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Discussion Starter #1
I'm thinking about getting into the swimbait fishing tactic. I fish the Saginaw river and bay along with the Detroit river for walleye.
Does anyone have any reccomendations on what rod, Casting vs Spinning, what action, medium heavy vs heavy, fast vs slow tip, rod length, ect, ect?
I mainly use at the most 1/2 oz jigs on the Saginaw river and 1 oz on the Detroit river. I'm struggling on this setup because I dont know what size jigs I'd use while casting on the listed above rivers. Furthermore, I believe that I'd use 3 1/2 inch to no more than 5 inch soft baits when casting.
If anyone can advise on their setup, it would help alot.
Thanks.
 

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I use a 7' heavy Berkley Lightning with an Abu 5500 spooled with 50lb Power Pro. Most of my swimbaits are under 2oz so it works well. The Lightning is more a moderate fast tip but I haven't had any trouble with it, although a faster tip would be more ideal.
 

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I use a 7' heavy Berkley Lightning with an Abu 5500 spooled with 50lb Power Pro. Most of my swimbaits are under 2oz so it works well. The Lightning is more a moderate fast tip but I haven't had any trouble with it, although a faster tip would be more ideal.
Thanks for the info. May I ask if you use the same weight jigheads for swimbaits as you do when vertical jigging? Will I downsize my lead size when using swimbaits compared to vertical jigging? If I use 1 oz on the Detroit when vertical jigging, will I use the same when I throw swimbaits? This will help me select what rod I need to buy. Currently thinking of a rod rated for 3/8 to 1 1/2oz. Will I need more?
 

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Thanks for the info. May I ask if you use the same weight jigheads for swimbaits as you do when vertical jigging? Will I downsize my lead size when using swimbaits compared to vertical jigging? If I use 1 oz on the Detroit when vertical jigging, will I use the same when I throw swimbaits? This will help me select what rod I need to buy. Currently thinking of a rod rated for 3/8 to 1 1/2oz. Will I need more?
I don't use many of the jig type swimbaits but the larger soft plastic and jointed hard plastic baits. My smallest is 5/8oz and largest is 2oz but most are in the 1oz to 1.5oz range Ideally, you want a rod of about 8' in length and in the 1oz to 4oz range. Some of the musky rods are exactly those specifications so that would be a good place to start. If you want a spinner, think something like the 4000 sized Penns or 40 sized Pflueger, Abu, Shimano, etc. I prefer baitcasting for those because you can really launch a 1oz+ bait way out plus the drag is a little more substantial. I'm actually building a reel for this exact purpose, it's a few threads down.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I don't use many of the jig type swimbaits but the larger soft plastic and jointed hard plastic baits. My smallest is 5/8oz and largest is 2oz but most are in the 1oz to 1.5oz range Ideally, you want a rod of about 8' in length and in the 1oz to 4oz range. Some of the musky rods are exactly those specifications so that would be a good place to start. If you want a spinner, think something like the 4000 sized Penns or 40 sized Pflueger, Abu, Shimano, etc. I prefer baitcasting for those because you can really launch a 1oz+ bait way out plus the drag is a little more substantial. I'm actually building a reel for this exact purpose, it's a few threads down.
I just read that thread! Looks like a good reel. While reading it I realized you are the one that rebuilds reels. I have an old Swedish made Ambassador XLT Plus that needs to be worked on. Is this reel suitable for my swimbait setup and would it be worth the money to rebuild it?
Thanks for the reply.
 

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I just read that thread! Looks like a good reel. While reading it I realized you are the one that rebuilds reels. I have an old Swedish made Ambassador XLT Plus that needs to be worked on. Is this reel suitable for my swimbait setup and would it be worth the money to rebuild it?
Thanks for the reply.
It would work. It probably won't need much more than a good cleaning, drag upgrade, and possibly new spool bearings. I've worked on reels that functioned just fine on 20 year old bearings.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
All you'll ever need for a swimbait rod.

Shimano CRCS711HB Crucial B Swimbait Casting Rod
Thanks for the reply. I just looked at that rod and some concerns that came to mind is that it may be too heavy for my application. I dont know how heavy the paddle tails will be that I'll throw for walleyes / bass but I'm thinking anywhere from 3 -5 inches long with the unknown variable being the weight of the leadhead/jig. I'm thinking the most weight I would throw would be under 2 ounces. I dont plan on fishing for musky or pike. This is what I found online. I dont know if I need the light version or the heavy version.
http://dobynsrods.com/rod/764c/
http://dobynsrods.com/rod/795sb-mt/
All you'll ever need for a swimbait rod.

