February 23, 2017


What?  Yep.

This email graphic popped into the inbox yesterday from the American Fly Fishing Trade Association (AFFTA). Thought it was pretty interesting, and really something I never gave much thought to when reaching for one of those little plastic cups to hold the dozen flies I planned on buying at a fly shop. Seems like a no-brainer for retailers to make the switch, can't imagine their customers would mind much. Would you?

Recycled Paper Fly Boxes, Now at AFFTA

Today is the day! Recycled paper fly boxes are now available at http://shop.affta.org/! Choose from three different sizes to best suit your shop's needs: 2"x2"x2" (dry flies and nymphs), 3"x3"x2" (bigger dry flies and nymphs, bass bugs, and smaller saltwater flies), and 6"x3"x2" (big stuff like tarpon and billfish flies, plus a few leader packs and spools of tippet).

It's estimated the fly-fishing industry adds about 3.5 million plastic containers annually to the environment from retail fly sales alone! These boxes will save retailers some serious money and eliminate a large amount of useless waste.

We're proud to offer AFFTA members the ability to order recycled paper fly boxes on affta.org — you'll find this is an easy, cost-effective way to lower your impact and help #kickplastic!

February 20, 2017

Alternative Fly Box

Saw this pretty cool fly storage/organization solution on Nick Cobler's Instagram over the weekend, and he allowed me to share it here. 

If you've spent all winter tying flies, I think this is a pretty awesome way to manage your backstock, while also selecting a few of the divided plastic cups to use as a "grab and go" mixed stock fly box.

While it's really a travel tote for organizing craft beads called the JamPac, seems like a killer solution to get your flies sorted and under control. Plus, the black case screams, "Put fishing stickers on me!" 

This storage solution including the 20 storage cups, can be found on Amazon (of course) for $20, with Prime shipping.

February 17, 2017

The 5 Best Tenkara Rods?

There's a blog post out there that's been circulating for a little bit longer than a year with a very similar title to this one that I don't really care for. It's not so much the rods or companies that are recognized, it's the article's questionable evaluation of them, including calling them "American Made." Since that post seems to have good SEO qualities, it never quite fades into oblivion, resurfacing on social media every few months.

Rearing its head yet again on the Appalachian Tenkara Anglers Facebook page last week, I decided to turn the tables and ask the group members what they think the five best tenkara rods are. You know, real feedback from real tenkara anglers. A few models (not exactly five) were mentioned, which I'll highlight below.

I would like to note that it appeared as if many people replied with a lean towards value or "beginner" rods. Not that there's anything wrong with that, just thought that context may be helpful.

Tenkara USA Rhodo & Sato

Image Courtesy: Tenkara USA

Multi-length zoom rods seem to be quite popular for their versatility. Many people commented not only on the utility of these brother & sister models (the Rhodo being the shorter of the two) but highly recommended purchasing a rod with good warranty service behind it.

Jeff noted: "I have had my TUSA Rhodo over 4 years now, almost always use it all the way out. Great customer service!"

Kyle added: "I'd most definitely get a warrantied rod with a good replacement part service. TUSA, Badger, Dragontail. All top notch prices with good company backing."

Oni Type III

Image Courtesy: Three Rivers Tenkara

A small stream legend, the Oni Type III packs premium performance into a camo-handled package. I hear you can't catch a brook trout and drink a beer at the same time without one.

Adam wrote: "The Oni Type III is basically the most amazing Tenkara rod in production for small to medium streams. I wish someone had told me to skip the bulls**t and the mediocre stuff and go straight to that rod early on."

JJ followed: "Oni III is an amazing rod for sunfish, I'll never use it for anything else." 

Nissin Fine Mode Kosansui 270

Image Courtesy: TenkaraBum

Referenced as part of a great "kids starter kit," this capable rod is far from a toy. The short length of just under 9 feet fully extended also makes it extremely attractive for those who favor tight, bushy streams.

