You don’t want to use just any rod when going out and casting swimbaits, as they can be quite hefty! You’ll need to make sure your rod is strong enough to handle casting and retrieving such a large lure.
The weight of a swimbait can range from minuscule to 8 ounces or more, and if you plan on fishing with a larger one, you’ll need a rod with a strong backbone. If you don’t use the right rod, you’re bound to have nothing but frustration and ultimately hardware failure.
This advice only really applies to you if you’re fishing large swimbaits. If you’re using smaller lures (less than 2 ounces), there’s really no need to buy a dedicated swimbait rod. However, if you decide you want to use anything larger than that, this list is for you!
Below are our picks for the best swimbait rods on the market:
- Dobyns Champion Series Swimbait Rod – Our Pick!
- Okuma Guide Select Swimbait Rod
- Ardent Denny Brauer Swimbait Rod
- Dobyns Fury Casting Rod
- Okuma Scott Martin Tournament Concept Rod
- Daiwa Conventional Swimbait Rod
Table of Contents
- 1 Criteria For Choosing the Best Swimbait Rod
- 2 Swimbait Rod Reviews
- 3 Our Pick – the Dobyns Champion Series Swimbait Rod!
Criteria For Choosing the Best Swimbait Rod
The word swimbait is generally used to describe paddle tail lures, both small and large. This generally means they’ll “swim” like a real fish, thus the name swimbait.
When looking for a rod to use these baits, which are often much larger and heavier, several factors need to be considered. Not putting enough thought into picking the right rod for large swimbaits is an error that no one should make.
Below, we’ve listed the main criteria you should consider when purchasing a new swimbait rod. If you stick by this list, you’ll be well-informed and ready to make the proper purchase when you’re in the nearest tackle shop.
Length is an important factor when choosing a rod for swimbaits. Generally, you’ll want to look for a rod that’s around eight feet in length. A couple of inches short of that or over that is fine, but an even, eight-foot length is ideal.
If the rod you choose is too short, you won’t be able to land the monster fish, like a musky, with your large swimbait. If the rod is too long, you’ll have less feel of the lure and be encumbered when trying to work the bait. Neither is ideal. Shoot for the roughly eight-foot length, though, and you’ll be fine.
“Power,” also known as backbone, is a fancy way of describing a rod’s stiffness. The more resistant to bending a rod is, the “heavier” the rod’s power. These ratings go from ultra-light–good for panfish and other small fish–all the way to extra heavy, which is great for large lures and quick hooksets.
There’s also a different set of power ratings called “Magnum Power.” This rating scale is the same as the normal power rating scale, except each level is actually twice as strong as the listing. So a rod with a Medium Magnum rating will, in actuality, be equal to a rod with a heavy rating in the normal scale.
Most proper swimbait rods have a heavy or extra heavy power rating. This will ensure you get a good hook set, and are able to fish easily with large lures.
Considering the fact that swimbaits are generally very large lures, you’ll need to make sure you’re using the proper size line to handle casting and retrieving them.
You’ll want a rod that is capable of handling not only the size of the lure you’ll be casting, but the weight of the line as well. Pairing the proper line with the rod is essential in the synergy required to fish at an optimal level.
Another thing you’ll want to make sure of is that you get a rod that works well with the reel you’ll be using. Whether you prefer a baitcaster or a spinning reel, you’ll need to make sure that the rod you choose is set up for that specific reel. A good spinning rod will be much different than a casting rod.
Now that we’ve discussed things you should look for when choosing a good swimbait rod, let’s take a look at some of the best rods on the market to help you make a solid purchase decision!
The last, and possibly most important thing, you’ll want to consider when choosing a good swimbait rod is the build quality. It’s important to make sure you get a good, durable rod capable of handling the rigors of years on the water.
You’ll want quality at every point on the rod. The blanks should be high-quality, the guides should be made of a durable material, and the grip should be both durable and comfortable. Ideally, you’ll be able to find all of those things in a single rod.
Swimbait Rod Reviews
Dobyns Champion Series Swimbait Rod – Our Pick!
Power: Mag Heavy
Lure Weight: 3 – 10 oz
Dobyns is known to make some great swimbait rods, but none are better than the Champion Series Swimbait Rod. This thing is as close to the perfect swimbait rod as you will ever find.
At eight feet long and featuring a Magnum Heavy rated power and a fast action, you can cast some extremely heavy swimbaits with this monster. How big? How about up to 10 ounces! There aren’t any swimbaits on the market that this rod won’t be able to handle with relative ease.
The premium Fuji guides are durable and can stand up to even the toughest conditions. The EVA foam handle also feels great in the hands. Keep in mind, though, that this is a single-piece design, and if you prefer a split grip, that feature could be a negative.
We can’t sing high enough praises for the Champion Series rod. It’s truly a thing of beauty. If you’re looking for the best swimbait rod on the market, there’s absolutely nothing better than the Dobyns Champion Series Swimbait Rod!
- Good length
- Fast action
- Can use with lures up to 10 oz.
- Single-piece grip
Power: Extra-Extra Heavy
Lure Weight: 5 – 14 oz
Okuma rods are loved by many anglers across the world, and the Guide Select range is one of the most popular swimbait rods on the market.
With a length just under eight feet, a fast action, and extra-extra heavy power, the Guide select has all the right specifications to make it capable of casting and properly retrieving very large swimbaits. With a rated lure weight between five and 14 ounces, you can cast even the largest swimbaits on the market. If you plan on using smaller swimbaits, though, this rod may not be for you.
