March 19, 2015

Nissin Pro Spec 2-way 320 7:3 -- a rod that challenges the Rhodo

A little over a year ago Tenkara USA introduced their small stream rod, the Rhodo. It's a great rod and has received numerous accolades, which are well deserved. Until recently, the Rhodo was in a class by itself, that is, a short rod with moderate action that can zoom to a longer length when desired. I said, until recently, because now there is a contender to challenge the Rhodo, the Nissin Pro Spec 2-way 320. The Pro Spec 2-way 320 is similar to the Pro Spec 2-way 360 (a rod I really like), just shorter. Here's my take on this newly introduced rod.

The Pro Spec 2-way 320 is a small stream rod which is designed and made in Japan by one of the most respected tenkara rod companies, Nissin. It comes in two different action profiles, 6:4 and 7:3. Nissin rods consistently seem to be a little on the softer side of the action rating, so I almost always prefer the 7:3. However, many folks like the softer action of a 6:4 and Nissin gives you the choice.

The rod comes in the standard plastic carton along with a simple rod sleeve. The finish is glossy and the overall coloration is black. There are blue accent sections on the lower segments along with some simple gold accent bands.









As this is a zoom rod, the rod can be used in either the 320 cm length, or shortened to 270 cm for really tight spots. The zoom feature is smooth fitting, without any rattle between the segments.

The handle is gourd or camel shaped and is foam with cork veneer. The veneer is very nicely done and one would not expect to even notice it unless closely examined. The foam core makes the handle slightly more softer than the solid cork handle of the Rhodo, but not as soft as an EVA foam handle (like the handle on the Shimano Keiryu Tenkara 34-38 ZL). The handle is 23 cm long.



Cork veneer over a foam base.


The tip plug is black plastic. It's grooved to increase its friction fit and it fits perfectly in the tip of the handle segment. The butt cap is also black plastic, has a central post which receives the zoom segment, and is rounded for comfort. There is no air hole. There is a slightly knurled surface to aid in removal.




The lilian is red and is attached to the 1st segment with a perfectly executed glue joint. The 1st segment can be fully withdrawn through the 2nd allowing the entire rod to be fully disassembled.



Here are some specifications: fully extended in the 270 cm position the rod is 267 cm. Fully extended in the 320 cm position the rod is 313 cm. Completely collapsed the rod is 57 cm. Without the tip plug the rod weighs 63.7 g.  In the long position (320 cm configuration) the rod has a Common Cents System rating of 14.5 pennies. This gives it a Rod Flex Index rating of 4.6. In the short position the rod is 15.5 pennies, and thus an RFI of 5.6. Rotational Moment for the Pro Spec 320 7:3: 270 = 2.5 kgcm, 320 = 3.5 kgcm. For definitions of the Common Cents System, Rod Flex Index and Rotational Moment, please see my article on Tenkara-Fisher.com.


Length at the 270 cm configuration.

Length fully extended at the 320 cm configuration.
Rod Flex Index chart


For comparison, here are some specifications on the Rhodo from my review: collapsed length is 53 cm. Weight is 59 g. Advertised versus measured lengths: 270 cm: measured length is 265 cm; 297 cm: measured length is 294 cm; and 320 cm: measured length is 319 cm. Rotational Moment for Rhodo: 270 = 2.39 kgcm, 297 = 2.98, 320 = 3.66. CCS values are 15 pennies at 320 cm, 15.5 pennies at 297 cm, and 15 pennies at 270 cm. This gives it a RFI of 4.3, 5.2, and 5.6 for 320, 297, and 270 cm respectively.

Pro Spec 2-way 320 7:3 (top) and TUSA Rhodo (bottom)


The casting action is smooth and rich. There is no tip oscillation in either of the length configurations. The Pro Spec 7:3's flex point is slightly more towards the tip of the rod than what is felt with the Rhodo. This makes the rod feel just a hair faster in recovery than the Rhodo, but in actuality, they are pretty close in feel. A #3-3.5 fluorocarbon level line is perfect with this rod. I did not use a furled line, as I don't fish furled lines.




Conclusion: I like this rod. I have used its big brother, the Pro Spec 2-way 360 7:3, a lot, and I expect I'll use this neat little rod a lot as well. I casts beautifully, is very light in the hand, and is a joy to use.

