October 3, 2014

Nissin Pocket Mini rod -- review

I recently posted a review about a the Allfishingbuy Shibasu-3010, which I had purchased due to its compact collapsed length. I made a remark in that review that finding ultra compact rods with anything but a stiff action was difficult and that they may not actually exist. I soon found out, however, that Nissin had a series of fixed line rods that were amazingly compact and had a pleasant, relaxed action. I just had to try them out!

The Nissin Pocket Mini series are fixed line rods that will literally fit in your pocket. I received the 270 and 360 cm version. For this review I will be talking about the 360 cm version. The 270 cm version is very similar, just narrower and lighter.

The Pocket Mini 360 comes in a standard Japanese plastic carton with a small rod sleeve. Looking at the carton it's hard to believe that there is actually a rod in there! The coloration of the rod is black and the finish is glossy. The "handle" section has gold paint with metallic flecks, making a handsome looking rod.

The "handle" is without cork but there is a very nice non-slip coating that is effective both wet and dry.

The tip plug is large, compared to other rods. Because this rod is so short when collapsed each section does not taper very much. Therefore the tip plug has to be large in diameter. It is black plastic  and fits snugly into the tip of the handle section. The butt cap is also black plastic and screws into the butt.  There is some knurling on the butt cap as well as a small drainage hole.

Tip plug

Butt cap

Butt cap

The lilian is red and is attached to the tip section with a micro swivel. It is the smallest micro swivel I have seen! The glue joint is perfectly done allowing the tip section to be fully withdrawn through the second segment for complete rod disassembly.

When I said that this rod is compact, I meant that it is really, really compact! It is so compact that it will literally fit in your pocket, hence the name. When placed along side other more conventional rods it looks just plain tiny!

It fits in your pocket!
The Pocket Mini compared to other rods.

In the Tenkara Centre UK rod holder

Here are some rod specifications: Collapsed, it is a mere 24.5 cm. Fully extended it is 361 cm. The rods weighs 47 g, without the tip plug. It is rated as a 17 penny rod on the Common Cents System. This gives the rod a Rod Flex Index of 4.7.

Rod Flex Index comparison chart

The action is the rod is very smooth and relaxed. Unlike other "compact" rods, this rod has a much more pleasing action. It is not so stiff as to be a challenge when casting, yet the rod does have plenty of backbone for fighting fish of reasonable size. I used the Pocket Mini 360 on a freestone stream with moderately high gradient and took fish from 6 inches to 14 inches. The rod handled all of them easily. I used a 10-12' #3.5 level line. I did not use a furled line, as I normally do not fish furled lines.

As you would imaging by having a Rod Flex Index of 4.7, then rod loads very easily and yet casts with very good accuracy. Compared to other 360 cm rods that I have the Pocket Mini 360 is just a slight tip heavy, but not by much. If you didn't fish a wide variety of rods like I do I bet you wouldn't even be able to tell.

Here are some of the fish I caught:

One thing to be aware of: the walls of the carbon tubing of this rod are very thin and flexible.  I have used a lot of rods and this rod has the most flexible walls of any I've used. I don't have a micrometer but if you take a lower section of this rod (not the handle section but one above it) and gently squeeze it between your thumb and fingers the tubing deforms easily. This is not the case with any other rod I have, excepting the Kiyotaki series. What does this mean? I don't exactly know, but with lightweight rods you may increase your chance of rod breakage due to thin carbon tubing. There is a fine balance between rod weight and rod durability.  I'm sure this rod has good durability, but it's just a reminder to be careful with your equipment.

Conclusion: I like this rod.  This rod would be perfect for anyone backpacking or day hiking where there would be a chance to fish. The rod is very lightweight and ubber compact, making it the perfect travel rod as well -- put this in your luggage with a line and a few flies and you've got the ultimate play time package! I doubt I'll use this rod as my primary fishing rod, but it sure makes a very compact and convenient take anywhere back up!

Want one? You can get one from Chris at Tenkara Bum.

Here is the video of some of the fish:


  1. I also have a Nissin Mini 270. These rods are really amazing little pieces of engineering.
    If you are a gram counting ultralight backpacker, you should REALLY LOOK INTO THESE RODS.

  2. I discovered this one when Chris from Tenkarabum recommended it to me. I LOVE the rod. Its very delicate and is more breakable than others, but that's so worth the trade-off in terms of backpacking abilities. I'll be using this rod exclusively on my backpacking trips that aren't specifically focused on fishing. For those I usually bring more than one tenkara rod :)

  3. Could I ask what brand and type your other rods are?

    1. Left to right in the picture above: Shimotsuke Kiyotaki 27, Allfishingbuy Shibasu, Nissin Pocket Mini, Daiwa LT36SF, Shimano LLS36NX, Nissin Zerosum 360

  4. Is this not just a direct copy of Tenkara Rod Co's Mini Teton and Mini Sawtooth? Looks like the same Chinese manufacture just relabeled them and sold them to Nissan. Specs seem eerily similar. Thoughts?


    1. No, they are completely different rods. They don't look alike and they definitely don't fish alike. Nissin Pocket Mini rods came on the market first. The TRC rod became available over a year later after it's Kickstarter funding was completed.


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