Best Swimbait Rods in 2020 – Buyer’s Guide

Swimbait rods are able to catch large fish that regular rods wouldn’t dream of. They can withstand using bigger and heavier lures, which would result in catching bigger fish.

Here lies the issue, large fish are fighters. They can pull and tug on your rod, which could break it if it’s not durable enough.

Therefore, you can’t go for the first rod that is labeled as a swimbait rod and call it a day. You need a durable rod that is also lightweight and balanced.

In addition, swimbait rods are usually longer than an average rod, and they have a much higher power rating that can go up to extra-extra-heavy. The more you learn about swimbait rods, the harder it’ll be to settle on one.

That’s why I’ve decided to create this list of the best swimbait rods in 2020 with their pros, cons, and everything in between.

Our Top Picks:

Rods

MaterialGrip

Actions

Dobyns Fury Series

High-modulus graphiteEVA

Moderate-fast and fast

Okuma Guide Select

IM8 graphiteEVA

Moderate-fast and fast

Dobyns Champion

High-modulus graphiteCork

Moderate-fast and fast

Okuma SBX

24/30 ton graphiteCarbon fiberModerate-fast and fast

Ardent Denny Brauer

IM8 graphiteCork

Fast

G. Loomis E6X Swimbait

GraphiteCork

Moderate-fast and fast

The 6 Best Swimbait Rods in 2020

1. Dobyns Fury Series – Best Overall

Dobyns Fury Series

Coming in the first place is the Dobyns Fury Series because I truly believe it is one of the best swimbait rods on the market.

The Fury rod is made from high-modulus graphite that provides the rod with lightness, balance, and sensitivity.

It also comes with kevlar-wrapped guides for providing the angler with extended casting distance while reducing friction against the line.

Please beware that even though the rod’s description says that it comes with an AA cork handle, it actually comes with a full EVA grip.

Nonetheless, the grip is comfortable to hold without causing pressure on the wrist. Just beware of false advertising. In addition, the rod’s fuji reel seat combines functionality with comfort.

The Dobyns Fury is a series of rods; each model has the perfect measurements for a specific technique. Its lengths vary from 6’6” to 8’. Furthermore, its power ratings range from light to heavy with moderate-fast or fast action options.

The swimbait specific model comes in a length of 7’9” in a medium/heavy power rating and fast action. These measurements and power rating are perfect for swimbaits, and the fast action guarantees that no fish will escape.

That model comes with 15-30 lb line weight and 1-5 oz lure weights, which are not the most inclusive ranges out there. Nonetheless, they’re perfect for swimbaits, and they’ll get the job done.

Pros:

  • High-quality
  • Good value
  • Durable
  • Sensitive

Cons:

  • Poor packaging
  • Not for large fish

Final Verdict

The Dobyns Fury Series comes in a wide selection of technique-specific models. For swimbait, the 7’9” rod is durable yet sensitive. In addition, its medium/heavy power rating is perfect for most fish. The rod is made from high-quality materials that guarantee excellent performance and longevity.

2. Okuma Guide Select – Runner-Up

Okuma Guide Select

The Okuma Guide Select easily takes the second place as the runner-up for the best swimbait rod in 2020.

The Guide Select is made from IM8 graphite, which is a lightweight material that provides the rod with sensitivity and balance.

Moreover, the rod’s guides are made from fuji K-concept frames and fuji alconite inserts. They’re suitable for braided lines as they don’t cause much friction against it. In addition, they improve casting accuracy.

The rod also comes with a split EVA handle and a fuji reel seat for providing the angler with comfort on longer fishing trips. However, some anglers prefer full grips, especially when fishing for larger fish.

The Guide Select comes in three different models. The 7’11” length is common among all models; the difference lies in the power rating and action.

The rod comes in heavy, extra-heavy, and extra-extra-heavy power ratings with moderate-fast or fast action options.

All the models are perfect for swimbaits; it just depends on the size of your line, lure, and target fish. For freshwater, I recommend going with the heavy power-rated model with a line weight of 15-30 lbs and a lure weight of 1-5 oz.

On the other hand, for saltwater fishing, going for one of extra-heavy or extra-extra-heavy rated models should be your best bet.

Pros:

  • Strong
  • Sensitive
  • High-quality
  • Good value for the money
  • Well-balanced

Cons:

  • The grip is a little too small

Final Verdict

The Okuma Guide Select is one of the best swimbait rods in 2020. It is lightweight, sensitive, and durable. Besides, it is made from high-quality materials like IM8 graphite and components like the fuji guides for the best possible performance. In addition, it comes in three models that are all perfect for swimbaits.

3. Dobyns Champion – Best Freshwater Swimbait Rod

Dobyns Champion

Freshwater fishing is a lot more forgiving than saltwater. However, you’d still need a rod that can withstand the fish’s fights without sacrificing sensitivity. The Dobyns Champion should be your best bet if you’re looking for the best freshwater swimbait rod in 2020.

