View More Reviews
video homepage buy online
Shimano Crucial 7'11" Swimbait Rod

Author: Rob Belloni

Rod Length: 7’11”
Blank Material: IM9 Graphite
Line Rating: 15-30 mono | 20-65 braid
Lure Ratings:
CRC-SX711MH : 3-5oz
CRC-SX711H     : 5-8oz
CRC-SX711XH  : 8-16oz
Guides: New Concept Fuji Alconite guides
Number of Guides: 9 + tip
Handle: Shaped Grade A Cork

Pros: There have been several Shimano rods in the past that people have used for swimbaits, most notably the Calcutta 8xx series.  While several of these rods were passable as swimbait rods, none of them were really designed with swimbait fishing in mind and the Calcutta rods were astronomically priced above $300.  Here finally is a true swimbait rod from Shimano that is clearly designed by and for swimbait fishermen and for the general market. 

The Crucial swimbait series comes in three models to cover the wide range of swimbait sizes and weights on the market these days and in my opinion, Shimano did a good job of covering the actions.  The heavy action rod will throw just about anything and the medium heavy is reasonable down in to the 5” bait category.

The tapers and guide spacing on the Crucials are very clean and smooth.  The XH rod that I demoed was extremely stiff out to about 4’ and then tapered out in a clean arc.  The rods have a very fast recovery and don’t have any whippyness to them.  They don’t feel like broomsticks but they have plenty of backbone.  All of the guides and wraps on my rod were perfect, no drips, scratches, crooked guides, etc.  The rods have a clear finish down the entire length of the rod which I like because it adds a little more strength and chip resistance.

The Crucial swimbait rods are priced at $150 which puts them right at or slightly below comparable rods like the Rogue or Lamiglas swimbait rods.  It’s a very fair price for what you get and I have always felt like there is no reason to spend $300 on a rod anyway.  Overall I feel like Shimano did a nice job with this rod and I give kudos to any company that builds a true swimbait rod.  Many of the Shimano rods I’ve seen and fished with in the past were cheap low end deals, and this rod is definitely neither cheap feeling nor low end.

Cons: Two things worth mentioning about the Crucial rods… The first is that all three rods have a strong butt section which is good for power and leverage and for fishing with rubber baits etc.  The actions to me don’t feel quite right though on the lighter wood baits.  I just like a little more overall give in the rod for those applications.  If you’re looking for a Hudd/Stocker Trout/Optimum type rod, buy the XH – it matches perfectly with those style baits.  If you’re looking for something to throw Monster Jacks/Slammer/etc you might want to consider some other options.  This isn’t a criticism of the rod; it’s an expectation setter that might help guide your rod purchasing decision.

The other thing I disliked about the Crucial series was the thickness of the handles.  I have fairly large hands and I feel like for all day fishing comfort, I want something solid to grip on to.  The thin handles look prettier but another ¼” or so on the handle diameter would give it a more solid feel and relaxed grip.

Average Rating out of 5 voters
GGR( Central, CA) Feb 26, 2008
Crucial Swimbait Rods
I have always been a Shimano fan. When they came out with their swimbait rods I ran right out and bought two. These rods are awesome and are the only swimbait rods I use. I currently own five of these rods, 4-XH's and 1-H. On the XH's I mainly throw 9" Punker's, Armegeddon's, Stocker Trout, Hudd's, 10" Triple Fish, and a few others.
On the H. I mainly only throw two baits on this rod, Wake Jr. and 7" M.S. Slammer.
I have also used these rods to catch some large Stripers in the Delta. Teamed with a Shimano
Calcutta or Cardiff 400 reel with bait clicker you will have a great live-bait rod. I use this set-up to fish large shinners and have caught fish to 40lbs.
Shimano has great customer service. My fishing partner is pretty hard on his gear. He also only uses Crucial rods and has broken many (car door, tailgate, ect.). He walks into the tackle shop with his broken rod and they hand him a new one, no questions asked, pretty awesome.
If you are just getting into swimbaiting I would highly recommend these rods. If you are experienced but looking to try a new rod, give the Crucial's a try, you will not be disapointed.
Nico( Pleasanton, CA) Nov 27, 2007
Nice rod
I'm using the XH bait for hudds and other heavy baits. Without a doubt it casts these baits further than any other rod I've used; it's quite impressive. The rod is extremely comfortable to handle as well, reasonably lightweight.

Nick( Riverside, CA) Mar 02, 2006
This rod is an all around great stick. I bought it mainly for the Hudds and Stocker trout. I think it fits a specific role for baits between 8 and 10 inches. Even though it's rated to 16" baits, you wouldn't catch me throwing anything over 10. I think a beefier rod is necessary for the monster baits over 10"

This rod is surprisingly light and it has a perfect bend when loaded up.

Comparing it with other rods I think it sits right up there with the higher end rods. I think it'd be more fair to compare with the loomis 965 though due to the backbone than the Lamiglass I currently own.

Pros: Nice guides/Straight, No drips, excellent quality, unbeatable warranty, good length, perfect backbone. At least for me, (I really think Rob preferes the soft mushy sticks judging by his taste in rods :D Personally I like the rods that load with that perfect amount of bend.

There's only 2 factors about this rod that I would change.

1. I really like a bunch of guides on my rods, anything over 10 is just great. This rod has 9 +Tip, but I feel that a closer spacing and an additional 2 guides would really make it classy.

2. I'm not a fan of the tapered cork handle, just feels to skinny, and it could also use another inch of handle. I like that extra leverage.

Other than that I think it's a very nice rod for the price and is worth it's weight in gold. Besides you can't beat a lifetime warranty.
Read More Reviews [2] »
Copyright © Robert Belloni 1997-2012. All Rights Reserved.
This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without express written consent.
Login /