The Nissin Fine Mode Nagare 330 is a wonderfully light, wonderfully
soft rod that is just ideal for getting a large fight out of a small
fish. Nissin classifies the rod as a seiryu rod - designed for catching
small fish in placid streams.
This is NOT the Fine Mode Kosansui rod, which had been included in the Kids' Kit. The Nissin Fine Mode Nagare 330 is extremely soft. It absolutely excels at casting a very light line but it doesn't have much backbone, so it really is best for smaller fish in quiet waters (which, not surprisingly, is what seiryu rods are all about).
I can certainly understand the drive to catch bigger and bigger fish, the adrenaline rush when your rod suddenly bends more than you think a rod ought to bend as you try to stop the first run, your heart racing when you are not at all sure you are going to win the fight. If you do win the fight (and you don't always) there is a distinct sense of accomplishment. People in the East and Midwest go to Colorado and Montana for that feeling. People in Colorado and Montana go to Alaska.
The thing is, though, if you match the rod to the fish, you can get that same adrenaline rush - and the fear that you might not win the fight - even if the fight is with a surprisingly modest fish. And, you can do it close to home!
With Nissin Fine
Mode Nagare rods, I've had battles with 11" stocked trout I wasn't sure I
would win. I've had bluegills bend the rod more than a rod ought to bend. The rods would bend to the cork if they had cork (which they don't - one reason they're so affordable).
I first ordered Nissin Fine Mode Nagare rods in 2012. I eventually stopped ordering them for two main reasons: 1) the Suntech Kurenai rods were more popular, and 2) sales of very soft, very full flex rods were very slow (and still are, to be right up front about it).
However, I recently received a special order for a Nissin Fine Mode Nagare 330. The buyer had looked over the Common Cents table and wanted the rod that would be the closest to his Nissin Royal Stage Syunki 330, which has been discontinued and is thus unavailable, but which he absolutely loves).
Not too long after he received the Nagare 330 I received the following email:
And that got me thinking (always dangerous). Micro fishing has become much more popular in the US than I ever would have guessed when I first started importing specialized hooks and floats. It's more fun than you would imagine if you've never tried it. Over the last few years, Coach and I have caught many species while fly fishing for micros. Fly fishing for micros may indeed be the next, uh, little thing.
The attraction of a rod as soft as the Nissin Fine Mode Nagare 330 is that you can cast a line that is light enough to twitch when a black nose dace takes your fly (and they do - you've probably just never noticed it before).
Seiryu rods in Japan are used to catch Japanese Dace and Pale Chubs, which are a lot prettier than our creek chubs, but are about the same size.
Very few people in the US specifically fish for chubs, probably because the average fish is under 7" long. With the right rod, though, a fish of that size can still be a lot of fun. One of my most memorable catches was a creek chub caught on a dry fly with a very soft seiryu rod. The fish was no more than about 7" long, but it was all I could do to keep it out of a downed tree that surely would have broken my 7X tippet. With the very soft rod it was really quite a battle.
It's all about matching the rod to the size of the fish.
The thing is, though, that there are fish (some of them stunningly beautiful) in little creeks all across the country. Most of the fish are small, so no one fishes for them. The Nissin Fine Mode Nagare 330 is a 7 1/2 penny rod, though. It doesn't matter if the fish are small. They'll still put a bend in the rod!
And if anyone does fish those streams, they probably fish with lures and hooks that are way too large for the fish. There's a stream that Coach and I fish from time to time, with each of us almost always catching several species. We always fish flies, usually about a size 20. Coach always uses a seiryu rod and I almost always do. We've never seen anyone else fish there, although we once saw a couple kids on bikes who stopped to watch us for a while. One said he'd fished there a couple times but doesn't think there are any fish. Coach and I each had a "many" day.
Depending on where you live, a lot of the fish you'll find in small
unassuming, underappreciated streams will be sunfish of one variety or
another, but there are many, many more possibilities. Shiners seem to be ubiquitous.
And if the water where you live is too cold for sunfish, there's a good chance that it holds trout - and the Nissin Fine Mode Nagare 330 is a dandy little trout rod. Perhaps I should rephrase that. It's a dandy rod for little trout.
