Rods Tenkara Video

DRAGONtail TalonMINI Pocket Tenkara Rod Review

For a reason that I don’t fully understand, pocket rods seems to be all the rage in the tenkarasphere. I have owned and fished quite a few packable rods, and although they nest into a short and compact package, they are no where as compact as pocket rods. But whether I understand them or not is not the point, pocket rods are just plain popular. To answer the clamour, DRAGONtail will soon be releasing their pocket rod, the TalonMINI. Recently, I had the opportunity to take it out for a test drive on one of my favorite run-off resistant mountain streams.


The DRAGONtail TalonMINI pocket tenkara rod comes with an included rod tube and protective zippered neoprene rod sleeve. If you didn’t want to pack the hard rod tube, I’m sure the neoprene sleeve will provide ample protection to the rod in all but the most rough situations. The overall coloration of the rod is dark charcoal gray and the finish is non-reflective matte. The handle section on the sample I was loaned is royal blue with lime green accents, but this may change by the time of release.

DRAGONtail TalonMINI Pocket Tenkara Rod Review - Tenkara Angler - Tom Davis
DRAGONtail TalonMINI Pocket Tenkara Rod Review - Tenkara Angler - Tom Davis - Graphics

The handle is very good quality cork, cigar-shaped and is very short by tenkara rod standards. But it fits the TalonMINI well and provides a firm, non-slip grip for the rod. The cork handle is 15 cm (5.9 in.) in length.

DRAGONtail TalonMINI Pocket Tenkara Rod Review - Tenkara Angler - Tom Davis - Handle

The tip plug is wood with a fluted rubber insertion post. It fits snugly into the tip of the handle section. A loop of lilian material is attached to the tip plug for those dreaded field repair emergencies. The butt cap is black anodized metal. It is knurled and has a coin slot to aid removal. It does not have a decompression hole.

The lilian is dark brown and is attached to the tip section via micro-swivel. There was a terminal stop knot in the lilian of the rod I was loaned, but if it was untied, the tip segment would easily pass through the second (from tip) segment so the rod could be fully disassembled for drying and cleaning.

DRAGONtail TalonMINI Pocket Tenkara Rod Review - Tenkara Angler - Tom Davis - Lillian


Extended Length310 cm / 10.2 feet
Nested Length31 cm / 12.2 inches
Cork Grip Length15 cm / 5.9 inches
Weight (without tip plug)74.1 g / 2.6 ounces
CCS15.5 pennies
RFI5.0 / 6:4 Moderate Mid Flex
For more on CCS, RFI and Rotational Moment, watch our YouTube video on the subject.
DRAGONtail TalonMINI Pocket Tenkara Rod Review - Tenkara Angler - Tom Davis - Weight


I cast with the TalonMINI using both #3 and #3.5 fluorocarbon level lines. Although it did really well with both, I got the feeling that it preferred the slightly heavier line the most. That said, I’m sure a #3 line would perform on the water equally as well. I didn’t perceive any end of cast oscillation and dampening was excellent.

I fished the TalonMINI on a mountain stream that has rainbows and a few brook trout from 4-12 inches. It is a small creek, lined with fly stealing Rocky Mountain willows, so casts have to be spot on. It also has a lot of underwater snags, as is typical of these types of streams, so fish control is paramount. What I found was that the TalonMINI excelled in all categories. My casts were accurate, my hooksets were fast and decisive, and my fish control was no issue with this rod. I know that the size of trout I caught were no match for the TalonMINI, but I suspect they would be representative of fish in streams and creeks that one would take this rod to fish.

Here is a video of some of the fish I took using the TalonMINI:


I really enjoyed the TalonMINI pocket rod from DRAGONtail Tenkara. It is very compact and easy to carry in a pocket or other small space. It casts beautifully, yet with power, and it hooks and controls modest size trout with authority. Its action is flexible enough to be fun, but stiff enough to be useful in demanding situations. I can see this rod answering the needs of those who hike or backpack to fishing locations, bikefish, or anyone else who wants a compact, non-obtrusive rod for their fishing adventures. In short, this is a great little rod!

Disclaimer: My opinion regarding this rod is just that, my opinion. Your opinion may differ. Also, your rod may not have the same length, issues, or functionality as my rod. There are variations between rods, even in the same production run. No description can fully tell you how a rod feels or fishes. For this, you must personally hold, cast, and fish the rod, then make up your own mind. I was loaned the TalonMINI pocket rod and I returned it to DRAGONtail after this review.

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    1. How one rod compares to another is up to the person using it. What do you mean by “how does it compare”? Length, weight, casting action, or size of fish it will handle? Which one’s best for you? You will have to decide for yourself. But here is a table with these rods flex data. It will help you make some comparisons based of rod flex action: Have fun!

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