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 you’re 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 you’re casting a smaller swimbait (six inches or less) then you really don’t need a designated swimbait rod.
One of the best swimbait rods for the money is the Dobyns Fury Series FR 795SB. It’s a 7′-9″ medium-heavy rod with a fast action tip. It’s rated from one to five ounces, meaning it will handle baits within that weight range. This is just an all around great swimbait rod.
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.
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 you’re targeting have tougher mouths and you’ll need that extra power from the rod to pierce the fish’s skin.
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 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.