Here we are in the final post of the Three Part series on minimizing our basic gear and tackle. I do hope that you can see now that the commercial answers are not always the best. There is a lot of benefit to be found in dropping the load stone that gear can be when we fish. When I started backpacking I remember learning that if I didn't use something it probably wasn't needed. If I needed something I tried to remember to plan ahead or at least be able to improvise. I think these same thoughts apply to tenkara gear too.
Let's face it... your field fly box does NOT have to carry ALL of the flies you own. I know that people have boxes with rows and rows of flies that look like soldiers in formation waiting to go to battle. Sure this is fine for storing them at home or perhaps bringing along a good selection in your car. But why carry that big old honking box with you on the trail? Have the fancy big box for keeping your library of flies in but leave it behind. Carry a smaller box and be surprised by how little you really needed.
What I realized was that in any given day of fly fishing I never need more than a dozen flies at the very most. I can take couple varieties of flies along with me in a smaller box. All I have to do is have a few dark patterns, a few light patterns and a few that I just want to try out for the first time. The most I have with me at any given time is about 16- 24 flies and that too is overkill.
Of course one of the basic tenants of traditional tenkara is to use presentation over the “match the hatch” approach. We don’t need a dozen different flies to do this. I am of the school of make flies that you think will catch fish. If they catch fish then keep using them. I'm pretty sure at this point that there isn't a fly that can't catch a fish.
I love boxes of all kinds and am a self-proclaimed “box freak” who never met a box I didn’t like. I collect boxes of all kinds because you never know when you will need a good box to put something in. You may notice with the ideas below that some of the boxes I have collected here can also be used as line holders. That dual purpose makes them a great way to manage your line and keep everything together in just your shirt pocket.
I've had a great time exploring these ideas. I hope that you are inspired to keep your eye out for solutions and other ideas as well. More importantly I hope that you will share those ideas. Until my next post...Have fun being creative!
Dennis Vander Houwen lives in Colorado with his patient and supportive wife, talented artist son, a cuddly dog, and a very lucky cat. Dennis is an avid minimalist, wood craftsman, curious tinkerer and learner and most notably a deeply focused tenkara angler.