Fishing a swim jig is one of the most effective ways to catch big bass. These baits are typically used in the spring and fall seasons and catch fish all across the country. While some jigs swim better than others, fishing these baits with the right gear is the best way to master this technique.
Swim jigs are commonly thrown around docks, trees, grasses, and other cover along the bank. When searching for the best swim jig rod, you want to find a pole with a strong backbone and soft tip. The rod should also have the right length and dynamics for making roll casts under obstacles.
This guide will discuss the best swim jig rod qualities and review the five best swim jig rods 2022 has to offer. We make recommendations for anglers with all budgets, skill-sets, and individualized needs.
Rods Reviewed (Jump to Section)
Swim Jig Rod Qualities
Since most swim jigs have heavy-duty hooks and are fished around thick grasses, a strong backbone will give you enough power to set the hook fully. Stronger rods will also help you quickly bring fish back to the boat since bass can weigh 5 to 10 pounds more when covered in weeds.
Using a rod with a sensitive tip is crucial for achieving the right swim jig action. Sensitive rods will also reduce the strain on your wrist after a long day of fishing.
The best rod length for fishing swim jigs is 7’ to 7’4”. Slightly longer rods will increase your casting distance and provide more leverage when setting the hook. However, you don’t want a rod that’s too long as it will make flipping and pitching more challenging.
Typically, 7’2” or 7’3” rods are perfect for fishing swim jigs. This versatile length is effective for the “Alabama shake” technique, skimming baits along the top of the water column, and even dropping swim jigs into off-shore grasses.
Power & Action
Medium-heavy power rods are best for fishing swim jigs. While power ratings differ between brands, these rods usually load up well and are ideal for ⅜ and ½ ounce lures. Medium-heavy rods have a strong backbone but don’t have the stiff tips of heavy power rods.
The best swim jig rods also have fast action ratings. A dynamic and sensitive tip will allow time for the rod to “load up” when a fish bits, improving your hookup ratio.
Fast action rods with sensitive tips will also make twitching your swim jig easier. If your rod is too stiff, it will take much more effort to give your swim jig action.
The one time when it’s best to fish a heavy-power rod is when using a fluorocarbon line. Fluoro line has more flexibility, and a heavier rod is needed for powerful hooksets.
It’s best to use a braided line when fishing swim jigs, so make sure your rod is braid-compatible. Straight braid is the most discrete around shoreline obstacles and keeps finicky fish from getting spooked.
Some anglers use fluorocarbon leaders when fishing swim jigs; however, this is optional. Ideally, you want to use the lightest line you can get away with, which is usually around 50lbs. Heavier 60-65lb line is best when fishing around very thick cover for big largemouth, but the heavier line will reduce your casting distance.
1. St. Croix Victory Casting Rod - Best Overall
4.8 Stars | 6 Angler Reviews | $190 - $260
Our favorite rod for swim jig fishing is the St. Croix Victory Casting Rod. While this pole isn’t cheap, the advanced St. Croix technology makes it a worthwhile investment. This series has several medium-heavy power rod length designs, including 7’1”, 7’3”, and 7’5” models. However, the 7’3” rod is the most versatile swim jig rod.
St. Croix makes some of the most technologically-advanced fishing rods on the market. The Victory Rod model is satisfying to cast, has an ultra-sensitive tip, and a perfect weight balance for casting swim jigs.
The Victory Casting Rod is built using St. Croix’s patented SCVI and SCIII carbon fiber. This technique gives the pole a super-high-modulus blank and reduces the rod’s diameter without sacrificing performance.
St. Croix also uses proprietary Taper Enhancement Technology to “fine-tune” the bending action of the blank. The Victory Rod has one of the most refined action ratings out of any fishing rod on the market.
This pole comes standard with Fuji O-guides, deep-pressed inserts, Fuji SK2 reel seats, and a premium cork handle. St. Croix applies two coats of slow cure finish over the guides and adds a custom hook keeper. The medium-heavy fast-action 7’3” rod has a perfect hook-keeper shape for swim jigs with thick hooks.
2. Cadence Vigor Baitcasting Rod - Best Budget Rod
4.6 Stars | 67 Angler Reviews | $70 - $80
The best swim jig rod for anglers on a budget is the Cadence Vigor Baitcasting Rod. This pole features a blank constructed from 30-ton carbon fiber, and the tip is surprisingly sensitive for the price. Cadence has built a reputation for producing high-quality rods without charging professional-grade fees.
