July 12, 2016

Tenkara Tuesday - DIY Minimalist Tenkara Fly Vial

Welcome to Tenkara Tuesday...

When Tenkara Tuesdays started back in 2011, my intent was to provide an opportunity for anybody who wanted to write about their tenkara experience through guest posts. I received a few entries, such as this, this, and this, but eventually things went silent, and I occassionally kept the Tuesday posts going using my own voice. However today I'm happy to see things come full circle, as it's my pleasure to post a neat little "tenkara tip" that George Roberts submitted somewhat out of the blue while I was away on vacation. I hope you enjoy it.

DIY Minimalist Tenkara Fly Vial

My favorite minimalist fly holder is a small glass vial. It will easily hold a half-dozen or so wet or dry flies - this is more than you'll need for a day of fishing - and it will fit unobtrusively into your shirt or pants pocket.

If you know a registered nurse you likely have a virtually unlimited supply of these vials. Many intravenous medications are packaged in small glass vials that are fitted with rubber stoppers. A few minutes’ work is all it takes to repurpose them for angling.

First, explain to the nurse in your life what you need - namely, spent I.V.-push vials such as those that contain Protonix.

Next, remove the thin metallic crown that holds the rubber stopper in place. Here I’m using the small blade of a wine opener.

Remove the vial’s label by placing it into a pan of boiling water for a minute or so. You may need to use the blade of a knife to assist you, as well as some dishwashing detergent to remove the glue. (I didn't think I needed to illustrate this.) When you've finished, and the vial is clean and dry, you'll have an imminently functional fly holder that cost you nothing more than a few minutes of your time. These also make great gifts for your fellow anglers--particularly when they contain a few of your own patterns.

About the Author: 
A fly angler since age seven (and a tenkara angler since age forty-seven), George Roberts is the author of Master the Cast: Fly Casting in Seven Lessons (McGraw-Hill, 2002). You can visit his website at www.masterthecast.com


Are you a tenkara angler? Do you have a story, pictures, video, fly recipe, or simply a fishing report from one of your recent tenkara adventures? If so, I'd really enjoy hearing from you for an upcoming Tenkara Tuesday post! Feel free to send an email HERE, I'd love to publish your original contribution.


  1. Label removal: try roughing the paper label surface with a scrubber. Then spritz with WD-40 which will usually break the adhesive bond of the label to the container.