Shimano CRCS711HB Crucial B Swimbait Casting Rod
 

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Thanks for the reply. I just looked at that rod and some concerns that came to mind is that it may be too heavy for my application. I dont know how heavy the paddle tails will be that I'll throw for walleyes / bass but I'm thinking anywhere from 3 -5 inches long with the unknown variable being the weight of the leadhead/jig. I'm thinking the most weight I would throw would be under 2 ounces. I dont plan on fishing for musky or pike. This is what I found online. I dont know if I need the light version or the heavy version.
Something to think about. Swimbaits are intended to imitate other forage fish that don't fall into the baitfish category. Think fish like sunfish, perch, rainbow trout, darters, sculpins, and gobies. Walleye and bass both eat those fish as well, and some of those baits can be over 2oz when you get to perch and rainbow trout bodies.
 

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Thanks for the reply. I just looked at that rod and some concerns that came to mind is that it may be too heavy for my application. I dont know how heavy the paddle tails will be that I'll throw for walleyes / bass but I'm thinking anywhere from 3 -5 inches long with the unknown variable being the weight of the leadhead/jig. I'm thinking the most weight I would throw would be under 2 ounces. I dont plan on fishing for musky or pike. This is what I found online. I dont know if I need the light version or the heavy version.
http://dobynsrods.com/rod/764c/
http://dobynsrods.com/rod/795sb-mt/
I've known a couple of guys that were very happy with their Dobyns rods, and the 764 would probably work for most of what you are talking about. I've used the age old 3" Sassy Shads for years on 1/8 - 1/4 heads using just a standard 6'6" MH baitcaster.

The 795 might be a better option if you decided to throw more toward the 1 1/2 oz or more size. Would also do a very good job as a backup if or when you wanted to use it for pig-n-jig type fishing.

My choice does double duty as both a large swimbait and heavy slop rod for throwing up into the pads, or heavy weeds. And trust me, once you get into it, you're going to want to expand into throwing some of the big baits.
 

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The exact rod isn’t as important as finding a line that works well with the rod you pick. I chuck swimbaits in the 4-5” range a ton for pike, but also throw them for bass & walleye too. I’ve got a 7’ MH rod made from IM7 graphite which is on the slower action side of the spectrum for graphite. This rod paired with 17 pound P-Line CXX which stretches less than mono but more than braid gives me good hook sets and doesn’t pull a lot of hooks. With this rod, if I used braid I’d lose a lot of fish mid-fight because a heavy jighead helps wallow out a nice hole and is easy for the fish to throw. If I was running regular mono, then I’d be missing some hook sets with too much stretch.

So pick a rod in your budget rates for the lure weights you will be throwing and play with different lines until you find the right combo. An ugly stick & mono won’t be right, nor will a super fast action rod with braid. For fishing down to 20 feet deep casting, 1/2 to 1 oz jig heads will be all the weight you need.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Excellent points taken.

It's hard for me to buy a rod before handling due to me being fussy and options are limited for me as I'm rural.
I did go to Jay's in Clare and handle a St. Croix Legend Tournament Bass in 7 1/2 MH Moderate, rated for 3/8 to 1 1/4 oz. The moderate has some give with braid which I think is important. I see St Croix also has a Legend tournament Walleye casting that's a 7 ft MH rated for 1/2 - 3 oz. That sounds a little heavy. I have a few St. Croix rods and like them and their warranty.
If anyone has a 3.5 -5 inch style softbait / paddletail I should look at, I'd appreciate the heads up.
Black Friday is coming up and I want to figure out this setup to save a few bucks.
Thanks to all.
 

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For baits, I throw mostly hollow belly designs with a big paddle on the end. Berkeley Hollow Belly, Strikeking Shadalicious, and Yum Money Minnows are all fairy old baits, but work good. I’m sure there are other great ones out there too. When I got into swimbaits a few years ago, I stocked up on some bulk Ebay orders and am still working through my stash. With hollow designs, the bait keeper feature on the jighead is very important. My favorite is the VMC with the double wire keeper:
https://www.rapala.com/vmc/jigs/swi...|Swimbait Jigs#start=1&cgid=vmc-jigs-swimbait

I’ve never fish a solid body swimbait, but those styles are easier to shorten if needed. A 4.5” swimbait will make it difficult to hook up on smallmouth smaller than about 13”. So if you are looking to only get keepers, that’s fine. But if you like not missing the smaller fish, move down to 3.5” to 4”.

The jighead weight can be adjusted to get deeper or shallower, but it also changes the lure’s action. The heavier the jighead, the slower the wobble of the bait.
 
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