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Rod Review

Does the Daiwa Zillion TDZL74XHFB Have "IT" for Swimbaits?

Date: 2/22/09
Tackle type: Rod
Manufacturer: Daiwa USA
Reviewer: Cal



Introduction: When we debuted our article on the TDZL691MHXB proclaiming Daiwa had brought the "IT" factor with their new TD Zillion Rods, the first questions we got back were, what about the swimbait stick? Indeed, though the Swimbait Rod Wars are officially over, it seems not everyone is done with the debate, and certainly the subject of big baits is still tantamount amongst many of our readers. So without further ado here is our take on the shorter of the two TD Zillion Swimbait sticks.

Daiwa Zillion TDZL741XHFB Specifications

Material Daiwa HVF Graphite
Length 7'-4"
Length from Back of Reel Seat to Base 12.5"
Line Wt. 15-30lbs
Lure Wt. 1/2-2oz
Pieces 1
Guides 8+tip (Fuji SiC)
Power Rating XHeavy
Taper Fast
Rod Weight 5.4 ounces
Manufacturing Country China
MSRP $229.95

Impressions: As with most manufacturer's product within a single product line, there is not much to differentiate one TD Zillion trigger stick from the next other than length and power. As Zander was busy fishing and testing the TDZL691MHXB, so was I busy with getting to know that rod's bigger brother in the TDZL741XHFB. As expected, we switched rods back and forth to see how each felt in hand and to be honest, if it weren't for the fact I use left hand reels versus Zander who prefers the right hand retrieves, it would have been easy to mix these two sticks up.


Presenting our second look at the TD Zillion baitcasting rods. This time, one of their swimbait sticks!

Lab Tests: Despite the obvious length differences, in hand, the two sticks felt very similar which only fueled the need to get the TDZL741XHFB into the lab to see how it stacked up, not only against the TDZL691MHXB, but of course the other rods from our recently concluded Swimbait Rod Wars.

Lab Results for Daiwa Zillion TDZL741XHFB

Avg RoD (2-48 oz)
Measured Weight
Balance Point
Balancing Torque (ftlbs)
5.4 oz
Lamiglas XC807
9 oz
Dobyns 795ML
8.5 oz
Kistler KBSBS80
7.2 oz
St Croix LTBC79HF
5.6 oz

Rate of Deflection (RoD): Naturally, on our RoD Wrack, the two Zillion rods in question were noticeably different and where the TDZL691MHXB tested similarly to standard heavy powered bass rods, the TDZL741XHFB fell in line with the All Purpose sticks from the Swimbait Rod Wars. In fact, when charting the average deflection values for all six of the rods that fell into this category during that battle, the 7'4" Zillion Swimbait stick mimics this curve almost exactly.

Fig. 1 : This RoD Deflection Chart shows the deflection characteristics of the Daiwa Zillion TDZL741XHFB (yellow curve) against several similar sticks and against the average curve of the All Purpose sticks from our recently concluded Swimbait Rod Wars. Note how the yellow curve of the Zillion rod falls almost right on top of the blue line of the All Purpose Average.

Other Stats: Balancing torque for the TDZL741XHFB was 0.27ftlbs as compared to 0.46ftlbs for our Kistler KBSBS80 and 0.50ftlbs for our Lamiglas XC807. What's more the TDZL741XHFB is quite a bit lighter than the Kistler and Lamiglas especially. Another example can be given with our St. Croix LTBC79HF. This stick is classified with our heavy hitters, but has an overall weight of 5.6 ounces - only 0.2 ounces heavier than the TDZL741XHFB. However, the balancing torque on the St. Croix stick is 0.41ftlbs - quite a bit more than the Zillion and is quite a bit more cumbersome by comparison in hand.

Though it appears more moderate here, the TDZL741XHFB is a fast tapered stick.

Now, our Dobyns Rods 795ML had a better balancing torque value at 0.20ftlbs, but also measures out a little over three ounces heavier in overall weight. In hand, these three ounces are barely noticeable and in fact, both rods feel somewhat similar to one another with the TDZL741XHFB feeling just slightly more tip heavy than the 795ML. What does this all mean? For the combination of overall weight and balance, the TDZL741XHFB is rather impressive.

Built with 8 Fuji SiC guides plus the tip top, the one thing missing, of course, is a hook hangar for your favorite big baits.

Real World Test: The biggest battle with the TDZL741XHFB, naturally, was which reel from my arsenal to pair it with. Even when keeping the decision between TD Zillion reels only, the decision seemed daunting. That is, until I placed the Zillion/Deps ZDV on this stick. From that point on it was a match made in Tackle Enthusiast heaven. The one other reel we tested that does look excellent on this rod is the Daiwa Pluton.

While technically not a true big bait reel, the JDM Daiwa/Deps ZDV is a fantastic match for any rod in this series.


Casting: It is safe to say this Zillion stick is conservatively rated in terms of what weight lures it will handle. Having witnesses its performance in our RoD WRACK, I pretty much ignored the rod's lure rating of 1/2 - 2 ounces and stayed primarily in the 2 - 5 ounce range. The rod handled this weight range very naturally with each cast. 

Though only rated up to 2 ounces, the TDZL741XHFB can handle a wide variety of baits up to about five ounces rather comfortably.

Given how natural, well balanced, and light this combo felt in hand, it was easy to lose track of the fact it's a swimbait combo. The TDZL741XHFB really feels more like a flipping stick than a swimbait rod. That is, until you actually try to flip and pitch with it which I did. The tip actually handles plastics and jigs starting around half an ounce really well. But where you run into some issues with the rod's longer than natural handle. Though short by swimbait rod standards at twelve and a half inches from the back of the reel seat, it is long and cumbersome by flipping stick standards.

Daiwa's BIAS construction allows them to build surprisingly powerful rods with very small diameter blanks.

So all that aside, the stick handles baits such as the seven inch 22nd Century Triple Trout, Black Dog Bait Company's Lunker Punker and Shell Cracker, and even the Huddleston Deluxe eight inch rainbow trout quite well. I was quite happy with this result as I was expecting, based on the rod's lure rating, that the TDZL741XHFB would only be suited for paddletail swimbaits, and in a pinch, maybe the Triple Trout type baits. In fact, it will handle a broad range of baits up to five ounces quite effortlessly.

The familiar contours of Daiwa's reel seat take on a new life with their Zaion material.

Hollowed out to reduce weight, the Zaion reel seat's design is the next, natural evolution of the reel seats found on Daiwa's former Team Daiwa and now, Light and Tough series sticks.

Sensitivity: The style of baits I fished with this Zillion swimbait stick were mostly topwater or slow to fast moving baits - presentations that do not really require all that much in terms of sensitivity. Even so, I'm of the opinion that the feel this rod provides is above average when compared to the other "all purpose" type sticks from the Swimbait Rod Wars. Its overall lightweight really lends well to transmitting feel from the water into your hand and really leaves little place for these transmissions to be lost or escape.

The wings on this reel seat form a bridge for your fingers as you wrap your grip around the rod.

The result is a very comfortable, natural position for your hand and fingers when palming the reel.

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