Top 5 Best Swimbait Rod (2020 Buyer’s Guide)

Swimbaits are one of the best lures around to catch larger fish with, especially big bass, but why do you need a specific rod to use them, won’t any rod do?

After considering all the options our top picks were…

We’ll get to the bottom of that question real soon…

For you to be able to pick the ideal swimbait rod, You’re gonna need to be familiar with spinnerbait rods and how they work.

To help you pick the ideal swimbait rod, we’ll go through all the essential stuff about swimbait rods.

Are you ready? Let’s get started…

The Best From The Review

Top Pick

Okuma GS

The Okuma GS swimbait rods are some of the best rods for swimbaits on the market and a favorite swimbait rod amongst swimbait anglers.

Okuma GS

The top all-around rod in the review is the Okuma Guide Select.

This rod is wallet-friendly, very durable thanks to the build, and the reinforced tip.

The rod comes with special added features like guides that are designed for braid and it can handle every size bait you want to fish with.

You’ll love it more and more each time you use it. 

Best Value

Dobyns Rods 795SB

It’s an ideal rod for anyone starting their swimbait fishing obsession, thanks to the lower range it can handle.

Dobyns Rods 795SB

The best value rod is the Dobyns 795SB swimbait rod.

Bar the attractive price tag, this rod is durable, strong, and great to fish with.

It has everything you need to get started, for fishing smaller baits, and is a great rod to progress from. 

Editor’s Choice

G Loomis IMX-PRO

Each rod is incredibly well made, robust, durable, and sensitive. They’re a joy to fish with and each time you use one, you can feel the difference.

G Loomis IMX-PRO

This is the G Loomis IMX-PRO.

This rod outranks all the others in design in my opinion.

Each one is made for a certain lure class to provide the ultimate experience when fishing a swimbait.

The thought that has gone into it shows through the materials, the range, and pretty much every feature. If you want the top rod for swimbaits out there, I think it’s this one.

Why Do You Need A Swimbait Rod?

Swimbaits come in a range of sizes from two inches long to bigger than a foot.

Big swimbaits are very heavy and you’ll need a tough enough rod to cast and retrieve them properly.

Without one, you risk damaging your existing gear and ending up getting frustrated because you won’t be able to fish them properly. 

If you plan on using tiny swimbaits, your normal rod will be fine but, to catch large fish you’ll want to use large lures and for those, you’ll need the best swimbait rod that can handle it. 

What Is A Swimbait? 

A swimbait is a type of fishing lure that is designed to look and more importantly to move like a fish, hence the ‘swim’ in swimbait.

They were made famous by being one of the best baits for bass fishing and come in a huge variety of options.

They can be made from wood, hard or soft plastic, used as sinking, floating or suspended lures, swim or glide, and imitate anything from a baitfish to a rodent.

Collection Of Lures

Types Of Swimbaits 

Swimbaits can be categorized into three different types of baits; hard body, soft body, and paddle tails.

There are also subcategories within each of these and some are even blended between them, like hard-bodied swimbaits with a soft tail. 

Hard Body 

These are extremely lifelike, both in their colors and the way they swim.

They are large lures and this big profile is what attracts bigger fish.

It’s not easy to make a good hard body swimbait.

NOTE

A lot of time and dedication goes into ensuring they look and swim just like the prey they’re designed to imitate, and therefore they can be pretty expensive. 

Joints

The body is usually jointed to create a good action, with either one (single jointed) or up to 7 joints (multi-jointed).

You also get non-jointed baits but these aren’t common.

They come with treble hooks and can have a lip to help them swim. 

Soft Bodied 

These are soft, heavy, large rubbery lures that are painted to imitate a fish amazingly.

The soft plastic is reinforced to stand up well to the attacks of predators and feels more natural to the fish when it bites, giving you more time to set the hook. 

They come in a range of varieties including full-body, line-through, and top hook options.

The main differences being where the hooks sit and where you tie on your line. 

Paddle Tail

These are also soft but are much smaller and are similar to plastic worms. They come in a pack with multiple lures and are great for fishing weedy areas.

