Best Swimbait Rod 2019 [Buyer’s Guide]

best swimbait rod

​Although any decent casting or spinning rod can throw small swimbaits, once you start hunting large bass with big swimbaits a normal crankbait or baitcasting rod may not be up to the job.

So what kind of rod do you need?

The Best Swimbait Rod will have a medium to heavy power rating with a fast action

Larger swimbaits cause a lot of drag when they are retrieved. That swim action needs a solid swimbait reel combined with a rod with a lot of backbone.

​When your lure weights get upwards of 8 ounces it is best to be equipped with a dedicated swimbait rod and reel that is perfectly suited to handle these big lures.

It is not uncommon to see a bass boat with at least five different rod and reel combinations, and usually you will see a combo that can handle big swimbaits.

Swimbait fishing has exploded in recent years and more and more brands of super realistic lures are being launched every year.

Some of those brands will contain some monster lures with big paddle like tails. Anything over 6 inches in length will need a rod blank with considerable backbone.

As a general guide you will need a rod that falls somewhere in the following ranges.

  • Power - medium to heavy power rating
  • Action - fast action
  • Length - 7 to 8 feet in length
  • Materials - high modulus graphite rod blank

The numbers quoted above are not absolutes and if your goal is to throw finesse lures of 2 ounces or lower then you need some thing a little lighter and shorter.

Move up to some monsterous 8 ounces paddle tail swimbaits and you need to stick to the higher end of scale when it comes to swimbait ​pole choices.

​Best Swimbait ​Rods 2019


​This is a rod which comes in at 8 foot long, is heavy-duty, and is constructed of quality materials. Did we also mention it’s very affordable? 

​This is a rod that is perfect for large swimbaits or other heavy baits of your choosing.

It is rated for lures in the 2 to 8 ounce range, which ultimately makes it a great all rounder esecially for those that are just trying swimbaits for the first time and are not looking to throw massive lures all of the time.

The rod itself is constructed of graphite blank as well as Kevlar wraps. This rod features a Fuji reel seat and thus is indicative of this rod’s ability to handle some tough fishing action.

This rod can stand up to about 15 to 30 lb. fish, and you can choose green or black for the rod color.

Compared to other Dobyns rods, such as the Champion XP and Champion Extreme, this rod is a lot more affordable and lets pretty much everybody in on the greatness and quality that Dobyns are known for.

The rod puts the most important features first. Sure, you may not get all the bells and whistles that you would with a higher-priced Dobyns rod, but this is a great one to have in your toolkit.

The end result is a rod that is durable, clean and stylish, painted in matte black or green. They stand out on your rack and let people know you are serious.

This is a great rod if your goal is to throw baits weighing up to five ounces. This one is definitely a way to get into swimbaits and a great way to get yourself a quality rod without spending too much money.

It also works great casting frogs and big jigs, is light and easy to hold, and has the power to reel in the biggest pike, bluegill or muskies your local lake has to offer. Hook it up with your favorite reel and get ready to win all the tournaments!

Specifications:

  • ​7'9" in length
  • Medium/heavy power rating
  • High modulus graphite blank
  • Fuji reel seat
  • Kevlar wrapped.

​This is perfect for casting larger swimbaits as well as umbrella rigs that tend to be smaller. It holds up pretty well.
The dark-blue coloration is enough to make heads turn but also looks great in your rod locker. 

​It comes in at 7.5 feet and has quality materials at a price point you simply can’t beat. IT features a great cork handle that is comfortable to the touch, IM8 Graphite body, and Fuji-brand guides made of aluminum oxide. The result is a rod that is heavy but not so unwieldy that you lose what you hooked.

We noted this particular rod feels a little heavier than other blanks, and there was also no indication of the recommended line size or lure weight. Therefore, you will need some experience to safely judge what the ideal weight should be.

Although the name of the rod includes ‘swimbait’ in the title, we would not put anything more weighty than .75 oz or 5 inches in length. Smaller baits than this will work really well. Frogs with thick cover also handled like a dream.

