Whether you’re fishing for bass, rainbow trout, panfish, sunfish, and more, swimbaits could be your holy lure. This versatile and fun bait comes in a range of colors and sizes, so buying a rod that matches this bait will give you plenty of fishing choices.
We have reviewed and compared the best swimbait rods, and added all the pertinent information, so your purchase is well thought out.
Why Anglers Use Swimbaits For Bass Fishing
Bass anglers are well aware of swimbait lures as they’re the number one choice when fishing for bass. You can catch trophy largemouth bass, or striped bass with ease if you have the right swimbait, line, and of course, the best swimbait rod.
Many Pro tournament bass champions can attest that swimbaits can imitate baitfish perfectly, and with a good rod, you'll feel every bite. Continue reading to learn all there is to know on swimbait rods so that you can catch a trophy bass fish for yourself.
What Kind Of Rod Do You Use For Swimbaits?
One of the best things about swimbait lures is that you can use them in just about every fishing environment. You can cast specific swimbaits above grass, around wood, or in open water. Larger swimbaits can be used in saltwater, too. Be sure to get a rod that’s corrosion-resistant or saltwater friendly if you plan to take it to sea.
Nowadays, fishing rods are generally composed of either fiberglass or graphite. Graphite rods have faster action, which is needed for swimbait fishing, so brands tend to stick with this material. Fiberglass swimbait rods tend to be lower in price while still being durable and strong. But if you're looking for a rod to last you years, and not seasons, then invest the extra $20, and stick with a graphite rod.
Rod Length & Power
The size of your swimbaits lures you’re using will determine the length of rod you’ll need. The most versatile rod for average-sized, everyday swimbaits tends to be between 7’6” - 8’ length, and have a heavy or extra heavy power rating. More specific swimbait lures need a specific size or power rating. Check out our recommendations here.
Length of Rod Needed
2.5”- 8” Swimbaits
7’6” to 8” in length, Casting or Spinning Rod, Medium-Heavy Power
5.8” to 10” Swimbaits
7’9” to 7’11” in length, Casting Rod, Heavy Power
10+ Inch Swimbaits
7’6” to 7’11” in length, Extra Heavy Power
Faster action rods flex mostly near the tip and allows you to control the lure easier. Fast action tips are well known by bass anglers as they're a perfect combination of strength in two-thirds of the blank while having sensitivity in the top-third. Most of our reviewed rods feature fast action, but extra fast action ratings do exist if you need more control with bigger swimbaits.
Swimbait rods need to be extremely durable since the main goal is to reel in large bass, rainbow trout, perch, herring, and more. There are a ton of rods that say they’re up for the challenge but snap when under pressure. Be sure to get a rod with high-quality materials, and maintain the guides, and reel, and reel seat after each use.
Price & Warranty
Bigger brands that produce fishing rods tend to have at least a 1-year limited warranty with their products. Other brands offer a lifetime limited warranty. Whether you're spending $60 or $600 on your new piece of equipment, it's worth knowing if you’re covered for any defects in production.
5 Best Swimbait Rods Reviewed
1. Dobyns Rods 795SB Champion
Our Top Pick!
AA Grade Cork Grip
Our top pick for the best swimbait rod that can hold big swimbaits or small is the CHAMPION Series, 795SB Rod. This is an excellent swimbait rod, but it's perfect for A-rigs, and umbrella rigs, too. Even though this rod may be a little pricey, it’s one of the cheaper models in Dobyn’s lineup of swimbait rods, but still has all the good features a swimbait rod should have, making it our number 1 choice.
This 7’9” medium-heavy powered rod has a ton of strength for baits up to 5 ounces in weight. We felt that the rod performed its best with a 3'8" paddle tail swimbait is a perfect match when we were lake fishing. This rod also features zero-tangle Kigan guides with sic inserts to keep your line running smoothly for each cast and reel. If you go for a higher-priced model within this series, then you’ll get FUJI guides, but in all honesty, we found these guides to be perfect for our long term abuse.
