Showing posts with label Gear Reviews. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Gear Reviews. Show all posts

November 12, 2018

First Impressions: Yonah Packs Minimalist Sling / Fanny Pack

Today I'm going to present a "first impressions" gear review of the Yonah Packs Minimalist Sling / Fanny Pack. I was sent this pack by Marcelo, the gentleman who hand-makes each pack, to sample about a month ago. Unfortunately, it showed up just after the big Tenkara Campout outing, so I really haven't been able to use it on the water yet.

That being said, I have been able to poke, prod, pull, and stuff this little pack quite a bit over the past few days, and feel like I have a pretty good grasp of how it would best be used, as well as what sort of capacity it has.

Before I get into the review, figured I'd first drop in the manufacturer's description, as found on the Yonah Packs Etsy page:

Measurements are 9” wide x 6” tall x 2.5” thick and weighs about 7 ounces.
A very minimalist tenkara fanny pack that can double as a sling pack and carry everything you need for those hot summer fishing trips.
The pack has a zippered compartment up front to carry a small fly box or any other smaller items. The nylon webbing in the front has various attachment points for all of your fly fishing tools and tippets. This allows for quick access to all your frequently used tools and gear. 
The main compartment has 2 line spool pockets and one large cell phone/wallet pocket.
On the bottom there are straps that will hold a water bottle or a tenkara rod securely. There is also some shock cord with a cord lock on the bottom to further secure a tenkara rod.

OK, sounds good so far... but let's dive in a bit deeper.

Build Quality

I'm not going to lie, I was impressed.

Sometimes you get handmade things from Etsy and they're a little sketchy. Bad sewing, poor zippers, stuff like that. This pack appears pretty much bombproof, without a single stitch out of place. I gave all the zippers really firm pulls and they all moved silky smooth. The main compartment is made out of X-Pac (the fabric, not the wrestler), which is a multi-layered, lightweight laminate fabric that's also water-resistant. It's just solidly executed, all the way around.


So this is what I decided to do to get a grasp of capacity. First, I grabbed my Vedavoo Tighlines sling. It's the pack I most commonly use for a day on the water if I don't also need to bring a rain jacket, snacks, a first aid kit, or extras like that. (For that I upsize to the Zimmerbuilt Deaddrift pack). I've used the Vedavoo for the better part of 7 years, so it's been through the ringer and I highly recommend it.

Here's the Vedavoo pack...

And my typical contents, that were all comfortably crammed inside.

The contents are (clockwise from upper left): 2 line spools, 2 line cards, a spool of level line, a Buff, a tip grip, cell phone, wallet, keys, tippet spools, forceps and nippers on a zinger, two tacky fly boxes, and a Sawyer squeeze water filtration system.

So then I decided I would load up the Yonah pack as best I could with the same stuff.

So what fit? Surprisingly everything except the following:

My wallet, the Sawyer filtration system, and one of the Tacky fly boxes were all a no-go. However, everything else was tucked neatly away. PLUS, I was able to use the loops on the bottom to cinch down an (extra) tenkara rod. If I didn't want to bring an extra rod, those same loops can be loosened far enough to hold a water bottle or perhaps a rolled up rain jacket... so that's a definite +1 for the Yonah pack.

The Guts

Here's a peek inside.

A large front pocket holds thin items. I used it for the Buff and tip grip. Probably could have crammed something else in there, but the extra fly box or my wallet didn't fit.

And on the inside, there are two small pockets that I used for the line spools, and a larger pocket I slid my phone into. The main compartment held everything else. Probably could have fit a Clif Bar or something in there too if I wanted to pack a snack.

So all in all, very comparable capacity-wise. My wallet is somewhat Costanza-like in nature, so I'm not surprised it didn't fit as-is, but I'm sure if I just wanted to carry an ID and credit card it would be no problem.


