Best Swimbait Rods of 2020 – Ultimate Review

To catch bigger fish, your crankbait rods would just not be enough, as they will not support larger baits of around 8 inches or longer, and you might find yourself losing the fish more often than catching it.

This is when you need to buy a swimbait rod.

For a deeper insight, here is a thorough guide of some of the best swimbait rods out there.

Comparison of the Best Swimbait Rods

IMAGEPRODUCT
  • Utilizes Unidirectional Fiber Reinforcement technology
  • Provides up to 3 times more tip section lifting power
  • Good backbone for strong hook sets
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  • Heavy and fast-action swimbait rod
  • Excellent rod for casting large swimbaits
  • Has a good feel and great sensitivity
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  • Best for the Money
  • Has much-increased lifting power
  • Light frame and good control
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  • Best Okuma Swimbait Rod
  • DPS reel seat for reduced weight
  • Uses Reinforcement technology for better lifting power
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  • Best G Loomis Swimbait Rod
  • Tip is very responsive but not excessively light
  • Works great for fish species that eat swimbait
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  • Best Daiwa Swimbait Rod
  • Offers improved line maintenance
  • Lightweight, split foam grip
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What is a Swimbait?

Swimbaits are fishing lures that are designed to mimic smaller fish and are made by pouring heated plastics into molds. As the plastic cools, various dyes, colors, and odors are added to give them a more realistic look. They are then hooked to the end of a swimbait rod and thrown into the water to trap other fish.

What to Look For When Buying Swimbait Rods

A few things need to be considered before buying a rod to make sure the one you buy caters to all your needs. Here is a detailed guide to get you started.

Weight of the Swimbait

“Stronger rods catch bigger fish” is a motto all fishermen go by, and if you are in the game to catch some big hunts, a strong swimbait rod is a must. Big swimbaits range from 8-12” weighing from 2-8 ounces. To carry such large swimbaits, your rod should at least be 7-8 feet long with a strong backbone for a good hookset.

Handle Length

A longer handle favors a successful fishing trip. Casting heavy lures with a small handle will prove to be challenging. A longer handle gives more area, allowing both hands to grip the rod and reducing the chances of dropping your catch back in the water. A handle length between 15 to 20 inches would be ideal.

Action of the Rod

Larger fish cause a lot of drag during retrieval, and strong, quick action is needed to take them right out of the water and onto the boat. While a very fast action risks pulling the bait out of your hunt’s mouth, a slow action resembling that of a crankbait would be no match against the speed of larger fish. A moderate to fast action is thus ideal for swimbait fishing to make sure your bass is in the bag.

Quick Take | Best Swimbait Rods

Just looking for the top three best swimbait rods? Here they are:

  1. Dobyns Rods 795SB
  2. Dobyns Rods 806HSB-LH
  3. Okuma Sbx SBX-C-7111XH

Review of the Best Swimbait Rods

Now that we have addressed the features that need to be looked into before buying a rod, let’s make this matter even easier for you. Here we have reviewed in detail the best available swimbait rods for you to see and decide without having to hassle between stores!

Best Overall:
Dobyns Rods 795SB

Dobyns Rods 795SB Champion Series Medium Heavy Fast Swimbait Rod, 7'9', Black

PROS

  • 7’9” of long length provides easy operation
  • Medium-fast action is ideal for swimbait fishing
  • Supports a wide range of bait ranging from 1-5oz in weight
  • Made with graphite, strong enough to not snap under heavy weight
  • 15-30 lbs. heavy rod provides durable operation without straining the arm

CONS

  • Not suitable for very large bass
  • Does not support lures weighing more than 5 oz.

What Recent Buyers Report

Recent buyers are enjoying their fishing with this rod to the highest. They find that the rod is not only lightweight but also supports a very strong backbone, which makes it great for catching large fish such as delta strippers. The sensitivity, coupled with its supreme durability, makes this model unparalleled. 

Why it Stands Out to Us

The strong yet lightweight graphite design provides all essential features needed for a swimbait rod. It has the right action and a suitable range of lure weight that it supports. Along with that, the sturdy backbone also has a great parabolic bend that is becoming increasingly rare in swimbait rods. 

