Best Swimbait Rods (2024): 7 Top Picks Reviewed

The top swimbait rods rated and reviewed from Dobyns, Okuma, Fenwick, KastKing, St Croix and Lews.

Swimbaits are extremely popular presentations in fishing due to their lifelike actions and appearance, whether it be bass, walleye, pike, or muskies.

There are also a plethora of rods on the market that cater to this presentation to give the angler an excellent tool to catch fish.

We believe that casting rods outperform spinning rods for swimbait fishing so all seven rods reviewed here are baitcasting rods.

Best Swimbait Rod
Dobyns Rods 807 Champions Series
9.8

This rod is packed with a ton of features such as ultra sensitive and durable graphite blanks, Fuji tangle-free  guides with alconite inserts, EVA grips as well as a tapered and full rod butt, and high quality and trusted Fuji reel seat.

Best Other Option
Lew's Custom Lite Speed Stick
9.7

Made from top-grade 85 million modulus graphite creating a perfect combination of strength and sensitivity, crucial for casting large swimbaits all day. Ultra-fast action tip for fast hook sets that curve the first 1/3rd of the rod while being supported by a robust backbone.

Best Value Swimbait Rod
Eagle Claw Skeet Reese Victory Pro
9.6

This rod is specifically made for swimbaits and the performance shows on the water. The rod comes in at 7 feet in length and also features Pacbay minima one-piece guides, custom fighting butt, and a redesigned reel seat.

Best Swimbait Rods Reviewed

Let’s take a look at some of the best swimbait rods on the market to help you pick a rod that suits your needs.

What to Look For in a Swimbait Rod?

Swimbait rods are tailored to give the angler optimum performance when fishing swimbaits for a wide variety of species. Some critical features to look for in a swimbait rod are things like:

  • Rod length
  • Action (see more here)
  • Power (see more here)
best ultralight fishing reels 2020

Rod Length

The rod length of a swimbait that works best is in the 7-foot to 7’11” foot range; this aids with long-distance casting and fish-fighting performance, providing longer rod sweeps when you set the hook.

Action

Action typically should be fast, giving a very quick hookset with the most bend in the rod occurring in the top 1/3rd of the rod.

best swimbait rods for bass

RELATED POSTS: Best Crankbait RodsBest Spinning Rods — Best Casting Rods

Power

Last but not least is power; power should be anywhere from medium/heavy to heavy, depending on the size of the swimbait you use. Some swimbaits can get pretty heavy, and you need the backbone of a heavy rod to fight the fish effectively.

Line Weight

Large lures equal large fish: that rule of thumb certainly holds true with swimbaits. So, just like how we use a heavy rod and powerful reel with these lures, you need a strong line, too.

We’d recommend going 15lb or higher line weight when fishing with swimbaits, whether that is straight-through mono or fluoro or braid to a fluoro leader.

Reels

Fishing swimbaits is one category of fishing where you don’t want to economize on a reel. As we mentioned earlier, casting rods are better than spinning rods for swimbait fishing. Choose a good baitcasting reel with a decent drag, a good braking system, and a durable design and pair it with one of these rods, and you’ll be set for years of successful spinbait fishing.

Durability

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 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.

Dobyns Rods 807 Swimbait Rod
Dobyns Rods 807 Swimbait Rod
Dobyns Rods 807 Swimbait Rod
Our Score

Dobyns is no stranger to avid anglers, in particular bass fishermen, and the 807 Swimbait Rod is custom designed as a swimbait presentation tool for anglers, while you can use swimbait rods for other presentations other than swimbaits, these rods are designed for that presentation in mind.

This rod is packed with a ton of features such as ultra-sensitive and durable graphite blanks that are perfectly constructed with precise tapers and action

Fuji tangle-free K guides with alconite inserts to give increased casting distance and guide durability, EVA grips as well as a tapered and full rod butt, and high quality and trusted Fuji reel seat.

Okuma Guide Select Swimbait Rod
Okuma Guide Select Swimbait Rod
Okuma Guide Select Swimbait Rod
Our Score

The Okuma Guide Select swimbait rod features Unidirectional Fiber Reinforcement technology, giving the rod 3x more strength at the tip when compared to other swimbait rods.

Okuma is an industry leader in the fishing world so anglers know that anything with their name is synonymous with quality.

Some of the other features of this rod are Fuji K concept guide frames, alconite guide inserts which work exceptionally well with braid, Split grip butt made of EVA foam, Fuji reel seat, IM8 graphite blank construction which fuses seamlessly with the UFR tip, and a stainless steel hook keeper.

On top of all these features the rod comes in at 7’11” for maximum casting distance and performance, and to top all that off all rods are backed by a one-year warranty.

Fenwick Elite Tech Casting Rods
Fenwick Elite Tech Casting Rods
Fenwick Elite Tech Casting Rods
Our Score

Now, this rod may not have the name swimbait explicitly in the title, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t excel at the task of presenting swimbaits effectively.

The Fenwick Elite Tech features a hidden handle design reel seat that allows for maximum comfort and function. You won’t feel the thread on your fingers all day with this one-of-a-kind reel seat, and there isn’t anything quite like it on the market.

In addition to that amazing feature, the Elite Tech rods have titanium frame guides that are essentially bulletproof and keep the overall rod extremely lightweight, the titanium frames work excellent for fluorocarbon or braided lines.

