Gamakatsu GM-1898 Line Winder Review

by Jay Guarneri
(Manhattan, KS)

Two per package

Two per package

Here's a different sort of line winder that I haven't seen before. I picked these up on a recent trip to Japan. The store attendant told me these were the "most popular" line winders for tenkara. This winder is unique in that the spool is enclosed in a case. By holding the case, the spool can spin freely, allowing you to wind up the line quickly and smoothly, without any twist. There is a ratchet mechanism to prevent the line from unwinding. Once your line is wound up, there are no loose ends sticking out to get caught on hooks, zippers, branches, etc.

The spool also has four small fly compartments on it. There are channels in the corners of the compartments which allow you to leave your fly attached to the tippet (this is how you start the line on the spool). The compartments are small, but could accommodate up to a size 10 or 12 for lean nymph patterns, probably up to size 16 for a bushy dry fly. The flies in the picture are size 22 micro streamers from the streamer challenge.

The only downside is that the spool will not fit over a collapsed rod, either in or out of the case. So, it is necessary to either remove the line from the rod or carry the case in your hand when collapsing the rod to move. I think the speed of winding makes up for this, but it may be a deal breaker for some.

All in all, this is a nice option for line storage. I see this as ideal for micro fishing, exploring small streams, or any other time you want to keep your kit to a minimum. I paid a little less than $10 for a pair of these, so they are reasonably priced, too.

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