Who Will Use This Most

Frequent fishermen who deal with both small and large fish will find this rod particularly useful. Coupled with a strong reel, it would suit fishermen who hunt large fish. It might not be suitable for very large and heavy catches as it does not support swimbait weight beyond 5 oz.

Bottom Line

All in all, this is a reliable rod that is guaranteed to bring your catch home. Plus, with its dependable lightweight build, it is sure to bring ease to your work and will serve you for a long time.

Dobyns Rods 8'6' Champion Series Heavy Fast Swimbait Rod 806HSB-LH

PROS

  • Longer in length at 8’6”
  • Long handle gives better grip
  • Can hold a fish as heavy as 20 lbs.
  • Fast action to reel the fish in quickly
  • Supports lure weight ranging between 2 and 8 oz. in weight

CONS

  • Does not come with any guarantee
  • Handle might not be as long as it is advertised
  • Fast action might pull the swimbait out of the fish’s mouth before it has latched on

What Recent Buyers Report

Buyers have been particularly impressed with the ease it casts large bait with. They have found it to be excellent for use with large swimbaits such as the Bullshad and the Huddleston. The long handle allowed users to launch 8oz swimbaits to a greater distance. 

Why it Stands Out to Us

The sensitivity that this unit provides is well worth the price. It provides great leverage, and the fast action works well against the drag produced by large, heavy fish. The long handle provides a stronger grip and makes the overall experience worthy and tireless.

Who Will Use This Most

Deepwater fishermen, both newbies and professionals alike, would find this to be a tool worthy of their purchase. It eases out the whole fishing experience without you having to put in too much effort. Thus, it is ideal for new anglers to learn their way around a swimbait rod and a great advantage for professionals. 

Bottom Line

We find this to be one of the finest swimbait rods suitable for catching all sorts and sizes of fish. If you need a rod that can handle heavy masses and gives you incredible control, chances are you will love this model. 

Best for the Money:
Okuma Sbx SBX-C-7111XH

Okuma Sbx Swimbait Graphite Fishing Rods- SBX-C-7111XH

PROS

  • Supports a lure weight of 2-10oz.
  • Can hold fish weighing from 15-40lbs.
  • Comes with a limited lifetime warranty
  • 24-30 Ton tough, highly sensitive carbon structure
  • Sea Guide RS inserts provide ease of putting in lines and knots

CONS

  • Built of carbon instead of graphite
  • Not the best suited for use with smaller swimbaits of weight less than 3 oz.

What Recent Buyers Report

Users have found the rod to be extremely sensitive to even the lightest of the bites, and the RS inserts provide a wide enough opening to place the lines and knots easily inside. Additionally, users have found it extremely comfortable to hold with a firm grip that secures the reel, as well as, covers the reel threads so that your hand doesn’t tire out.

Why it Stands Out to Us

This rod provides great value in return for its costs. It has one of the best layouts with a highly sensitive carbon structure further supported by titanium sea guides that are 43% lighter than comparable steel. Moreover, titanium also reduces the risk of corrosion. Another huge advantage in addition to its price is that it comes with a lifetime warranty for limited parts.

Who Will Use This Most

This model shows no mercy when it comes to big fish. It is designed to trap and hold larger water dwellers right in place. Users have found it to work really well with heavy swimbaits, as well as, casting rigs. So anyone involved in fishing large prey will surely find this rod very useful.

Bottom Line

Ideal for catching the larger fish, this Okuma swimbait rod means business. With a firm grip not only for your hand but also for the fish that caught the bait, the rod makes sure none of your entrapped fish goes loose. It’s a great investment for your fishing hobby or profession.

Best Okuma Swimbait Rod:
Okuma Guide Select Swimbait Rod

Okuma Guide Select Swimbait Rod

PROS

  • Allows up to 15-40lb catch
  • Suitable for use in saltwater
  • Moderate fast action favors swimbait fishing
  • Suitable for use with up to 6oz heavy swimbaits
  • UFR technology increases the lift capacity by 3 times

CONS

  • No warranty provided
  • A rather small handle for catching big fish
  • Not as strong in terms of the structure as the rest of the rods

What Recent Buyers Report

Recent buyers have found it to be a great value for the money. They have caught fish as big as 30lbs. without any fuss with this rod. It handles light and heavy swimbaits with ease. The reinforced tip ensures the fish is hooked with its first bite. The backbone is strong enough to support a hookset.