Now in terms of functionality, this bag definitely has one up on the Vedavoo. Natively, it's a fanny pack. It has a webbed belt with an over-sized nylon buckle that adjusts easily and I suppose can be worn in the front or behind you.

(I kept the tenkara rod on the pack in these photos, but I don't think I would recommend it if you use as a fanny pack. It just sticks out too far to the side and is awkward. Use those loops for something else.)

But here's the really slick thing. It does convert into a legit sling pack. There a little clip on the back of the bag and if you slide the webbed strap through it, it realigns into a shoulder pack.

The pack stands vertically on your back...

And when swung around to access the contents, sits horizontally. It's actually well thought out and executed.

(And yes I'm a little bummed no birds photo-bombed these photos, I get a really nice sampling of birds back there, hence the feeders in the background)

Here's a little Instagram video from Yonah Packs that shows the quick transformation a little more effectively:


I guess in the end, you probably want some sort of summary. Well, being that this pack hasn't been put through the rigors of multiple fishing seasons (at least by me) like the Vedavoo pack, I can't fully endorse it quite yet. That said, all signs point to it getting an excellent final review overall, and I look forward to putting it through some headwater fishing experiences in 2019.

Some quick thoughts:
  • It appears to be very well made, tight stitching, smooth zippers, tough fabric
  • It holds just the right amount of stuff for an afternoon on the water, including an extra rod
  • It has plenty of pockets for internal and external organization
  • The capability to convert from a fanny pack to a shoulder sling adds extra functionality

So, if you're looking for something to scratch the minimalist pack itch, (without leaving all your creature comforts behind), I think this Yonah Packs Minimalist sling / fanny pack might just be what you're looking for.

The pack currently retails for $75, and can be found HERE.


The Minimalist sling/fanny pack featured in this product review was provided to me at no cost, but carries a suggested retail price of $75. I currently hold no official association with Yonah Packs and did not solicit them for the product to review, nor receive any financial compensation. It was simply offered to test for feedback.

As with all independent gear reviews at Troutrageous! I try my best to keep my reviews honest and unbiased. This policy pertains to items both purchased and provided at no (or reduced) cost.

September 11, 2018

Tenkara Tuesday: Oh (N)Oni!

Welcome to Tenkara Tuesday.

I've been suffering a little bit of fishing withdrawal. It usually happens the weeks after I get away to fish. Wanderlust sets in and I tend to go into writing slumps. In an effort to try and kick that before it gets really bad, figured I'd share a few gear updates/observations that recently impacted my tenkara fishing... perhaps they'll come in handy for you as well (if applicable).

A Broken Oni Type III

First off, I didn't mention in my recent "Mountain Medicine" post that I busted my Oni Type III tenkara rod when I was in North Carolina... yeah, that sucked. My heart immediately sank in my chest.

It's never an enjoyable experience breaking a rod, but when it's due to your own carelessness...ugh. Well... that just compounds the shame. Fortunately, my loss is potentially your gain, as I would like to pass along a great experience with the Team Oni USA shop, the online retailer that now sells Oni rods, as well as services parts.

That section shouldn't be two pieces  :(

After a few dejected emails on Labor Day, John Vetterli had my replacement section in my hands in two days. That's some good, speedy service if you ask me. There's actually a lot of great customer service from our larger community of tenkara vendors, and I'm glad to see this new resource is no exception. So fear not with your Oni rods, John has you covered - for a fee of course.

Breaking In The Orvis Ultralight Wading Boots

Yeah, these got wet for a few days as well. While this isn't a long-term review (two days of fishing), I'm happy to report that the boots I've been writing about pretty much perform as advertised. Extremely lightweight (hardly noticeable on the hikes in and out) and fairly grippy on those slick Appalachian rocks. I did end up adding screw in studs to aid a bit with the traction, but I've always done that on trips to the Blue Ridge.

The one thing that did take me a smidge to get used to is that the rubber soles are more of a lug style than what I'm used to, so when you hop around from rock to rock, you just need to be slightly more deliberate with foot placement to "feel" what's underfoot. That being said, the extra rubber indentations added a better level of grab and leverage when pushing off of rocks that I enjoyed.

