REVIEW BY ROGER SINCLAIR
Hi-Power X Construction graphite blanks are the foundation for Shimano’s Zodias casting rods. These attractive, lightweight rods are fitted with custom shaped EVA grips, a CI 4+ reel seat, Fuji ‘K’ series Alconite guides, and a Fuji SiC tip. I touched on the 166MH baitcaster version in the last issue of NAFA and we now have its lighter stablemate, the 166ML, to consider.
All Zodias rods feature quality fittings commensurate with their pedigree. Both of these rods have a split eva grip configuration. The Eva grips are quite slim. I found them to be fine but some with larger paws might find them to be a bit on the skinny side. The line guides on these rods are of smaller diameter than what you might typically see on rods used in the tropics, where large diameter leaders are most likely to be used. If you are an advocate of the streamlined FG knot, braid to leader connection, then this will not be a concern with the Zodias.
On this occasion, I had an opportunity to test drive both the 166MH and 166ML baitcaster rods. Both rods are single piece and 6 foot 6 inches (1.98m) long. The 166 MH baitcaster was teamed up with a Shimano Exsense DC and the 166ML baitcaster with a Shimano Curado 70I HG. Both rods feature crisp actions and are light in the hand; however, when it comes to fighting fish, they can certainly dish it out. Casting both Zodias rods was very rewarding and I would have no hesitation in recommending either of them.
I thought that, as a combination, each outfit was excellent, especially the match between the Zodias 166ML and the Curado 70I; strung with 20 pound Power Pro braid it was just superb — a super casting/fishing weapon!