Nissin Pro Square rods are very competitively priced tenkara rods that are made in Japan. These rods will give you the light weight and responsive feel that Japanese rods are known for at a price starting at just $155. As with many of the Japanese rods, they are available in several lengths and different actions so you can match the rod to the streams you fish the most and to your taste in rod action.
With rods ranging from a headwaters length 3.2m (10'4") to a main stream length of 4.5m (about 14'6"), and from a super soft レベルライン (level line) rod to a pretty stiff 8:2, they offer a rod for about any preference. I carry the 6:4 and 7:3 rods from 3.2m to 3.9m but can order the others for you.
With that many choices I may not be able to have all of them in stock all the time but I'll try to keep most of them on hand. After having fished with these rods, and the Zerosums, Pro Specs and Air Stages, I'd have to say I really like Nissin rods. They offer very good rods for the money.
Most of the Pro Square tenkara rods are surprisingly light weight and have slightly softer actions than you would expect based on their action ratings. The 5:5 rods are very soft, full flex rods. The 6:4 rods are very light and very sensitive, and are between a full flex and a mid flex in action. The 7:3 is between a mid flex and a tip flex and has firmer mid and butt sections than the 6:4 rods. It will give you slightly more control over slightly larger fish.
The 8:2 is a beefy rod and can handle long lines, large flies and large fish. The smallmouth below was taken with a 390 8:2, which cast the 4" bucktail with ease. The 450 8:2 would rival the Daiwa LT44SF as a big fish / big water rod at a fraction of the cost. Actually, now that the LT44SF has been discontinued, the Nissin Pro Square 450 8:2 might be the best big water / big fish true tenkara rod you'll find.
Illustrating my oft-repeated comment that the 5:5, 6:4 and 7:3 ratings are of limited value when researching and comparing rods from different manufacturers, the photo below shows a Nissin Pro Square 360 7:3 and a 12' Iwana (which was initially described by its manufacturer as a 5:5, but then soon relabeled as a 6:4). One would expect the 7:3 rod to be the stiffer of the two, but it is actually a bit softer and has a much smoother bend profile.
Whatever the ratings, if you wanted a very smooth casting 12' (360cm) rod that is surprisingly light at just 2.5 ounces, the Pro Square 360 7:3 is a rod to consider. It would serve quite nicely as an "all-around" rod for someone who wanted one tenkara rod rather than a whole quiver.
If you prefer slightly softer rods, as I do, the Nissin Pro Square 6:4 rods might be exactly what you are looking for. The 390 6:4 is a rod reminiscent of the discontinued Ayu - only lighter. Similarly, the 360 6:4 is reminiscent of the discontinued Ebisu - only lighter. And the 320 6:4? They never had a rod even close to that one (but you can be sure - if they did, they would have discontinued it)! If you enjoy fishing small brushy streams for small wild trout, this is the one to choose.
Light weight is definitely a hallmark for the Nissin Pro Square rods and for Japanese rods in general. Most tenkara anglers in the US have only fished with Chinese made rods. Even the latest generation of rods, widely hailed by Even though the bloggers who received free rods to create a "buzz" at their introduction hailed the latest generation of Chinese rods, they still do not match the Nissin Pro Square rods for weight on the scale or in the hand. The Nissin rods are lighter and they sell for lower prices.
The Nissin Pro Square 320 rods are just ideal for smaller streams. They rival seiryu rods for the light weight and sensitivity you want for the small wild trout in the headwaters.
I have had customers tell me that they wished tenkara rods didn't have cork grips. The Nissin Pro Square 320 rods turn the tables and offer rods for people who wish that sieryu rods DID have cork. The brookie below was caught with a Pro Square 320 in a very small stream with heavily wooded banks and lots of overhead branches - fishing conditions in which the little 320 just excels. You can bet this brookie put a bend in the rod!
The 6:4 320 has a penny rating of 10, making it one of the softest tenkara rods. If you fish small streams for small wild fish, this rod provides just a ton of fun. The 7:3 320 is a bit more tip flex and a bit firmer at 14 pennies. I am sure it can handle the fish you'll catch in streams small enough to require a 10'4" rod. Either would be a very nice choice if you are looking for a light, sensitive, small stream rod and don't want to give up the cork grips you're used to.
Whether you are looking for a small stream / headwaters rod, an all around rod or a rod for larger streams or lakes, if you are looking for a very light weight, very responsive tenkara rod, you will not find better ones for under $200.
Like many of Nissin's rods, the tip plug is rubber and is fluted to allow you to insert the plug while the line is still attached to the rod. That is a safety feature that could save a rod tip. I know at least one angler who's collapsed rod was broken when a tree branch snagged the line as he was walking past. Because the rod was on his backpack and out of his vision, he didn't notice that it had gotten caught until it was too late. Nissin's rubber plugs fit quite snugly and very definitely will not fall out by themselves. They are snug enough that they go in much better if you screw them in rather than try to just push them in.
The grip screw cap is metal and is aggressively knurled for good grip, even with cold, wet hands. There is a ventilation hole, but I would still urge people to disassemble a tenkara rod after use so that it can dry thoroughly. I have seen one rod and heard of others whose finishes were damaged by putting them away wet. The ventilation hole should reduce the chance of that happening, but I would still disassemble the rod.
The rod blank has blue accents at the section ends, which fade to a deep black over most of the blank. The overall scheme is not nearly as fancy as on the Nissin Zerosums but also not as spartan as the Daiwa Enshou rods. They look nice and your money goes for the blank, not the paint job.
On balance, the Nissin Pro Square tenkara rods offer a fine choice for anglers who want lighter rods or softer rods than they can get from the competition.
Nissin builds tenkara rods in Japan for Japanese anglers. These are "home market" rods and as such were designed for the conditions Japanese anglers face and the fish they catch. Other than the 8:2s, they are not intended to be big fish rods. Still, these are some of the lightest, smoothest casting rods you'll find. And for tenkara rods that are actually made in Japan, you'll find they are very competitively priced.
All the rods are 22" when collapsed.
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|Thanks for all the info on your website. Due to your detailed rod reviews, I was able to select a
Pro Square 360 6:4. I was able to get about 30 min. of fishing in today. Sorry, no fish story. My focus was on casting. WOW!!! That is all I can say. Thanks again.
Ted K, New York
I gotta just tell you, I am JACKED!!!
Just rec'd. my order and it did travel here very fast and was carefully packed - super job.
I'm giggling and excited just opening up the incredible Japanese packaging. CANNOT BELIEVE the ultra delicate tip on the rod (Nissin Pro Square 360 6:4).
I'm an old fart who has been fly fishing for almost 50 years and must say this new/ancient deal is a real thrill.
Thanks for sharing!
Bruce R, Montana