New-to-Me Gear: Bajio Readers, Seiyu 33, & Yamanami Capture

The terms tenkara and simplicity seem to have gone hand in hand since the pasttime’s introduction to the west. While that may initially draw people in, I also know there are a bunch of tenkara “gearheads” out there. This post is for them.

I recently had the opportunity to sneak away for a weekend of fishing in the Smokies. The weather was nice and the fish were active, which made for a good opportunity to test out three new-to-me items of fishing gear.

Bajio Sunglasses Polarized Readers

I’ve gone through a lot of sunglasses over the years. I recently went for an eye exam to get my contact lens prescription tweaked, and following that visit I’ve finally hit the point where I need to wear reading glasses. Stuff like reading a magazine, glancing at my phone, and yes… tying tippet to flies has suddenly become difficult to do. The latter was first displayed during a fishing trip back in June. Tying on those size 14s and 16s was just impossible, especially under the shade of dense canopy.

New-to-Me Gear: Bajio Readers, Seiyu 33, & Yamanami Capture - Tenkara Angler - Michael Agneta - Bajio Palometa Polarized Readers Sunglasses
Bajio Palometa polarized readers – Black frame with Rose mirror lenses

Tinkering around with several inexpensive reading glasses options for around the house, I decided to give Bajio readers a try for my fishing, considering I wear polarized sunglasses on stream anyway. I am so happy I did. All of the struggles of my June trip were immediately allieviated. Tying on flies is now crisp, clear, and awesome. It’s something you take for granted until its gone.

Additionally, I’ll note that the rose mirror colored lenses are excellent in the low light conditions of a shady Smoky Mountains trout stream. Not to mention the Palometa frames are very comfortable and just look cool (even if I don’t wearing them). While I’m not oblivious to the fact that Bajio sunglasses aren’t exactly inexpensive, I’ll say they’ve been well worth the price. Overall, the Bajio readers seem to be a BIG win in my search for old guy optics.

Mike’s Rating:

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Seiyu Therapy 33 Tenkara Rod

I’ve already had a lot to say about this rod on Tenkara Angler, but after finally getting to fish it, I would like to confirm that it is indeed a very nice rod.

I found it to be light and pretty smooth while casting both weighted and unweighted kebari on a twelve foot length of 3.0 level line. The best part was that felt solid under the pressure of a hooked fish (although I haven’t tested it on anything larger than 12″ yet), but not so much that playing those smaller fish wasn’t fun. It was quite the opposite, from detecting the strike to feeling the rod’s generous flex, it was very pleasurable to fish. I’d characterize the Seiyu Therapy 33 as the kind of rod that sort of disappears in your hand after a while, which is all you can really ask of a tenkara rod.

Mike’s Rating:

Rating: 4 out of 5.
New-to-Me Gear: Bajio Readers, Seiyu 33, & Yamanami Capture - Tenkara Angler - Michael Agneta - Seiyu Therapy 33 Tenkara Rod
Fishes as good as it looks!

Yamanami Capture

This one probably isn’t going to be for everyone, but I think you’ll at least find it interesting. I’ve been fiddling with release boxes for quite a few years now. They’re basically long and thin aquariums, typically fashioned from rigid plexiglass, used for safely observing and photographing fish after catching them. They’re a cool thing to mess around with, but you kind of have to dedicate yourself to using one. Their relatively big, kinda bulky (while being a bit fragile), and not really quickly deployable.

Enter the Yamanami Capture, which is a release box made of soft but sturdy, flexible clear PVC. That innovation means it can be folded and easily stowed away. I keep mine in the outer mesh pocket of my Zimmerbuilt backpack making it incredibly easy to simply reach around and grab once I have my fish netted. I absolutely love this thing – it’s a million times more conveient than a traditional hard plexiglass release box!

New-to-Me Gear: Bajio Readers, Seiyu 33, & Yamanami Capture - Tenkara Angler - Michael Agneta - Yamanami Capture release box
The size M version, about 10 inches long, 5 inches high.

The only bad part about the Capture is that it’s not easily available in the United States (or at least wasn’t when I ordered mine a few months ago). You have to buy them from Japanese websites, which is fine, but the shipping cost usually ends up being as much or more than the Capture itself. Admittedly, I didn’t shop around too much once I found one and in the end it was definitely worth the price to me, (especially with the favorable JPY to USD exchange rate). Perhaps a positive reaction to this post might nudge some American retailers to consider stocking the Yamanami Capture domestically.

Mike’s Rating:

Rating: 4 out of 5.

So that’s my new-to-me gear rundown. Do any of these items interest you? I’d love to read your thoughts in the comments below, or back on the social media site of your choosing.

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  1. Saying this inquisitively, not to be a jerk:

    Aren’t release boxes and the process of sticking fish in them likely to add to a fish’s stress? Sounds like a somewhat selfish, bad idea from my vantage point. What am I missing? Thanks!

    1. It’s a good question, so no harm in asking. I would say that I don’t hink it’s something you put a fish in and keep in there for an extended amount of time, you still want to return them to the stream quickly.

      From all the research I’ve done on these (mainly regarding the Wild Fish Conservancy’s plexiglass Photarium), they claim that “They are indispensable tools for observing live fish in the field without causing harm or stress to your subject. Photariums were originally developed by WFC scientists as a tool to enable accurate data collection; a safer alternative to keeping fish out of water while measuring, identifying, and photographing fish.”

      Several other resources have covered these in a positive light as well:

      I don’t know of a specific study that shows mortality rates as better or worse, so everything in this is just an opinion.

  2. Mike —

    My contact lenses only correct for distance, so I’ve been using magnifiers that flip down from the brim of my hat. I’ve always been concerned that readers or progressive lenses would make it difficult to scramble on mountain streams because when you look down, you’re looking at the ground through the near-vision part of the lens. What has your experience been? A pair of glasses like the ones you reviewed above would be good for sitting at the beach and reading and similar activities without tricky footing.


    — Greg

    1. You know, I noticed that initially, but my eyes quickly adjusted. I think I subconciously just started looking down with my head more when moving from spot to spot to utilize the far vision. In the end, didn’t prove to be much of an issue. Probably not a bad thing to be more deliberate on the water anyway.

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