Old wading boots (top), new Orvis Ultralights (bottom)

So while the primary review is good, we'll see how they handle over the long term before I truly pass judgment.

Sawyer, My Main Squeeze

I'm not certain if I've ever written about water filtration here before, but the more I use it, the more I absolutely love my Sawyer Squeeze filtration system. I've used other solutions in the past, such as a Lifestraw as well as water bottles that incorporated internal filters, but I just don't think there's a better, (or easier to use), system for the wading angler. Particularly one that has access to abundant cold water all around them.

In my opinion, it's the perfect size to quickly fill, grab a drink to keep you hydrated on a hot day, and then stow away small in your pack to the point where it's unnoticeable. It also saves you the space of not needing to bring a dedicated water bottle. I've heard some people have had some issues with the plastic water pouch/bag leaking over time, but I haven't had that experience yet, so it's all good by me.


Are there any pieces of gear you that you find make your afternoon in the mountains more enjoyable? I would love to gather additional suggestions in the comments, as I'm always personally keen on learning ways to refine both the gear I use and wear, as well as what I keep inside my fishing daypack.


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.

January 9, 2018

Tenkara Tuesday: Tenkara In Focus Go Ishii Interview

The guys over at Discover Tenkara just uploaded Episode 5 of their second season of Tenkara In Focus on Monday. It's a really exceptional interview with tenkara angler Go Ishii. At just under twenty minutes, it's really worth the watch if you have the time to take it all in.

Go's contributions to furthering Japanese tenkara knowledge in the West have been invaluable, and this in-depth "sit down" really adds great context to the man behind the translations. There's also a nice accompanying blog post over on the Discover Tenkara website.

In a somewhat related side-note, I have to further compliment and recommend Discover Tenkara's new print book, "How To Fool Fish With Simple Flies." I received my copy in the mail over the holidays and have had the opportunity to read it almost from cover to cover.

Not only is there some great photography of over 70 different examples of simple flies / kebari, but the book really shines with its extremely detailed instruction on how to effectively fish them. While a lot of folks consider tenkara "basic," this book can definitely take your fly presentation and manipulation to the "next level."

August 12, 2017

Gear Review Update: Tenkara Times TRY 360 Tenkara Rod

A few years ago I had the pleasure of reviewing the TRY 360 tenkara rod from Tenkara Times. I wrote a fairly thorough review about it HERE if you'd like to go back and read it. However, you don't really have to... in short, I thought the rod was great - lightweight in hand, an accurate caster, and able to handle fish of many sizes and species. The only criticism was the rod's questionable cosmetics, which I didn't think were all that attractive...

Okay, I'm not going to sugarcoat it, I thought the rod was ugly.

Fast forward to this year, I was given the opportunity to test drive an updated version of the TRY 360.

I was able to fish the rod during some outings this summer in Pennsylvania and Oregon, and I'm happy to say that the rod maintains many of the qualities enjoyed in the original version.


The rod still feels incredibly light in hand. I never weighed the first version on a scale, so I can't compare the actual weight side-by-side (I no longer have the original rod), however, this new version is very similar. I think it feels perhaps a smidge heavier, but that could just be the influence of time on my memory. Either way, this rod remains super light for a model in this price range, (currently  $149.99 at Three Rivers Tenkara).


One of the features of this rod that I really enjoy is the grip, which seems slightly revised. Visually, you'll immediately notice a composite cork accent at top and bottom, which I think looks sharp should it serve no other function. Meanwhile, the handle maintains the 2 noticeable humps at top and bottom, and similar to the weight, they appear slightly more pronounced than before. The reason why I enjoy this grip configuration is that I prefer to "palm" the butt of the tenkara rod in my hand when I cast if the overhead clearance allows it, and this larger bump makes it very comfortable to hold in that fashion.

