I was recently handed the new Shimano Zodias for review and I was pretty excited to get in the field and start throwing some lures with it. You’ll instantly notice that the Zodias is quite a different stick from the majority of rods in the Shimano range. It definitely has that JDM flair and quality about it without the high price tag of a Japanese-made rod.
The first thing you’ll notice when you pick up one of these rods is how light they are. Shimano’s CI4+ technology, with its carbon-infused material, reduces excess weight and gives the reel seat a nice feel in the hand.
Meanwhile, the Hi-Power X and Spiral X technology allows engineers to use a carbon tape rather than the traditional carbon sheet, which reduces torque and twisting in the fibres of the blank under load, and produces a lighter, stronger rod. The Fuji Alconite guides complement the blank nicely and the red and black aesthetic on the checks and graphics looks great, and matched beautifully the new Stradic CI4+ reel I paired it with. You’ll be paying about $300 for this rod and with this level of build quality and components I think it offers excellent value for money.
The Cast and Retrieve
My first mission with the Zodias was targeting estuary perch and redfin with surface lures. Having the right rod for successfully casting – and more importantly retrieving – surface lures is always a difficult find. You need a rod that is quite soft in the tip yet a fairly fast action to set the hooks when a fish strikes. I was using Tiemco Soft Shell Cicadas and OSP Bent Minnows, which the Zodias allowed me to cast good distances and I could work both to their maximum potential. The crisp and responsive blank allowed me to impart my desired action with ease.
I was also casting small plastics on 1/12oz jig heads and, again, casting distance wasn’t an issue. For a fairly soft tip the Zodias presents with minimal recoil on the cast, allowing for accurate casts. Retrieving the plastics again showed the blank’s sensitivity and versatility as an all-rounder. Whether you’re twitching and pausing, slow rolling or working surface lures the Zodias can easily handle a variety of retrieves.
While I was catching a lot of perch, redfin and bream, they were all pretty small. I was, however, catching them in close proximity to some very thick weed beds, so I did have to put a bit of pressure on to quickly turn their heads with the light line I was using. This gave me a good indication of how the Zodias could handle larger fish. It loads up quickly for a good hook-set on the strike and has more than enough muscle to handle any bass, bream, trout or EP. It matches a 2500-size reel well and I feel you could load up with much heavier braid than 6lb without pushing the rod too far. If you did want to tangle with some big yellowbelly or even small jewfish this rod could do it.
Shimano certainly had the Australian estuary, lake and river angler in mind when designing this rod. It really is a versatile rod that suits a huge range of species and lure styles. It’s comfortable in the hand and you can cast with it all day due to its light weight. It balances really nicely with the CI4+ range of reels so I suggest you stick with this combination if you’re looking to buy both rod and reel.
It’s sensitive, responsive and powerful, so if you want a rod with a high-end feel at a good price that can switch between lure styles and target species, the Zodias is an excellent purchase.