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Best Chatterbait Rod – [Buyer’s Guide]

best chatterbait rod

​Chatterbaits can be one of the most effective lures for summer bass especially when fished over and along weed beds where bass love to hangout in warmer temperatures post spawn.

Choosing the best chatterbait rod means matching the rod power and action to how these lures are generally fished.

​Look for a rod that has a medium/heavy power rating, a fast action and at least 7 feet in length as a minimum:

  • Power - Medium/heavy power rating. You need a rod with quite a bit of backbone when working around thick cover. Fishing a 3/4 ounce chatterbait through thick weeds needs a rod blank with a lot of power.  
  • ​Action - Fast action. Most single hook lures require a fast action and chatterbaits are no exception. The only instance to use a more moderate action for a chatterbait rod is if you were going deep in open water. In that instance it might be better to slow down your hook set a little.
  • Length - 7 foot long as a minimum. Rod length can affect casting distance and chatterbaits are usually worked over a large distance. A longer rod also helps steer bass out of thick weed as you get a little better leverage against them with a longer rod.

​Occasionally you will see some anglers recommend using a bladed jig rod with a more moderate action. A moderate action will help to slow down your hook-set and this can be desirable it you are using a very large chatterbait or one with a big trailer.

Slowing the hook-set allows the bass to fully engulf your lure.

Personally I prefer to have the fast action. Slowly your strike by lifting your rod tip and reeling at the same time can give you the same action as a moderate tipped rod.

With the fast action you have the ability to strike either quickly or a bit slower by adjusting your striking technique.

​Best ​Chatterbait Rods


​A real rising star in the bass rod building world Enigma are quickly making a name for themselves by producing some of the best performing rod blanks and very decent price points.

The Enigma Fishing Phenom Gen2 ​is one of the best chatterbait rods to have in your collection. The Toray Graphite blends on this rod are extremely sensitive and lightweight, yet strong, which is perfect for all kinds of fishing.


But for me, the best quality is its durability. Being as lightweight as it is, I had little hopes for how long this rod would last me, especially considering the size of the catch I sometimes reel in. But boy, was I wrong! The rod has lasted me for years, even though I've captured some pretty big fish. It hadn't broken in any way and seemed as sturdy as it was when I bought it.

The EVA handle on this rod is incredibly comfortable, I would usually end up with a few blisters or chaffs from fishing too much, but this rod has solved that problem for me. The handle helps me grip the rod comfortably and tightly for as long as I want without causing any damage to my hands.

No matter what depth I'm fishing in, I've found this rod to be one of the most well balanced, sensitive, and robust rods in my collection.

I've also used the rod during a few fishing competitions I've been a part of. I could see numerous other participants using the same rod as well, so I can safely say this is definitely a popular rod in the vibrating jig community. And why wouldn't it be considering the rod ticks all the right boxes without being too pricey?


​​Chatterbait fishing rods have the perfect balance between balance, strength, and durability. I've used quite a few fishing rods, in search of the perfect one. I can safely say that the LEW's TP173MH-CB speed stick rod is is a great option.


It's basically a no-nonsense kind of rod that performs like a dream. The rod has a tenacious backbone that will allow you to haul big fish with ease and without snapping. Don't let its appearance fool you; the rod is built with high-grade materials that make it durable.

It contains an American tackle microwave guide system which helps to eliminate wind knots and improve casting accuracy even at long distances. The Winn grips with Dri-Tac technology are unlike any other and allow you to grip with rod firmly yet comfortably for long periods without causing any significant discomfort.

No matter what the weather or fishing depth, the TP1 series rods always outperform all my other rods when it comes to chatterbait fishing, and I've seen some excellent rods in my day. I can take this rod with me without having to continually worry about the weather, draft, water depth, or a ton of other things. I can tell you that I've landed on one that works for me in every situation.

Other than the excellent construction of the rod itself, I was quite impressed by the IM8 graphite blanks too. It's not every day that you come across blanks that have superior sensitivity and strength and are still incredibly lightweight! 


​​I've tested out numerous rods over the years in my quest for a decent chatterbait ​pole. I was looking for a rod that could work well while still being lightweight and durable.

One of the rods that I tried out a while ago is the Daiwa Tatula casting rod, and so far, it has proven to be my favorite rod for chatterbaits.

T​his neat little rod is indeed an engineering masterpiece with its super volume flow technology and a bias graphite fiber construction, which virtually eliminates blank twist. If you’re tired of weak rods that break easily, try this one out!

With chatterbait roads, I often find that manufacturers compromise on the durability or power while trying to make the rod more sensitive. But this was not the case with the Daiwa Tatula casting rod, which was both robust and delicate at the same time!

I found that the rod was sensitive enough to detect smaller catches and gave me a good feel for when the catch was secured on the hook. Something I often don't get with rods that are geared more towards providing adequate resilience and power for larger fish.

However, the rod proved to be pretty powerful when I tested it out with larger fish as well. I've actually caught my biggest catch with this rod, and it delivered excellently.

I don't feel the need to have a ton of different fishing rods for various circumstances or types of catches any more. I find that the Daiwa Tatula Casting Rod performs wonderfully for a large variety of my fishing escapades. Especially for chatterbait fishing.


​​Do not go on the name of this product! This rod is the sleekest chatterbait rod I have ever come across! As any fishing enthusiast will know, Shakespeare is a well-known name in the fishing community, and UglyStik has always been a user favorite.