That said, should I need to choke up on my grip for whatever the reason, be it for increased control or to achieve a shorter overall rod length, the upper handle hump allows a very natural feeling grip as well.


As for performance, the rod is essentially the same. Crisp, perhaps a bit stiff, and casts a beautiful level line. I used a Tenkara USA 3.5 level line during the testing and it made for such an easy cast with both weighted and unweighted flies. A quick, compact flick of the wrist dropped cast after cast into the desired pocket or riffle on command.


So I guess it's time to address the elephant in the room, the cosmetics, especially when looking back at the prior review. Now I know cosmetics aren't the most important thing when it comes to a fishing rod. There could be a cool looking rod that casts like junk (and vice versa), but it would be foolish to think they don't play any role in the buying decision.

Well, I'm happy to report that while the majority of the rod blank maintains the same matte paint job, the largest section by the handle has been upgraded tremendously. Glossy black, silver printing, and a nice band that serves as a backdrop for the Tenkara Times logo while adding a splash of color. Is it perfect? No. But, in my opinion, it's light years more attractive than the original TRY. A classier, more premium look in so many ways.

Original TRY (Top) | Updated TRY (Bottom)

In closing, I believe the many updates included in this latest iteration of the Tenkara Times TRY 360 further cements this rod as an excellent option in the mid-price point tenkara rod range. I'd have no reservations recommending this rod to anybody seeking an "all around" model while still expecting extremely high-value & performance for the money.

The Tenkara Times TRY 360 tenkara rod tested in this product review was provided to me at no cost by Oleg at Tenkara Times. As mentioned in the review above, it carries a retail price of $149.99 in the United States and can be purchased at Three Rivers Tenkara. I currently hold no professional affiliation with Oleg, and the opinions expressed in this review are my own.

June 14, 2017

Long Overdue Book Review: On Fly-Fishing The Northern Rockies - Essays and Dubious Advice

Two or so years ago I was gifted a copy of a brand new fly fishing book to review on this blog. I had a cross-country flight ahead of me, so I thought it was going to be the perfect opportunity to read the book from cover to cover and do a short write up... Well, things didn't go exactly as planned and I actually misplaced the copy for quite some time.

Fast forward to a few weeks ago. In an event Alanis Morissette might describe as ironic, (although the rest of us might consider coincidental), the book magically reappeared in advance of an upcoming trans-Atlantic flight... and Mediterranean vacation. It was clearly calling me to make up for lost time during my down time. So without further ado, I present:

A Long Overdue Book Review:
On Fly-Fishing The Northern Rockies - Essays and Dubious Advice
by Chadd VanZanten & Russ Beck

Despite its title, On Fly Fishing The Northern Rockies - Essays and Dubious Advice, is not really a book about fishing the western United States. If you're looking for technical fishing instruction or info on secret streams or honey holes of the Rockies, you're not going to find them here. 

Rather, this book was written by two fly fishing friends (Chadd VanZanten & Russ Beck) that explore many of the trials and tribulations that anglers find on the water through first-hand accounts, interesting interpretations, and practical advice. In many ways, you'll find this book very relatable and familiar, and on some pages, you may even note that the messages transcend fishing.

The book is presented in a series of nine "Rules," which I guess could be considered chapters. Each rule contains a few short stories, typically alternating between the two authors. One of the most pleasant aspects in consuming the various stories was that while they were all interconnected by common themes within the chapter, they could also be taken individually on their own merit. They are small bites, easy to read without concern of losing your spot should you need to put the book down. 

While the book covers many topics, one of the themes that appear to be developed in multiple sections is that of student & teacher / the accumulation of knowledge. We see this in several places - as when we are first introduced to Russ, it is in the context of being a fly fishing "newbie" whose friendship with a more-seasoned Chadd is one of seeking mentorship. You also meet their friend Brad, a fishing savant who over time learns to find contentedness, happiness, and himself. And, well, I won't spoil the rest. 

