built this rod (and the features in the rod).

If you just want the details on the rod click here to go directly to the specifications on the Chad Ferguson Signature Series Catfish Rod from Whisker Seeker Tackle or better yet just watch the video below.

Quick Jump Links

Broomstick Catfish Rods
The St. Croix Classic Cat Catfish Rod
Building The Perfect Catfish Rod
Testing, Perfecting and Breaking
The Trophy Tuff Warranty (Chuck Norris)
Chad Ferguson Signature Series Catfish Rod Specs
Frequently Asked Questions
Where To Buy

 

 

 

Broomstick Catfish Rods

I spent years targeting channel catfish with an occasional blue or flathead mixed in and finding a “catfish rod” was the last thing to cross my mind.

I used a variety of fishing rods, most were some sort of lighter weight freshwater rods with graphite blanks.

They weren’t be any means catfish rods, but I really didn’t know what a good catfish rod was and never really knew I needed one.

When I started catching blues and flatheads more consistently and started catching bigger cats I quickly realized these lightweight graphite rods were mismatched for catching catfish of any size. More importantly they weren’t well suited for many of the techniques used for catching catfish.

There were limited catfish rod options at that time, there were two or three different rods that were “built for catfish anglers”. I tried them all and never found one I was crazy about or even liked at all for that matter. They were heavy, lacked sensitivity and most were poorly built and didn’t last long.

That’s when I coined the term “broomstick rods”which is the term I use to describe these big heavy rods that many of the big brands market. I started calling them broomstick rods because it felt like fishing with a broomstick and even the biggest fish would barely bend the fishing rod. If you were targeting smaller cats you could give up trying to feel anything.

This led me to use fishing rods designed for steelhead fishing as an alternative. I used a variety of brands and models of steelhead rods over the years with great success. They weren’t quite “beefy” enough for manhandling really big trophy blues but I made them work for lack of better options.

In the past five years the market has changed significantly. More and more companies are trying to build products for catfish anglers and that includes good quality catfish rods.

I’ve used a lot of good catfish rods since I started my career as a catfish guide and some really awful rods also. I’ve been on a constant quest to find the “perfect” catfish rod and finally realized that it just didn’t exist.

The St. Croix Classic Cat Catfish Rod

Years ago there was a rod in production call the St. Croix Classic Cat (manufactured by St. Croix rods) and it was an amazing fishing rod. It was the closest thing I’d found to a perfect catfish rod. The only reason it wasn’t the “perfect” option is the price tag (over $200).

I had several of the St. Croix Classic Cat Catfish Rods but the price tag prevented me from outfitting my entire boat (minimum of 12 rods but as many as 18) with the St. Croix Classic Cat and with clients breaking rods (and throwing them in the water) it was a tough pill to swallow. Over the years I used them for my personal fishing and over time the use and abuse got to them and I had to retire them.

During that time St. Croix discontinued the rods. There’s other models on the market that many claim are the same rods (or at least very close). I’ve tried them and don’t agree. They’re not the same rods.

There’s still some of the old rods floating around and they’ve got a cult following among hardcore catters. Ask anyone who’s been catfishing for a long time and serious about it and they’ll know about the Classic Cat.

You’d be hard pressed to find a new one but every once in a while you’ll see a used Classic Cat for sale on fishing forums, eBay or Craigslist. These catfish rods sell used in what I would call “average” or below average condition for as much as $800. That’s how much people loved them.

Building The Perfect Catfish Rod

Whisker Seeker TackleWhisker Seeker Tackle contacted me and sent me some of their products to test last year and we started talking about catfish tackle, gear and catfish rods.

Ultimately this led to a phone call where they asked if I was interested in teaming up with them to build a catfish rod. We kicked it around and decided to move forward with a design after Whisker Seeker agreed to let me have 100% control over every single aspect of the final rod design.

The goal was simple. Build the “perfect” catfish rod I’d been looking for combining sensitivity with strength and the latest technology and innovation in fishing rod manufacturing. I wanted to build something that I could just as easily use fishing the Secret Catfish Rig for small channel catfish as I could pulling trophy blue cats off the bottom. I wanted the performance of the Classic Cat rods but an affordable price.

When the design process started we sent an old St. Croix Classic Cat Catfish Rod to the rod blank manufacturer and told them we wanted to replicate the power, action and sensitivity of the blank.

