A solid travel rod for sometimes well under 100€ is the Daiwa Megaforce travel spin. The spinning rod is available in different casting weights for almost all predators that you can fish during your holidays. I have tested the light version with 10-40g in 2,4m on the Philippines extensively. The rod has a very fast action and was able to handle all the warm water predators I have caught so far. Among them some big knifefish and other strong fighters.
The first impression is positive throughout the rod is very light and good in the hand. There are some minor manufacturing faults, such as small varnish noses on a plug connection, which were simply removed with a scalpel. This will of course result in deductions in the evaluation. Otherwise no defects could be found and the plug connections are well processed and fit well. The screw roll holder is neat and tidy and holds roll feet of different sizes well. Something missing I do however a hook eye at the handle, even if you can make something like that yourself. The
rod comes in a simple cloth case with different sized pockets for the four rod parts.
The first buffing test already shows: the rod is quite hard and will certainly be suitable as a rubber fishing rod in Germany. The rod rings also make a stable impression: the guide ring and the first ring are triple rings, otherwise they are stable double rings. Two and triple rings are a bit heavier, but also much more stable than single rings. If rod rings bend and you bend them back, weak points will quickly appear and the rings can break off.
The rod has a beautiful but restrained design with black and matt grey blank with silver decorative windings. The cork handle is ok and feels good, but is certainly not the most expensive cork product.
The practical test takes place in the Philippines. I have now already spent 2 weeks with the rod on a peninsula at a large freshwater lake. So far I have only good things to report about the rod, it survived the transport well, although the hardcase of the suitcase it was in broke and it was not padded, except that it was between clothes.
The action of the rod is relatively hard but under heavy load it bends all the way into the hand part. When you are in Asia, rice is a must and unfortunately there are many empty rice bags at the ports. But also the bag of a 25kg rice sack could be brought ashore without problems, of course without rice but at least with a lot of water resistance and weight. This first stress test gave me a lot of confidence in the strength of the rod. Of course the spectators were very happy about my big “catches”.
In the lake, which is about twice as big as Lake Constance and maximum 5m deep, there are not only rice bags but also fish. In the meantime I have caught some fish with the rod: several species of tilapia (Oreochromis Niltoticus and Sarotherodon spp.), as well as an African catfish (clarias gariepinus), an American catfish and some clown knifefish were among them. The knifefish (chitala ornata), once released into the lake by aquarists, is particularly interesting as a sports fish. Here the fish regularly come to the surface to breathe air and have fixed locations. Unfortunately the fish are not really active until the evening and then you should not necessarily walk around here alone. Therefore I tried it mainly during the day with acceptable success.
What convinced me most of all about the rod was the incredible sensitivity and robustness to lift even 1kg of fish above plants. And to feel even the finest bites directly into the rod handle. I would not have thought that a four part rod could do that. The robustness and power of the blank was also needed to lift fish over the water lilies at the edge of the lake or to keep them from getting stuck in the herb. Nevertheless, I never had the feeling to bring the rods to their limits. The knifefish jumped several times during the fight and have a tremendous power. But also the smaller catfish fought hard and sometimes they took really good line from the reel and hit the rod very hard. Fishing with the rod was really fun!
The already mentioned feedback of the rod is also very good small plucks or hitting a rubber fish on the ground are very clearly in the hand part. The real casting weight of the rod is also more spread out than indicated. 50 grams can still be fully pulled through and even 3.5g small plugs can still be cast acceptably. The reset speed is high and allows very long casts without much effort. Even strokes at a distance and especially in the very hard mouths of catfish and tilapia always get through and no fish has been lost in the fight so far.
At the sea
In this very cloudy and eutrophic lake the catching lures were mostly natural lures, because here apparently all fish perceive their food mainly by smell. So worms and bait fish were the first choice and caught very well if you were in the right place.
There was also a short deployment at the sea. Unfortunately there was nothing to catch at the place where I was. So I fished not only with artificial lures but also with natural lures and used the rod tip as a bite indicator. The tip of the rod shows really well also fine bites or nibbling of the lure of crabs and small fish. Corrosion of the rings could not be detected after two days of use with subsequent rinsing.
The rod passed the practical test with very good results. The rod was certainly not a bad buy and I can recommend it without hesitation. I was especially convinced by the strong backbone and the very tight action, which is then transferred to the whole rod during the fight. Also the sensitive tip with very good bite transmission is remarkable for a travel rod.
Update: On my last trip to the Mediterranean the rod cut a damn good figure when speed jigging with small jigs of 8-25 g and the action was just perfect.
Overview table of the different models
Note: The last rod with 100-200g casting weight is the Travel Pilk. The other models are Travel Spin.
The Daiwa Megaforce Travel will not only continue to accompany me in the Philippines but will also be available in Germany and as a medium allround spinning rod and for lazing around. I have a lot of faith in this rod and the only drawback is the missing hook eye and the slight manufacturing flaws in my model. Nevertheless the rod was worth its money. The RRP is about 100€, but most of the time you can get the rod cheaper.
Small addendum: I would not take a rod with cork handle into the tropics again and prefer to take only rods with EVA handle. If you don’t store the rod permanently and perfectly the cork will accumulate very fast!