Why it Stands Out to Us

A fishing rod is no use if it can’t penetrate deep into the flesh of your target and keep it hooked since the very first bite. This Okuma rod, however, has the Unidirectional Fiber Reinforcement technology that strengthens its tip and the lifting power by 3 times. It also keeps your rod tangle-free to further reduce​ the chances of losing your catch. 

Who Will Use This Most

Fishermen who face the problem of their catch getting away before it’s out of the water will find their solution in this rod. It has a UFR tip designed to lock the target on the hook and a strong backbone, ensuring that you can reel the fish safely into the boat without dipping the tip in the water multiple times during the process.

Bottom Line

This rod features both sensitivity and strength. It’s designed to sense the smallest disturbances and is strong enough to reel out the heaviest of the fish. Moreover, it is also very suitable for use in saltwater. All this and more makes it the best Okuma rod available.

Best G Loomis Swimbait Rod:
Loomis 12687-01 G E6X Swimbait Casting

G. Loomis E6X Swimbait Bass Fishing Rod, E6X 884C SWBR

PROS

  • Has an extremely sensitive tip
  • Medium-fast action ideal for swimbait fishing
  • Will support swimbait from 1/2-2oz in weight
  • Has a powerful butt section for extra-long casts
  • 7’4” in length is suitable for catching heavier fish

CONS

  • A small fore-grip length of 1.25”
  • Not suitable for hunting large fish
  • Does not come with any sort of warranty

What Recent Buyers Report

Despite the medium high power, recent users have found this rod to be extremely useful when it comes to a successful day of catching small to medium-sized fish. It provided durability to its users thanks to its graphite structure but did not compromise on the sensitivity of tip. Users have reported it to sense even the wriggles of the swimbait’s tail.

Why it Stands Out to Us

This rod is an updated version and has a number of unique features that make it stand out. In addition to the enhanced sensitivity, the rod offers MBR casting and SJR spinning actions that are what successful fishermen rely on out in the water. The weight has also been reduced by 5% with a streamlined reel seat for better hand comfort.

Who Will Use This Most

Freshwater swimbait anglers would find it useful for a successful day in the water. You will miss no catch if you are relying on its incredibly sensitive yet conveniently strong tip. Catching small to medium-sized fish is nothing but easy with this swimbait rod.

Bottom Line

This rod could be described in two words: intelligent design. It has durability, strength, and comfort all packed in one. It may not be suitable for big fish, but it is definitely the best option out there for small to medium-sized captures. 

Best Daiwa Swimbait Rod:
Daiwa LAG701MHFB

Daiwa LAG701MHFB 7-Foot Laguna Trigger Rod with 10 to 20-Pound Line Weight, Fast Action, No. 8 Guides, Black Finish

PROS

  • Foamed, comfortable hand grip
  • Hooded reel seat saves from corrosion
  • Constructed with IM6 graphite, woven with carbon
  • 7ft long; which falls within the ideal swimbait rod length
  • Provides medium-fast action which is reliable for swimbait fishing

CONS

  • Provides no warranty
  • Line weight limited to only 10-20lbs.

What Recent Buyers Report

Recent buyers are very pleased with their purchase. They have found it to be suitable for catching fish from Bass to Halibut as it is really fast and has a stiff stick perfect for your adventures in the water. Users have found it to be compatible with various different lures and operates without any issues.

Why it Stands Out to Us

The rod is strong for sure. It is made with a combination of IM-6 graphite, which makes it sturdy and woven Carbon, which allows easy maneuverability and provides incredible maintenance. The tough structure, however, does not compromise on its sensitivity in any way. To complete the package, it has a hooded reel steal, decreasing vulnerability to corrosion and increasing comfort for the grip.

Who Will Use This Most

Freshwater swimbait anglers, both professionals and beginners, will find a great and reliable companion in this swimbait rod. Its flexibility provides ease for steering the rod and finding a balance, which is what most beginners struggle with while the same is valued as a great time-saver by many professionals and hobbyists.

Bottom Line

The rod is a great addition to the fishing kit. It is suitable for use in saltwater for agreeably large fish weighing 10-12lbs. It provides balance and easy line maintenance that are second to none. The lightweight frame takes the burden off your arms while maintaining a strong connection with the catch.