Two months later we started testing the first working prototype of the Whisker Seeker Tackle, Chad Ferguson Signature Series Catfish Rod.

Testing, Perfecting and Breaking

The blank was a home run from the very beginning but I wanted to use and abuse it and put it to through some serious torture testing (it’s a tough job, I know) and expose every single weakness and perfect every single aspect of the rod.

So went through testing, redesigning, testing again, tweaking and a lot of changes to just about every part and piece of the rod (except the blank) multiple variations of the original rod to get everything exactly as it should be.

We had a custom heavy duty reinforced reel seat built, changed line guides, moved line guides to improve casting performance, added additional line guides, modified handles and handle materials and everything in between.

The guys at Whisker Seeker Tackle asked at one point if I could break an anvil and wondered when I was going to stop tearing stuff up.

We perfected every single aspect of the design and I went back to field testing and abusing them again.

We finally built something that met my performance and durability expectations. Not only was it a dream to fish with but it looked super cool as well and we were able to keep it affordable.

Thousands of pounds of trophy blue catfish, dozens of monster flatheads and hundreds of channel catfish later, I agreed to put my name on it.

I’d finally found the perfect catfish rod and the Whisker Seeker Tackle Chad Ferguson Signature Series Catfish Rod was born!

The first rod in the Chad Ferguson Signature Series is a Medium Heavy action rod built for a variety of catfishing techniques and situations. It’s truly a general purpose rod for “every” catfish angler.

Catching big cats, finesse fishing for smaller ones, drifting, trolling, tightlining or slinging stink bait, this rod can handle it all (plus it’ll turn heads with it’s killer looks).

It’s the only fishing rod worthy of carrying Chad Ferguson’s name and the Catfish Edge and Whisker Seeker brand, it’s truly a cutting edge catfishing rod.

 

The Trophy Tuff Warranty (Chuck Norris)


Chad Ferguson Catfish Rod Trophy Tuff WarrantySo one day Matthew Davis calls me (he’s the big cheese over at Whisker Seeker) while we’re trying to finalize the details to get the rod on the market.

Matt says “Chad, I want to do something crazy”.

I told him to come down to Texas and I’d let him eat my mother-in-laws cooking and we’d see if he lived but he’s talking about the rod.

He wants to offer a warranty that’s like no other catfish rod, a two year warranty. One year against manufacturer defects and two years full replacement for half of the retail cost. If something goes wrong during the first year and it’s because of the manufacturing Whisker Seeker replaces it. If during the first two years something goes wrong and it’s not a manufacturers defect, they send the rod in, pay half of the retail price and they get a new rod.

I had to offer some examples to test the limits (plus have some fun):

  • Slammed in the truck tailgate or car door? Covered
  • Stepped on and broken half in two? Yes
  • Angry wife breaks it because she doesn’t want you fishing again? Uh-Huh
  • Dog chews it up? Yes
  • Someone tries to deadlift a world record blue catfish with the rod and flip it in the boat like a bass fishermen? Covered
  • Flies out of the boat on the highway and gets run over by a car? Yup

So Matt asks me what we should call the warranty.

When I said “Chuck Norris” he hung up on me.

That’s when I came up with the Trophy Tuff Warranty. It should be “Trophy Tough” but my daughter said Tuff would be “cooler”. I’m not sure I should get business advice from 8 year olds but Matt liked it so we just went with it.

Here’s the bottom line.

12 Months From Date Of Purchase: If something goes wrong during the first year from date of purchase due to manufacturers defects Whisker Seeker will cover the rod with a full warranty covering manufacturers defects,

24 Months From Date Of Purchase: Anything at all goes wrong that’s not a result of manufacturer defects during the first two years (anything really means anything) you send the rod in and have it replaced for half of the retail price plus shipping.

The Chad Ferguson Signature Series Catfish Rod Specifications


Chad Ferguson Catfish Rod 450The first rod in the series is a medium heavy casting rod.

We’ll be releasing more rods in the Chad Ferguson Signature Series Rod line in 2015 after we finish perfecting the other models.

The medium heavy rod is available for pre-order and will begin shipping in late July 2014.

Here’s all of the specs on the rod and more information.