While this rod isn’t as sensitive and dynamic as professional-grade rods, this is expected for the price. However, the Cadence Vigor has more than enough performance for most anglers and will certainly help you catch more fish on swim jigs.
The Cadence Vigor series doesn’t offer a one-piece design, but this is because the brand has had tremendous success with its two-piece models. While most two-piece rods have weak joints that reduce performance, the joints in the Vigor rod are perfectly cut.
Vibrations flow seamlessly through the blank without being interrupted by the joint, giving you all the benefits of a two-piece design without making sacrifices.
This pole features an EVA foam split-grip handle and quality tangle-free guides. The stainless steel joints are durable and prevent the wear of braided fishing line.
3. G.Loomis GLX Bass Jig & Worm - Best High-End Rod
5 Stars | 3 Angler Reviews | $490
If you’re looking to splurge on the industry’s best swim jig rod, the G. Loomis GLX Bass & Worm Rod model is as good as it gets. This pole has more sensitivity and less weight than any other swim jig rod on the market.
If you were fishing the GLX for the first time and didn’t know G. Loomis made it, you might think bluegill could snap it in half. However, this series has an insane amount of durability, which takes a day or two to get used to. Once you start trusting this pole, you’ll have the most fun you’ve ever had out on the water.
This pole is 7’1” long and features a medium-heavy power rating with extra-fast action. While we wouldn’t usually recommend extra-fast action, the GLX has plenty of backbone for fishing swim jigs. The extra-soft tip makes this rod incredibly sensitive and nearly effortless to fish.
G. Loomis incorporates Fuji K-frame SIC guides, a split-grip handle, and a proprietary lightweight reel seat. While this might not seem like many features, the point of the GLX is to be as tournament-focussed as possible without the extra weight from unnecessary bells and whistles.
The GLX lets you feel everything that’s going on under the water, making it easy to differentiate between obstacles and strikes. This design will drastically increase your hook-up ratio and improve your awareness while on the water.
If you’re comparing G. Loomis models, it’s worth mentioning the GLX is better for swim jig fishing than the NRX. It has a much more robust backbone than the NRX and feels just as sensitive.
The GLX has also recently been redesigned, making it 20% lighter than the old model.
4. Johnny Morris Platinum Signature - Most Under-Rated
4.5 Stars | 41 Angler Reviews | $180 - $200
The Johnny Morris Platinum Signature Casting Rod is one of the most under-rated poles of 2022. This model was designed by a professional bass angler and is an exclusive Bass Pro Shops rod. Johnny Morris fine-tuned this pole to suit his tournament needs.
Our preferred models for swim jig fishing are the 7’1” and 7’1” medium-heavy fast-action rods. The 7’4” design gives you better casting distance, while the 7’1” model gives you faster rolling casts.
The new generation of the Platinum Signature is 15% lighter and 35% stronger than the old rod. Bass Pro Shops achieved this without reducing sensitivity or blank dynamics.
With Fuji SiC guides, Winn grips, and an exposed-blank Fuji reel seat, this rod is decked-out with top-tier components. This is expected for the price, as this rod isn’t an affordable entry-level model.
This rod also has an advanced blank constructed with Fortified Miltidirectional Fiber Alignment Technology. Five layers of carbon fiver sheeting are infused with a reductive resin, making the graphite blank stronger and more sensitive than ever.
Lastly, this rod comes with a 10-year warranty that protects you from manufacturer defects and accidental damage.
5. Lew's Mach Pro - Best Swim Jig Rod and Reel Combo
4.6 Stars | 48 Angler Reviews | $220
The Lew’s Mach Pro Baitcaster Combo is a great value rod and reel combo for swim jig fishing. This pole has a sleek design, and the color scheme matches the reel design. Our favorite model for swim jig fishing is the 7’2” medium-heavy fast action rod.
Overall, this combo has a perfect weight balance, making fishing more enjoyable. The handle is comfortable, and the rod and reel were designed to heighten each other’s performance.
If you enjoy low-profile setups, this combo is for you. The reel features ten ball bearings, solid brass gears, a brass crankshaft, and a Zero Reverse one-way clutch bearing.
Other advanced technology includes an adjustable Magnetic Control System, a durable Rulon drag, and a quick-release side-plate lock lever.
The rod itself is lightweight and sensitive yet powerful with a rigid backbone. Lew’s uses a responsive one-piece graphite blank and attaches Microwave Air guides. The graphite reel seat helps vibrations transfer through the baitcaster, and Winn Dri-Tac polymer split grips make it comfortable in your hand.