I just got my Tenkara USA Bamboo Fly Box and it is beautiful. I got to see a sneak preview of one at the Fly Fishing Show in Denver a few months ago and couldn’t wait until they were for sale. I’m a sucker for wooden fly boxes so the day they went up on the Tenkara USA website, I bought one (I might have even been the first one). Here are some of the things I really like about this box.
At 4.5″x3.5″x0.75″, this fly box is (in my mind) the ideal size for tenkara. It will hold more sakasa kebari than you’ll need for a full day on the water, yet is very slim and will fit into a minimal chest pack (or a shirt pocket) easily. I can’t stand thick, bulky fly boxes and really like how sleek and slim this on is. The dimensions make it feel very ergonomic in the hand.
Aesthetically, the box is gorgeous. The bamboo is a rich color with nice grain to it. And rather than a glaring, ugly logo turning you into a walking advertisement (ala The North Face), the laser engraved logo is a subtle katakana “te” character that gives the box a very nice “Japanese look” to it.
While the Tenkara USA website lists the weight as 2.7 oz., on my scale, the box came in at 2.3 oz. Whenever working with a natural material, there is bound to be some weight variation but I was glad to see that they didn’t understate the weight as many gear companies do. It’s always nice to find a piece of gear actually has better specs than promised.
Unlike many foam boxes, the insert is raised and the edges are very shallow making it extremely easy to add or remove flies. With most foam boxes, the edges are so deep that it can be difficult to access your flies–not so with this design. And the lid features enough clearance to not fold flies down when closed.
The Finishing Touches
Aside from the beautiful exterior finish, this box also has a few nice touches in the hardware compartment. The brass hinges are inlaid so they’re not on the outside frame of the box giving an even more elegant appearance. And a single, centered magnet keeps the box securely closed, yet easy to open.
What I’d change
While I wouldn’t really change anything about this particular design, I would love to see it offered in a compartment version as well. While foam is certainly very practical for a variety of reasons (especially noticeable when trying to dig out just the right sakasa kebari buried deep in a compartment on a windy day), I have come to favor compartment boxes. Many anglers prefer foam because it’s easier to see and access your selection, but to me, high-tech foam somewhat detracts from the beauty of a wooden fly box. But that won’t stop me from taking this beauty on the water. Now…I just have to hit the vise to fill this puppy up!
Thank you for the review and the feedback on what you’d change.
For quite sometime I have also preferred compartments v. foam. However, on more than one occasion I have clumsily dropped the box, losing a couple of flies and having to pick the rest. Also, wind can make it tricky. And, sometimes flies come out connected to one another. Those are the main reason I started preferring foam to compartments recently, though I agree wholeheartedly with the look of a compartmentalized box.
Yep, it’s a tough line to walk between aesthetics and practicality sometimes.
Good review Jason that’s a good looking fly box in will make a nice addition to my Rick Setina box.
Got mine today. Love the compact size and minimal weight. Personally I like the ripple foam over compartments. More than once I have lost a fly down stream in the wind…
I was interested in one of your Trico Packs awhile ago but ended up with a Fishpond San Juan after your review. I was wondering if you or anyone else have seen this?
Looks simple and nice but eerily similar to your Trico designed pack. Any thoughts?
Hi Stephen. It’s the same pack. Elemental Horizons sewed them for me and I agreed to let them also sell it under their own label.
If you are still in good standings with them I think another post about that pack will help out a lot of people! I think it’s a great looking pack and I’m considering picking one up for my trip out on the AT this year.
I agree with Stephen. This is a great design. I bought the redesign when you had them and wouldn’t hesitate to recommend this.
I bought this fly box and I am really happy with it. It is so lightweight, slim, I like that it is made out of bamboo, and the magnet to keep it closed is very strong.