 However, this second-generation, new, and improved version is nothing like I've ever seen before. This second-generation UglyStik has the same durability and power as its predecessor but has been made sleeker and more sensitive than before.

The GX2 fishing rod comes with a large variety of configurations for ease and specificity. There are 20 spinning models, 15 casting models, and three-pack rod options. Not to mention the six separate models for ladies as well.

It is constructed with both graphite and fiberglass to increase its robustness while still maintaining a good degree of sensitivity as well. I've had my fair share of large catches with this rod, and I can tell you this rod is powerful! I reeled in my biggest catch without the slightest fear of my rod failing!

The UglyStik's one-piece stainless steel guides eliminate any chances for insert pop-outs and significantly increase the rod's durability as well. UglyStik has maintained its clear tip design that it's famous for in the newer model as well and incorporated EVA grips that make the rod super comfortable to hold for long periods. I've gone on long day trips with my rod and have not experienced chaffing or any sort of discomfort whatsoever.

Besides this, the rod retails for a surprisingly great price though it has such excellent construction and so many features! I would very confidently put this up against an expensive rig any day. I've been using this rod for a very long time, and it has not failed me even once.


​ Fenwick's World Class casting rod is the most sensitive rod I have ever come across in all my time fishing.

You can quickly feel the bait vibrating and the hook and bait bumping off, which just goes to show how sensitive the rod is.

However, I've caught some pretty big fish with the rod, and I can tell you this rod is definitely one of my more powerful rods. I can easily fish in both shallow and deep waters with this rod without any reservations about its performance.

As mentioned before, I have tested this rod out on heavy baits as well and found that it did indeed perform excellently. I had no trouble with reeling in my larger catches, and its high sensitivity was great for all my smaller catches as well.

This rod is nothing if not durable. It performed better than my expectations in all the years I've been using it. The rod has not decreased in performance and has been consistent in every single way, whether it is sensitivity or power.

Another important factor to mention is its low weight! The rod is lightweight enough to be used for long periods without causing any fatigue and or add additional weight to big catches.

All in all, I am more than satisfied with Fenwick's World Class fishing rod and use it for a wide variety of fishing trips. Whether I'm fishing in deep or shallow waters and regardless of how the weather is, I can easily count on my rod to provide a good catch.


​​I've only had one favorite casting rod as a bass angler, and that's Dobyn's Champion Extreme HP casting rod. ​

 Over the years, I've tried to test out different rods, as well, just to see if I can find something newer or better since I've been using this rod for a while now. But nothing has come close to giving the same performance as my faithful Dobyn's casting rod.

The rod has an uncanny balance between power, sensitivity, and durability that I have yet to find in another rod.

I've learned the hard way that not being properly equipped or having a rod that does not perform as well will ultimately only result in a disappointing fishing day, no matter how good the other circumstances may be. This is why I take my old rod with me even if trying a new one, and so far, I'm glad I've been doing this.

Dobyn's Champion Extreme HP casting rod is a heavy rod! I've caught some of my best and biggest catches with this rod, and I've always had a great time wrangling in a great bass!

 It would help if your bait had a decent weight if you want to catch a decent sized fish, so I'd often use baits of around two pounds. Yet the rod is sensitive enough for me to feel the bait vibrating and give me a good idea when the catch has been hooked on properly.

The rod comes with slopped frames and tangle-free Fuji K-series concept guides for long casting distances and to improve casting accuracy as well. I can go on all day about all the features this rod contains.

But I find that the best test of a rod is in the results it produces, and I've witnessed excellent results with Dobyn's Champion Extreme HP casting rod.


​​If you're looking for a rod that fairs well in both innovation and performance, then Shimano's Zodias casting rod is the best chatterbait rod you will find in the market. I was a little skeptical about getting the rod initially because I'm always a bit wary of rods that claim to have great technological advancements.

I often find that such rods neglect the traditional concepts of power, sensitivity, durability, and comfort for the sake of innovation. But this rod proved me wrong, and I'm so glad that it did because I now have an all-time favorite rod that has given me my best catches.

The Zodias casting rod is made with Hi-Power X construction, which produces the rod through a unique wrapping technique to improve casting efficiency and accuracy. Although the rod didn't state that it provides longer casting distances as well, it certainly has done so for me.

The Fuji semi-micro aconite guide utilized by the rod is perfectly sized, not too small and not too large either. The EVA foam split grip handles are super comfortable and help to avoid chafing as well. The Ci4+ reel seat is both lightweight and rigid and can transmit vibrations in a much better way. Making it one of the most sensitive rods I have ever come across.

Although the rod is undoubtedly an excellent chatterbait ​pole, its versatile nature makes it excellent for spinnerbait use as well. Although the lure weight recommendations shouldn't be ignored, I have had tons of success with all sizes of catches. Even while fishing in cold weather, you can actually feel the strike on the slackline! Which just goes to show how sensitive the rod is. Other than this, the durability and low weight of the rod are also commendable features that make this rod an excellent ​chatterbait fishing ​pole.


Chatterbait Rods

Best Frog Rod 2019 – [Buyer’s Guide]

best frog rod

​Throwing hollow body frogs in and around heavy weed cover is one of the most fun ways to catch freshwater bass.

When bass hit a frog lure from below they do so with a lot power and speed. Knowing your tackle is up to the job is one less thing to think about.

