I was looking for a medium light casting rod and this one sort of fill the specs I was looking for. These rods retails for around $200 and getting a sale price on them makes them very attractive price point. So I took a feel to it in the store and liked it enough to purchase it. The rod has 8 Fuji Alconite guides plus a SiC tip guide. Split Grip EVA foam handles and a Ci4+ graphite reel seat with an aluminum locking nut. This particular 7' ML model is listed as a moderate action and has a G designation for some glass material in the blank. While I checked the tip flex, it wasn't quite as flexible as I was expecting from like a crank bait rod. The only other crank bait rod I have to compare is my old Shimano Crucial medium power moderate fast action. The ZDS170MLG has a faster tip action and a much stronger main blank section.
After using the rod for over a year, I personally don't do much cranking, but top water poppers and spooks I like. A lot of typical jerkbaits like Xrap08 and Yo-Zuri 3DS 1/4 oz. I also like throwing a lot of inline spinners as well as light spoons. This has been fulfilling it's intended purpose very well with the majority of weight in the 1/4 oz. and a few in the 3/8 oz.
2020 Zodias were updated with a carbon monocoque handle. No big deal but seems like a lot of different model change. Gone were many of the old blank action and power.
So by chance I got curious and decided to buy into a new updated model just recently. This casting model again featured the 8 Fuji Alconite line guides plus a SiC tip, but they came with a grey frame instead of the shiny silver frame from previous model. A slight change to the reel seat and slight changes the the aluminum lock nut. The biggest change was the carbon monocoque handle on the butt of the rod. The 7'2" ML power rod is listed with an extra fast action tip. I checked that again my St. Croix MXF rods and it's not exactly the same. It's a little slower, a softer tip transition.
I mounted my old Metanium MG7 reels with 15# Fireline Braid and went to do some backyard cold casting practice. It's just going to be a side sling because of overhead tree limps. Cold cuz it's freezing outside and there's plenty of snow on the ground. I had prepped a 3/16th oz Torpedo without any hooks - used to be a Bill Dance special I think with a different weight from the other normal ones. On my first attempt, much to my surprise is how different the casting effect was. There was a definitive lightness and effortless casting effort. I tried again and the wow factor hit me. That's not all the whoah factor hit me as well in how much more distance I was getting with my cast. Just to double check, I tried two other prepped hookless lures, a 1/2 oz. Spook and 1/4 oz Blue Fox Mininow Spin. Again it confirms how effortless my casting stroke was and how light it was. The carbon monocoque handle has this much noticeable effect. The transfer of casting distance on this particular rod is just that it's a mere 2" over that of the other Zodias rod is was using before.
Again just to double check the following next two days I swapped reels between the two rods. The other reel was my Shimano Chronarch MGL with 20# J-Braid x8 which is a slightly heavier line, but the spool was an updated lighter type. Again the wow factor was still there. The casting distance was there again. I didn't feel that the Chronarch MGL was this good from before, but now apparently it would make me buy another one or give it my recommendation. The initial cast motion was all the effort I put into it just enough to get the lure going. The lightness of the rod overall means I don't need to impart anything more at the end of my cast. I can foresee a lot of fatigue reduction if I were to fish for extended periods. If I had to compare distance results, it seemed like the new rod was getting easily 10 feet gain on the 3/16th oz., about 15 feet gain on the 1/4 oz. and about 20 plus feet gain on the 1/2 oz. based on a moderate effortless side cast. Regardless it was very noticeable difference and results comparing to the other rod and the spots where the lure hits upon the snow. Again all of this is with freezing cold hands and I had to cut it short each day.
I did also snagged some tree twigs and had to pull the rod tip against it. Just to double check the tip flex and rod bend. Yes really I intended to do that. Well it really confirms that the extra fast tip isn't as fast as the St Croix MXF tips. Also confirms that the moderate tip was much faster than a moderate fast medium crank bait rod.
I can foresee myself getting another updated 2020 Zodias rod in the future. That carbon monocoque handle has intrigued me a lot. Just need open water to see how the affect will be for real lures in the water. Most of all, I feel that it's like an Ugly Stick reborn into it's full potential, minus the clear tip.