The Champion is made from high-modulus graphite that provides the rod with the sensitivity that freshwater swimbait fishing requires. Also, it provides durability and balance.

The rod comes with fuji alconite guides with kevlar wrapping for extended casting distance and high accuracy. In addition, it comes with a fuji graphite reel seat that ensures excellent performance.

It also comes with AA cork grips that will provide the angler with comfort, especially when fishing for extended periods.

The rod comes in a wide range of lengths starting at 6’8” to 8’10” with power ratings ranging from light to heavy. It also comes with moderate-fast and fast action options.

However, for freshwater swimbait fishing, I strongly recommend the 806HSB models, which is 8’ with a heavy power rating and a fast action rating. Going for a fast action rod is perfect for freshwater fishing because it ensures that your fish will be hooked before it has a chance to escape.

This model has a 20-40 lbs line weight and a 2-8 oz lure weight. This lure weight range is optimum because you wouldn’t really need a heavier weight than 8 oz. After all, freshwater fish are not as hostile as saltwater ones.

Pros:

  • Lightweight
  • Sensitive
  • Comfortable to hold
  • Easy to cast with

Cons:

  • Expensive
  • Not for larger fish

Final Verdict

If you’re looking for a freshwater swimbait rod, the Dobyns Champion should be your best bet. The high-modulus graphite construction provides the rod with lightness and sensitivity that is perfect for freshwater fish. In addition, its AA cork handle is comfortable to hold without causing fatigue.

4. Okuma SBX – Best Saltwater Swimbait Rod

Okuma SBX

As opposed to freshwater swimbait rods, saltwater ones require durability like no other. That’s why the Okuma SBX is my choice for the best saltwater swimbait rod.

It is made from 24/30 ton carbon that ensures the rod’s lightness, sensitivity, and, most importantly, durability.

Moreover, the rod comes with ZEUS premium titanium guides. Titanium guides are known to be lightweight and durable enough to resist saltwater. Also, they help improve casting distance and accuracy.

The rod also comes with a 3k woven carbon fiber grip that is comfortable to hold. It also comes with a premium fuji reel seat that can withstand saltwater fish’s fights.

The swimbait rod comes in three models that are all 7’11”. However, their power ratings are different as they vary from heavy to extra-extra-heavy. Also, it comes in moderate-fast and fast action options.

For saltwater, I recommend going with the extra-heavy model, because that power rating is not easy to come by. That model has 15-40 lbs line weight and 2-10 oz lure weight.

Pros:

  • Durable
  • Lightweight
  • Sensitive

Cons:

  • Expensive

Final Verdict

The Okuma SBX is the best saltwater swimbait rod in 2020. Its 24/30 ton carbon construction ensures its lightness, sensitivity, and durability. Moreover, its titanium guides are lightweight, and they significantly improve the casting distance and accuracy.

5. Ardent Denny Brauer – Budget Pick

Ardent Denny Brauer

Finding a budget-friendly swimbait rod can be a little challenging. However, the Ardent Denny Brauer has come to the rescue.

The rod is made from IM8 graphite, which is a lightweight material. In addition, IM8 graphite provides the rod with sensitivity without sacrificing durability.

Moreover, it comes with fuji aluminum oxide guides. The guides are a great help when it comes to casting as they improve the accuracy of your casts, which is a critical factor when it comes to choosing a swimbait rod.

Furthermore, the rod comes with a split cork handle. Split handles can be a little tricky when it comes to swimbait fishing. Nonetheless, they’re still comfortable to hold if you don’t mind a split handle.

While the rod comes in different models, the 7’6″ model with a heavy power rating and fast action is the perfect one for swimbait fishing.

Pros:

  • Affordable price
  • Durable
  • Lightweight

Cons:

  • Short
  • Not for larger fish

Final Verdict

The Ardent Denny Brauer is your best bet if you’re looking for the best swimbait rod that doesn’t cost an arm and a leg. Its IM8 graphite construction provides it with lightness and durability. In addition, its fuji aluminum oxide guides are a great help during casting.

6. G. Loomis E6X Swimbait – Premium Pick

G. Loomis E6X Swimbait

While the G. Loomis is an expensive rod, it’s worth every penny. Investing your money in a rod, like the E6X Swimbait, will save you a lot of money in the long run.

The E6X’s carbon construction ensures its durability and sensitivity. In addition, you wouldn’t need to make any sacrifice when it comes to comfort because the E6X also provides lightness.

Besides, the rod comes with fuji aluminum oxide guides that are a huge bonus. They work on significantly improving casting distance and accuracy.

Moreover, the rod comes with a cork handle that is comfortable to hold and eliminates any possible wrist fatigue, especially on long fishing trips.

The swimbait rod comes in two models that are quite different. The first model is 7’4” with a medium-heavy power rating and a moderate-fast action.

While it might seem too short or not powerful enough for swimbaits, it is quite suitable if you’re aiming for medium-to-small bass. Also, its line weight is 12-25 lbs, and its lure weight is 1/2 – 2 oz.

