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. 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 rod feels a bit stiffer than the Pocket Mini, so the two rods definitely are not the same rod with different grips. Still, I have a hard time believing it is enough stronger to justify a radically different tippet recommendation. Early breakage rates do not suggest that it is any stronger than the Pocket Mini.
For a while now, I have felt that tippet recommendations are completely independent of rod
strength, but instead are rough guides for beginners, i.e. the
tippet sizes that most tenkara anglers use, compared to the tippet sizes that most keiryu 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 probably should give the same warning to buyers of the Tenkara Mini, even though it may be a bit more robust.
It is compact rod. It is convenient rod. But it is a rod with which you must be careful. If you are normally deliberate in your actions and take good care of your equipment you should be fine. If, however, you are often in a hurry or are easily distracted, or are generally hard on your gear, I would suggest you look for a different rod.
For quite some time, I have described the Pocket Mini as being the
ultimate rod for ultralight backpackers because of it's compact size and light weight. The Tenkara Mini packs down to a similar short length, but it is heavier because of the cork grip. However, the cork grip provides all the protection the rod would need when it is in your backpack - saving the weight of the Small Rod Case I recommend to Pocket Mini buyers.
Some people are going to absolutely love these rods. You can take ithem anywhere. They 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 the 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).
Tippet recommendation: Nissin recommends tippet of 5X - 3.8X. Personally, I would not use tippet stronger than 6X.
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Col. Robert Venables 1662
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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