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Rod Review

The Samurai Sword of Frog Rods, the Daiwa Steez XBD (continued)

Power: This premium rod is unmistakably a Steez and while the same DNA is shared between the entire series this particular rod definitely showcases more power than the other rods which feel like the scales are tipped towards sensitivity over raw muscle. It didn’t matter how thick the weeds were there was never a moment that the XBD rod felt outmatched, yet this rods doesn’t feel sloppy at all.

The rod features double footed titanium SIC guides for better resistance to the pressures of fishing with braided superlines

The XBD rod is rated as Extra Heavy but I felt it fished somewhere in the middle of Heavy to Extra Heavy in comparison with other frog rods. The light feel and sensitivity give the rod a “light” feel and it is easy to make the assumption that a rod that is this sensitive just shouldn’t be this powerful.

I fished a variety of hollow bodied frogs with this rod

Yet the XBD’s power ratings inspired me to use the rod for more than just froggin and I tied on everything from punch rigs to smaller 2oz. swimbaits and found that the XBD rod handled the lures well and fighting fish with these subsurface baits was not a problem at all, if anything there was extra power to spare when it came to muscling fish back to the boat, still this is not the most powerful frog rod out there and anglers that prefer sheer muscle may be hesitant to really set forcefully with this rod.

Clear Lake frog heaven

Sensitivity: With a premium look and feel that rivals quality blades and firearms there are times when I almost felt guilty fishing frogs over the heavy weed mats with the costly Steez XBD. With frogging being such a visual technique how much does that extra sensitivity help? While the rod delivered extremely fast hooksets that extra sensitivity was a plus when the rod pulled double duty as a swimbait or punch rod, in these applications every single contact with structure or vegetation was telegraphed beautifully.

There is nothing quite like catching frog fish

What about that solid air-beam reel seat? We have established in previous reviews that the solid reel seats do little to reduce sensitivity. Many premium rods from Japan including those from Evergreen often have no blank through access at all, in fact many JDM rods actually are two pieces with the blank and butt meeting within the trigger section. So is it all marketing? Not necessarily but in the case of this particular rod not one iota of sensitivity seems lost.

The rod features a Fast action and XH power rating

Ergonomics: Weighing in at a very light 5.3oz. the XBD rod is considered lightweight for a XH 7’4” rod. The premium components including the low profile titanium guides and “Air-Foam” grips help make this rod even more of an ergonomic masterpiece. While the rod did balance out well with the Zillion Type-R it felt a whole lot lighter overall with a Steez reel and it was actually easier to walk frogs for long periods with the ultra lightweight combo which weighed in at only 10.9oz. total versus 13.8oz. with the Type-R, I was surprised how much just 2.9oz. could make in how this combo felt on my wrist and forearm when walking frogs.

Punching with the XBD rod actually worked out better than I expected

The lack of any real foregrip also helps keep the rod’s overall weight down and allows anglers to put their fingers on the blank should they choose to use the rod for more than just frogging and require that extra sensitivity.

An aftermarket Fuji hookhanger is one addition I made to this rod

In true keeping to JDM styling the XBD rod lacks a hook hanger, something that will bother some frog anglers that desire quicker access to their baits. I’ll admit there were some times when I wished the rod had a hook hanger rather than have to hang my frogs on the leading guide foot, but this is easily solved with any variety of aftermarket hook hangers including the popular plastic Fuji hanger.

The Type-R spooled with Daiwa Samurai braid (notice I colored the first 20 feet)

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