The Nissin Tenkara Mini is a modification of the Nissin Pocket Mini V3. The only differences I am sure of are that the Tenkara Mini has a cork grip and the Pocket Mini doesn't. The Pocket Mini has a swivel that attaches the lillian to the rod tip and the Tenkara Mini doesn't. Also, the Tenkara Mini comes in a 320 length, and the Pocket Mini doesn't. The Pocket Mini sections have a painted gold ring near the section ends. The painted ring on the Tenkara Mini sections is silver.
When I first saw the specs on the rod, one of the things that leapt out at me was the tippet recommendation. The Pocket Mini has a maximum tippet recommendation of Japanese line size .5 (equivalent to 6.5X). The Tenkara Mini has a maximum tippet recommendation of line size 1.2, which is equivalent to 3.8X. I expected the Tenkara Mini to be much more robust than the Pocket Mini.
The sections are no larger in diameter, though, and
the section walls are no thicker. Section #17 of the Pocket Mini 360 fits
the Tenkara Mini perfectly. I think there is a difference in the layup, though. The Tenkara Mini seems just a bit stiffer than the Pocket Mini (adjusting for length by taking the first 14 sections of a Pocket Mini and the first 14 sections of a Tenkara Mini). It's not dramatic, but I think the Tenkara Mini is a little bit stiffer. Tom Davis, in his review of the rod noted that it felt a little stiffer than other Nissin rods of the same length.
Even though the rod feels just a bit stiffer, I have a hard time believing it is enough stronger to justify a radically different tippet recommendation. I am beginning to think that tippet recommendations are completely independent of rod strength, but instead are rough guides for beginners: "These are the tippet sizes that most tenkara anglers use."
I have caught 13" trout with the Pocket Mini, and I am confident that you can catch 13" trout with the Tenkara Mini. I'd just do it with 7X tippet rather than 4X!
I routinely tell potential buyers that the Pocket Mini is a delicate rod, and would not be a good choice if they are hard on their gear. I think I need to give the same warning to buyers of the Tenkara Mini. It is compact rod. It is convenient rod. But it is a rod with which you must be careful.
For quite some time, I have described the Pocket Mini as being the ultimate rod for ultralight backpackers. The Tenkara Mini 320 is heavier than the Pocket Mini 360 because of the cork grip. The cork grip is too large in diameter to fit in the Small Rod Case that I recommend for the Pocket Mini. On the other hand, the grip provides all the protection the rod is likely to need inside your pack so you don't need the Small Rod Case.
With virtually none of the blank extending beyond the grip when the rod is collapsed, though, Fuji EZ Keepers would not fit, so it would not be possible to leave the line attached while stowing the rod in a backpack.
Some people are going to absolutely love the rod. You can take it anywhere. It will fit in your backpack, your carry-on, your briefcase or, yes, your pocket. Some people will prefer the 320 length that the Nissin Tenkara Mini comes in compared to either the 300 or 360 lengths the Pocket Mini comes in.
And yes, some people are going to much prefer the tenkara-style cork grip compared to the keiryu-style non-grip of the Pocket Mini. The larger diameter definitely changes the feel of the rod. The extra weight, right in your hand, also changes the center of gravity. The rod feels light (even though it's heavier than a Pocket Mini).
And that, I think, is what it's all about. People think tenkara rods ought to have cork grips. So does putting a cork grip on a Pocket Mini turn the keiryu rod into a tenkara rod? Well, yes, I suppose it does. It's a tenkara rod. Says so right on the box.
Nissin Tenkara Mini 320
Length Extended 10'9"
Length Collapsed 9 5/8"
Weight (with tip plug) 1.9 oz
Weight (without plug) 1.8 oz
Nissin 5X - 3.8X
*Tenkara rods are used in Japan to catch fish that are rarely larger than 9-10". Japanese anglers do not break rods on 10" 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. There is no way in the world I would use 4X tippet with this rod!
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|I really like this rod. I'm hoping it is more robust than the Pocket Mini, but time and fishing will tell. Even though it's rated for 5X-3.5X tippet, I'll be using mine only with 6.5-6X tippet. That should be more than ample for the size of trout I usually catch. I do look forward using the rod on some hiking excursions. It's so small that you'll barely notice it's there!
Tom D, Idaho