The other model is 8’, which is hard to come by, in a heavy power rating and a moderate-fast action.

Out of both models, I can’t help but recommend the 8’ one. 8’ rods are hard to come by, and its heavy power rating and moderate-fast action are perfect for bass. This model has a 15-30 lbs line weight and 2-6 oz lure weight.

Pros:

  • High-quality
  • Comfortable to hold
  • Durable

Cons:

  • Expensive

Final Verdict

If you’re looking to splurge on a rod that will last years and years, the G. Loomis E6X is the one for you. It is durable yet doesn’t sacrifice sensitivity. In addition, its cork handle is comfortable to hold without causing wrist fatigue.

How to Pick a Swimbait Rod

Swimbait rods are quite unique, and they’re used to target bigger fish that regular rods cannot land. That’s why choosing a swimbait rod is not as straightforward as you’d think.

There are multiple factors that you need to take into consideration before committing to a swimbait rod. You’d need a durable rod that is also comfortable to hold without costing an arm and a leg.

1. Material

Swimbait rods are mostly used to catch bigger fish who can put up a fight; that’s why durability is a critical factor. The rod’s durability mostly depends on the materials used to manufacture the rod’s blank.

The two most common materials are graphite and fiberglass. Even though fiberglass is durable and less likely to break, graphite remains more popular.

Graphite offers lightness that no other material can match. In addition, it still provides the rod with enough durability as long as you’re not applying too much pressure on the rod. 

Moreover, it provides the rod with faster action, which is critical in a swimbait rod.

2. Power

The rod’s power is a critical factor when it comes to picking a swimbait rod. The power is a measurement of how much line and lure weights your rod can handle. Having a heavier line and lure would mean that you’ll be able to catch bigger fish, which is the primary usage of swimbait rods.

Power ratings, in general, vary from ultra-light to extra-heavy or even higher. If you’re aiming for small fish like walleye, you’d need an ultra-light or light powered rod. However, when swimbait fishing, you’re mostly targeting bigger fish.

With that being said, swimbait rods should be around medium-heavy to extra-heavy power ratings for the best performance. Rods that fall into that range are more on the stiffer side, which allows them to withstand bigger fish.

3. Action

The action is how much your rod bends, or in other words, how fast it reacts to a fish’s bite. Actions can vary from slow to extra-fast, which is quite a huge range.

However, for swimbait rods, a fast action should be your best bet. Fast action rods will respond immediately to a fish’s bites and quickly hook your fish before it has a chance to escape.

Moreover, if you’re aiming for larger fish using heavier lures, I recommend going for a moderate-fast action rod so that it wouldn’t pull too quickly before the fish could swallow the whole bait.

4. Grip

The two most popular grip materials are cork and EVA. There’s really no right or wrong here; it just depends on what you prefer. However, each type has its pros and cons that you need to be aware of.

Cork handles are more comfortable to hold, and they keep your hands dry by resisting any moisture. Therefore, the dryness ensures a tighter grip on the rod and eliminates the possibility of your rod slipping out of your hand.

On the other hand, EVA handles are more long-lasting than cork ones. Also, they’re cheaper and lighter than cork.

5. Length

Swimbait rods should be on the longer side, I’d say around 8-feet. You’d need a long rod that provides a larger casting distance so that you’d be able to fish from your boat or the shore.

However, you can find rods as short as 7’4”, like the G. Loomis E6X. There’s no right or wrong here; go for whatever length you’d feel most comfortable using.

Frequently Asked Questions:

What are Swimbait Rods?

A swimbait rod is simply a big crankbait rod. They are designed to use heavier lures, which results in catching heavier fish.

What Type of Fish Can Swimbait Rods Catch?

Swimbait rods can catch anything from baby bass to large bass. It depends on the rod’s power, action, and durability.

Swimbait rods are quite versatile, and you can use them to catch any fish that feeds on smaller fish. Just make sure its line and lure weights are compatible with whatever fish you’re aiming to catch, and you’re good to go.

What are the Differences Between Swimbaits and Crankbaits?

Swimbaits are basically heavy crankbait. Swimbaits are usually used to catch larger bass because they are able to withstand heavier lure. The heavier and bigger your lure is, the most likely a large bass will bite it.

Final Thoughts

Swimbait rods can be used to catch large bass that no other rod can withstand. They’re designed to handle heavy lures and lines that will provide the angler with enough strength to reel in large bass.

However, choosing the best swimbait rod is not as easy as it might seem. You need the best rod possible that provides longevity, durability, and a reasonable price tag.

My top pick for the best swimbait rod in 2020 is the Dobyns Fury Series. Its high-modulus graphite construction ensures the rod’s durability, sensitivity, and balance. Not to mention, it doesn’t cost a fortune.

My runner-up is the Okuma Guide Select, which is one of the most popular swimbait rods on the market. This rod screams longevity with its IM8 graphite blank, fuji guides, and EVA handle. Besides, the Guide Select provides sensitivity and durability like no other.