Which do I like better, the Pro Spec 320 7:3 or the Rhodo? It's pretty much 6's. The Pro Spec feels a little better balanced fully extended but the Rhodo is a smidge lighter. The Rhodo has a cork handle, but I like the feel of the Pro Spec foam/cork veneer a lot. Both rods cast a light line beautifully; the Pro Spec 7:3 being slightly more tip flex than the Rhodo. The Rhodo comes in one flex action, but the Pro Spec is offered in both 6:4 and 7:3 models. The Rhodo offers three functional lengths while the Pro Spec only two -- the short and long lengths are very similar, however. The Pro Spec has a limited warranty, but the Rhodo has the TUSA Tenkara Care warranty. The Rhodo costs $215.00 USD from Tenkara USA, and the Pro Spec 2-way 320 costs $170-175.00 USD from Tenkara Bum.

Punch line -- both are great rods and worth a look if you're into fishing to smallest of blue lines!

Disclaimer: My opinion regarding this rod is just that, my opinion. Your opinion may differ.  Also, your rod may not have the same characteristics or functionality as my rod. There are variations between rods, even in the same production run. No description can fully tell you how a rod feels or fishes. For this, you must personally hold, cast, and fish the rod then make up your own mind.









8 comments:

  1. Thanks for this very informative review! I am more and more interested by zoom tenkara rods and your article is really helpful for me to make a choice.

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  2. Thanks for another review. I always enjoy them. I purchased the ProSpec 2 Way 360 after I read your review of it. It is a great rod and I am very happy with it. The zoom works very well and I do find myself using this feature. The 320 would be neat to add to the quiver. I am very curious about the Nissin Air Stage Fujiyru that Chris at Tenkarabum has now. Maybe he would loan you one to review?

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    Replies
    1. I just fished with the Nissin Air Stage Fujiryu the other day. I'll be publishing a review soon.

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  3. I can agree with Shawn I would also like to see a review on the nissin air stage furiyru! Another great review might I add, I really like the nissin rods couldn't get a better bang for your buck!!

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  4. Tom, if you want any insights to the Airstage Fujiryu rods from my time fishing with Horimichi Fuji, the designer of the rod, let me know

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  5. "How many rods must a man fish with
    before you can call him an angler...
    The answer my friend..." LoL :-D

    Saving money to buy this one...
    I've the 360 and perhaps broke it twice love its versatility.
    Also i don't like those zoom rods with only 30 cm increments cause it is not much of a difference to me.
    But a 50 cm increment becomes really interesting chiefly in a 320 rod.

    Thanks again Tom for the excellent service.

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  6. Tom,

    Thank you for the review. I've enjoyed following your posts, and I have found the information to be helpful when working through a purchase.

    A quick FYI before I bring up another topic: the 6:4 version of the ProSpec 320 is listed as being the same weight as the TenkaraUSA Rodo at 59.5 grams.

    I'm using the 6:4 version of the ProSpec 320 and find that on small, brushy streams it works very well, but one aspect of the rod that surprised me was the manufacturer' recommended tippet range - it is the highest of the three rods I own! This spec isn't listed on the manufacturer's website.

    I'd like to see more discussion and investigation of manufacturer's recommended tippet ranges because it is a topic that is a bit of a black hole in the American tenkara world.

    Japanese rod manufacturer's provide a recommended tippet range on the specification label provided with each rod. They use a decimal scale that roughly translates to "Harris Nylon Number". But if one does an internet search for "Harris Nylon Number" nothing of substance appears.

    The Nissin ProSpec 320 6:4 and 7:3 versions have a very respectable 0.8 - 1.2 tippet rating range on the Harris Nylon Number scale. But what exactly does that tell the customer? How is this number range used to select the proper tippet? How does it help the customer to make a more informed purchasing decision based upon the type of fish they wish to go after?

    Over a period of time I have developed a rough chart of the Harris Nylon Number and various tippet diameters and ratings.

    What I have found is that Japanese and American tippet manufacturers do not follow the same specs. Tippets are not the same diameter, and the test lb ratings can vary quite a bit.

    4x Varivas Super Tippet Master Spec has a max test lb rating of 5.1 lbs for both fluorocarbon and mono, while 4x Scientific Anglers Nylon Freshwater (green) is rated at 6.8 lbs. That's a fairly wide difference for something that is supposedly the same rating.

    One manufacturer's 5x tippet can equal another manufacturer's 4x tippet.

    I hope that reviewers such as yourself will be willing to provide this information in your reviews to help educate buyers, in a similar way that you all have tackled CCS ratings, rod flex, etc.

    Thank you again for your reviews and posts.

    CM

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