22nd Century Swimbait Co. Swimstick
Author: Rob Belloni
The 22nd Century Swimstick came out in early 2005, perhaps late 2004. This 7” bait was manufactured in very limited numbers and only about 50 baits were ever made. To my knowledge there was only one color, the trout pattern pictured, but there may have been a few other variations. The Swimstick is a composite bait and comes stock with 1/0 VMC’s and heavy duty split rings.
When I tested the Swimstick, the thing that kept replaying in my mind was, “slow speed surface action.” When you look at the shape of the bill on the Swimstick, it looks like it’s going to have a wide wobble and throw off a lot of wake but the action is actually quite subtle and the wake is just a gentle ripple on the surface when compared to other similar wake baits. I have seen situations, especially at night, where a super slow presentation with minimal commotion really gets bit well and the Swimstick gives you that action out of the package. The slow speed action of this lure is excellent and has that intangible fishy look to it.
The Swimstick uses the same swivel system 22nd Century incorporates on the Triple Trout and Nezumaa rat so that instead of attaching your split ring to a screw eye, you attach it to a swivel embedded in the body of the lure. This allows the hook to spin freely 360 degrees which can help keep fish hooked when they twist and jump during the fight. With two hanging trebles and a relatively skinny body, you should hook and land most of what hits this bait. Even 2 pounders shouldn’t have a problem finding the hook with the Swimstick and that can be a big plus for tournament situations.
The tail on the Swimstick is attached with a wire pigtail for easy removal and replacement. You probably won’t go through a lot of tails with this bait (or any wake bait for that matter) but being able to change tails in about a minute is a nice feature. If you’ve fished wake baits long enough you know that inevitably a fish will bite your tail off at just the wrong moment when you’re anxious to make another cast or of course when you forgot your spares at home!
From a durability standpoint, the Swimstick should last as long as you care to fish it. The paint is not extremely durable but the bodies are solid and if you have one that is getting bit, odds are color is not extremely important. Composite baits tend not to get grooves in them like wood does and accordingly I expect that the Swimstick should be a 50+ fish bait.
Although there hasn’t been a tremendous amount of talk around this bait, it’s worth mentioning that the fact there were only 50 baits made makes the Swimstick a potential collector’s item. If you have one in nice condition you might want to consider putting it on the shelf for later.
For as good as the Swimstick looks waking slowly across the top, it definitely starts to lose its mojo the faster you retrieve it. The bill is so wide and shallow that the head starts kicking side to side but the tail just doesn’t follow with a natural motion like it does on a slow retrieve. My views on what constitutes good lure action are of course subjective, but I wasn’t a fan of the high speed / subsurface action on the Swimstick.
The split rings on the Swimstick are good and shouldn’t give you any trouble for normal fishing, but if you’ve read my other reviews where I talk about the VMC hooks used on the 22nd Century baits, you’ll know I’m not a fan. I would definitely recommend replacing the stock hooks on this bait with 1/0 Gamakatsu round bends in bronze or Owner ST-36 stingers.
The last thing to mention of course is availability. With so few lures produced it will be very hard to come across one of these guys. I believe of the baits that were sold, most of them went through Angler’s Marine in Southern California so if you really must have one, that would be the place to start looking.
Overall I was pleased with the Swimstick as a subtle, slow speed type wake bait. If you’ve got some new hooks and the patience to slow wind your bait it could be a good option in the waking category.