The price point on this particular rod is very reasonable, and the quality is there but without the need to break the bank.

One thing that we would have improved upon is the guides. They are aligned a bit to the right of the reel seat, more than we would have cared for, and we could feel a difference in how the rod performed. If you will be casting near close targets, you will really feel this.

This rod is great all things considered. The balance is spot on and the weight of the rod is easy to hold. Performance is good for the price and while you may be able to find much better swimbait rods, this is good for a beginner or a veteran who just wants a good product at a superb price.

Specifications:

  • ​Top notch IM8 graphite rod blank
  • Aluminum oxide Fuji guides
  • Pac Bay reel seat
  • Split grip with cork finish

​Here is a rod that every fisherman is hoping to add to their arsenal, and for very good reason.

It features a Fuji DPS reel seat, Fuji K concept guide frames, and lightweight but tough carbon blank construction.

​This is one of the newest Okuma Select Rods and is perfect for baits weighing in at 2 to 10 oz. This rod loads very well, and the right reel will make the cast a real pleasure; if you’re like us you will hardly feel that line go out.

We tried a few different swimbaits out when using this rod, and we feel that things really start to get good once you hit 3 ounces.  The heavier baits seem to reduce the efficiency of the rod, but they still work pretty well. 3 ounces, we feel, is the “magic number”.  If you own an 8” Hudd, this rod handles it like a dream, and that is what gets us those prize bass weighing over 10 lbs.

The manufacturers have labeled this as a “swimbait rod”, and that is indeed the ideal application for this one. After all it really excels in handling our swimbait, but we think it can handle an Alabama rig, maybe even an umbrella rig.

Consider the A-rig with a head weighing in at ⅜ of an ounce and then a few different swimbait heads, and then the weights of everything else (plastics)- getting to a weight of about 3 oz plus is not going to be hard at all. So, all you A-riggers out there, go for it.

All in all, the price is good for what you get. This thing won’t cast 1 oz swimbaits, nor will it work for a 5 oz swimbait with a .5-ounce jig head. However, if you need a rod that can handle the huge baits and lead you to big bass, this is going to be the rod to do it.

Specifications:

  • ​Fiber reinforced blank
  • Uprated model of previous Guide Select Rods
  • Increased lifting power
  • Fuji K-concept guides
  • Fuji reel seat

​So, we’ve been testing this guy out for a while now and decided to compile our thoughts into one review.  Come discover what we found during our testing.

​For starters, the ring locks located on the grip are great and you can tell they mean business. They are tough enough to securely hold a large swimbait reel to the side of the rod with no trouble at all.  

The reel seat is air-foil carbon, there are stainless steel line guides, and there are 36-ton Japanese Toray Blanks included also.

After all, putting a lot of your power into holding the rod is harder on the hands than we like to admit, especially when you’ve hooked a big one or are casting. You can also easily put these under your arm during retrieve, makes it easier to set the hook and more comfortable also.

These rods might look like something you’d play billiards with, but they are easier to handle than you think. They handle the weight of the cast with ease, and the tip bends just right, giving you a flexible rod experience and not the feeling of handling a broomstick like some others we’ve had in the past.

Not only will you love the flexibility, but the construction and hardware of this rod is tops. It is all heavy-duty stuff, designed for ease of use. These rods are powerful, and they handle the heavy stuff with ease-don’t worry about hooking and landing a huge 10 to 20 pounder when using this rod. It’s designed to bend and work with you in making sure you land your catch.

The landing will be comfortable, too-you can keep your hands and wrists all in line as you retrieve while using the Muse.

All in all, it works best with 2-4-ounce swimbaits if you or somebody you know is looking to start off with big baits, try this rod out.

Specifications:

  • ​36 Ton Toray rod blanks
  • Carbon reel seat
  • Zirconia guide inserts
  • SIC rod tip

​Here we have a carbon-blank constructed rod that features premium Zeus titanium guides, these are actually 43% lighter than the usual stainless-steel ones we usually find on rods like this.

There are also Fuji trigger reel seats on these models, and best of all it all comes backed with a limited lifetime warranty.