And wherever trout are found, the streams that hold the biggest fish get the most fishing pressure. Smaller streams with smaller fish see fewer fishermen. This little cutthroat was caught in a tiny little Utah stream where I saw no other fishermen. Guess they were all on the Provo or Weber or or or - too many famous rivers to mention, but the famous ones get all the pressure. With a soft rod, light line and light tippet, a fiesty wild fish doesn't have to be big. (And you'll probably catch more than one!)
Wherever you fish, and whatever you normally fish for, there are almost certainly fish closer to home that see less fishing pressure. They're probably smaller than the fish you normally fish for, but the Nissin Fine Mode Nagare 330 is soft enough to more than offset that.
This little bluegill was caught in a stream in Central Park. Most New Yorkers don't even know there IS a stream in Central Park. Fishing pressure? Absolutely none. It's a tiny little fish, but it's big enough to put a bend in the Nissin Fine Mode Nagare 330! With a size 26 Stewart Spider and 9X tippet, the low end of the recommended range, it's still a challenge. Heck, just tying the fly is a challenge!
If you have not yet tried fly fishing for micros, you should. It is definitely marching to the beat of a different drummer and you may get quizzical looks (that is if anyone even sees you). You might get told "there's no fish there" but you'll just smile. In fact, you probably can't keep from smiling.
You don't have to fish with a size 26 fly (but if you do, you will catch fish). I've caught micros with size 12 Killer Bugs, size 14 CDC & Elk, size 14 Stewart Spiders. If you want to target smaller fish, though, it does make sense to fish a smaller fly.
A small fly, particularly a little Killer Bugger or size 26 Pheasant Tail Nymph (above), has little resistance to being pulled through the water. You will get more line sag with a small nymph than you would with a larger fly, especially a hackled fly. That is another reason to use a line as light as you can cast. (And that is another reason to use a soft rod like the Nissin Fine Mode Nagare 330.)
You don't HAVE to use flies that small. The point is that you can, and you can cast a line that is well suited to fly fishing for micros.
I have often suggested fishing with the lightest line you can get a way
with. If you are fishing a Nissin Fine Mode Nagare, you can get away
with a very light line indeed. I was very happy when I learned that YGK
hi-vis fluorocarbon line was available in sizes 1.5 and 2. This rod in
particular does very nicely with those lines. If you want to fly fish for micros, that's a very nice combination.
...you don't have to limit yourself to micros. The Nissin Fine Mode Nagare is not the right rod for 18" trout, but if you know a smaller stream that has a bunch of 8 and 9 inchers, it is a perfect choice! In fact, now that the Syunki has been discontinued, it is the best choice I know of for a soft, full flex rod.
The Nissin Fine Mode Nagare 330 is 11'4" extended, 22 1/4" collapsed and weighs just
1.1 ounce. You will be hard pressed to find a lighter rod at that
length. Some may think it is a bit long for a micro fishing rod, but there are plenty of spots where the length will come in handy. Also, when (not if) you hook a fish that is larger than expected, a longer rod can handle it better than a shorter rod. Besides, if you ever fish for trout or sunfish as well, you are going to want to try it with this rod, and you'll do better with an 11' rod than a 5 or 6 or 7 footer in all but the tiniest of streams.
The finish is jet black on most of the blank, with sections of deep blue with minute blue metalflake in the finish toward the grip and at the end of each section except for the tip and #2 section. The blue turns to green depending on the angle of the rod compared to the sun (and indoors under incandescent lights).
The grip, as with all seiryu rods I've seen, has no cork. Instead, it has a very effective nonskid textured finish. The grip screw plug is plastic and seats positively against the threaded aluminum bushing inserted into the end of the grip. The plug is knurled for easy tightening and loosening, and has a dense foam insert to prevent the clacking sound of rod parts hitting a hard plug.
The tip plug is rubber and is fluted so you can keep your line attached and still put the plug in. The plug is quite snug and goes in more easily if you twist it. Once in, it is not going to fall out by itself.
If you are looking for a rod that is softer and slower (and less expensive) than the Suntech Kurenai HM33R, this is the rod. I think it would be just ideal for
smaller fish in smaller streams - whether they are trout, sunfish, chubs,
shiners or what have you. And if (when) you want to fly fish for micros, this rod should be on your short list.
*Nagare rods are used in Japan to catch fish that don't get much bigger than 6". Japanese anglers do not break rods on 6" fish, so I am convinced that tippet ratings are no more than a rough guide, explaining what anglers generally use with the rod. I do not believe they are meant to state the strength of tippet that will break before the rod does.
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