This is no place for light weight spinning gear!

Your rod and reel need to be capable of running heavy braid without sacrificing either casting performance or hook setting ability.

But what size and power make the best frogging rods?

The best frog rod will have a heavy power rating and a fast action

​A heavy power rating on a musky rod would not seen out of place, but it may seem unusual for those who are new to frog fishing for bass. 

Once a bass strikes your lure the first place they are going to make a move to the nearest heavy cover, most likely a the large weed bed or lily pads that they came from.

A fast action allows you to make your hook-set swiftly before they have a chance to turn their heads down, the heavy power means that if they do make it to cover then your rod blank has enough backbone to handle hauling them up through it.

Length wise look for either a 7 or a 7-1/2 foot long rod. Once you go under a 7-footer your ability to over lots of water with the reduced as the casting distance that a smaller rod brings can leave you short.

​Best ​Frog Rods 2019


The ​Dobyns Fury Series has somewhat of a cult following for those in the know. It is easily the best frog rod for the money.

Here we have another great contender from the Dobyns family of great rods; model FR 735C

This one measures 7’3” and is a fast action casting rod. It works best with 12-25 lb line, and the lure weight recommended for the rod is ¼ to 1.5 oz. 

​The rod itself is amazing and comes with a Fuji reel seat, high modulus graphite blank, and Kevlar-wrapped line guides.

The guides, by the way, are aligned perfectly. Plus, you can also look forward to the cork grip and the Hypalon butt.

You can just feel it when you hold it in your hand. It is painted black and we also liked the epoxy finish around the guide wraps, it was very clean and very consistent for a rod that is mass produced. 

This is arguably the best frogging rod we’ve used in a while. For the price you can’t beat it. We used it to cast worm/spinner jigs, and it handled them with ease. Those jigs were going through the heavy weeds like it was a knife through butter.

We got some pretty big bottom-dwelling walleye like it was the easiest thing in the world. We even got a 6 lb. largemouth in some weeds, too. One of our other crew members got himself a muskie with it. We would definitely recommend it.

This one is best for use with hollow body frogs and buzzbaits because it is wide enough to set a large frog hook form a pretty decent distance and pull that fish up through even the thickest weeds. You can also use this rod for flipping/pitching and small swimbaits too.

All in all, if you need a frogging rod that won’t quit, this is a good one that won’t break your budget.

Specifications:

  • ​High modulus graphite blank
  • Kevlar wrapped
  • Fuji reel seat

This rod is a pleasure to use and the fun starts right when you hold it in your hands.

The Daiwa-exclusive Super Volume Fiber (SVF) graphite tech is amazing and you can feel it. After all it is a bias graphite fiber construction that grants the angler the max in strength and flexibility. 

​There will also be little to none blank twist. The finish is clear and glossy, but rather thin, as we noticed the bumps that arose as a result of being wrapped in plastic over the blank material used to hold the graphite in place while the rod bakes during manufacturing.

​The rod features the Daiwa custom reel seat and an aluminum reel clamp nut in order to keep everything together. The ring guides are Alconite and you will also like the two-color choices for this sharp looking rod. 

​The rod is superb-light and comfortable to hold for those all-day adventures. They come at a fair and decent price, and the sensitivity on these guys is comparative to some higher end brands.

The reel seat is very comfortable, and the casting we did with this was as easy as pie. Load ups are easy, and your lure will fly as far as you want it to. 

​We liked the grip, it is made of EVA foam, is split in the back, and comfortable to hold. When we took this out for some testing, we found that it displayed a great casting performance.

The tip is predictable when it comes to loading, and you can use baits within the appropriate lure rating with ease. We used some half-oz jigs and had a great time with it. 

​Lastly, we’d like to note the sensitivity of this rod. It was decent, but I have felt better when it comes to Daiwa products in the past. Don’t let that stop you from picking this up-it’s a good buy.

Specifications:

  • ​Alconite guides
  • Custon reel seat
  • SVF graphite blank

Primary features of this rod include the integrated reel seat, the stainless-steel line guides, and the shock-absorbing tip. This tip brings in some extra strength. The blank itself is constructed of carbon.

​The rod is able to handle super braids of even the most advanced nature, but not break your budget.

This rod was engineered to handle the strength of braided lines and you will feel it in the strong backbone. This will help reduce the probability of pulled hooks but still keep you well in control. 

​The tip is a Shock Absorbing tip that aids in mitigating the lack of elasticity common with braids. The stainless-steel guides and titanium oxide inserts prevent cracking and grooving so as to provide a long life.

​The handle design is comfortable and designed with ergonomics in mind, you can hold this textured rubber handle all day long and not get tired or sore.

​Now we would not go ahead and list this rod as being the top of the line. It is a nice rod, but this would be best for somebody who wants to start out with frogging and see if it is for them.

This is a nicely priced frogging rod that you can really use to fish top water frogs, jig fish heavy grass, and fish up some pretty good-sized catches. 

​Our crew did just that and we did indeed fish up some 2-4 lb. fish in the nearby lake. We used braid line on it, everything went off without a hitch. We noticed that the rod was rather stiff, so do keep that in mind. But, if you have the urge to use your frogs and get into some deep cover, this is your guy to start with. 

​Go into this one with the understanding this is a value-priced rod and you will no doubt have fun with it.