It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know that this rod means business. The super responsive 24- and 30-ton carbon is second to none, and the Sea-Guide RS inserts are harder than quartz. Inserts that are made from the RS material provide you a larger opening in which lines as well as knots can easily pass through.

The carbon-fiber grips are also worth noting. This is un-coated material, so you get to hold a very fine and pleasing texture that will have you gripping the rod with comfort and ease. The fore-grip is actually crafted as part of the reel seat, and it aids in securing the reel plus covers up all the reel threads, so your hand is comfortable for long periods of time.

These rods are great, and it is likely you will want multiples of them. They work really well when it comes to swimbaits for bass, and you might even want to get one for others, like muskies. The quality is second to none and is rated for 2 oz to 10 oz when it comes to lure weight. For the line weight, the rating comes in at 15 to 40 lbs., so even the heaviest of the fish can’t get away.

In sum, this rod does everything and more-it is very sensitive, and the grips are to blame. Vibrations are handled a lot easier thanks to this, and you can more easily sense a bite. This rod looks sharp and is a real pleasure to use.

Specifications:

  • ​24 Ton graphite blanks
  • Fiber reinforce tip
  • ​Titanium guides

​Once again, we have a top-quality rod from Abu Garcia. This is a rod you will get excited over when you learn it is made of tetra axial carbon construction, which increases its durability as well as its overall strength. You will definitely appreciate the Alconite guides.

​The Fuji reel seat makes sure your experience is comfortable. And best of all you get a five-year limited warranty. The rod is coated with a cool gloss finish the lower third which helps to make it look great, but also has a raw sanded blank for the rest of the rod.

The grip is certainly comfortable, as it is made of EVA foam and has a split rear grip but a full foregrip.  When we first got this rod and took a look at it, we were happy to see that the guides were perfectly in line, and the thread wraps were secured neatly. This build makes us confident in knowing we can throw big baits with it.

When it came time to test out the baits, we found this rod was rated for weights of 1-4 oz. It handles lures of that size with ease. We tested a one oz lure all the way up to a six-ounce lure to which it did a fine job when we did a lob cast.  However, it is best if you stick to the proper weights for best results.

We were also pleased with the sensitivity of this rod. It’s average at best, but still good. Given the size of the stick, it’s hard to find ones that are super sensitive, especially when it features all that good hardware.

This rod was originally going to be for use in Japan, but thankfully was brought to the USA for others to enjoy. This is a sizable broomstick you will enjoy using for your big baits.

Specifications:

  • ​Tetra axial carbon blank construction
  • Fuji alconite guides
  • Fuji reel seat
  • 5 year warranty

​This is a rod that features Daiwa’s signature Super Volume Fiber graphite build, x45 bias graphite fiber construction allowing superb flexibility and strength, and a Daily custom carbon air reel seat as well as an aluminum reel clamp nut.

​The split grip EVA foam design plus hook keeper is comfortable, and the micro pitch blank finish looks good too.

Coming in at 8 feet, this rod is a total winner. This is great if you seek to use the biggest lures out there, and there’s really nothing this guy can’t handle. Provided you add the right reel to this, you are going to be the proud owner of a rod that can handle the largest swimbait without too much trouble.

The aluminum oxide guides plus that carbon air reel seat add to the ease of use. Even though this rod is a pretty large broomstick, you don’t need to do a lot of crazy casts in order to get it to fly.

We tested it out in terms of the baits it can handle; and we found that 2-5 oz was just perfect for this particular rod. It handled the casts naturally and easily. We even tried out the Hudd 8-inch Rainbow Trout, as well as the 7-inch Century Triple Trout. It handled them like a true pro.

 The rod itself felt natural and light but also balanced when we held it, and honestly it feels more like a flip stick instead of a swimbait rod.  However, do not try to flip or pitch this thing like we did.

The tip does a great job of handling jigs and plastics that weigh a half ounce quite well. However, we did have some troubles with the really long handle. By flip stick standards, it’s really long and a bit awkward.

All in all, it’s a top rod and if you can get your hands on it, we highly recommend it.