There are two types, hollow-bodied and solid-bodied. 

Solid-bodied are a bit more durable, while hollow-bodied are a bit softer so when a fish bites the hook becomes more exposed to give you a better hook set.

Man Fishing at a Shore

What To Look For In A Swimbait Rod

Large swimbaits, more than any other big baits, need a special swimbait rod in order to be fished well.

There is quite a lot to consider when looking for the best rod for swimbaits, especially if you’re just starting out. 

The best swimbait rods have enough backbone in order to cast big baits far and accurately and have the punch to get a good hook set.

Without the right rod however, your swimbait fishing won’t be very effective.

You won’t be able to cast where you want or set the hook on those big fish you’re trying to catch.

Here’s what you need to think about to make sure you get the best swimbait rod for you. 

How Heavy Are Your Chosen Swimbaits

Picking the best swimbait rod for your bait weight is key to casting properly and ensuring your rod can handle the load.

All swimbait rods come with a weight rating in ounces that tells you the lure weight they can handle. 

Some have a large range like 2-8 oz while others can have a smaller range like 2-4 oz. Make sure you choose a rod that matches your lure weight or vice versa. Allowing you to cast well and ensure your rod lasts rather than being under strain. 

TIP

When starting out it’s best to choose a swimbait rod with a large range so you can fish a mix of lures and then as your swimbait fishing progresses, buy others that are dedicated to your chosen lure weight.

Length

Man Fishing at a Pier

The length of your fishing rod is really important for swimbait fishing.

If your rod is too short, you won’t be able to cast as far or land a fish easily, while if it’s too long, you won’t feel the lure on your retrieve and therefore struggle to fish it correctly. 

The ideal length for a swimbait rod is around 8 feet long, and you should choose nothing shorter than 7’6”.

TIP

It’s ok to go a little over the up to the 8’8” mark, especially if you’re fishing very large swimbaits. 

Power 

Most fishing rods in the world come with a power rating from ultralight to extra-heavy and this is used to describe their stiffness.

The stiffer the rod, the harder it is to bend and the more power it has. 

The best swimbait rods will have a power rating of medium-heavy and above.

This ensures the rod has enough strength for swimbait casting, retrieving, hooking-up properly, and fighting a large fish.

NOTE

Using a light rod to fish a big swimbait will end up damaging/breaking the rod and make it very hard to fish properly.

Action

The action of a fishing rod tells you where exactly the rod will start to bend when casting or fighting a fish.

A slow action rod will bend close to the reel seat, while a fast action rod however, will bend near the top two-thirds of the rod.

Slow action poles are great for casting distance, as the full bend allows you to load the entire rod but they aren’t sensitive at the tip. 

When swimbait fishing, and especially when using big swimbaits, you want a rod with a fast action.

This is because it is all about the retrieve, and you need the sensitivity in the tip in order to feel how the lure is swimming.

NOTE

The extra sensitivity given by fast action also means you’ll feel the bite of every fish that comes along.

Our Best Swimbait Rods

Okuma SBX

Overall, this is a good swimbait rod and well worth the investment. The best part about this rod is the handle, it’s made from woven carbon fiber that transfers every touch from the tip to your hands, this means you’ll feel every bite no matter how subtle.

Okuma SBX

The Okuma SBX swimbait rod series comes in three sizes to cover any line weight between 15-40lb, lure weight from 1-14oz, and power rating from heavy power to xx-heavy.

If you bought all three, you’d have every rod for swimbaits you’d ever need. They’re all fast action and made to last.

Blanks and Guides

The blank is made from highly-responsive 24- and 30-Ton carbon fiber, one of the best materials for a swimbait rod.

It’s strong, sensitive, and has all the backbone you need to fish large swimbaits well. 

The ZEUS titanium guides and RS inserts are also second to none. They’re much lighter than stainless steel, hard, durable, and are designed to reduce tangles too. 

Reel Seat and Handle

They also feature a premium fuji trigger reel seat that’s made from stainless steel.

This adds durability and ensures the reel sits firmly while casting heavy baits.