Specifications:

  • ​Shock absorbing tip
  • ​Titanium oxide guide inserts

This rod begins with the integrated poly curve tooling tech, and features SCII high-modulus graphite.

There are Kigan Master Hand 3D Guides, which are made of aluminum-oxide rings and black frames. 

The reel seat is Fuji ECS and has a black hood as well. This is a rod perfect for perfecting casting technique. The quality construction of this particular rod is designed to be about 50% lighter than previous rods. 

​We got this rod pretty fast and decided to take it out on the water. These perform really well for the price. One of our crew members was using a Bass Pro rod that was comparable to this one, and we handed him this rod to do a comparison.

This one performed a lot better as far as casting went and that crew member also felt that he could cast a lot better. We also used a willow-leaf spinner bait, and unfortunately did not catch anything but still enjoyed how it felt. 

​The rod is very lightweight and responsive one. It is easy to carry around all day long and casting is a breeze. You could easily stand out on the boat or dock all day and cast and not worry about your arms getting tired. The sensitivity of this rod is on point, and the backbone is super strong.

​Altogether, these rods are going to be ones you will love to add to your arsenal. The great price point plus the many different applications you can use these rods for make them really worth your money.

You can use them for chatter baits, swimming jigs and buzz baits depending on the model. They load up very well and the hook set has enough power that you don’t fear tearing the bait out of the mouth of your fish. 

Specifications:

  • ​High modulus SCII graphite rod blanks
  • Kigan Master 3D guides
  • Fuji ECS reel seat

This rod features 30-ton graphite blank and is very lightweight. We went ahead and weighed it and it came in under 5 lbs. The rod is also quite balanced.

 The hoop strength of this particular rod is unmatched thanks to the sublayer armor made with fibers that are durable and strong. This rod also features a ROCS (robotically optimized casting system) guide train which gives you a big casting distance with some of your lighter lures. 

​The Abu Garcia designed locking micro click reel seat design will provide a tight and secure connection between reel and rod. It is also very comfortable, and you will be able to hold this one all day long with no cramps or soreness in your hand.

The titanium alloy guides with Zirconium inserts will make for a great way to keep your line in place with no fears of tangles. There is also great Abu Garcia hook keeper that suits all bait applications. 

​Provided you pair this blank to the right lure type, you can count on it being very sensitive. We went ahead and decided to test this guy out on the dock, things worked out pretty well and we caught a few fish.

One thing we wanted to note was that it was not as fast of an action when we went about setting our hook, so we missed out on some fish thanks to not so good hook setting. 

​We tried out a​ hollow body frog over a heavy weed bed. Eventually we landed some four-pounders and felt good about the rod at large.

Again, we will state that the sensitivity was easy to feel even in about 15 feet of water. We sent it off with one of our crew members and he even managed to grab a catfish with this rod so it has plenty of backbone for larger fish.

​To sum it up, this one is a good rod at a fair price.

Specifications:

  • ​30 tom graphite
  • ​Reinforced fibers through the blank
  • UP reel seat

This rod starts out with a strong graphite blank, a Fuji-exposed blank reel seat, and a natural comfortable cork handle.

There are also 100% authentic Fuji line guides that will keep your line safe and secure. 

​​Made in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma, this is a one-piece rod and a great brand. We have had the pleasure of using several Falcon branded rods in both fresh and salt application, and we find them to be sensitive, quick to respond, and amazing hook setting capability.

This particular one is a real pleasure to use. It felt very strong in our hands and we were impressed with the great build quality. 

​We compared it to a Fenwick that we had and found that this one performed a lot better during testing. We tried it out with some ​smaller soft frogs. The rod itself was lightweight and easy to hold, we did not go out for the day but could see ourselves using it all day with no soreness in the arms. 

​The sensitivity was great also, we felt everything that was going on below the surface. The tip really aids well in helping you feel the bites on your jigs. This rod has a great backbone and will not have any trouble handling the big guys that come your way.

​These rods also hold up remarkably well on the road too. We packed them up to head out to a local tournament, and anglers know how hard it can be to transport and keep all your gear in good shape.

These rods hold up like a dream. All you have to do is pair them with the right reel and you will be casting further than you ever thought possible. It’s a good rod at a price all of us can afford. 

Specifications:

  • ​Fuji line guides
  • Fuji reel seat
  • Sensitive graphite blank

This rod features 30 Ton Toray blank complete with PVG Technology.

The graphite is expertly interlaced and thus has an easier time controlling the fiber angle alignment when the blank is rolling. 

This tight graphite construction also is the reason this rod is so sensitive. The Alps guides with zirconia inserts are a nice touch. The reel seat is an Evolve Engage model. There is a Portuguese full-cork premium handle and an Evolve hook keeper as well. 

​The rod come in just one piece. It is a medium heavy fast-action rod and does just what it should. You can drag the bottom and expect great sensitivity. We used plastics and did well with it. We recommend to 1 oz lures as this is the recommended weight rating for this rod.

​For the price, you really can’t go wrong. Even to create your own rod using a 24-ton carbon blank, you would probably be paying at least 30% more.

That already makes it cost effective. I’d also like to note that the rod is rather lightweight and features excellent sensitivity. The hardware is name brand and we typically see this on higher-end rods. 

​Now onto the cork grip. This is a very durable and good-looking. The only complaint is that the tip is rather breakable. We did not break the rod during our test time, but we certainly had concerns it could happen.