Bruce said: "I picked up a "kids starter kit" for my daughter two years ago and she hasn't looked back since! The Nissin Fine Mode Kosansui 270 that was included with her kit is simply an awesome rod. It's a slightly heavier penny rating than I usually prefer, but the slightly thicker tip section, shorter length and ULTRA LIGHTWEIGHT really shine brightly in a rod that's so inexpensive"

Patrick added: "I have a Nissin Pro Spec360 7:3 and a Nissin Fine Mode 270. They cover 90% of the fishing I do."


Badger UNC  |  Image Courtesy: BadgerTenkara

A few additional rods were recognized in the Facebook post, however without much color as to their merits, so it's hard to single them out like the others. They were the Shimano Keiryu Tenkara ZLNissin Pro Spec360 7:3Badger UNC, and Badger Bad Axe. We'll call those honorable mentions worth researching yourself.

Actually, I'd be remiss if I didn't note that as a retailer, TenkaraBum was referred to several times as an excellent resource of quality tenkara rods.

Erik offered: "If you want a good rod, contact Chris Stewart (TenkaraBum). He can sell you many varieties of rods that will all be good."

In the end, while the models listed above may or may not actually be the best tenkara rods, at least I'm confident that when somebody reads this synopsis (and hopefully chooses to do further research) they won't be steered in a totally wrong direction.

Have a favorite tenkara rod not mentioned? Feel free to list it in the comments below. Give a good enough reason, and maybe I'll add it to the article. For those interested in my personal choices in rods, check out THIS post from last summer.

February 13, 2017

Video: A Valley Creek Skunk

Looks like my old Pennsylvania fishing (& blogging) buddy "Steven Lee" is back to creating outdoors content again. You may remember the name from prior blogs such as The Eastern Fly, The Flyfishing Bowhunter, and The Silent Pursuit.

Over the weekend he put together this video short on my old stomping grounds, Valley Creek. As you may be able to tell by the title, you won't see too many fish come to hand, but the video is still a good watch and man... all those familiar runs and holes make me really miss Valley...

If you're interested in more from Steven you can check out his blog (warning, not just fishing) HERE, or his outdoors-themed YouTube channel HERE.

February 10, 2017

Guided Getaway

Wow, can finally exhale. The last month or two has been a total blur. When you're employed in sports, major events like "The Big Game," create a lot of extra work in the weeks that lead up - in other words, working day and night rather than enjoying life and writing silly blog posts. But with an epic 25 point comeback in the rearview, let's talk fishing...

I know I could sure use an escape right about now. How about North to Alaska? That certainly sounds fun. Fortunately, friend-of-the-blog Paul Vertrees is hosting the FIRST EVER professionally guided tenkara trip to Alaska! According to Paul, here's the skinny:

Sunday, June 11, 2017 through Saturday, June 17, 2017

"Our guide service, Royal Gorge Anglers in Cañon City, has partnered with Intricate Bay Lodge on Lake Iliamna, Alaska, to offer a six-day, six-night lodge-based tenkara experience in the Lake Iliamna area.  This region is famous for its trophy arctic grayling and rainbow trout during June each year.  I could write pages about this area and how beautiful it is, how perfect it is for targeting bigger fish with tenkara, and how great the fishing is, but instead I’ll refer you to Intricate Bay Lodge’s website (see the "Combo Trip") so you can see for yourself and so you can get an idea of what the accommodations are like.  All I can say is that there is NO OTHER guided tenkara trip like this anywhere on Planet Earth!  Of course, you’re more than welcome to pick up a 6-wt western fly rod and have at it if you like!"

(Related aside: Paul is also a regular contributor to Tenkara Angler magazine, having written a great article about tenkara in Alaska in last Fall's issue).

Now as much as I'd like to go to Alaska with Paul and a bunch of tenkara rods in hand, I know I won't be able to this year due to other commitments in early June, however, this sounds incredible. My loss is your gain, I hear spots are limited, so if you're interested, you may want to look into it.

As for me, maybe Owl Jones will have me back up in North Georgia to go chase some trout in the not too distant future. We'll see...