Complete with Fuji K Concept guide frames, you won’t have to worry about wind knots if you’re fishing with braided line. The most interesting piece of technology in this rod is the unidirectional fiber reinforcement, which can increase the tip of the rod up to three times that of a normal fiber-wrapped rod. This gives it the extra lifting power needed for long swimbait fishing days.
If you’ve been experimenting with smaller swimbaits on one of your other bass fishing rods and want to get a dedicated swimbait rod for the much larger and heavier swimbaits, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a better option than the Okuma Guide Select.
- Great length
- Extra-extra heavy power
- Can use up to 14 oz. swimbaits
- Not recommended for lures under 5 oz.
Lure Weight: ½ – 1 ½ oz
Ardent partnered with Hall of Fame angler and Bassmaster Classic winner Denny Brauer to design a fishing rod that’s great for using small swimbaits.
At a length of seven-and-a-half feet with a heavy power and fast action, this rod is fantastic for jumping into swimbait fishing with small lures. Only rated for lures weighing under one-and-a-half ounces, you won’t be able to expand into larger weighted swimbaits with the Ardent. That shouldn’t be a deterrent from you having tons of fun on the water fishing small swimbaits, though.
Denny Brauer is a world class fisherman, and this rod is certainly deserving of his name. Made with high-quality materials, Ardent didn’t skimp on anything with this rod. Premium cork handle, an IM8 graphite construction, and Fuji aluminum oxide guides make the Denny Brauer a perfectly capable swimbait rod.
If you don’t want to cast extremely large swimbaits, this rod is a great choice. However, if you’re looking for a long rod with a ton of backbone capable of using a ten-ounce lure, you should shop around a bit more.
- Heavy power
- Fast action
- Nice build
- Slightly short
- Can only handle lures up to 1 ½ oz.
Lure Weight: 2 – 8 oz.
The second Dobyns rod on our list is the Fury Casting Rod. This fishing rod is the more budget-friendly option, giving you great performance without breaking the bank.
At a length of eight feet with a heavy backbone and fast action, the Dobyns Fury checks all the right boxes when it comes to fishing with a swimbait. With the ability to use a lure up to eight ounces, you can cast fairly large swimbaits without worry.
Sporting a high modulus graphite blank, a strong kevlar wrap, and a Fuji reel seat, the Fury Casting Rod has high-quality components that will stand up to all the rigors of swimbait fishing.
There have been some quality control issues with the Fury line of rods, which could be cause for concern. However, their customer service is excellent, and if you do run into an issue, it shouldn’t be a problem to get it sorted out quickly.
- 8-foot length
- Fast action
- Use with up to 8 oz. lures
- Unreliable quality control
Lure Weight: ¼ – 2 oz
As well as Okuma is known for their amazing fishing rods, Scott Martin is just as well-known for his accomplishments as a professional angler. With the FLW Angler of the Year award and an FLW Cup to his name, his pedigree is top-notch. Given all of this name recognition, a partnership between these two should be a match made in heaven.
At just under eight feet with a heavy backbone and fast action, this rod looks great on paper. However, with a rating for swimbaits only up to two ounces, you won’t be able to use the larger swimbaits on the market. If that isn’t a big deal for you, then the Scott Martin Tournament Concept Rod is an excellent swimbait rod.
Designed with 30-ton carbon ultra sensitive blanks, the rod is not only strong, but it has a great feel as well. The EVA split-grip design ensures ultimate comfort when fishing for long durations. With custom C-40X reel seats and aluminum oxide guide inserts, this rod is ready for any situation.
- Great length
- Good backbone
- Comfortable grip
- Only good for lures up to 2 oz.
Power: Extra-Extra Heavy
Lure Weight: 4 – 14 oz
The Daiwa Conventional Swimbait Rod is an absolute beast. If you’re looking to use the largest lures on the market, this is a solid choice. There’s no swimbait too big for this rod to handle.
With an ideal eight-foot length and an extra-extra heavy power, this rod is a serious workhorse. Combine those features with the fast action, and you have a rod that can handle the sheer size of a large swimbait and still have enough finesse to work it in a correct motion.
Fuji aluminum oxide guides paired with a Fuji reel seat ensure great quality. The natural cork grips have a nice feel to them, and the one-piece construction gives the rod an excellent finish.
If you want to catch big fish using extremely large swimbaits, you simply won’t find a rod more capable than the Daiwa.
- Great length
- Fast action
- Can be used with lures weighing up to 14 oz.
- Extra-extra heavy power could be a bit much for some anglers
- Doesn’t work well with lures under 4 oz.
Our Pick – the Dobyns Champion Series Swimbait Rod!
When choosing a rod for fishing with swimbaits, no other option is quite as versatile or well-made as the Dobyns Champion Series Swimbait Rod. If you’re going to pick one rod as your “go-to” rod for using swimbaits, the Dobyns Champion Series should be it.
There are other very capable rods that can handle using swimbaits, but why take a lesser rod when you can have the best on the market? Don’t be fooled by the marketing hype surrounding many of the other rods that claim to be some kinds of magic “swimbait rod.” Look for the criteria we listed earlier and you’ll ultimately make the right decision.
One mistake you definitely should avoid is trying to use a large swimbait on your normal, light-weight fishing rod. Be sure to do your research and understand what you’re getting into.