On my first trip to Japan, I bought a Shimano LLS36 NB, which was similar to the LLS36 NX but had a slightly higher glass percentage (7%), was a little heavier and a little less expensive. I eventually sold the rod. I don't remember why I sold it, and now I kind of wish I hadn't.
Although the LLS36 NX was discontinued years ago the LLS36 NB is still in production. It had crossed my mind more than once to buy another. It is Shimano's "starter rod." It is the only starter rod with a hollow tip!
The grip has a slightly different shape than other Shimano rods, with the forward half of the grip tapering gradually. Other Shimano rods have two distinct gripping areas (the "humps" that led to it's "camel grip" nickname).
Shimano does not label their rods by the 5:5, 6:4, 7:3
convention. I would say the LLS36 NB is a 7:3
Comparing the Shimano LLS36 NB with the Tenkara USA Iwana, the main difference between the bend characteristics, and the main difference that you can feel when fishing, is that the Shimano has a stiffer tip section. The reason it is a bit stiffer is that it is hollow. All the Shimano tenkara rods have hollow tips. Similarly, all the Daiwa rods that are designed for level lines have hollow tips. In fact, the "LL" in the name is the designation for level line. The solid tip, used in all the rods from every other manufacturer I can think of, is designed for rods intended for use with both level and tapered lines.
One practical effect of the hollow tip is that you can cast a much
tighter loop, or rather, it is much easier to make a precise, tight loop
cast. I have not fished a tapered line on the Shimano LLS36 NB. I did
on the NX and found that I greatly preferred a size 4 level line with
that rod. I generally fished a size 3 line on the NB that I had, but only because the
lighter line was a bit easier to hold off the water's surface and that
is the line I usually fish. I suspect the 3.5 would be better and the 4 better yet.
The difference between the solid tip and the slightly stiffer hollow tip seems like it should be noticeable in the feel of very delicate strikes, but I really don't recall feeling a difference because I react to visual clues for a strike and most are never felt anyway. In playing a fish, the feel is different for only the smallest of fish.
Similarly, the slightly stiffer tip seems like it might be a bit
better for fishing deep nymphs since there is a little less "give" when
trying to set the hook. However, with the Shimano LLS36 NB I must say casting an unweighted fly feels a lot better than casting a bead head nymph.
When playing a fish of this size, you won't be thinking of the hollow vs. solid tip and you won't feel the difference.
I like the Shimano NB rods. The LLS36 NB would be a very nice choice for someone who wants a tenkara rod with a crisper feel and slightly more precise casting. Even as Shimano's entry level rod, it would be a nice upgrade from the rods that are more widely available here in the US.
Length extended - 11' 10"
Length collapsed - 19.5"
Weight with tip cap 2.7 oz, without tip cap 2.6 oz
Sections - 9
Pennies - 22
Rod made in Indonesia.