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Rod Review


Swimbait Rod Wars Installment #16: ... And That's A Wrap!
 

Date: 9/04/08
Tackle type: Rod
Manufacturer: Varied
Reviewer: Cal





 

 

Introduction: Sixteen different rods, several good Largemouth bass, even more double digit Striped Bass, sixteen articles including this one, five TackleTour Editorial Awards, and TackleTour's Swimbait Rod Wars of 2008 are a wrap. Are there any clear winners? What did we learn about swimbait sticks, and really, what makes one stick better than the other for a specific swimbait technique?


It's time to wrap up our 2008 Swimbait Rod Wars.

 

The Techniques & Applications: Even though fishing with big baits is, in itself a technique, the actual applications can be split into several different categories just like bass fishing in general, and each of these applications is best fished with rods possessing different characteristics. Let's take a look at these different big bait techniques and the top five rods from our Rod Wars to best support each category:

 


Bottom bouncing baits like this Huddleston Deluxe Rainbow ROF12, are best fished with rods possessing a stout, yet easy loading tip, and an extra long handle.

Bottom Bouncers: Perhaps the single technique that is most associated with big bait fishing is throwing baits like the eight-inch Huddleston Deluxe and slowly crawling it back to you along the bottom. How often do you hear people describing this technique by advising, "You can't fish a *insert bait name* slow enough. When you think you're going slow, slow down some more." Big bait throwers launching these baits are interested in one thing - distance. The best way to gain distance? As long a rod as possible with a stout, yet easy loading tip and extra-long handle. Enter the Dobyns Rods 795ML and Megabass F8-78DG some of the best long casting, bottom bouncing sticks we've fished this past year.

TackleTour's Top 5 Bottom Bouncing Rods from 2008 SB Rod Wars (listed in alphabetical order)

Model
6 Inch Hudd
8 Inch Hudd ROF5
8 Inch Hudd ROF12
8 Inch Hudd ROF16
AC Plug Casitas 10"
Dobyns Rods 807MAGH
-
Dobyns Rods 795ML
-
G.Loomis SWBR955C
-
Kistler KBSBS80
-
Megabass F8-78DG
-

For those new to big baits, rods like these will feel awkward and gangly at the outset, and the long handles will feel like they get in your way. As you settle down with this technique, it will all come into focus and you'll actually prefer the rods with longer handles for this technique - that's what happened with us here at TackleTour.


This ten-inch, 8.7 ounce Rago Tool was one of our benchmark baits used to test the casting abilities of several rods.

 

Mid-Water Column Swimmers: Think spinnerbaits and lipless crankbaits. What characteristics do you look for in a rod to handle those techniques? Well, chances are you'll want those same characteristics in a rod to handle the mid-water column big baits like the slow sink 3:16 Lure Company 1-up, 22nd Century Triple Trout, Rago Baby Tool, BBZ-1, River 2 Sea Kong, and more. In most cases, a rod with a fast to moderate-fast taper, but not an overly long handle to get in your way when you jerk the rod tip and kill your retrieve to let that bait dart to the side or turn around and stare down any chasers.

 

TackleTour's Top 5 Mid-Water Column Rods from 2008 SB Rod Wars (listed in alphabetical order)

Model
Sample Range of Baits
3:16 2-Up
3:16 1-up
BBZ-1
7" Triple Trout
River2Sea Kong 168S
G.Loomis SWBR955C
Kistler KBSBS80
Megabass F7-76RDti
Megabass F8-78DG
St. Croix LTBC79HF



Some may not consider the Basstrix Paddletail baits "true" swimbaits. We simply choose to classify them as "finesse" swimbaits.

 

Finesse Baits: Some would argue these are not true "swimbaits". Others would simply say the are not big baits. Whatever the case may be, we prefer to look at baits like the Basstrix Paddletail as the finesse side of swimbait fishing for their effectiveness cannot be denied. Rod manufacturers recognize this and the Powell 765CB/SBR and Fenwick ECSWB79HF were probably developed with these baits in mind.

 

TackleTour's Top 5 Finesse Swimbait Rods from 2008 SB Rod Wars (listed in alphabetical order)

Model
Sample Range of Baits
Basstrix Paddletail
Osprey Dink
Imakatsu Javallon 160
Huddleston Shad
Mattlures Trout
Evergreen TMJC 744XXX
Fenwick ECSWB79HF
-
Megabass F7-76RDti
-
-
Okuma GS-C 711MH
-
Powell 765CB/SBR



A collection of topwater wake baits offered by 3:16 Lure Company.

 

Waking & Topwater: Rods best support this category are characterized by extremely forgiving tips and handles that generally get out of your way when you need to work a bait. One exception to that last qualification is made because the 795ML's tip is just too perfect not to include in this category.

 

TackleTour's Top 5 Topwater Big Bait Rods from 2008 SB Rod Wars (listed in alphabetical order)

Model
Sample Range of Baits
BDB Lunker Punker
3:16 Wake Jr.
Spro Floating BBZ-1
Huddleston ROF0
3:16 Real Deal
Dobyns Rods 795ML
Evergreen TMJC 744XXX
-
-
-
G.Loomis SWBR955C
Megabass F7-76RDti
St. Croix LTBC79HF

 

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