This page is a work in progress, but here’s a partial rundown of tenkara gear I’ve used in the past and stuff I currently use. The Amazon links are affiliate links. Note that I am not a tenkara expert, pro, guru, swami, or sensei. I just like to fish. Last updated February 27, 2021.
I’ve created this dedicated page to go over my rods.
- SoftScience Terrafin wading boots – These are really great boots. They’re grippy, inexpensive, and extremely lightweight. They aren’t the most durable things in the world. Mine were falling apart after less than a year of pretty heavy use. I sent SoftScience a picture asking if the damage was covered under their warranty, and they said yes. They sent me a brand new pair of boots within the week! Unfortunately, as of early 2020, I believe SoftScience is out of business. When my Terrafins wear out, I’ll probably get something like the Redington Benchmark boots, which are relatively cheap and are supposed to be decently lightweight.
- Chota Tundra Hippies hip waders – These are great hip waders and are perfect for small stream tenkara fishing. I like that they can roll down to gaiter height for hiking into an area. They’re lightweight and durable enough. I started to develop holes in the neoprene stocking foot part on each wader after less than a year. I patched the holes with Aquaseal but eventually got other holes. I’d like to get a new pair of these at some point. (Chota | Amazon)
- iWader S1 chest waders – These are my winter and big water waders. They work well. I have a few nitpicks, but overall, they’re a good wader at a great price. I like them, and if these ones ever spring a leak, I’ll probably buy another pair. I got them for free in exchange for promising a video review, which you can find here. (iWader)
- Medium Rubber Measure Net – This net comes in several different sizes, but I have the medium with the rubberized mesh bag. It has an aluminum frame/rim. It’s too big for some fish and too small for others, but overall, this is an amazing net. I love it. (Amazon | Measure Net)
- Medium Titanium Measure Net – Jeff, the guy who runs Measure Net, saw my videos and sent me a wood and titanium version of the medium Measure Net for free. It’s good a wood handle. It’s beautiful. The shape is slightly different from the aluminum one I have (the net listed right above this one)—it’s more rounded toward the end instead of more square. I think I prefer the squared shape of the aluminum Measure Net, but I still really like this wood and titanium one too. I use both. (Measure Net)
- Handy Pak Net – This is a cool little collapsible net. I bought the cheapest version, the plastic one with the shallow catch and release netting and the vinyl pouch. Sadly, I hated the netting. It got caught up in the fish’s teeth and fins, and it’s annoying to untangle them (not to mention the fact that it’s not good for the fish). I ended up getting the medium nylon Measure Net bag, and it’s WAY better than the stock net that came with it. (I tried putting the medium rubberized Measure Net bag on it instead of the nylon one, but I felt that it was too bulky and heavy to work well with the Handy Pak Net.) From a packability standpoint, this is a great net. From a usability standpoint, it’s just an OK net. The spring steel that forms the rim of the net bends in fast current, making netting a fish sometimes a bit of a challenge. Still, it’s better than nothing. (Amazon | Handy Pak Net)
- NISSIN ONI Ryu Level Line – This is the level line I use the most, and it’s the one I like the most. I use it for all of my creek fishing. (Amazon | DRAGONtail)
- Zen Tenkara Floating Fly Line – Karin from Zen Tenkara sent me these for free in I believe 11 foot and 15 foot lengths. In general, fishing a floating line doesn’t really interest me. Most of the time, I far prefer fishing level line. But you know what these lines are good for? Wind. And I mean LOTS of wind. There have been a couple times when the wind on the river or lake was just too much for level lines and even furled lines. I whipped out the Zen floating line and was actually able to cast it and fish with it. Sadly, I don’t have the 15-foot line anymore because I accidentally left it at the bottom of a 700-foot-deep canyon that I won’t be revisiting anytime soon. I’d like to get another one in the future. (Zen Tenkara)
- DRAGONtail Light PVC Floating Tenkara Line – I bought this line after losing the 15-foot Zen Tenkara line mentioned above. It comes in a 20-foot length, and I cut it down to 18 feet. I use it for lake and pond fishing in windy conditions. It’s lighter than the Zen line. This makes it more enjoyable to cast most of the time, but it also doesn’t perform quite as well in very strong winds, which is when I would be reaching for a line like this the most. Still, overall, it’s a nice line. (DRAGONtail)
- DRAGONtail Premium Tenkara Level Line (No longer using) – This line is similar in feel and performance to the ONI line above, but it’s not as visible. They’re both orange, but the Dragontail one is a slightly more opaque, less solid orange. As a result, it’s harder to see in certain lighting conditions, and I prefer the ONI line. (Amazon | DRAGONtail)
- Tippet – I use 5x mono nylon tippet. I’m not especially partial to any brand. I’ve used Moonlit (DRAGONtail), Rio (Amazon), and Cortland (Cortland) tippet. I currently use the Rio one because it’s cheap and on Amazon Prime.
- Idaho Killer Kebari – More info here.
- Modified Utah Killer Kebari – More info here.
- More info on the other flies I used is on this page toward the bottom, under the “Fly Recipes” section.
- Mini Magnet – When I’m “tenkara” fishing for bluegill or other small warm-water fish, this little lure by Trout Magnet works well. It’s basically a super small Trout Magnet. Instead of using the 1/200 oz. jighead hook that comes with the Mini Magnet, I usually just slide the lures themselves onto a #12 hook. (Trout Magnet | Amazon)
- Polarized glasses – I use these ones with the yellow/amber lenses and am happy with them.
- Fly box – I use the same one that I sell on FlyTyingYarn.com.