Specifications:

  • ​x45 graphite fiber construction
  • ​Carbon Air reel seat
  • Split grip EVA foam handle

​Swimbait ​Rods

​As mentioned above when choosing a rod for swimbaits there are a few basic requirements that will that you need to take into consideration.

Firstly it really is the size and weight of the lures that you will be fishing with that should determine what kind of rod is best for swimbaits.

The following list of attributes are what you need to pay close attention to when selecting a rod for swimbait fishing:

  • Power - medium to heavy power rating
  • Action - fast action
  • Length - 7 to 8 feet in length
  • Materials - high modulus graphite rod blank

Personally I only use a dedicated swimbait pole when using the bigger lures. On the lighter to medium sized lures a good crankbait rod is just as usable.

​Power 

The power of a fishing rod will normally describe how strong the rod is or what weight lure that it is has been designed to be used with.

You'll usually find a power rating stamped on the rod blank. They can either be quaoted in what ounce lure to use with it or one of:

  • ​Ultralight
  • Light
  • Medium
  • Heavy
  • Xtra heavy

There are of course some ratings that fall in between those listed above such as light/medium, medium/heavy etc.

You will also get a line rating that the rod will work best with. These rating are normally ranges between two extremes.

For swimbaits you need a rod with a line rating of at least 20 lb. Power wise you should choose a rod that is rated medium to medium/heavy.

​Action

​Rod action is often confused with rod power. But, the two are very different things.

​A rod's action describes where exactly the rod will start to bend when put under pressure.

A fast action rod when pull against will have it's bend start higher up near the top two thirds of the rod blank. 

Whereas a slow action rod will start to bend much lower down near the reel seat.

For much lighter lures a fast action with a light power rating is usually suitable.  Once you start to use bigger lures though you will need to combine a fast action with a medium to heavy power rating.

A slower action can give you a better casting distance as you can load the full length of the rod blank during your casting swing, but they are also mush less sensitive when compared to a fast action.

The tip on a fast action rod is more sensitive and gives much better feedback down through the rod and into the handle.

​Length

​The right length rod for swimbaits roughly around 7 and a half feet. Shorter rods are really not that suitable with large lures.

​But if your lures are quite small at under two ounces then a shorter rod can be better especially if you are casting in a confined space like on the banks of a small river or stream.

Smaller rods are also considered more accurate so if your goal is pin point precision with light to medium sized lure then a good length for a swimbait fishing rod would be seven feet. You can go smaller depending on the situation.

​If you are using some of the bigger swimbaits then do not hesitate to use an eight foot rod. That extra half a foot can make a real difference particularly to casting distance.

​Materials

​E-glass was traditionally the go to material of rod builders many years ago but advances in materials over the last twenty years have resulted in lots of super light rods.

These rods are normally built from graphite or some form of graphite blend.

They can be blended with either e-glass, s-glass or carbon fiber if you are looking for a truly high end rod.

Graphite is a lot more sensitive than e-glass and it is also a lot lighter. So if you are casting large lures all day a lighter rod can make a massive difference in just how tired you will be by the end of the day.

The lightness does come worth a price though, they are more brittle and will break a lot easier than a fiber glass rod blank.

If you do buy a ​high end rod then it is certainly worth the extra expense to buy a decent rod tube so that it can be protected during transit.

​Miscellaneous

At a minimum you'll need 20 lb monofilament or 40 pound braid. Again this is where it is crucial to pair you rod and reel with your line. All of that stems from your choice of lures though.

​The line guides on the rods listed above are all of a high enough quality as too are the reel seats.

You should regularly inspect your line guides for wear and tear. Any kind of detects or sharp edges on them can ruin your fishing line especially braid.

If you do see and issue best to get either a new insert fitted of have the full line guide replaced.

The choice between a cork handle or a foam one really does come down to personal preference.

Just be sure that your rod and reel are compatible. Some of the very low profile baitcaster reels can have a issue in that the handle may end up rubbing against the line as it moves over it.

This is not always apparent when you purchase a rod.

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