​Despite this, we still caught some bass with it, no trouble at all. Freshwater anglers all over will appreciate the balance, sensitivity and of course the value of this rod.

​In sum, we think this is a fine rod for the price paid. It is also worth noting that 13 has a great customer service and warranty program should you experience a break during a trip.

Specifications:

  • ​30 Ton Toray rod blank
  • Zircoia inserts
  • Alps guides
  • Evolve reel seat

​​Frog Rods

A lot of folks may think that a frog setup can end up being expensive, whilst that might be true of the best musky rod and reel combinations that are commonly used, but when choosing a frog fishing pole you need not spend a fortune.

It's all about getting the right balance between power, action and length.

​Lets take a more in-depth look at what kind of attributes make the best frogging rods.

Type

​The best bass fishing pole for use with frogs will be a baitcasting rod and not a spinning rod. Spinning setups are all well and good when you are using small lures and light monofilament, but they are not the best option for frog fishing.

Hands down the only sane choice is a casting rod combined with decent baitcaster.

A casting outfit allows you to make pin point accurate casts all day long with just the flick of a wrist.

Your aim should be to spot potential structures and hide outs were bass are likely to be waiting in ambush for any frog that happens to swim past. Weed beds and groups of lily pads provide great cover for bass and are also a natural hide habitat of frogs.

​With a baitcaster reel you can be way more accurate than with a spinning reel. It is also way less tiring to cast over the course of a day that a spinning rod and reel.

​Power

​For most fishermen power will usually means how big a fish, lure and line that a rod can handle. But with frogging things are slightly different.

Having to haul a bass out of a heavy weed bed once it buries it's head down in to it requires a rod that has a lot of backbone and stopping power.

Even a medium power rod will struggle a little so always stick to a rod that has a heavy power rating.

That and that fact that you should be using some fairly heavy braid means a heavy power rod is the only real choice.

Action

Action will generally describe how far up the rod blank that the normal bend in the rod starts once the line is weighted against the fisherman.

A fast action rod will start to bend considerably higher up the rod blank than a sloe action one.

Each type of action will have it's strengths and weaknesses.

For example a fast action rod has great tip sensitivity and hook up characteristics but they do tend to cast slightly shorter distances than a slow action.

Whereas a slow action rod blank can be loaded with a lot more energy during the back swing portion of the cast allowing it to achieve greater distances especially when using heavy lures. It does this at the expense of sensitivity though.

Length

Shoot for a rod of length 7 or a 7'6 as this is pretty much the sweet spot for a frogging rod. It will result in a higher percentage of hookups and give you that little bit extra when casting.

A longer rod can be held up straight higher so you have a bit more control of the tip once a bass has struck your frog lure.

Best Line for Swimbaits

Best Line for Swimbaits

​Choosing the best line for swimbaits will depend on a number of factors. There is no single line that is the best choice in every situation.

The size of swimbait, depth you are fishing, types of structures and the species of fish that you are targeting can greatly affect which line to select.

Most fishermen will tend to opt for the large style swimbaits. This means casting large lures long distances.

All that work is usually rewarded with bigger fish. I fact on waters where it is known that larger specimum bass and musky are lurking throwing swimbaits in the larger sizes is usually the go to tactic.

​Best Line for Swimbaits

​The best fishing line to use for swimbaits will depend on where exactly you are fishing in the water column. In shallower waters monofilament is the go to choice, whereas in deeper areas straight flourocarbon will work much better.

​1. Monofilament

​If you are working your swimbaits in the top 5 feet of the water column then the best option for a swimbait line will be good old fashioned monofilament.

Mono has better floating properties than flourocarbon as it is less dense.

Mono will help to keep the swimbait up a little as you are fishing over shallows and weed-beds. It also has a lot more stretch than the other two lines so when setting large treble hooks you have less of a chance of ripping a lip.

Most swimbait reels will have their line capacity quoted in lbs for monofilament.

​2. Flourocarbon

​Flouro can be used when you intend on working a swimbait into deeper waters. Because it is more dense than mono it can help to get your lure a little bit deeper. 

It will not stretch as much as mono and as a result you may not get as good of a side to side action from the lures especially if they big glide baits.

I have found that the extra stretch that mono gives you acts as somewhat of a spring, and if you have selected the correct action on your swimbait rod the you can work them back and forth to great affect.

​3. Braided Fishing Line

​There are two scenario's where I would use braid for swimbaits:

  • ​Targetting large species like pike or musky
  • Working weedless swimbaits over thick cover

​Note - braid has a higher risk of snapping especially when using really heavy lures. As you retrieve the top layer of braid can and does get bedded down into the previous layers that are already on the spool.

The consequences of this is that your cast may stop dead in mid flight if it is bedded in too tight, this can result in the line snapping and you losing your big expensive swimbait.

The advantage that braid gives you is when you are using a weedless swimbait.

Due to it's smaller diameter braided fishing line will slice through weeds much easier than mono of flourocarbon.

​So when working large weed-beds and lilies I'd opt for braid as the go to line for larger swimbaits.

Generally you'll want to pair the braid main line with a flourocarbon leader. If you happen to snap the line chances are it will be on the leader.

When fishing for larger pike or musky then you really should use a wire leader to the lure.