Not to mention the EVA and TAC grips that work in virtually any weather conditions, even while wet.

The elite tech has perfected actions that are specifically designed for bass angling, with 11 different variants to choose from, featuring lengths from 6’6” to 7’11” and powers from medium to Extra heavy, depending on the swimbait size you wish to throw, we would recommend using the 7’11” length for mid to large sizes for optimum performance.

KastKing Royale
KastKing Royale
KastKing Royale
Our Score

KastKing has really exploded on the fishing market in recent years, and for good reason. They are pumping out some truly reliable and quality products that anglers are really starting to take notice of, the Royale is no exception.

The Royale blank is constructed with the KastKing 24-ton graphite matrix Kastflex technology, giving the rod some of the best performance, power, and sensitivity.

Another feature you don’t see very often with baitcasting rods that KastKing provides is the option to either use the standard one-piece or a two-piece rod, making these rods fairly unique if that’s what you choose to get.

The rod also features Fuji O-ring guides and high-strength nylon reel seats.

St. Croix Mojo Bass Casting Rod
St. Croix Mojo Bass Casting Rod
St. Croix Mojo Bass Casting Rod
Our Score

For the St. Croix Mojo bass rods, there is quite a selection of different models, in this article, we are only interested in one, the model MJC710HF, this model was designed specifically for swimbaits, and features heavy power and fast action, essential for swimbait fishing due to the fast hook up, and lots of backbone to absorb the shock and have minimal give.

The rod features SCII blanks and IPC tooling technology, The Mojo Bass series of rods are extremely balanced as well as sensitive while coming in at 15% lighter than their predecessor St. Croix offers.

These Rods feature stunning features and technology at an amazing price point. All rods come with 2 coats of flex coat, split-grip handles, premium grade cork, and a Kigan hook keeper.

And as with all St. Croix products, they have a stellar warranty and customer service that really goes above and beyond to help out their customers.

Skeet Reese Victory Pro Finesse/Swimbait Rod
Skeet Reese Victory Pro Finesse/Swimbait Rod
Skeet Reese Victory Pro Finesse/Swimbait Rod
Our Score

The Skeet Reese Victory Pro was designed in part by the professional angler whose name, as you could probably guess, is Skeet Reese.

The rod blank is constructed using a 40/36 carbon material used only in the highest quality performance rods.

The blanks also utilize EBS or extreme binding substrate to give the rod a 78% increase in tensile strength compared to similar rods on the market.

This rod is specifically made for swimbaits; the performance shows on the water.

The rod comes in at 7 feet in length and features Pacbay minima piece guides, a custom fighting butt, and a redesigned reel seat.

Lew's Custom Lite Speed Stick
Lew's Custom Lite Speed Stick
Lew's Custom Lite Speed Stick
Our Score

The Lew’s Custom Lite HM85 rod is a great choice for a swimbait-specific rod.

The rod blanks are made from top grade 85 million modulus graphite creating a perfect combination of strength and sensitivity while maintaining lightweight construction, crucial for casting large swimbaits all day, and feature an ultra-fast action tip for fast hook sets that curve the first 1/3rd of the rod while being supported by a robust backbone.

Featuring multi-layered blanks giving it superior durability and titanium oxide guide inserts.

Lew also features their own reel seats, the soft-touch skeletal reel seats have zero sharp edges and prevent hands and fingers from getting sore.

The Custom Lite also features split grips with Winn advanced polymer similar to tennis racket handles for ultimate grip in any weather conditions.

The rod that we specifically recommend for swimbait fishing in this series of rods is the 7’11 model. This rod has all the preferred requirements to effectively fish swimbaits.

Swimbait FAQs

Why Do You Need a Swimbait Rod?

Swimbaits are generally big. There are some small models, but more often than not, you are fishing a large lure of at least 4 inches right up to 8 or 10 inches.

Having enough power in the rod is essential for successful swimbait fishing, and that’s why it is vital to choose a rod designated for swimbait fishing.

Most manufacturers have a special swimbait model in their range – like the ones chosen and reviewed here – for this very reason.

What Is a Swimbait?

A swimbait is a lure that is designed to resemble a fish and move with a motion that emulates that of a fish.

Swimbaits are made from wood or plastic, using a variety of different techniques to create realistic and seductive lures that are frequently used to catch large bass and other fish. See here for how to rig a swimbait in different ways.

Types of Different Swimbait

There are three main types of swimbaits: hard-body swimbaits, soft-body swimbait, and paddle tail swimbaits. Many swimbaits are combinations of these types, taking a key feature from each.

Conclusion

Swimbait rods can really help you, as an angler, efficiently catch fish due to their specific construction.

Be sure to take the considerations of length, power, and action into account when choosing a rod for swimbait fishing, and even the size of swimbaits you will be throwing on a consistent basis.

Swimbait-specific rods can also shine in other presentations, such as spinnerbaits and even soft plastics, so you really aren’t limited to one lure type if you want to try it for something else.

We hope this article gives you some insight into what to look for when choosing a rod, and hopefully, one of these rods will help you have many excellent days on the water.

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AUTHOR
Shawn Chapin is an experienced fishing writer and guide based in Wisconsin, where he loves targeting muskie and a range of other species. Shawn's fished extensively for pike, largemouth bass, smallmouth and panfish species. He's developing a passion for chasing trout on the fly rod.