November 26, 2017

Nissin Tenkara Ramon 7:3 360 pack rod -- review

Pack rods. There have recently been released a few new options for very compact tenkara rods, so called pack rods.  Let's see... there's the Nissin Pocket Mini, Tenkara Rod Company's mini(s), the Dragontail Talon, Tenkara USA Hane-2 and the TenkaraBum Traveler (which I use as my main travel rod), to name just a few. Also is the new Shimano Pack Tenkara ZW, which I haven't seen (yet).

But there has also been some controversy as to whether pack rods are even needed.

Recently there was a discussion on one of the forums regarding pack rods. One tenkara fisher stated that he doesn't feel the need for a special tenkara pack rod, because all tenkara rods are short enough to be packable. He doesn't mind if a regular tenkara rod doesn't fit in carry-on luggage, he just puts his rods in the overhead compartment on the plane. Other tenkara anglers felt that a pack rod would be nice if it would fit in a standard airline approved carry-on so that no other case would be needed. The discussion got a little thick with overbearing opinions and I left.

Well, if you like the thought of a rod that is even more compact than a regular tenkara rod, then you might want to take a look at the newly released Nissin Tenkara Ramon line of pack rods. They come in 270, 320 and 360 cm lengths. All are 7:3 flex profiles. I received a 360 cm version recently and have been testing it since.

Here's Nissin's published information regarding these rods -- translated from Japanese into English by Google:

"Nisshin's new model for 2018 season "Tenkara Ramon 7:3" is the series of pack rods. The folded length of the rods is only 48cm. Excellent portability. You may be able to put the rod in your daypack. We can say this model is the only packrod model of Nisshin at the moment. This 7:3 action model rods are pursuited of indispensable performance in tenkara fishing. Outstanding operability and spontaneity of the rods give us accurate casting."

The rod is dark graphite in coloration with the exception of the rod designation area which is white. This makes the rod very striking in appearance and aesthetically pleasing. There are some subtle gold ring accents on the tipward ends of all segments excepting the top two.

The handle is a departure from Nissin. It is high density black EVA foam with a cork header. The cork comprises about 25% of the handle. This too makes for a striking presentation when compared to other tenkara rods. The handle is 27.5 cm long and has the customary gourd or camel shape.

The tip plug is black nylon plastic, as is the butt cap. The butt cap has a gold accent ring, similar to the Zerosum and Royal Stage line of tenkara rods.

The lilian is red and the glue joint is small and perfect. The rod can be completely disassembled for cleaning and drying.

Here are my measurements:

Fully extended: 359 cm
Fully nested: 47 cm
Weight (without tip plug): 89.3 g
CCS: 24 pennies
RFI: 6.7

RFI comparison chart

The casting action is stiffer than any Nissin tenkara rod I have previously used. Most of Nissin's 7:3 rods flex like 6:4 rods, but not the Tenkara Ramon 360. It flexes like a 7:3 rod. This may be due to the design and number of joints, as well as the carbon weave.

Despite this flex action, I had no trouble casting a #2.5 level line with it. A #3 fluorocarbon level line feels a little better match for this rod, but it seems to be able to handle a lighter line as well. Like most well made tenkara rods nowadays it has no tip oscillation or overshoot. Rod dampening is also excellent both in linear and rotational movements.

Fishing the rod is fun. It weighs a little more than many tenkara rods of the same length, but it isn't a taxing weight. I fished a section of river that is high gradient and is challenging due to the fact that there is little room to fight a fish once it's hooked. In this situation a softer rod (lower RFI) would be detrimental. The Tenkara Ramon not only cast a heavier tungsten bead head fly well, but it fought the fish in the fast current easily. I took browns and cutthroats in the 9-14 inch range in very fast water and never felt under gunned.

As far as portability, I'm sure this rod would not have any issues fitting in any luggage that you'd use. It easily fits in a standard airline carry-on, a brief case, a backpack, and in a satchel. Here it is when compared to a couple other tenkara rods.

Nested length compared to the Tenryu TF39TA (left) and Nissin Zerosum 360 7:3 (right).

Conclusion: I like this rod. It is compact enough to be very packable and yet versatile enough to fish in most any situation that would arise. It casts unweighted flies and tungsten beadheads equally well on a variety of light level lines. It is a little heavy when compared to other 360 cm tenkara rods, but it's not burdensomely heavy. The balance is very good, as well. I'll still use my Suntech Suikei Keiryu Special GM39 (now more humanely named the TenkaraBum Traveler) mostly when I travel, but this rod makes a very nice "grab and go" rod.

Here is a video of my fishing the rod and catching some trout with it:


  1. Have you tried the Daiwa Tenkara RT? I saw them on the tenkara-ya website. The rods have a collapsed length of 41cm.

    1. Yes, it's a terrible rod, IMO. Super stiff with an RFI of 8.3.

    2. Holy smokes, 30 pennies and tip heavy!

  2. Vad har du skaffat din wading stick. Ser bra ut.