October 26, 2015

Nissin Zerosum 450 6:4 -- review

I have a Nissin Zerosum 360 7:3 that I really like. But recently I obtained the big brother in the Zerosum line of tenkara rods.  I'm not talking about the Zerosum Oni Tenkara Honryu rod, rather I'm talking about the Zerosum 450 tenkara rod. Since I had a choice between a 6:4 and 7:3 version I went with the 6:4. I almost always choose the stiffer rod but this time I decided on the softer one.

As far as appearance, the Zerosum 450 6:4 tenkara rod looks like a slightly beefier version of my 360 cm Zerosum. The coloration, rod designation panel, handle shape, lilian attachment, tip plug and butt cap are exactly the same as the shorter 360 7:3 version. Because of this I'm not going to go into any detail on appearance. You can read about the details on my Zerosum 360 review.

The rod is heavier than my 360 cm, version, but this is expected given that it's much longer. My rod comes in at 88.2 g, without the tip plug. This is quite light for such a long rod. I've fished with 360 cm tenkara rods that weigh more than 88 g.

The length of the rod is also pretty amazing. It's marketed as a 450 cm rod but mine is 457 cm long. This makes it the longest 400+ cm tenkara rod that I have tested and used to date. This long length allows the rod to have a tremendous reach. But that reach does come with a downside. As I have mentioned before on reviewing other long tenkara rods, the longer the rod the more physics comes into play. Because this rod is so long it has some noticeable tip heaviness. This shouldn't come as a surprise, rather, it is a reality. My Zerosum 450 6:4 has a rotational moment of 8.5. That's pretty high, but when you take into account how long the rod is, that number is really not that bad. It's higher than the Shimano 44NP, but the Zerosum 450 is longer (almost 20 cm longer when fully extended) and more compact (when nested) than the Shimano.

RFI comparison chart

With Nissin rods I almost always prefer the 7:3 versions as they are soft enough for me, but the 6:4 version of the 450 cm is really not that bad! I measure the rod having a CCS rating of 15.5 pennies. With its length that gives it a Rod Flex Index of 3.4. The rod loads and unloads really well with a #3 fluorocarbon level line. It casts smoothly with an unweighted fly, but it doesn't baulk at a #10 tungsten beadhead jig fly either. I mostly cast the rod single handed, but I also cast it two handed. It did well either way.

Fish on!

I fished my rod on a typical mountain stream with a 11' level line plus 3' of 5X tippet. This rod allowed me to stand in one place and reach all the way across the stream with a simple cast. It works great for the "long rod, short line" approach. I did not fish this rod on still waters, but I bet it would also do really well in that situation. I caught trout, browns and cutthroat, in sizes from 6 inches to 12 inches. Despite that current being moderately fast the rod handled these fish without any issues.

I really don't have much more to say about this rod. Like it's shorter sibling, this rod is very capable, well made and beautiful -- after all, it's made in Japan! If you are looking for a longer tenkara rod (cork handle and made specifically for tenkara techniques) then you might want to consider the Nissin Zerosum 450 cm.

If you would like one, you can get one from Chris at Tenkara Bum.

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