Tuesday, June 22, 2010

My Fishing Kit

Lately I suppose I've jumped on the minimalist bandwagon in American tenkara. However, there are some very good reasons to go this route. For one thing there is a lot less to carry when you only bring a rod, line, lanyard and fly box out on the stream. And for backpacking, you really do need to minimize what you carry. For day trips, or quick morning/afternoon/evening trips, you'll just have less stuff to deal with, which should hopefully allow you to spend more time fishing, and less time messing with gear. I've found that fishing this way is pretty neat; I've caught just as many fish, and discovered for myself that one really doesn't need more than a few flies, some tippet, nippers, a line, and a rod to catch wild trout on fast flowing streams. Although I do miss having a convenient place to put my camera!!


For backpacking I needed a simple solution to carry my essentials: tippet, nippers and knot tying tool. I didn't want to spend much money, since I wasn't sure I'd like fishing this way all that much. I also wanted something lightweight. Paracord seemed like a good choice for a simple lanyard, it's smooth, not too thick (but not too thin either), durable, and readily available. Besides being a good material for a fishing lanyard, paracord is one of those things that is indespensible for its versatility and utility. You really shouldn't head into the backcountry without paracord or an equivalent cordage, since you're at least going to need it to hang your food at night so the bears will have a harder time getting into it.

I strung on a spool of 6x, and 8x tippet (for my horsehair line), along with my Dr. Slick nippers. I fell in love with these pretty quick since they combine nippers, a knot tying tool, and a hook file all in a small, lightweight package. I carry the rest of my gear (fly box, line, hemostat) in my pockets.


Fly Box 

I've tried a couple of different fly boxes lately, and I think I've settled on one. I read about this on Troutrageous' blog, and decided to give it a shot. It's a simple box you can make yourself using magnetic tape or sheeting, and an Altoids tin. Simply stick the magnetic sheet in the bottom of the tin and you're done. It's compact, light, and holds enough flies for a day's fishing. Best of all, the magnetic sheet keeps the flies in place, and prevents them from jumping out when you inevitably bobble the box trying to open it with your hands full.

For off-stream storage, I'm using plastic Dewitt-type compartment boxes from Stone River Outfitters in Bedford, NH. I originally bought these to use on stream, but decided I wanted something smaller. These boxes, even the six-compartment one, hold a ton of flies. I've got a long way to go toward filling my big one with tenkara flies!


  1. I agree with you on the need to only bring what you'll use, one of the reasons I gave up my vest many years ago. I now carry the Cliff Days Worth box, it works well for me.

  2. I like your setup, very minimal. I have also started carrying less since getting into tenkara. I believe it will make me a better angler in the long run.

  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

  4. Hi Brk Trt,

    I stopped using a vest last summer when I was given a Fishpond fly fishing bag. To be honest I could carry just as much stuff with the bag as with the vest, but I felt a lot less "festooned" with fishing tackle. I still like the bag a lot, mostly because it's convenient to have all my stuff in one place. While fishing with the essentials is great, you do have to get a hold of it all and put it in your pockets.

    the Days Worth box looks very nice for dries and nymphs, but I just don't like sticking sakasa kebari in foam due to the forward swept hackle. It's easier to just drop them in a compartment, or stick them on a magnet. Since getting on this sakasa kebari kick I haven't used any of my foam ridged boxes! I haven't even tied on a dry or a nymph in weeks come to think of it...The sakasa kebari bug has bit me bad.

    Terry, I agree, simplifying your gear and focusing on just fishing does make you a better angler. Also, try fishing just variations on one fly pattern. I'll be posting about this later.


  5. Paracord works nicely as a lanyard, and since you already have it there is no need to change. For others considering adopting the minimalist approach, I'd suggest a spare lace for either your wading or hiking boots, whichever you'll have with you.

  6. LMarshall, I have been fishing just the sakasa kebari 90% of the time when using my tenkara rod. I am forced to focus more on my presentation by doing this. This is adding to my skill level as well.

    I look forward to reading your thoughts on this. I want to write something similar on my blog. Thanks

  7. Very cool post (& thanks for the nod on the altoids tin). I find it very inspiring (if that's the right word) to see how people streamline their gear - even if I haven't taken the full leap myself. Looks like you have everything you need.

  8. Thanks for the comments guys!

    Troutrageous1, thank you for making the first post on the altoids tin! It really is a great little idea.