The blank is made of high modulus graphite, so it's lightweight and full of sensitivity. And, the handle is composed of AA Grade cork grips. The long handle on the CHAMPION Series rods helps fight against fatigue and gives you more leverage to throw bigger baits and rigs with ease. It will be hard not to feel the lightest strike with this spectacular Dobyns swimbait rod.
2. Okuma Guide Select
Best Big Swimbait Rod
Split Grip, Cork Handle
The Guide Select Swimbait Rod is great for many reasons, and one of those has to be the price. On top of that, this 7’11” rod is incredible at casting large topwater swimbaits far away in waterways. It’s the best rod for Huddleston swimbaits as well and comes in a range of line weights.
We believe this rod was a perfect match for larger swimbaits in the medium-heavy power rating. There are other power ratings available if you intend to pull in a bigger size fish. You can stick a swimbait, up to 10 ounces onto your hook, and can catch up to 30 lbs without hesitation. The blank is incredibly strong as it’s made with IM-8 Graphite. With Fuji Alconite guide inserts and a Fuji reel seat accompanying the blank, you’ll be able to use braided lines for the most durable set-up.
Saltwater fishing won’t be a bother with this model, either. The Guide Select swimbait rod has stainless steel hook keepers on all models, so they're corrosion-resistant. Lastly, the handle is an impressive 23" in length and has a split grip design. We prefer a full handle with swimbaits, but it was still very comfortable to hold after a long day at sea. Choose between any 3 models, and you’ll have yourself a great 7’11” rod for big swimbaits.
3. Ardent Denny Brauer
Best Rod for Small Swimbaits
Cork, Split Grips
When you have a Bass Pro Tournament winner, and swimbait enthusiast designing a rod, specifically for swimbait, you know you're in for a treat. The designer, Denny Brauer, put his knowledge and research to good use and created the Ardent Denny Brauer Swimbait Rod. There are 10 different rod models; nine casting and one spinning rod, but the one we loved for throwing small swimbaits was the 7’6” heavy action rod.
Cast your line from boats or off rocks, and you won’t have a problem. This rod works well with small swimbaits even in the roughest condition. We put a 1/4-ounce weight with a 2/0 hook and cast lightweight IM-8 graphite. It’s also equipped with high-quality Fuji aluminum oxide line guides that support braided lines.
Not only is this rod special in terms of performance, but it looks pretty snazzy, too. The cork split grip handle looks a little traditional, whereas the navy-blue blank gives it a more personal touch. You'll be sure to stand out above the rest with this beautifully crafted swimbait rod that will be comfortable to use all day long.
4. KastKing Speed Demon Pro
Best Swimbait Rod for the Money
WINN Grip Handles
Elite Carbon Fibre
If you’re looking for a rod that’s ready for the water, and at an affordable price, then the KastKing Speed Demon Pro is the one for you. KastKing has produced some top of the line rods at great prices in the past, and the speed demon pro for swimbaits one isn’t any different.
The new KastKing Speed Demon Pro has a lightweight body, weighing only 0.406 pounds. Don't be fooled by its lightweight features; the frame is made of elite carbon fiber, which gives a durable and sturdy feel. The level of sensitivity is great for a rod with a little bend, and the tip does most of the action.
Only the finest Fuji guides and reel seats are used in the production of this rod. You won’t have to worry about your reel coming out of place, or for your line to be frayed by inferior guides. The Speed Demon Pro comes in 16 technic-specific sizes and actions, but the one we love for swimbait fishing is the 7’6” medium-heavy casting rod is the perfect match for most medium and small-sized swimbaits.
Freshwater and saltwater friendly, this rod was designed to suit as many fishing environments as possible. There's an anti-corrosion film, so wear and tear should be at the back of your mind with this rod. The Speed Demon Pro proved that sometimes more money doesn't always higher a rod's performance. You can own this rod on the cheap and learn to fish with swimbaits like a pro.
