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Rod Review


Daiwa brings “IT” with the new TD Zillion Rods (continued)

 

Power cont'd: The rod is an absolute beast with the fish on the line, and manhandles fish back to the boat with the brawny backbone. This is one rod that you will not feel under-rodded with even when you are lucky enough to hook that lunker. The blank construction is designed to resist twisting, and this translates through when it comes to fighting fish.

 


The back of the Zaion reel seat extends over the Air-Form grip for a seamless transition

Sensitivity: When it comes to sensitivity the Zillion rod exhibits a significant delta from the Steez rods. The combination of superior graphite and reduced weight make the Steez rods feel more refined and precise when working lures. The Zillion is no slouch however and for the price comes surprisingly close to the overall feel that the Steez series offers, just not that incredible light weight feel.


The Zillion rod is also a good rod for previous generation TD-Z reels for an even lighter combo

Ergonomics: The Zaion™ reel seat not only looks good, it feels good both when casting and palming. The winged edges on the reel seat cradle nicely in hand when palming. Though they may look like squid mantles the design works. Cal particularly liked the design, and compared to the top enthusiast JDM offerings in terms of both fit and finish, and while not as refined as some of the JDM offerings the reel seat is every bit as novel.

 


Like true JDM rods there is no hook hanger


The rod weighed in at 4.2oz which is reasonably light, but the difference in weight between the Steez and Zillion rods is instantly noticeable (the average Steez rod weighs 3.4oz). This causes the Steez rods to feel even more sensitive as even the slightest ticks cause movement, and when it comes to combating casting fatigue the Steez rods simply can’t be beat. The air-foam grips are both lightweight and sensitive and held up well over the last few months. In general these foam grips will stay looking newer than cork over the long haul with the exception of damage from hook-points which can inflict injury to the cosmetics of the grips though they do little to alter performance.

 


One last cast as the sun sets on our field test, the Daiwa Zillion rods deliver a nice combination of features, performance, and value

Price & Applications: The Zillion rod I tested retails for 199 dollars, and other rods in the series range from this price point up to 249 dollars for the swimbait version. This puts the series a little over 100 dollars less than the standard Steez rods, and less than half the price of the premium Compile X models. The 199 dollar price point puts it right into the battleground for performance and entry level premium rod offerings, and actually puts it under what many of the Tier 2 custom rod companies are asking for their similarly positioned rods. So attractive is this price point that there is no doubt that with the performance that the Zillion rod series offers there will definitely be some cannibalization of Daiwa’s own Steez series. Though most of the damage will surely affect the competition, and the rod is aimed right at Shimano’s top end Cumara which is similarly priced. Never before has it been cheaper to buy a rod that exhibits enthusiast grade features, and with so many Zillion reel owners already out there the rod is sure to be a hot commodity among existing fans of the series. Daiwa backs the Zillion rod series up with a Limited Lifetime Warranty which will cover any rod failures as a result of workmanship issues. When we first examined the rod we questioned the durability of the Zaion material used in the reel seat but after torque tests the reel seat did not flex or shatter under significantly more force than it would normally endure under normal fishing circumstances.

Ratings: (We've re-calibrated our ratings standard for 2008 and have included a key at the bottom of the following matrix as a guide):

Daiwa Zillion TDZL691MHXB Ratings (?/10)

Construction/Quality The Zillion is built out of quality components and makes use of many of the design concepts and materials first seen in the premium Steez series as well as something new with the Zaion reel seat  8
Performance Outstanding overall performance in a wide range of applications. This rod has a very fast action and while I found it a bit stiff at first it certainly grew on me as I used it to fish a wide range of applications 8
Price Overall a reasonable price for such a high quality stick 7
Features About 75% of the performance and features of the Steez series at about half the price! 9
Design (Ergonomics) The Zaion reel seat may look like a squid but it feels great and offers exceptional access to the blank while remaining solid and looking rather "enthusiast" all at the same time. Overall the rod is reasonably light as well 8
Application This stick can is ideal for fishing contact baits but it also was able to be used as a jerkbait rod, flipping stick, and even light swimbait rod 9

Total Score

8.16
Ratings Key: 1 = terrible : 2 = poor : 3 = lacking : 4 = sub par : 5 = mediocre : 6 = fair : 7 = good : 8 = great : 9 = excellent : 10 = unbelievable!
For More Details of the updated rating system visit our explanation here


Pluses and Minuses:

                 Plus                                    Minus

J Unique new components like the ergonomic Zaion reel seat L No hook hanger may annoy some mainstream anglers
J Perfect match for the Zillion reels  
J Fills a gap in the Daiwa lineup  
J A lot of Steez-like performance for a much lower price  


Conclusion: Daiwa brings “it” with the new Zillion rods, and when we say “it” we mean the complete package which includes quality, performance, and enthusiast appeal all at a reasonable price. The Steez series whet the appetites of domestic anglers looking for an enthusiast class offering, but the high price point continues to be a major barrier for the average angler. The Zillion fills that expansive gap between the Steez series and the rest of the Daiwa rod lineup. This is a rod that is positioned at the mainstream to premium price point, and yet it offers about three quarters of the features and performance as the Steez rods but at half the price point, making this rod a winner of our Editor’s Choice Award. Fans of Daiwa’s Zillion reels now have a perfect rod to pair their reels with, and when it comes to both balance and style these two go hand in hand.

 

Looking for a TD Zillion Rod? Try Tackle Warehouse.

 

                                    

 

 

 

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