Selecting The Best Swimbait Rod
So you want to start throwing big swimbaits and your crankbait rod just isn’t cutting it, right? Crankbait rods are perfect for small swimbaits, but once you start getting in to baits eight inches or bigger its like trying to cast a brick with an ultra-lite. For these heavier swimbaits your going to need a good swimbait rod to handle the load.
The enormous surge in popularity of fishing big swimbaits has led to the creation of an entire sub-category within the bass fishing industry that solely caters to throwing these big baits. If your going to be launching these big lures your going to need adequate equipment. But of all the swimbait tackle, the biggest and most crucial aspect of casting a big bait is the rod.
Selecting the right swimbait rod is determined by one main factor: the weight of the swimbait your fishing. Now when anglers refer to big swimbaits they’re talking 8 to 12 inch baits weighing over 1.5 ounces, to as many as 8 ounces. You’re just not going to be able to handle that kind of load without a beefy rod. If your casting a smaller swimbait (six inches or less) then you really don’t need a designated swimbait rod.
A good swimbait rod will not only be able to cast big baits, but will also have the backbone for a good hookset. A solid hookset is crucial with swimbaits, because the bigger bass your targeting have tougher mouths and you’ll need that extra power from the rod to pierce the fish’s skin.
The Rod Selection Process
Most anglers start out with a single rod for swimbaits. It’s usually on the smaller end of the spectrum because in swimbait fishing, beginners start out small and slowly increases the size of the baits they throw over time. Maybe not everyone but definitely the majority of anglers trend that way. The smallest swimbait rod you want to use should be no less than 7′-6″ and up to 8′ plus.
The weight ratings will vary from brand to brand, especially the increments. Some models will start with a 1 to 5 ounce rating and others a 1 to 3 ounce rating. I like to start off with a wider range and, as the swimbait addiction sets in, begin to narrow down to smaller weight capacity ranges for each of your rods.
Most rod manufacturers today offer a swimbait rod of their own, so if you are comfortable/loyal to a certain rod brand then you should start off by looking in to what they have to offer. Unfortunately it’s not always that simple. Some anglers, like myself, find that certain rods are better for certain styles of fishing. For example I prefer Shimano rods (buy here) for most of my setups, but I find their swimbait rods to be extremely stiff. I felt like I was holding a broom stick and had to explore different brands to find the best fit for me.
An excellent rod for anyone starting out swimbait fishing, is the Dobyns Rods FR 795SB. It has enough backbone to handle big swimbaits while still having good flex and not having that “broomstick” feel. It’s rated for 1 to 6 ounces so you’ll be able to throw a good range of baits. And its only $120 bucks so how can you go wrong for that.
If your looking for a step up in quality then the G. Loomis SWBR955 is an elite swimbait rod that anyone will be more than satisfied with. I don’t think G. Loomis needs much of an introduction, they make some of the best rods money can buy.