5. Dobyns Rods 806HSB-LH
Best Rod for Keitech Swimbaits
AA Cork, full handle
Using Keitech swimmers can land you some killer catches. Whether you pick up Keitech's in sizes 2.8, 4.5, or 5.8 oz, you'll be able to cast them effectively with the 806HSB-LH Champion Series Swimbait Rod by Dobyns. This medium-heavy action casting rod will have you casting and reeling with a braided or monofilament line, all day long.
The Dobyns Rods Champion Series rod features a proprietary high-modulus graphite blank that sets a new standard for Dobyn. This 8’6” light powered rod is more sensitive, lower in weight, and has better balance than its previous model. The zero Tangle Fuji guides with Alconite Inserts and Fuji graphite reel seats are somewhat expected on a rod that’s a bit pricier than the early rods we reviewed, but what makes it different is the long handle that allows you the ultimate ease of use. It’s well-balanced, so it’s quite simple to maneuver even with some of the biggest fish.
Finish this handle with AA grade cork grip and Kevlar wrapping, and you’ve got yourself a casting machine with accurate, powerful casts. Choose between black, black/blue, or black/white depending on your style and enjoy a Champion series rod that's perfect for Keitech baits.
Popular Types Of Swimbait Lures
Swimbait Rod Setup
Setting up your swimbait rod will be easy, as long as you follow our tips and tricks. Of course, if you’re fishing in a specific environment or going after a particular species, then rigging your swimbait rod may need tweaking. However, these tips will help most rod swimbait rod set-ups.
1. Prepare the line and rod:
Your blank and reel will have recommended estimated ranges printed directly on them. These are estimates in "pound-testing," so you'll know which line width is recommended. For swimbait lures, monofilament or braided lines are a great shout and can catch species as big as largemouth bass.
2. Bring the pieces together:
Connect the rod and reel and start putting the line down the blank. On most rods, you will need to connect the 2-pieces by rotating or sliding the reel onto the reel seat. Feed the line down the guides, and onto your spool.
3. Attach your lure, and enjoy!
Once your rod is set up, your reel is connected, and your line is fed to the tip, it's time to attach your swimbait, and leader. We recommend leaving about ten inches, or twenty centimeters, of line on the other side of the lure for your leader.
Comparing Swimbaits To Other Lures
Fishing for swimbaits can be fun, or adventurous, depending on what you’re looking for. Many anglers will agree that there’s no feeling quite like pulling in a big bass with a large swimbait. But what makes them more fun than any other bait? Like crankbaits, for example?
Swimbaits have a very realistic look with a lot of natural movement. Tournament Bass Champion, Niggemeyer, has said they’re the “best baitfish imitators in clear water." Other traditional lures may need a lot more jigging and gliding, which gets tiring on the angler after a while. There's a variety of swimbaits available, too. So you can enjoy lakes, ponds, and rivers with a range of various swimbaits.
People Also Ask (FAQs)
What line should I use for swimbaits?
You can use a monofilament or braided line (if it's rod can hold a braided line) with swimbaits on both baitcasting and spinning. If you're using a heavier leader, then a braided line is a better choice.
What size swimbait hook should I use?
The size of the hook will depend on the length of each swimbait lure. Here’s a good indication of the most popular sizes.
What are some good online resources for learning more about swimbait fishing?
Our website, FishingPax, has a ton of useful information on fishing tips, apparel, and the best rods and reels. If you're already accustomed to our website, and you’re looking for some more resources, check out USAngler for reviews, and BassResource for angling forums.
Where can I find the best quality swimbait rods?
Not all fish tackle stores have every rod available, and maybe you don't live near a tackle store at all. Buying your new swimbait rod from Amazon is your safest bet. The customer reviews are extremely helpful and honest, so you can see what other anglers think of your possible new rod.
From line weight to hook sizes, and from reel seats to tips. We’ve covered all the need-to-know info for swimbait fishing. The Dobyns Rods 795SB Champion rod is a perfect match for swimbaits small, or large. So you’ll carry home your bass, or trout with pride. If there’s another rod that suits your needs more, then go for it! We loved every rod on our list, and we’re sure you’ll love your new rod, too.