Swimbait Setup Guide for Beginners

Swimbait Setup

​Choosing the right swimbait setup means matching you rod, reel and line to the size and weight of the swimbaits you are looking to fish with.

A lot of people may think you just cast them out on a normal bass spinning rod and reel and retrieve, but things are a little more complex than they seem when using swimbaits.

There are a tonne of different swimbaits lures available to buy in all different shapes, colors and sizes.

​In recent years the larger swimbaits have become extremely popular and throwing them on the wrong setup is a recipe for disaster.

​Swimbait Setup

​Matching your rod, reel and line is paramount to perfecting your swimbait setup. Ultimately your choice of tackle will be determined by how big the lures are that intend on fishing with.

Medium to large sized swimbaits will need a setup that lies somewhere in the following ranges:

  • ​Rod - 7' to 8' in length, fast action, medium to heavy power
  • Reel - 300 or 400 sized baitcasting reel
  • Line - Braid or mono to match your reel size

​Rod 

​The best swimbait rods will usually have a fast action and a medium to heavy power rating.

Again what you should choose will depend on how big and more importantly how heavy the lures you intend on fishing with.

If you are using swimbaits that are six inches or less in length then chances are you won't need a dedicated rod. 

Once you go a little bigger with lures then it's time to start looking at a purpose built rod.

Personally I think the sweet spot in length is about 8 feet long.  

There are plenty of big brands that offer rods specifically for the larger lures and they are preferred over a normal small casting rod.

You'll want something with a rarely beefy backbone so look for a rod with a power rating of medium to heavy.

The heavier rod give you a much better hookset. Plus you will be targeting bigger fish so the extra resistance through the rod blank will be needed.

Action wise you'll want a fast action. A fast action means much better casting and it also gives that little bit more sensitivity through the rod tip.

Setting the hook right with big ​swimbaits can be a little bit difficult to judge, if you were to use a slower action rod then you would have even less feedback through the rod tip.

Reel

The best swimbaits reel for your setup will most probably be a sized 300 or 400 baitcaster.

​A baicaster is the preferred choice to a spinning reel as you can generally get a longer cast and you have perfect control of where the lure stops in mid-flight due to the thumb control on the spool.

Larger swimbaits will almost certainly require a size 400 baitcaster, some fishermen when throwing the giant swimbaits will even use a size 500.

The larger reels tend to be available in either a high or a low gear ratio.

The lower gear ratio gives you a lot more power for cranking really big lures. Larger lures do create a lot more resistance in the water as they are retrieved.

A higher gear ratio will give you a much quicker retrieve but at the expensive of power. Line per turn is usually measured in inches and you will often see manufacturers quote it this way.

​A strong drag and a high quality spool brake are also crucial. Cheaper reels will generally use weaker materials and have poor engineering tolerances when compared to the top brands.

When throwing swimbaits chances are that you are targeting the bigger fish. A robust drag built from high quality components is crucial. 

​Lower quality drags will almost always end up seizing on you and buckling under the pressure of a large fish.

Learning how to tune your reel correctly is crucial to getting the best performance out of it when using larger lures.

The braking system on the spools needs to be adjusted and the best way to do this is by experimentation. Dedicate half an hour to make a lot of casts whilst making small adjustments to the brake pressure setting.

Once you find the best balance between distance and risk of over-run then record what the setting is for a variety of different lure weights.

​Always favor spending more money on the reel rather than the rod. Rods get broken regularly, reels however if looked after and servived ever couple of years should last at least 10 years of for even the heaviest of users.

Line

The age old choice between mono of braid rages in the swimbait world just the same as in most other forms of bass fishing.

Most anglers end up having a preferred choice and will use it almost exclusively for just about every style and setup that they choose to use.

If you are using mono then for medium to large swimbaits 25 to 30 pound monofilament is probably the what you should spool your reel up with.

For braid you can usually double the breaking strain for the same amount of mono, so 50 to 60 pound mono.

Using mono fishing line for swimbaits allows you to have a little bit more stretch in the line which can act as a great shock absorber when targeting really big fish.

Braid however has very little stretch and you can generally get a little bit more casting distance out of it.

Braid will also slice through weeds much easier than mono. So, if you are working your lures in and around or over large weed beds than switching to braid may be the better option.

A great compromise is to use braid as the main line on the spool and then to use either a monofilament or a flourocarbon leader of between 5 and 8 feet.

This type of line setup for swimbaits gives you the best of both worlds, the casting and slicing performance of braided fishing line with low visibility and stretch of mono.

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 2 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 3/4 ounces or lower then you need some thing a little lighter and shorter.

Move up to some monstrous 2 ounces ​hard bodied multi-joint 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 bass fishing pole 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.

Best Swimbait Reel 2019 [Buyer’s Guide]

Best Swimbait Reel

With the surge in popularity of large swimbait fishing fishermen need to up their tackle considerations when it comes to getting the best casting performance from their setup.

​Choosing the best swimbait reel for you rod requires that you understand the relationship between the size/weight of the lure and how that affects your casting and retrieval.

​Swimbait Reel Gear Ratio

​The best gear ratio for swimbaits is ​one that is matched to the size of the lure, a larger lure should have a lower gearing, and for a smaller lure you can use either low or a high gear ratio.

There is no "best"...

​So;

You need to match the gear ratio to the size of the swimbaits that you intend to use.

The larger the swimbait the harder it will be to pull through the water.