The best part about this swimbait rod is the handle, it’s made from woven carbon fiber that transfers every touch from the tip to your hands, this means you’ll feel every bite no matter how subtle. 

Overall, this is a good swimbait rod and well worth the investment. The only con, and it is very minor, would be that its tip is a bit less sensitive than other rods in its price bracket. 

Specs

  • Model: SBX-C-7111H
  • Power: Heavy
  • Length: 7’11”
  • Line: 15-30 lbs
  • Bait Weight: 1-6 oz
  • Action: Fast action

Pros

  • Comes in a range of sizes to suit almost all lure weights
  • It’s made from one of the best materials around and will last
  • Awesome reel seat that keeps your reel secure
  • You’ll feel every bite thanks to the sensitive handle design
  • Casts well and is comfortable to use

Cons

  • Other rods in this price range are a bit more sensitive at the tip

Dobyns Rods 806HSB-LH

A great rod for someone just starting out and looking for their first swimbait rod. It has the ideal line weight and weight ratings to cover a broad spectrum of lures.

Dobyns Rods 806HSB-LH

This is a great rod for someone just starting out and looking for their first swimbait rod. It has the ideal line weight and weight ratings to cover a broad spectrum of lures.

The heavy power rating and fast action make it ideal for launching your baits accurately into cover to tempt a hook a lurking bass. 

Build and Real Seat

It’s made from a durable graphite blank that’s been honed to ensure awesome sensitivity. You’ll be able to fish well and never miss a bite.

The rod also features lightweight Fuji line guides and a Fuji real seat, both of which are very well made, help reduce tangles and ensure your reel is secure. 

Handle and Available Sizes

The handle is made from EVA and is extra-long, this is particularly useful when casting baits heavier than 5 oz. You’ll find it gives you the extra leverage you need to cast a good distance. 

Unfortunately, it only comes in one size, and because of this, you’ll find the rod a bit unresponsive when casting small or very large lures. 

Specs

  • Model: DC 806 HSB
  • Power: Heavy
  • Length: 8’0”
  • Line: 20-40 lb
  • Bait Weight: 2-8 oz
  • Action: Fast

Pros

  • The extra-long handle on the rod is comfortable and helps with casting
  • The rod can handle a solid range of swimbait weights
  • It casts excellently and is made to last
  • The guides and reel seat are of excellent quality and reduce tangles

Cons

  • Only comes in one size and is not ideal for large or smaller baits

Ardent Denny Brauer

One of the best value rods and you’ll love it if you’re into targeting bass with small lures and a light rod.

Ardent Denny Brauer

This swimbait rod gets its name from famous bass angler Denn Brauer who partnered with Ardent to create it.

It’s one of the best value rods I’ve looked at and you’ll love it if you’re into targeting bass with small lures and a light rod. 

Build

The rod is made from IMX 8 graphite with a premium cork handle and Fuji aluminum oxide guides.

This combination gives you durability, comfort, strength, and a great casting swimbait rod. 

The rod is best used for small swimbait fishing and can handle a range of just 0.5-1.5 oz.

This is ideal for catching fish on light lures but it’s limiting if you want to fish a larger range of lures. 

Overall it’s an awesome value swimbait rod for light lure fishing but, it would be nice if it was a little longer, could handle a larger range of lures, and came in a few more size options.

Specs

  • Model: Pro Series
  • Power: Heavy
  • Length: 7’6”
  • Bait Weight: 0.5-1.5 oz
  • Action: Fast Action

Pros

  • Very inexpensive for the quality, worth it as an extra rod
  • An ideal rod for fishing light swimbaits
  • Made of a great combination of materials for durability

Cons

  • It can only handle very light lures
  • The rod is a little short but works fine for small lures
  • Only comes in one size

Abu Garcia Fantasista Beast

It’ll send your big baits way into the distance, help you feel bites, and handle any big fish with ease.

Abu Garcia Fantasista Beast

Abu Garcia are famous for their swimbait rods and the Fantasista Beast series is no different.

