There are other ways of introducing bait to your hook area. There are PVA bags and also mesh stocking to attach to your rig prior to casting. These dissolve in water and leave an attraction near your hook.
My favourite is PVA string making a donut shape of whole and half boiles attached to the lead. Does a similar job with much less faff.
I think it depends very much on the waters where you are fishing. At the moment I am fishing a 40acre plus windswept gravel pit for tench and bream. I use a medium spomb which allows me to get bait in the water quickly and efficiently. You dont need to spend a fortune on a spod rod mine was about 50quid and is more than adequate for ranges of up to 90yards or so. The rod also doubles up as a marker rod and casting a castable rake. I guess it would be ok as a uk catfish rod but cant stand the things so cant really comment