Best Swimbait Rod & Reel
Large swimbaits are quickly growing in popularity as more and more anglers learn about their ability to catch monster bass. It doesn’t take long once you get your hands on a 8″ swimbait to realize that your average bass rod just isn’t going to cut it. You can get by throwing smaller swimbaits like the Savage Gear Bluegill or the S Waver 168 on a jig rod but once you step up to baits with hooks sized 1 or larger then its time for a dedicated swimbait rod. A proper swimbait rod will be worth it after you catch your first monster bass.
When fishing a swimbait you are specifically targeting giant bass. You will occasionally catch smaller fish but not nearly as often as the giants you want. Large bass will travel a long way when enticed with a large meal. Large swimbaits are the perfect bait for catching a personal best.
Choosing the Right Swimbait Rod
The first thing to look for when buying a dedicated swimbait rod is the lure weight rating. A cranking rod or a do everything rod are generally only rated for lures up to 1 oz. A big swimbait can weight 5 oz or more. Not paying attention to the lure weight rating when throwing a big bait is a good way to snap your fishing rod. So when fishing a large bait you are going to want a heavy rod rated for at least 5 oz but a better option would be 8 oz.
The next thing to look for is the action of a rod. You are going to want a moderate fast to fast action rod. This will allow you to set those larger hooks and keep the hooked pinned while you reel the bass in.
Length is another to look at when considering a swimbait rod. The longer the rod the farther you will be able to cast generally. Most swimbait rods come in 8′. This allows you to cast them a mile and get your bait in front of more fish.
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Top of the Line Swimbait Combo
The G Loomis IMX Pro 966 is the best swimbait rod on the market. It is the only swimbait rod that handles both large hard and soft baits exceptionally well. This rod is all you need to fish all your large swimbaits. Normally you would need a dedicated soft plastic swimbait rod and a glidebait rod to reach the high end performance.
Pair it with the Shimano Tranx 300 HG and you have a killer swimbait combo. This reel has plenty of line capacity to do everything. It has a super strong 22lb drag to handle monster fish. Both the rod and reel are super durable and will last you a long time.
The benefit of going with this higher end combo is greater sensitivity, lighter weight, and better build quality. With the G Loomis you will have much more feel when fishing. There are bites that you can detect that you would miss with a budget rod. Being lighter weight really comes into play if you spend all day fishing. A budget rod will wear you out faster. If you have any shoulder or any injuries that bother you when fishing, I urge you to consider a higher end setup.
Budget Swimbait Combo
For the best bang for your buck, I like the Dobyns Fury 806H rod paired with the Shimano Cardiff 300 reel. This combo is great for glidebaits and most styles of swimbaits. The downside to this rod is it’s not great with large soft baits. It is just a little too soft, it can do it, but it wont be perfect. Everything else works great on this combo. For around $200 this is a great budget option for fishing large swimbaits.
Best Fishing Line for Swimbait Fishing
I spool all my swimbait rods with heavy braid to heavy leader. I use the heaviest line I can without sacrificing bites. Again when targeting giants every advantage helps.
The best braid for swimbaits is 80lb Power Pro Maxcuatro and a good budget option is 65lb Power Pro Spectra. These might sound heavy but remember I use a long enough leader so the bass will never even see my braided main line. Additionally Maxcuatro is 25% thinner than Spectra. This allows you to use stronger lb line without having a thicker diameter.
For a swimbait leader the best is 35lb Sunline FC 100 and a good budget option is 30lb Maxima Ultragreen. FC 100 is a shock absorbing fluorocarbon line that gives you the advantage of being super clear without the brittleness of typical fluoro. FC 100 was designed to stretch and return to it’s original form without losing it’s strength. FC 100 is also slightly slimmer in diameter than monofilament line which is why you can get away with 35lb vs 30lb Ultragreen, which is a mono line.
Avoid normal fluorocarbon line as a leader when fishing swimbaits. Fluoro doesn’t stretch enough and can easily shatter from the shock of a giant bass.
I use a 8-12′ leader tied with a blood knot to my braided mainline.