Within this series of rods, you have a model to cover every swimbait scenario you can imagine. 

Sizes

The range in swimbait rods include lengths from 7’9” – 8’8”, power rating from m-heavy – x-heavy and lure weights from 1-8oz.

No matter what swimbait you want to use, there is a rod in the beast series to match it. 

Blanks

All the swimbait rods in the Fantasista Beast series are made from Abu’s own Tetra Axial carbon blank that’s famous for its strength and power while also being sensitive.

It’ll send your big baits way into the distance, help you feel bites, and handle any big fish with ease. 

Build

The rod uses durable Fuji stainless steel Alconite guides and a Fuji reel seat for comfort. The grip is made from EVA foam and comes with a full foregrip and a split rear grip.

These are very comfortable and easy to use, and you’ll find casting big baits all-day gentle on your hands.

These are some of the top rods for pros and beginners alike.

The only drawback is that the pieces can come apart mid-cast which you’ll find a bit frustrating.

If this does happen, you’ll find using electric tape to keep them together works well. 

Specs

  • Model: FB79-6
  • Power: Medium Heavy
  • Length: 7’9”
  • Line: 25-50 lbs
  • Bait Weight: 1-4 oz
  • Action: Fast Action

Pros

  • Very well made using durable materials
  • Excellent to cast with thanks to the carbon blank
  • A size rod to suit all swimbaits
  • The EVA handle makes it comfortable to cast with all-day

Cons

  • The pieces can come apart mid cast

Best All-Rounder

Okuma GS

The Okuma GS swimbait rods are some of the best rods for swimbaits on the market and a favorite swimbait rod amongst swimbait anglers.

Okuma GS

The Okuma GS swimbait rods are some of the best rods for swimbaits on the market and a favorite swimbait rod amongst swimbait anglers.

Okuma makes three different models and between all of them, you can use any swimbait you want, no matter the size.

Size

If you owned every rod, you could use lure weights from 1-14 oz, and lines between 15-40lbs. 

All the rods in the series are the same length 7’11” which is the ideal length for any swimbait rod. They are well made and use a IM-8 graphite blank, Fuji guide frames, inserts, and a Fuji reel seat. 

Build

The blank is tough and durable, perfect for use with a swimbait.

The tip section is reinforced, which is a great feature exclusive to this rod.

This is to ensure it can handle those large bass and set a hook well. 

The guides and inserts are made for braid, unlike any other rod in the review, and assist with reducing tangles and wind knots.

This means you can use your rod for fishing and not spend time dealing with backlashes. 

Reel Seat

The reel seat is tough too and is made to last. It’ll secure your reel while you’re putting a lot of bang into your cast, retrieve and hook up. This is ideal as the last thing you want is to find your reel at your feet when fishing hard. 

Overall, every rod in the series is awesome to use a swimbait with.

The only drawback for some might be the shortish handle, and this is a personal choice based on how you like to fish.

Specs

  • Model: GS-C-7111HA
  • Power: Heavy
  • Length: 7′ 11"
  • Line: 15-30 lbs
  • Bait Weight: 1-6 oz
  • Action: Medium Fast Action

Pros

  • Guides and inserts on the rod are made for braid and reduce tangles
  • Great rod range to cover every swimbait weight with the right power rating
  • You’ll find each rod has a price you’ll like
  • The graphite blank has a reinforced tip for better swimbait fishing
  • Tough and durable reel seat

Cons

  • The handle is a little short for some. If you like a long handle to fish a swimbait this might not be the rod for you.

Best on a Budget

Dobyns Rods 795SB

It’s an ideal rod for anyone starting their swimbait fishing obsession, thanks to the lower range it can handle.

Dobyns Rods 795SB

The Dobyns 795SB swimbait rod is part of the Fury Series.

One of the things we can all appreciate is the wallet-friendly price tag of the rod.

It is one of the least expensive in the review. 

Size

The rod is 7’9”, fast action, medium power, and can handle a swimbait between 1-5 oz. It’s an ideal rod for anyone starting their swimbait fishing obsession, thanks to the lower range it can handle. 