Aspects to Consider Before Buying

Now that we’ve discussed the best available options and what to look for when buying a rod to find the best-suited option for yourself, there are a few other aspects that require your attention to finalize your decisions. 

The Hookset

If you are going to be catching different sorts of fish and not limiting yourselves just to bass, it would be better if you buy a rod that supports a good hookset and has a strong tip. Different fish would require different strengths and intensity of hooksets to bring them out of the water. A rod that supports a good and strong hookset is thus essential.

Saltwater vs. Freshwater

Although most rods are suitable for use in both sea and freshwater, it is still advised not to use rods with exposed steel in freshwater, for it may be prone to corrosion. Once corroded, it would not have the same strength and toughness in the structure, which would decrease its usability.

Reel Set

A good reel set is as crucial investment as the rod itself. If you have the best swimbait rod but a lousy reel set, you will get nowhere. Moreover, for added comfort for your grip, look for rods that have a reel seat covered with the handgrip. This would provide not only a larger handle but also a firm control over your reel.

How to Rig a Swimbait

Rigging a swimbait is something that quite a few people struggle with. Here are a few easy steps to do that:

  1. Take a suitable swimbait and use a screw-locked belly weighted hook to rig the bait where the bait’s mouth would be.

  2. Then pierce the hook through the body of the plastic bait and out of the other side so that the hook is now positioned parallel to the body of the bait.

  3. Hook the bait to a rod with a strong backbone ranging in length from 7’ and longer with medium to fast action.

  4. Use bait suitable to the water you are fishing in. Up tail swimbaits are, for example, particularly useful for grassy water.

  5. Attach your baited hook to the swimbait rod, and you are ready to go.

How to Fish a Swimbait

If you’re having trouble with fishing a swimbait, here are the steps you should know:

  1. Swimbaits can be fished in clear and dingy colored water. Muddy water, however, is not the ideal scenario.

  2. If you are fishing right on the bottom in deep water, you will require a heavier bait or a higher sink rate. Conversely, a lighter lure or slower sink rate is to be used when fishing in shallow water or around the grass.

  3. Cold water, currents, and warm water are ideal for swimbaits. Also, a very bright day or a day with thick cloud cover is not suitable for fishing swimbaits. Moderate sunshine to a little shade is preferable to break up a silhouette of the bait.

  4. Once you have hooked your swimbait to the rod, cast it out. 

  5. In order to know how deep your swimbait is once inside the water, cast it out​, and vaguely calculate the time it traveled the visible distance before disappearing into the water. Also, note how much the visible distance was. Then, use the distance and time ratio to calculate how deep the swimbait might be with the time passed.

  6. Once you feel tugging on your rod, reel it out above the surface of the water and bring it to your boat.

  7. Detach the hook from the rod and unhook your catch from the hook and the bait.

Conclusion

As daunting as buying a swimbait rod may seem, it’s really no big deal once you know what to look for in it and what you need. A good swimbait rod needs to be 7-9 feet long with a strong backbone and ideally a moderate to fast action. A longer handle is always a cherished added advantage, and features like a hooded reel seat will ensure your rod’s longevity. Now that you’ve almost mastered the market of swimbait rods, all that is needed is to carefully decide upon one according to your needs and get ready for successful and fun days out in the water. Happy Fishing!

People Also Ask

You might still be left with a few unanswered questions. Here we have provided answers to some of the most sought-after questions in the world of swimbait fishing.

What is a Swimbait Lure?

Swimbait lures are lifelike imitations of the most available live fishing baits. Swimbait lures are made of plastic in a way to look exactly like a small fish swimming in the water to attract larger predator fish to fall in the traps. Once the larger fish bite onto the swimbait lures that are attached to hooks, the hook pierces into the flesh of the actual fish, which you then reel out.

What Line Do You Use For Swimbaits?

Various options for the lines are available, depending on the type of water you fish in. Mostly, Monofilaments are used for swimbaits, but in ultra-clear water or for fishing highly pressured fish, Fluorocarbon lines are also a popular choice. A Braid is recommended when fishing a large topwater lure due to its buoyancy and sensitivity.