I should probably mention that while the themes I referenced above may sound like they would make for some dull content, it's not. It's actually quite the opposite; in most cases it's funny. Damn funny. Each author approaches their topics with different styles of humor. Whether they were totally intentional or not, I found Chadd's sly and dry commentaries extremely entertaining, a nice compliment to Russ' more commonly taken path of self-depreciation. Either way, it was hard not to grin while reading the various "rules" knowing you've had a similar fishing experience along the way.

Something I didn't necessarily expect (and was pleasantly surprised to see) were the various references to tenkara fishing. Nothing over the top, but as a tenkara "practitioner" it was nice to see the t-word mentioned occasionally by both authors when discussing some of their small stream fishing opportunities.

In the end, I'd highly recommend this book to anyone that's picked up a fly rod. Don't get hung up by the Northern Rockies reference in the title, these humorous stories transcend location and will be extremely well received (even if it takes you two years to get around to reading them, which I doubt).

On Fly-Fishing The Northern Rockies- Essays and Dubious Advice can be purchased at the publisher's website: The History Press, as well as that popular shopping website named after a really large South American river. You know the one.


The copy of "On Fly-Fishing The Northern Rockies - Essays and Dubious Advice" featured in this product review was provided to me at no cost but carries a suggested retail price of $19.99. I currently hold no association with the authors, but if they want to go tenkara fishing with me out in Utah someday, I'm game. Just not in the Winter, screw that. (Read the book, you'll understand what I mean).

November 6, 2016

Totally Random Gear Review: Fozzils Solo Pack

I don't really do that many product reviews on the blog anymore, especially unsolicited ones, but I thought I'd share something I received in my Cairn box last month (Cairn is one of those "gear of the month clubs"), that I've actually given a fair amount of use in a short period of time, and am pretty pleased with the results.

The Fozzils Solo Pack - Cup, Bowl, & Dish

This folding "tableware" is kind of unique. What looks like a flat piece of plastic cardstock... transforms into a three-dimensional object by folding the pre-determined crease lines and utilizing the plastic snaps in the corners to hold its shape.

Specifically, the "dish" has become my waste bin as I'm tying flies. 

I brought this with me to the Tenkara Jam because it stored flat (I actually slid it inside my satchel among my Smoky Mountain fishing guidebook and sample Tenkara Angler magazines), and then once at the event, used it to store my snipped thread, clipped feathers, and other stuff while I was tying up flies. 

Heck, even back at home it's become a somewhat permanent fixture at my tying bench. Plus, the fishbone graphic on the bottom is just sort of fitting when it comes to this application.

I'm not going to lie, I haven't really used the bowl or cup yet, but the idea that I'm getting so much use out of the dish in a somewhat unintended way kind of made me want to bring it up on the blog. The fact that if you're actually a backpacker or camping type, and can use these for their intended purposes too, well that's a total win-win.

If you're interested in picking up the set, check out They'll run you about $15. I'm sure you can also Google "Fozzils" and find them at a retailer of your choice as well.


The Fozzils folding tableware set featured in this product review was purchased through my monthly Carin box. I currently hold no association with Fozzils and did not solicit them, nor was solicited by them for this review.

April 19, 2016

Book Review - Native To This Stream

Native To This Stream: Brief Writings About Fly-Fishing & the Great Outdoors is a collection of eleven previously published short stories, essays, and poems by Paul Weidknecht. It's a brief read, approximately 80 pages which only took me a little over a half hour to consume it cover to cover.

I have to say, I was pleasantly surprised. Many of the stories (literally) hit home; the author is from New Jersey, and his writing immediately took me back to my Mid-Atlantic fly fishing roots.

Two entries that were particularly enjoyable were The Native and Limestoned, both short stories. One about the "birth" of a fisherman, the other perhaps about the "re-birth." A little bit of humor, a little bit of raw emotion, and the backdrop of fly fishing, it's quite a feat to cram such robust tales within a few short pages.