For example, if you are casting all day a higher gearing and large lure will become very tiring on your arm. And a high speed reel will tend to wear out a little quicker

A good rule of thumb is that larger the lure the lower the gear ratio should be.

​Size & Shape

​The most common sizes or swimbait reels are usually either a 300 or 400 sized baitcaster reel.

You can use a 200 but it will have reduced line capacity and larger lures need heavier line.

There are usually two types of reels used for swimbait fishing:

  • ​Old style rounded baitcaster
  • New style low-profile baitcaster

Just be aware that not all low-profile baitcasters are suitable. With a low profile reel the line will sit pretty close to both the handle and rod blank so just be sure that if your swimbait rod has a fore grip that the reel is not too low.

​A spinning reel is rarely used but if you are casting very small swimbaits then it can work quite well.

​Best Swimbait Reels 2019


The Okuma Citrix 350 is the best swimbait reel for the money.

It manages to combine silky smooth casting performance, big line capacity and a powerful drag system all at a really great price point.

​Gearing

The gear ratio on the Citrix is 6.4:1 which is neither low or high making the 350 usable with a wider range of lures.

You get about 31 inches of line retrieved per turn of the handle.

Sure you don't get the cranking power of a 5.3:1 like the Abu Garcia Toro S below nor the high speed of something like a Shimano Curado (also below) but I would consider those reels as a lot more specialized.

The Citrix is much more of a all-rounder and if you are just starting out with choosing your first swimbait reel then it's a solid choice. 

Bearings

​Okuma have engineered the Citrix with a massive 8 stainless steel ball bearings. 7 main bearings and 1 reverse helping the spool to run real smooth. The more bearings the better in my book.

Spool

The spool is one of the main components on a baitcaster that needs to have really tight engineering tolerances. And ​the Citrix it is made from anodized A6061-T6 machined aluminum making it super light weight and strong.

There is also a spool access port which allows you to easily adjust the 6-pin centrifugal braking system for better and more precise spool control.

It also allows you to easily swap out the spool. So, if you happen to use the Citrix on a number of different rods you can swap out a spare spool for one with a different line on it.

Drag

​Most high performance modern baitcaster will tend to use a multi-disc carbonite drag system and the Citrix is no exception. Carbonite drags tend to heat up less and still retain there stopping power under high loads.

Line Capacity

​One of the Citrix's main selling points is it's line capacity. It can hold a whopping 230 yards of 14 pound monofilament.

And if braid is your line of choice then you can hold the same 230 yards of 40 lbs braided fishing line.

Specifications:

  • ​6.4:1 gear ratio
  • 25 lb max drag
  • Retrieve per turn 31 inches
  • Multi-disc carbonite drag system
  • 8 stainless steel bearings

The​ Shimano Calcutta is an older style round baitcaster, this shape allows you to palm the reel as you retrieve.

Whether you like to palm the reel as your preferred grip is usually a personal preference, either way the Calcutta is one hell of a workhorse.

​There are two sizes commonly used in for swimbaits, the 200 for smaller applications and the 400 size which is suitable for throwing much larger lures.

The 400 packs a mean punch and although it has "only" 3 main bearings it is just as capable as casting heavy swimbaits as any ultra-modern low-profile reel. 

The body is built from forged aluminum frames and side plates giving a light yet super solid reel.

​It has a super smooth drag that tops out at around 17.5 lbs.

Where the Calcutta 400 really distinguishes itself is in how low the gearing is.

At 5.0:1 it is one of the lowest you will find. Gearing that low gives you a heck of a lot of cranking power, perfect for moving large swimbaits at a nice and steady slow speed.

Specifications:

  • ​​Low 5.0:1 gear ratio
  • Max drag 17.5 lbs
  • 24 inch retrieve per turn
  • 260 yards of 14 lbs mono
  • Forged aluminum frame and side plates

Th​e Shimano Tranx 300 and 400 are the smaller siblings to the much lauded Tranx 500. The 500 is an absolute beast if your aim is to throw really large lures a long way.

​Either of the Tranx 300 or 400 range has a great choice of either fast or slow retrieves depending on the gear ratio's.

Among the 300 and 400 the high gear models are denoted by a HG on the model number. For example the TRX300AHG is the High Gear model and the TRX300A is the lower geared one.

​For the larger 500 models they use either HG(high gear) or PG(power gear).

The Tranx comes with 5 main stainless steel bearings and one reverse bearing that are shielded on both sides by a stainless steel shield.

The breaking system utilizes a centrifugal force break as opposed to magnets as you will find on a lot of reels. This system greatly reduces backlashes as it applies just enough force to the spool during the initial stage of the cast. 

The drag uses carbon fiber washers which are positioned either side of the main gear resulting in even better pressure.

The internals of the Tranx line up are built with precision and are designed to reduce flex and friction. The result is a smooth turn on the crank even when under a really heavy load.

​The lower geared models come with a double handle. Each turn of the handle will take in 30 inches of line.

Whereas the higher geared models come with a single handle and will take in a shopping 40 inches per crank.

Specifications:

  • ​High and low geared models available
  • Hagene body body for stiffness
  • X-ship internal gears
  • Big line capacity
  • Single or double handles

​Lew's line of SD(super duty) reels are built for hauling big crankbaits and ​swimbaits at low speeds over long distances.

