Some tenkara rods come with a rod tube, and some don’t. Some anglers are hardcore tubers, some throw caution to the wind, and some are in between (like me). An included rod tube is a nice touch, but whenever someone laments the fact that a particular rod model doesn’t come with a tube, my response is that when collapsed, tenkara rods essentially become their own protective cases, so tubes aren’t really necessary. I almost never use mine, but there are a few situations where it’s probably a good idea to use a tube.Read More
After a recent discussion with Karel from Tenkara on the Fly, I finally decided to sit down and do something I’ve been meaning to do for a long time: put together a tenkara kit to leave in my car for when those unexpected fishing opportunities present themselves. The conversation went something like this…Read More
Not too long ago, I wrote a post about my preference for wet wading when tenkara fishing. While it’s great in the summer, with fall fast approaching (even faster in the high country), it’s time to break out the waders for the colder temperatures ahead.
Every angler who uses waders has their own system for storing and transporting their wading gear so I thought I’d show you mine. It’s a simple system, yet a very practical one that gives me a lot of versatility in wading options from the trunk to the bank.
Many people carry wader bags, and these are OK but I prefer hard-sided plastic containers. They’re easy to hose mud and sand out of, dry quickly, and will never let wet waders or boots leak into your car. Plus, they’re dirt cheap and last forever. I use a Rubbermaid Roughneck 10 gallon storage box because it has plenty of room to fit everything I need, yet is still compact and flat so I can stack other gear on top of it in the trunk (like my gear bag).
The lid even doubles as a nice place to step on to protect your stocking feet from anything that might puncture them on the ground while you’re suiting up. Here’s how I pack it:
First, I put in my Simms wading boots and Keen Newport wading sandals.
Then, I put in my wading socks and spare wading belt. In case you’re wondering, I keep a wader repair kit in my gear bag so no need for that here.
On top of all of that goes my neatly folder waders. Since the waders are the biggest item and the easiest to take out and put back in, I can access the smaller contents below without having to dig through a lot of gear.
This system allows me to quickly choose the most appropriate wading gear according to the conditions:
- In hot weather in a relatively easy-to-wade stream or when I primarily fish from the bank and only need to do occasional water crossings, I can just use the sandals.
- If it’s warm but I need to be in the water more or am in a stream with a lot of toe-stubbing boulders, I can wear the wading socks and wading boots.
- In colder weather or where I need wade deeper, I’ve got the option of wearing the full waders and wading boots.
What is your wading gear system?
A lot of people have asked me what I carry in my pack for UL fly fishing and backpacking trips so I thought I’d do a quick video about it. It’s called the Trico and I’d be curious to hear what others carry and see if it’s similar to my setup or what other gear you carry.Read More
As a semi-minimalist who likes to combine outdoor sports (yeah, you guessed it: backpacking and fly fishing), I’m always on the lookout for multi-purpose gear to enhance my outings without adding a lot of bulk and weight. Enter the RIBZ front pack. Wear it up the trail to balance out your load and make your pack feel lighter, use it as a summit pack or for day hikes from base camp, or make it your fly vest on backpacking trips. The RIBZ front pack is a chameleon that can find a place in many of your various outdoor activities.Read More
I just got back from field testing a prototype of an ultralight leader wallet I’m designing. The idea is to create a super light, super compact wallet that will store 3-6 leaders and keep them from tangling.