I'm not going to lie, the handful of pages of poetry weren't my speed. I wouldn't say they detracted from the otherwise very satisfying experience, they merely served as bumpers in between stories. I've just never really been "into" poetry, that's my shortcoming, not the book's. They could be Robert Frost quality, they'd still go over my head.

Perhaps I enjoyed Native To This Stream so much because it reminded me of my favorite fly fishing book, Upriver & Downstream, also a collection of short stories. Small bites, easy to consume, sort of like a collection of blog posts. If you're looking for some light reading, or possibly an inexpensive gift to give to a fellow fly fisherman, I couldn't recommend it more.


The book featured in this product review was provided to me at no cost, but carries a suggested retail price of $7.99 (paperback) or $2.99 (Kindle). That said, anyone who has read a review here before knows that free product does not equal a positive review.

February 15, 2016

Inexpensive Accessories To Enhance Your Fishing Pack

You can go in a lot of different directions when it comes to selecting fly fishing gear, particularly when it comes to fishing bags and packs. Most of the fishing-specific packs that are widely available have a ton of awesome features that help make organizing and accessing your gear on the stream a breeze. That said, it doesn't mean that even the best pack can't be tweaked or improved with a few simple (& inexpensive) accessories.

Not really MacGyver-level hacks, but you know what I mean...

With that in mind, I thought I'd share a few of the items that I've found to increase the functionality in the use of my fishing gear; figured they might do the same for you.

Chums Zipquix Zipper Pulls

All of my fishing bags have great zippers. Bad zippers are one of my pet peeves, as there's nothing worse than buying a bag that has cheap zippers that just don't zip well. However, not all of the zippers have zipper pulls, which is a small add that you might not really notice until you add them. I started doing this when I lived in Pennsylvania, especially for those really cold days when you might be fishing with gloves on. Believe me, buy a pack, try them out, and you'll see what I mean. 5 for $5.

Sidenote: Works great on wading jacket pocket zippers too (should they not already have them).

Nite Ize S-Biners

I'm addicted to these little S-clips. Every time I see them in a store, I buy another 2-pack. They come in many different sizes and do a great job keeping things where you need them to be. 

As a tenkara fisherman, many of the rod tip plugs these days have loops of string (lillian) on the end, these clips are invaluable to keeping your tip plug put. I also use a few of them to attach nippers and hemostats to the ring on my retractable zinger. Finally, I also use a larger S-biner to keep my car keys put. 

Not having to fumble through various pockets (or the pack itself) to find all of these items is a definite security blanket worth investing in. 2 for $2, size 0.

Outdoor Products Cordlock Replacements

These little cord locks are great for lashing things down to your pack (or possibly your person). All you need to carry with you is a short length of paracord or a shoelace and you can pretty much cinch anything down really nicely. Heck, you can even use one to make an ad-hoc tippet spool dispenser. You'll see in the picture below a cord lock being used to keep tippet spools in one place, as well as some more of the previously mentioned S-biners being used on the tools. 4 for $5.

Lightload Towels

I actually did a product review of Lightload towels a few years ago, but you know what? They still find a home in my pack today. While not an alteration or addition, I thought it would be neglectful not to mention them because they are so useful. They're the size of a half-dollar coin when compressed, but when wet, grow into a full sized 12" x 12" towel that can be used for wiping hands, cooling off, a sun cape for the back of your neck, even fire-starting kindling if you light them prior to immersing in water. Oh, and when nature calls, they come in really handy. Especially the morning after Mexican. Believe me on that one. 2 for $4.  

End Game

To close, these are just some little widgets and whatchamacallits that have proved their worth to me on stream over the past few years. With the exception of the towels (which were presented to me 4 years ago), none of these vendors approached me to review these items today, I simply thought you might find them useful. 

