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Shimano Zodias Travel rod review

SHIMANO released several multi-piece travels rods in 2023, including the Raider, Revolution, and Zodias travel range.

Travel rods have become a popular choice for many fishos for a number of reasons, But first, what exactly is a “travel rod”. In my opinion, a travel rod is one with three or more pieces. The average two-piece rods, while portable, depending on length, probably don’t fit this category. 

These days, it’s common to find three, four and five-piece rod models. In the past, multi-piece rods were mostly reserved for long fly rods. The spin and bait cast rods in the past mostly featured awkward ferule designs that would create a heavy rod and a poor action.

All that has changed with the latest generation of travel rods.

Why would you want one? Convenience! Whether you are actually travelling or just want something that’s easy to store at home or in the car on the way to fishing, there’s no doubt these travel rods are convenient. If you are travelling, a four or five-piece rod fits easily inside most suit cases. In Australia, you can’t fly with a rod as carry-on; it must be checked in your baggage.

I’ve had bad experiences in the past, travelling with one and two-piece rods, with broken rod and lost rod tubes. Then there’s extra fees for oversized baggage and it’s just inconvenient carrying around a giant big tube. I’d much rather just pack one bag with my lures, rods, reels and clothing. If you’re paranoid about your bag being lost, I’d suggest sharing a rod or two with your fishing mates. That way if someone’s bag goes missing, there’s always a spare.

Another use for a travel rod is hiking. More and more of us are finding fish in places that require some walking. The fishing is usually better and it’s always a fun adventure. Rods in four or five-piece configuration are perfect for this. Stash them inside or strap them to the outside of your bag and leave your hands free.

That’s exactly what I have been using Shimano’s latest Zodiac Travel rods for. Over the past few weeks Ive done several trips to isolated rivers, walking ups and down searching for natives. I packed the five-piece Zodias in the bag, together with some cod and golden perch lures, a drink, pair of pliers spare leaders and a snake bandage. 

It’s easy to put together, and best of all, I really couldn’t tell the difference between this rod and a one-piece rod. Sure, maybe it’s slightly heavier and maybe the action isn’t quite so crisp. But honestly, unless you’re really tuned into to the action of a rod, I don’t think you will notice any difference.

It’s a fantastic rod to cast and has plenty of power for its size to subdue tough fish. I bought several gold perch and a couple of nice cod over 70cm. 

I opted for the Medium weight C66ML-5. At 6’6” In length, it’s not too cumbersome for walking along thick bankside scrub. I mostly used spinnerbaits and chatter baits between 1/4 and 1/2 ounce. I also used a much heavier topwater lure that weighed over 50 grams. It cast fine, but I’d go with a heavier model if you intended to cast heavy topwater or swimbaits regularly. 

The Zodias was matched with a new Curado 200M. I’ve had this reel for a few months now and took it on a trip to the Solomon Islands last year. It’s a fantastic reel and a perfect match for the Zodias Travel. More details on the Curado 200M here.

This set up over several trips accounted for plenty of golden perch and some nice topwater river cod around 70cm. Incredible fun and this outfit handled the task without a problem.

Shimano’s Zodias Travel rods come in seven sizes and configurations. There’s four bait cast rods and three spin and that covers everything from light spin to medium-heavy baitcast. That pretty much covers everything from tackling small mountain trout, bream and whiting to flathead, mulloway, and natives such as bass, cod and golden perch. They’d also make an ideal rod for fishing the tropics. The rod Fishing World tested would make a perfect light barra rod. If you’re using small hardbodies and plastics, it’s a good option. For working large, deep lures and casting heaver weights, you could go up to the Medium heavy 7’2” baitcast version. I’d imagine the same Curado reel would still be a good fit or you could choose one of Shimano’s larger 300 or 400 size baitcast reels.

The Zodias travel rods feature Shimano’s Carbon Monocoque Butt for sensitivity and finesse and the range comes with Hi Power X Blanks, plus Fuji Stainless Steel K Guides with Aconite + SiC Tip inserts.  Shimano has delivered a high quality blank and matched it for equal good components to create a high end rod with unbeatable convenience.

If you’re looking for a multi-piece rod features top quality components with unbeatable performance, I highly recommend checking out the Zodias Travel range.  

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