I’ve been looking for ultralight ultra-compact leader wallets for a while and found that like ultralight fly fishing packs, they didn’t exist either. All the commercially available ones are bulky, heavy, and are far more complex than they need to be. So, I designed one that I wanted as a backpacking fly angler. Right now, it weighs in at about 0.2 ouncesRead More
A while back, I wrote about a simple fly fishing setup for backpacking. As fly fishers, we have an intrinsic advantage when it comes fishing on overnight and multi-day backpacking trips. Unlike other styles of fishing, we aren’t condemned to carrying heavy, bulky tackle like spinning reels, weighted lures, etc. However, fly fishers also tend to be gear addicts and it’s easy to convince ourselves that we have to have every fly and gadget in the book in order to be prepared for every contingency. I once knew a fisherman that carried every fly pattern he owned all year round (even flies that wouldn’t be hatching for another 2 months). This might not be such a big deal when your just out for the day, but when you’re on the trail, weight and bulk are more critical since you have to carry everything on your back. Here are 5 things you can do to lighten up your backcountry fly fishing gear, and still catch fish!Read More
Anyone who has fished on a backpacking trip and retired to your tent for the night has probably had a thought lurking in the back of their mind before drifting off to sleep: Am I going to end up as bear dinner? Luckily, this biodegradable soap takes the fish smell off your hands so you can sleep easy. In this video, I who you how I repackage it so that you don’t have to take the whole bar (which would be overkill on an overnighter or shorter backpacking trip).
To me, one of the most interesting challenges of fly fishing on multi-day hikes is coming up with a system that allows you to carry all of the essentials without lugging a 15 lb. vest up the trail. Although my system is constantly evolving, here’s one that I found works well. Total weight (including rod): 7.3 oz.
Contents (from top, then left to right).
1. Tenkara Iwana 12’ rod. I don’t carry a case.
2. Gossamer Gear Hip belt pocket. This can be worn on my belt, hip belt, or I can tie paracord around the loops on each end and wear it around my neck.
3. Stream Works Micro Forceps. These also have scissors built in, eliminating the need to carry nippers.
4. Cliff Day’s Worth fly box. Great organizational features and customizable.
5. Tippet spool. I change the size depending on where I’m going but it’s usually 5x or 6x.
6. Tenkara fly line and spool for storage.
7. Micro dropper bottle containing floatant. I don’t need to carry the full-size bottle.
All in all, this is a very compact system and I haven’t felt the need to add anything yet. Keep in mind, this is for small stream trout fishing only. So what does your system look like? I started a thread in the forum for you to share.
I’m one of those people who likes to fish my way up to my campsite. I’m usually not wading so leaving my pack on while I hit pocket water along the way is my typical MO. Yet, I want quick access to my flies, floatant, nippers, and tippet. Here’s a great little pouch you can affix to the shoulder strap of your pack that will keep all of the essentials readily accessible: The UnSlack Pack.
While not specifically designed for fly fishing, it will keep the essentials at hand for minimal weight. But I’m working on a design with a manufacturer that is specifically designed for backpacking fly fishers that will allow you to keep all of your flyfishing gear in one place, attach it to the shoulder strap of your pack, or, wear it around your neck if your want to leave your pack or camp behind. It will be more functional, yet ultralight. What do you think?
A long time ago, multi-piece fly rods were considered junk. The technology to prevent multiple ferrules from compromising the action of the rod simply hadn’t been perfected yet. Fast-forward to the present and we are lucky enough to have a multitude of pack rods that cast just as well as 2-piece rods. Lucky for us, most modern backpacks have the perfect place to store them too. Just slip your case in the side pocket, secure it with a compression strap and you’re off.
My only problem with that is that the cases that come with most fly rods are unnecessarily heavy and are designed more for carrying through the airport than miles into the backcountry. For a while, I started leaving the case behind and just putting a couple of rubber bands around the rod sections before slipping it into the side pocket. That was more than a little precarious and a few snags on branches gave me a good scare on more than one occasion.
When I was first learning about Tenkara fly rods, one of the things I immediately noticed was how thin and light the cases were compared to conventional fly rod cases. Perfect for backpacking, right? I carried the case for a while, very happy with all the weight I was saving. Then, a thought occurred to me.
Do I even need the case? When closed, all of the segments of the telescoping Tenkara rod are safely stowed inside the butt end of the rod and kept in place with an end cap. Since they’re contained in the thickest, strongest part of the rod, I couldn’t see any likely scenario on the trail that could possibly cause damage. So, this became my preferred method. No case, just stick it in the side pocket as is. Without the case (and no need for a reel) I had reduced my total fly fishing setup by many, many ounces without sacrificing anything. I love it when you find the perfect system for you and get to reduce pack weight as a bonus. How do you pack your fly rod?