The best part (in my opinion), is that while I've provided links to each, I've actually obtained most of these locally, either at outdoor sporting goods stores such as REI, Bass Pro, or Gander Mountain, or sometimes even more mainstream retailers such as Walmart, Lowe's, or Ace Hardware. If you don't find them with the camping gear, you'll likely find them in the accessories section with the wallets or keychains (typically near the cash registers).

If you've got any gear hacks that fit in with the theme of this post, please share, I'd love to read them in the comments below!

September 23, 2015

Tenkara Tuesday - Ultralight Floating Tenkara Line

Welcome to Tenkara Tuesday (on Wednesday)...

Ever since I moved to Florida, I've been seeking ways to fine tune my tenkara tackle to the abundant still-water opportunities that present themselves seemingly everywhere. While many of the same tenkara rods, lines, and flies can be used with great success, I've found that adding a good floating tenkara fly line to the arsenal has been an excellent enhancement to my gear cache. Heck, I even wrote a Tenkara Tuesday post about it back in May.

When I was approached to test out a new floating tenkara line offering from Three Rivers Tenkara, I figured the product would be very similar to some of the other lines I was using...but upon further examination, I couldn't be more wrong.

R.I.P. Llanolope popper

It became very clear while attaching the line to my rod was that it was truly "ultralight" and that wasn't just a buzzword used to sell lines. Since floating lines are made from some sort of plastic, they tend to have a little bit of bulk to them, and the models I've used in the past purposed toward tenkara rods are no different. The thing that jumped out at me was that this line feels and handles more like a light furled line, and simply does not overpower the slender tip section of the tenkara rod.

The line attaches to the rod's lillian similar to other floating or furled lines with a girth hitch. Easy on, easy off, without needing to know how to tie knots. The tippet then attaches to a tippet ring at located at the end of a short length of high vis mono. (This change was made later, my sample did not include a tippet ring and utilized a figure 8 knot stopper in the mono to serve as a tippet anchor).

Girth hitch

Wanting to really give this line a solid test drive, I hooked it up to 6 different tenkara rods that I own from several different manufacturers and did a little lawn casting to a paper plate about 25ish feet away. Tossing out about 30 or 40 casts from each rod, softer rods seemed to lay out the line a bit better than stiffer rods. Believe it or not, I found the rod that it paired with the best was the Tenkara USA Ebisu.

Taking it to the water, dry flies and kebari cast very well, a simple flick of the wrist was all that was needed to place the fly wherever I wanted, almost on demand. Small foam poppers and hoppers (my favorite flies for Florida bass & bluegill) proved to fish great on this line too, their relative bulk didn't overpower the line at all, and the line consistently floated up top, cast after cast.

I did try sizing up to a size 8 bead head woolly bugger and that was probably pushing this line's upper limits. The cast was more of a lob (the rod plays a part in that too), and some of the heavier floating tenkara lines I've used in the past have turned over weighted flies a bit better that this line.

In the end, this is really a superior product, one that I'd easily recommend to the dry fly tenkara fisherman. Pair it with a rod with a soft tip and some foam poppers or elk hair caddis, and you're going to have a ridiculously easy to cast setup that makes catching any rising fish, be it trout, bluegill, or bass an absolute joy!


The Ultralight Floating Tenkara Line featured in this product review was provided to me at no cost, but carries a suggested retail price of $20-26. Although I consider Anthony Naples a friend, I currently hold no official association with Three Rivers Tenkara and did not solicit them for the product to review. It was simply offered to test for feedback during the development process.

As with all independent gear reviews at Troutrageous! I try my best to keep my reviews honest and unbiased. If something is good, it deserves applause; if it sucks, I'll comment on the experience, but rather than write an uncomplimentary post, inform the manufacturer my opinion of their offering directly outside of this blog. (For real, you should see some of the stuff I haven't written about...) This policy pertains to items both purchased and provided at no (or reduced) cost.

