Switch Hitter

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Until I went to Africa last year, I never really noticed travel rods. Prior to that, when it had been necessary to take rods on a plane I’d traveled with a long rod tube. I was pretty in-your-face about my one-piece snobbery.

That changed after we subdued some big fish with a few borrowed travel rods. I found out that the three- and four-piecers of today are much closer to our regular tournament rods than the multi-piece abominations of a few decades ago. Since returning, I’ve purchased two of them, both baitcasting models, to join the four-piece BPS spinning rod that I bought for my backpacking trip to Alaska in August of 1995.

I have also started to comb the online retailers just to see what else is out there, and recently I came across one that confused me at first. It’s a Daiwa Ardito Travel Casting/Spinning Rod, and when I first spied the handle I thought something was wrong. It was the fishing equivalent of a platypus, with elements of both baitcasting and spinning gear. A moment later I recognized that was a feature, not a bug. It was meant to do double duty – use a little elbow grease and it switches rod types in a hurry.

Is it the rod you would bank on to win the Bassmaster Classic? Probably not. Since a spinning reel goes under the reel seat and a casting reel goes above it, it’s probably not as smooth as your favorite dropshot rod or your preferred Senko stick. Nevertheless, we borrowed two Ardito baitcasting rods from my friend Ray Kawabata for Africa, and I can attest that they handled beautifully, so I’m sure that this is a quality performer as well. If you want to invest in multiple travel rods, be my guest, but if you’re just looking for a single multi-purpose workhorse to stick in the trunk of your car or in your suitcase on a business trip, this might be your answer.