The lowest geared model ​in the line up has a 5.1:1 gear ratio and pulls line at 21 inches per turn of the handle.

​So if you are looking for a large capacity baitcasting reel with a gear ratio low enough to pull giant swimbaits then the Lew's Super Duty is a pretty solid choice.

The range does however go up to a 8.0:1 which is one of the highest gear ratio's you are likely to find.

Specifications:

  • ​One piece aluminum frame and side plate
  • 10 double shielded stainless steel bearings
  • High capacity braid ready spool
  • 5 different models available

​With the introduction of the Curado DC Shimano have finally placed some of their high end casting technology into a mid-priced reel.

​The Curado reel range has built a solid reputation as an everyday workhorse reel. They can take a lot of abuse and still perform day in day, whether that's for light inshore work or all day casting for bass.

​The DC in the name stands for Digital Control. During casting the spool is digitally controlled by an onboard computer chip to give the best distance and control possible whilst almost eliminating the chances of a backlash.

The DC is actually powered by the spools rotation, having a completely self powered system does away with ever needing to replace a battery.

​The previous models to get this feature such as the Calais DC had up to 8 different settings. To make things a little simpler and more affordable the Curado DC has 4 different settings or modes which allow you to tune how the microproccessor controls the spool during casting.

The different modes:

  • Mode 1 - Maximum casting distance(lowest amount of brake applied)
  • Mode 2 - Geared towards casting with braided line
  • Mode 3 - For flourocarbon line
  • Mode 4 - Highest braking level, sorter casts with better control

Specifications:

  • ​DC(Digital Control) electronic braking system 
  • 4 different casting modes
  • Reduce the risk of backlashes
  • Rigid Hagene body
  • 6 stainless steel bearings, 1 anti-reverse bearing

​Like all the models in the Abu Garcia Revo range the Toro S is built for power. These reels are big and sit well on a swimbait rod.

There are 4 models available, basically two different sizes an S50 and S60 in either a left or right hand variation.

​Everything component put into these reels is about handling maximum power, so if big swimbaits is the game you are playing then you'll have both the power and the line capacity for a heavy duty setup.

​They all share the same low 5.3:1 gear ratio and come with 4 HPCR bearings and a super strong Power Stack Carbon Matrix Drag that tops out at 25 lbs.

The S50 can handle 210 yards of 14 lb mono and has a retrieve rate of 26 inches per crank, whilst the S60 holds 250 yards of 14 lb mono and has a retrieve rate of 29 inches per turn of the handle.

Specifications:

  • ​Heavy duty baitcaster
  • ​Size 50 extended bent handle, 210 yards of 14 lbs mono
  • Size 60 casting power handle, 250 yards of 14 lbs mono
  • Carbon Matrix Drag
  • ​Alloy frame and side plates


The ​Luna is a replacement for the much loved Millionaire line of rounded baitcasters from Daiwa. It can be seen as a competitor to the Shimano Calcutta above.

Just like the Calcutta the Luna has a simple but very sturdy design.

​It is ​machined from solid aluminum which includes the frame and the side plates. This gives you a lot of strength and rigidity, unlike a lot of other reels were only the frame is machined and the rest of the housing is forged.

It has 5 Super Corrosion Resistant ball bearings and also one anti-reverse.

​The 300 size reel can hold 320 yards of 14 lbs monofilament fishing line. It has a 5.1:1 gear ratio for lots of low end power and will pull in 23.6 inches of line per handle turn.

Max drag is 15.4 pounds.  

Specifications:

  • ​Machines from aluminum bar stock
  • 5 stainless steel bearings
  • Free floating spool made from aircraft grade aluminum
  • Multi-disc rag with fiber composite and stainless washers

​Swimbait Reels

​Swimbaits reels are mostly about pulling power and line capacity. 

Pulling swimbaits all day does put a lot of pressure on the internal components of a reel so the tighter the tolerances and the higher the quality of the materials used the better.

​Size

​The first question you need to ask is:

What size swimbait reel do I need?

​The size of reel for swimbaits that you get will usually fall somewhere in the range of a 200 sized baitcaster up to a 400.

However I no a lot musky fishermen who swear by the likes of a Tranx 500 when throwing mammoth swimbaits and bucktails.

A 500 sized reel is a bit specialized not to mention expensive so for most people they will generally want something a little smaller.

If you need a swimbait reel for bass however you won't go far wrong with a 300.

​Gearing

​As we mentioned above gearing is one of the most debated aspects of choosing a baitcaster for swimbaits.

Large swimbait reels will have a low gear ratio unless they are specifically designed to be igh speed reels.

If you are a biginner then a reel somewhere in the middle, roughly 6.5:1 ratio is good.

For a big rod and reel that is targetting large fish with heavier lures then you may need to go as low as 5.1:1 ratio.

This lower gear ratio is best for very large swimbaits.

​Line Capacity

​This will mostly be determined by the size of reel you choose. However there are some large diameter reels that can hold a considerable amount of line.

You really need to ask yourself just how far will I be realistically casting and how much line could the fish that I am fighting possibly run out.

​Drag Rating

​Drag rating will also be related to the size of reel but even among the same size reels you can have a considerable difference in the amount of stopping power the drag has.

Larger reels that are intended for heavy use and bigger species of fish will have a drag rating of around 25 lbs on a 400 sized baitcaster.

On lighter reels you will usually see a reel rating of between 12 and 15 lbs.