August 12, 2015

Gear Review - Mojo Sportswear "Mr. Big" Short Sleeve Performance Fishing Shirt

Way back in the beginning of the Summer, back before the ICAST Show, I was sent a sample from Mojo Sportswear to do a gear review. They sent along a really nice fishing shirt...a Mr. Big button down performance shirt...not an "Under Armour-style" synthetic t-shirt that seems to be all the rage these days.

I wore it around the house a little bit, I wore it outside in the Florida heat, I just never wore it to go fishing. Sadly, most of my fishing plans got thwarted by either bad weather or family time over the last month or so...not that I can really complain about the latter. As such, I've been a bad blogger reviewer, something I wanted to rectify today.

So let's get into the a classic "Pros & Cons" format...


The Mr. Big shirt is really well executed. The fabric is far from flimsy, but it isn't hot either. The back venting really helps keep you cool, and this is probably one of the features I like the best about the Mr. Big. It is not a horizontal "cape" vent that run across your back similar to what many fishing shirts use, but rather a vertical slit along each shoulder with a mesh backing. 

I prefer this because when you wear the shirt it doesn't scream "HEY YO, I'M WEARING A FISHING SHIRT!" It's nice, covert ventilation. 

Another really solid feature are the pockets. The pockets you say? Yes, the pockets.

While they are big & deep enough to hold a small fly box, tippet spools, phone, or whatever, they aren't big and billowy. I'm not a big fan of over-sized pockets, at least not on shirts like this. They are also Velcro close with nylon (?) pull tabs to gain access. No zippers or buttons to deal with, I like the pockets.

The shirt is really easy care. While it's not wrinkle-proof, it takes some serious scrunching for it to show wrinkles. A simple wash, dry, and then fold or hanger and you're good to go. I'd think that'd be good for the traveling fisherman...or just somebody who is allergic to ironing shirts like myself.

Finally, there's also a nice decorative touch that is easy on the eyes with coconut accent buttons. So yeah, you can wear it fishing, but it won't look out of place at a Jimmy Buffett concert either! I like the buttons, you may not.

I didn't even mention the fact that the MaxCool fabric wicks moisture, repels stains, and has a UPF 30 rating...but let's face it, most technical performance shirts on the market have comparable features these days. My draw to this shirt is the tailoring I mentioned above. 


With any "pros," there are always "cons" too, and I'd be remiss if I didn't mention them, even though it could be considered nitpicking. My main con is what I'll call logo overload. While I don't mind a big logo on a t-shirt, I don't really care for excessive logos on button downs. It's a shirt, not a billboard.

This particular shirt has a nice sized Mojo "hook" logo above the front chest pocket, which isn't bad on its own, but it is then followed up with a pretty large Mojo wordmark logo on the back in between the shoulder blades. The back hit just isn't necessary in my opinion, and takes away from the aesthetics just a bit, particularly if you're not really a huge fan of the font.


End of the day, I really like and would recommend the Mr. Big performance fishing shirt to anybody looking for a new shirt to add to their wardrobe. The features alone, some on par with the competition, others what I'd consider superior such as the tailoring, make this a really compelling option in a very crowded fishing shirt marketplace. And as an added bonus, you won't look out of place should you choose to wear it to work or out to eat either. As a nouveau-Floridian, this shirt screams Sunshine State to me!


The Mojo Sportswear Mr. Big short sleeve performance fishing shirt featured in this product review was provided to me at no cost, but carries a suggested retail price of $54. I currently hold no association with Mojo Sportswear, and didn't solicit them for the product to review. It was simply offered and I accepted, I'm certain because I'm such a nice guy.

As with all independent gear reviews at Troutrageous! I try my best to keep my reviews honest and unbiased. If something is good, it deserves applause; if it sucks, I'll comment on the experience, but rather than write an uncomplimentary post, inform the manufacturer my opinion of their offering directly outside of this blog. (For real, you should see some of the stuff I haven't written about...) This policy pertains to items both purchased and provided at no (or reduced) cost.