  • High visibility rod tip shines like a lazer against the water so you can see every bit of activity when Mr. Whiskers comes along.
  • Revolutionary 2 piece glass blank with a strong backbone for winching in monsters and a sensitive tip for circle hooks or detecting lighter bites.
  • 7’6″ rod length provides the ideal balance between leverage over big cats, casting distance and versatility for a variety of techniques.
  • 10 one piece line guides for super smooth long distance casting and long term durability with monofilament or braided fishing line.
  • Medium Heavy Power for the perfect balance between finesse fishing and trophy fishing.
  • Moderate Fast Action with plenty of flex in the tip and through the rod blank so it works perfect with circle hooks with catfish of all sizes and has plenty of strength in the backbone when you have to show a big cat who’s in charge!
  • Heavy reinforced reel seats lock and hold without backing off or walking and built for long term abuse.
  • Extra long handle and foregrip to control big cats, bottom bounce sinkers or finesse fish. Tuck it under your arm and lay down on a big cat and you’ll feel the difference.
  • Cork composite handles provide the look and feel of cork but offer a no-slip grip and durability like no other, catfish slime and shad scales wipe right off and it doesn’t weather and breakdown like cork.
  • Light enough to hold all day and strong enough to lay the smackdown on a monster cat.
  • Industry leading “Trophy Tuff” warranty exceeds all other catfish rod warranties, because we’ve built a product we’re confident in.

 

Frequently Asked Questions

Chad Ferguson Signature Series Catfish RodWhat species of catfish can I use the rod for?

It’s built to work for all species of cats, blues channels and flatheads, you can catch them all with it.

What catfishing techniques can I use the rod for?

All of them! It doesn’t matter, you can use it for drift fishing, anchoring, controlled drifting or finesse fishing for channel catfish with the secret catfish rig!

Is the rod only for big catfish?

No, it’s built to be light and sensitive enough to catch smaller catfish and heavy anough for catching trophy cats. You can use it for all sizes and species!

Is there a spinning rod available?

No, we don’t have a spinning model available and currently have no plans for building a spinning model. I’ve never been a fan of spinning gear and usually suggest catfish anglers use bait cast reels. I don’t want to build a product that I wouldn’t personally use.

Does it matter if a rod is one or two piece? I’ve been using two piece catfish rods for years. It’s hard to find a one piece rod over seven foot long. The two piece rods of today aren’t like your grandpa’s old two piece rods and they stay together and work well. You do sacrifice a small amount of feeling in the rod blank with a two piece rod but for catfishing it’s not going to matter.

Why’s the rod so long?

Longer rods are preferred for catfish. Rod length not only impacts casting distance (longer rods cast further and more accurately at longer distances) but they also give you more control over big cats. I’ve found 7’6″ to be the ideal length for a catfish rod so that’s what I built.

Why does handle length matter?

If you’ve ever tried to land a trophy catfish with a short handle you know how much impact the length of the rod handle matters. If you haven’t experienced the “short handle struggle” yet you will one day and you’ll buy a catfish rod with a longer handle. Long handles give you more leverage over big fish, work better with many rod holders and make catfishing much easier overall.

What’s a composite cork handle?

Cork has always been my preferred material for handles on catfish rods. The problem is that it weathers, cracks, chips and generally does not hold up will. If you fish with prepared bait for catfish that’s a bad combination with traditional cork handles also. Cork composite is a mixture of rubber and cork. You get the look and feel of cork but off the charts durability and it won’t crack, chip or fall apart like a traditional cork fishing rod handle. Plus it’s not porous like traditional cork so it cleans up easily!

Why are there so many line guides?

The number of line guides impacts casting and how smooth a rod casts and also helps distribute the stress of fighting a big fish throughout the rod. Simply put the more line guides there are the better the rod will perform. Most fishing rod manufacturers cut corners and reduce the cost of the rod by reducing the number of line guides. It’s rare for a rod this length to have this many line guides because the manufacturers can make a few extra bucks on the rod.

What’s moderate fast action mean?

Action refers to the point that the rod blank bends and how far through the blank the rod bends. The moderate fast action gives you bend through the tip and part of the blank of the rod but keeps backbone good and stiff for big cat action!

Is this rod good for circle hooks?

Yes, it was built for fishing with all styles of hooks but I prefer circle hooks for many of the techniques I use so I made sure it was “circle hook friendly”. The tip of a rod needs to have some flex in it for circle hooks to work well.

