Rods Tenkara

Reader Review: Tanuki Pocket Ninja Tenkara Rod

Gear Review by Aldric Meints

Aldric Meints - Tanuki Pocket Ninja Review - Hero

You see it all the time on Instagram: Huge fish with the largest, thickest tenkara rods on the market. It’s spectacular what these rods can do and they have silenced the “it’s only for small fish” crowds. With so much attention being directed to big fish and big rods, I think its easy to lose sight of one of the facets of tenkara that made it so popular in its earlier years and continues to attract people to the sport: Portability.

Tenkara has become exceptionally popular with cyclists, climbers, trekkers and backpackers. It’s portability and lightning fast set-up is what draws so many to buy a tenkara rod in the first place. Tenkara Tanuki has taken the principles of light-weight portability and applied them to their line of rods to create the astoundingly compact, but premium feeling, Pocket Ninja.

Aldric Meints - Tanuki Pocket Ninja Review - Bike x Tenkara


  • Length: 11’0″ / 335 cm
  • Collapsed Length: 13″/ 33 cm (with out end cap)
  • Weight: 2.1 oz / 60 gram without end cap
  • Action: Slow


The rod packs down to around a foot in length, just 13”, without the end cap on and weighs a feather-light 2.1 ounces. This is the kicker; the rod still extends out to 11 feet in length! The Pocket Ninja is a full size tenkara rod, that collapsed, is one of the smallest and lightest (if not THE smallest and lightest) on the market. But, Tanuki hasn’t sacrificed quality for size.

Aldric Meints - Tanuki Pocket Ninja Review - Rod


The Pocket Ninja, with its long length and ribbed carbon fiber sections, makes for a light and slow action. The rod is extremely sensitive, which can be attributed to its direct handle connection to the rod sections. Rather than having a cork handle that insulates the feel of a take or ticking bottom, the rod section connects directly with the rubberized graphite handle. The rod is pleasure to cast with standard kebari and even the lightest lines load the slow rod well. If you feel the weight is too far forward in the rod, you can always grip up onto the textured graphite sections. The ribbed graphite makes choking up on the rod in tight quarters a nice tactile experience.

Aldric Meints - Tanuki Pocket Ninja Review - Bow and Arrow


The portability and performance of the Pocket Ninja should make it a fixture in any day pack, saddle bag, car door, waist pack, purse or bike bag.  Tenkara Tanuki has created the reach and line management expected in a full length tenkara rod and engineered it into a truly “pocket” sized rod.

Tanuki has kindly provided a coupon code for all Tenkara Angler readers!
Save 5% off your purchase at their website using code TENKARAANGLER

Aldric Meints is an angler, professional photographer, drone pilot and writer, roaming the Great Plains and American Southwest. When he’s not found exploring mountains or streams, you are likely to find him rescuing vintage cameras from thrift stores or estates sales. If you want to go along for the ride and get an inside look at his travels and work, you can follow him on Instagram, @aldricmeints.

To read additional articles from the Tenkara Angler 2020 Fall Festival, click HERE.

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  1. I’ve been eyeing this rod for a few months now, and it’ll probably be one of my 2021 purchases. I have a couple of keiryu and seiryu rods and do not miss the cork/foam handle at all. Thanks for the writeup.

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