Heavy cover is a perfect place to find big, unmolested bass. Not only does it offer them the security they crave, but it also serves as strategic ambush points from which they can attack unsuspecting prey. Targeting such areas, however, requires specialized equipment that’s made to overpower the bass both quickly and efficiently.
I’ve been able to spend some time testing the 7-foot, 4-inch heavy-action Daiwa Zillion Casting Rod lately. Although it’s originally designed for fishing frogs over matted vegetation, I’ve also found it to be an excellent pitching and flipping rod as well.
I have a lot of appreciation for versatile fishing rods. I don’t keep my rods in my boat, so whenever I want to go fishing for just a few hours after work, I’d rather not pile a bunch of rods on the front deck. I like to keep it simple and if I can bring one rod that I can use for several different applications, I’m all over it.
This particular Daiwa Zillion Casting Rod is an excellent rod for both frogging and flipping. I put a reel spooled with 65-pound braided line on it and I’m able to use it for each technique without any issues.
In regards to frogging, which is actually what this model was designed for, it has a fast taper and plenty of backbone for big, powerful hooksets. It’s a bit long for open-water frogging in my opinion, but I’ve found it to be a great choice for fishing a frog over thick grass mats. I actually keep my rod tip high throughout my retrieve in order to purposely delay my hookset, so the added length isn’t an issue. When a big bass dives into the vegetation, the Zillion Casting rod makes quick work of them; you can swing, pull and wrench as hard as you want to and it’s totally up to the task.
I’ve also found this rod to be outstanding for short-range flipping and pitching. Its unidirectional graphite fiber is very dense, resulting in very impressive strength and sensitivity. I made an effort to use this rod around the thickest cover I could find and the way it manhandles fish is something to behold.
Sensitive when it counts
Sensitivity isn’t a huge deal to me when I’m fishing a frog, simply because it’s such a sight-oriented bite. I don’t need to feel small short strikes and bottom composition changes; all I need to see is the explosion.
Flipping and pitching, however, is an entirely different story. I’m a firm believer that many anglers get a lot of bites without even knowing it—especially when they’re in the thick stuff. It can be easy to mistake an inactive bite for a limb or a grass stalk and if your rod isn’t sensitive, it’s hard to tell the difference.
The Daiwa Zillion is incredibly sensitive, especially for such a heavy-action rod. Some rod manufacturers get a little carried away with the power aspect and fail to accont for sensitivity, but Daiwa did a remarkable job striking a balance with this rod.
While testing this rod, the fishing was tough; this is a tricky time of year in my neck of the woods. But I was able to clearly feel each and every bite, regardless of how subtle it was. This rod features a custom reel seat that allows your hand to have direct contact with the blank at all times. Not only was I able to feel soft bites, but I could also feel what type of bottom composition was beneath the visible cover I was fishing. I could easily tell the difference between sand, muck and small pieces of shell and gravel.
Plays nice with braid
This is something I’ve become very picky about. How many times have you missed a frog blowup, your frog goes flying behind the boat, you’re frantically trying to reel in to make a quick follow-up cast and your braided line gets tangled around several of your guides?
It has happened to me a lot in the past and it’s infuriating. By the time you get your mess untangled, that fish is nowhere to be found.
Fortunately, the Zillion is designed with Fuji SiC K-Guides that, in my experience thus far, are totally tangle free when it comes to braided line. I have purposely let a bunch of slack line out, twirled my rod around to wrap it around the blank and guides and I can’t get it to tangle. This may not seem like a big deal to some, but I very much appreciate such close attention to detail.
Lightweight for a meat stick
Some call ‘em pool cues, others call ‘em broom sticks; I call heavy-action flipping and frogging rods meat sticks. Most of them are designed with one goal in mind: To whip a fish’s rear end in short order.
When you pick up a lot of these meat sticks, however, they’re clunky, heavy and to be honest, pretty darn uncomfortable. Much like the sensitivity issue we discussed, this is an often overlooked aspect of a high-end heavy-action fishing rod.
This Daiwa Zillion is surprisingly light for such a beefy rod. It’s not going to break any records for weightlessness and it’s not going to feel like a flimsy cranking rod, but it’s impressively lightweight for what it is. It’s balanced well, it’s not too tip-heavy and the EVA split-grip handle is very ergonomic and comfortable to use for hours on end.
This is an awesome rod for heavy cover fishing. Priced at $269.99, it’s not going to be in everyone’s wheelhouse and there’s nothing wrong with that. If you’re an angler who prefers high-end equipment, however, this is certainly a rod worth considering. It’s beautifully detailed and does its job extremely well.
The Daiwa Zillion Casting Rod is available at TackleWarehouse.com.