Where can I buy a Chad Ferguson Signature Series Rod?

You can click here to buy from Whisker Seeker Tackle or click here to order here on the Catfish Edge website. Since we’re just getting the rods on the market we’re still working on a network of stores but you’ll be able to find the rods in select Scheels Sporting Goods Stores and through a variety of other retailers in the future. If you need help finding one just contact us or contact Whisker Seeker and we’ll be glad to help.

Are they available for local pickup in North Texas (Dallas and Fort Worth)?

Yes, we’re working on distribution now and have several retailers in the Dallas and Fort Worth that have contacted us to start stocking the rods so they’ll be available for pickup through a variety of local stores. I’ll also have rods available for pickup in Fort Worth until we have them in local stores (starting in late July).

If I need to use the Trophy Tuff warranty or the Chuck Norris warranty, what’s the process?

Chuck Norris is a tough dude but he wasn’t involved in the design, testing or distribution of this rod and Matthew Davis isn’t on board with Chuck. To use the warranty you need to register at the time of purchaser on the Whisker Seeker website. In the rare event you need to use the warranty this will be coordinated through Whisker Seeker Tackle.

Where To Buy

Order the Chad Ferguson Signature Series Catfish Rod from Whisker Seeker Tackle

They’re also available at select Scheels Sporting Goods stores listed below.

Scheels Coralville IA #44

1461 Coral Ridge Ave

Coralville, Iowa 52241

Scheels Springfeild #78

3801 S MacArthur Blvd

Springfield, Illinois 62711

Scheels Omaha NE #58

17202 Davenport St

Omaha, Nebraska 68118

Scheels Lincoln NE #46

2960 Pine Lake Rd

Lincoln, Nebraska 68516

Scheels Sioux City #50

4400 Sergeant Rd #54

Sioux City, Iowa 51106

Summary
Article Name
Chad Ferguson Signature Series Catfish Rod
Author
Description
The Chad Ferguson Signature Series Catfish Rod is the perfect catfish rod for all species of catfish and techniques with an industry leading warranty.

Comments

  1. Larry Barrow says

    Good luck with your new rods. Just purchased seven rods from Bottom Dwellers. My son has a brand new Classic Cat with the price tag still on it. Bought from Scheels years ago. If interested send me an email. Leaving for thr Red river of the North cat trip.
    Larry

  2. Kevin Gregg says

    I sure hope you change your mind and make a spinning rod, that is all I use and have had very good luck with them.

  3. BCS says

    Very Cool Rod. Had I not purchased two last year, that were twice the cost I buy one. Only been fishing once in past 4 years. This summer boat all fixed, cleared by Doc to go out while on 10 liters of oxygen the fish starting hitting hard when I had planned to come home. Not beening out in sun for so many years forgot what a terrible sunburn was like, let alone sun posioning. But was able to catch the largest catfish I had ever caught or dreamed of catching on a pole. He was only 8 pounds but felt like 50! Waiting for fall to try again, covered in SUNBLOCK.

  4. Matthew Musgrove says

    I just bought two of these on the pre sale. I’m very excited to get them and give them a try! I had purchased two graphite rods for catfishing, and when they arrived and both rod tips were broken in the same place, I sent them back. I have no doubt these will do everything I need and then some

  5. Darrian says

    Hey Chad, I am currently about to order one of your custom rods except I have one question?! Just like your custom pole which can catch from the smallest to trophies! which reel do highly recommend the most that works just like your pole being able to catch the smallest to trophies! thanks

  6. Brent Anderson says

    So I ordered a rod Friday, just got it today on Wednesday. Must say I am pretty impressed, the handle material feels even better then cork, and it should hold up great. Rod has a good stiff back, but the first 2 feet are pretty flexible and most important its pretty sensitive. Beautiful rod, great deal, great price. Its a steal at 60 bucks. Don’t think you will find anything made that’s more directed towards what we are looking for in a all around catfish rod. This thing will handle anything but a few monsters if you know what your doing. Great job Chad, look forward to some more products… maybe a reel to go with it!

    • says

      Al, we don’t have any local retailers at this time. We sold through the initial inventory much faster than expected and are waiting for more stock to come in. I hope to get a couple of local retailers setup towards the end of the year.

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