Blanks

Dobyns use a high modulus graphite blank for the rod with Kevlar wrapping for extra strength.

This makes the rod both powerful and sensitive so you can cast and hook up to a fish just as easily. 

Reel Seat and Handle

You’ll find a Fuji reel seat on the rod, which as we know, is a reel seat you can rely on to keep your reel safe and secure.

And for the handle, they use EVA with a hi-density Hypalon butt, which is comfortable as hell to fish with. 

Overall, all these components come together to form a rod that’s perfect for someone getting into fishing with a swimbait or anyone who wants a dedicated rod for light swimbait fishing.

The only concern with these rods is quality control, some arrive damaged, some break quickly, and some last forever.

Luckily their customer care is excellent and they’ll replace it promptly.

Specs

  • Model: 795SB
  • Power: Medium heavy
  • Length: 7’9"
  • Line: 15-30 lb
  • Bait Weight: 1-5 oz
  • Action: Fast Action

Pros

  • The rod is priced to suit all budgets
  • Each rod is made from quality materials for durability and will fish a swimbait well
  • The rod has a great weight range for anyone starting to fish swimbaits
  • You’ll find a reliable reel seat on the rod to keep everything together when you fish hard

Cons

  • Quality control issues, some rods arrive broken, others break quickly.

Editor’s Choice

G. Loomis IMX-PRO

Each rod is incredibly well made, robust, durable, and sensitive. They’re a joy to fish with and each time you use one, you can feel the difference.

G. Loomis IMX-PRO

If you’re looking for possibly the best swimbait rod around, the creme-de-la-creme, I think you’ve found it.

The IMX-PRO series really is made for use by pros or anyone who simply wants the best swimbait rod to fish with. 

Size and Weight

There are three rods in the series and each rod is tailored to fish specific size lures as best as possible.

This brings the weight range of each rod down but means you get the best performance in terms of casting and sensitivity available, so that you can fish as well as physically possible. 

Action

The rods in the series range from 7’6” to 8’ in length, and cover ½ – 8oz lure weights, 12 – 45lb line weights, and medium-heavy power.

They’re all fast action, made from IMX-8 graphite, and use tangle-free Fuji guide frames plus a split cork grip for comfort. 

Build

Each rod is incredibly well made, robust, durable, and sensitive. They’re a joy to fish with and each time you use one, you can feel the difference. 

They are pretty expensive, to say the least, and this is their only drawback but it’s worth it for the quality you’re getting.

Specs

  • Model: IMX-PRO 965C SWBR
  • Power: Medium-heavy
  • Length: 8’0”
  • Line: 15-30 lbs
  • Bait Weight: 2-6 oz
  • Action: Medium Fast Action

Pros

  • Made with great materials for excellent performance and durability
  • Great to cast with and give amazing accuracy and sensitivity
  • Each model is specific to fishing certain lure weights as best as possible
  • The range covers every weight lure you might want to fish with
  • One of the best designs of a swimbait rod on the market

Cons

  • The rod is pretty expensive

Reeling Up

Having considered each rod in detail, here are my top choices.

Best All-Rounder

If you’re looking for an all-round great swimbait rod, then the Okuma GS is a great rod to go for.

The length, power, and action of each rod are perfect for fishing a swimbait. And the range of lures the series can handle means you’ll have your choice of them all.

The Okuma GS is easy on your wallet too. 

Best on a Budget

If you’re on a budget, your best rod is the Dobyns 795SB.

This rod slightly undercuts the Okuma GS in price but still delivers excellent durability and castability for fishing with a swimbait.

It does have a limited weight range for small-medium lures, but this is perfect for anyone just starting out or if you want a dedicated rod for smaller lures. 

Editor’s Choice

If money is no object, then you have to go for the G Loomis IMX-PRO.

This rod has been designed with more thought than any other in the review.

Each rod in the series is made to give you the best performance in each of its lure categories by keeping the ranges small.

Combine this with the impeccable blank, power, action, length, guides and reel seat, and you have a rod that is a swimbait machine.

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