Monster Fishing Tackle Spotlight- Shimano Zodias Rods

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Steven Reed with a Nice Spotted Bass caught on the Shimano Zodias

Steven Reed with a Nice Spotted Bass caught on the Shimano Zodias is fast becoming one of the premier online fishing tackle retailers in the country.  Their physical retail store, Outdoor Pro Shop in Cotati, Calif. is perhaps the finest independent retailers of fishing gear, tackle and apparel in the country.  A Mega Dealer for GLoomis and Shimano, they are one of the first retailers to receive some of the newest products and their website manager, Steven Reed, a hardcore angler took the time to test and do a review on the new Shimano Zodias Rods that are new in the store.

Here is what Monster Fishing Tackle’s Reed had to say about them.

by Steven Reed

Designed to offer unparalleled versatility at a price any angler can appreciate, the Zodias Rods are perhaps Shimano’s most ambitious effort to date. Upon first glance you’ll notice these rods are not your traditional Clarus or Crucial style of rod, the Zodias series possesses a JDM feel that is aesthetically pleasing, without going overboard on bright colors or crazy design elements. Appearance alone, you can tell Shimano has taken a step in the right direction with the stealth look these rods display highlighted by red accents that make them “pop” in all the right places and nicely match up with their latest versions of the Curado, Chronarch and recently released Aldebaran. Along the blank you’ll notice a type of exposed wrapping – it’s actually called High Power X – a rod technology that plays more to function than the style – we’ll get to that here in a moment. The rod’s handle is a thing of beauty, keeping the handle and reel seat sleek and machined makes for not only a cool look, but also a very seamless feel that is really nice once you add a reel to it.

Zodias Reel Seat Up Close

Zodias Reel Seat Up Close

Technical Stuff:
In today’s bass fishing world, a lot of rod companies claim technological advancements that are questionable at best. While they may have results that bolster their claims, the results are often negligible. However, when you deal with Shimano, a company whose name is synonymous with quality and innovation in not only fishing, but also the cycling world, you know you’re getting the real deal. Shimano tirelessly researches and develops new technology that they often understate the benefits of in order to ensure their claims are backed up by bulletproof data.

Their newest innovation displayed in the Shimano Zodias Rods is their Hi-Power X construction a technique of wrapping the rod that reduces blank twist focusing the energy of the cast in a single plane which improves casting accuracy and efficiency. Speaking with the designer Robby Gant, he chose not to guarantee more casting distance as there are a number of components that factor into casting distance, however, after using the rods already, we can say they certainly feel like they are generating casting distance with more ease if not creating longer casts as well.

The Zodias Rods utilize a Fuji Alconite Semi-Micro guide that is a really good balance between the tiny micro guides and your standard guides. They sit close to the rod and appear very durable. A high quality EVA foam adorns the split grip handles adding a nice feel to the rod without being too soft. The other design choice worth noting is Shimano’s Ci4+ reel seat which is lightweight, crisp and rigid. Essentially, the Ci4+ material is denser and therefore transmits vibrations through the rod better – much like the concept of tungsten weights over their lead alternative.

Zodias Casting Handle

Zodias Casting Handle

We spent a day on the water with the Shimano Zodias Rods and absolutely loved them. Since the whole concept of the Zodias series was to offer versatility, we took that to heart and tied on a new lure every 10 or so casts to get an idea of how the rods responded to the changes. As you can imagine, the possibilities are limited by the rods inherent attributes for example; you shouldn’t really exceed lure weight designations, but within the suggested range we were incredibly pleased with the performance of the rods. Anglers can switch between jigs, crankbaits or plastics and not skip a beat with the Zodias Rods. About six casts in with the ZDS1610M – a 6’10” medium action casting rod – our Marketing Manager Steve Reed hooked into a chunky 3.5lb spotted bass working a Megabass Vision 110. He remarked that he could feel the strike on slack line which he insisted is the best bite you can get fishing a jerkbait in cold weather. Later on he used the same model to land a few solid largemouth pitching a drop shot to scattered grass and suggested the rod was just about ideal for such an application.

The Shimano Zodias Rods are definitely a step in a new direction for Shimano USA. Manufactured entirely in house, the Zodias Rods have a look, feel and function that you’d expect from a JDM rod. These rods offer the versatility that has been long missing from the bass fishing market, a problem we personally feel has made fishing feel very expensive when in all honesty it shouldn’t have to be. The Shimano Zodias Series is a great choice for anglers looking to own a couple quality fishing rods that can meet the needs of whatever technique they want to use that day instead of requiring six different types of technique specific rods. Sure, there’s still a place for the application-specific models for those looking to dial in a specific technique using the perfect tool for the job, but for a younger bass fisherman or shore angler, the sub $200 priced Shimano Zodias Rods get our full seal of approval.