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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.

Comments for Gamakatsu GM-1898 Line Winder Review

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Jan 05, 2017
kaiten shikake-maki
by: David

From what I can tell most Rotating tackle winders,回転仕掛け巻き (kaiten shikake-maki) are marketed to Ayu fishermen.

There are many different models of them made by different companies.

If you look at the Gamakatsu web page for the Gamakatsu GM 1898 (がまかつGM 1898) it states that the small storage boxes are for storing Sakasa hooks (サカサ鈎).

No that is not a different name for Sakas Kebari (逆さ毛鉤). But instead a type of hook that appears to be used primarily for Ayu Fishing (鮎釣り). Perhaps for other types of fishing too depending upon the model of the sakasa hook.

I see no reason why they wouldn't work well for Tenkara, and have often wondered what model or make of them might work better. However, I mostly prefer larger diameter spools of 90 ~ 100mm, that need fewer turns to wind on more line with each wrap. The GM-1898 spools are only 55mm diameter. But - Maybe the finger hole will make winding up a long, 4m ~ 5m, line very quick.

The storage boxes might hold all the flies you need for the day. Very handy, and less stuff to carry. Hope they work well for you.

Jan 05, 2017
Thanks for the details
by: Jay Guarneri

That's some useful background info, David! The ayu fishing makes sense. I was wondering why there was a slot for サカサ size instead of 毛鉤 size on the included labels. I'll have to look into the ayu fishing terminology to see if I can't make sense of some of the other slots. I do think these would make an awesome winder for keiryu. Use a couple compartments for hooks and one or two for split shot, and you've got pretty much everything you need.

As for speed, this spool definitely winds the line faster, at least compared to how I wind with my other spools. I have a pair of the blue line holders Chris sells here, and I prefer to rotate the spool to gather up the line rather than wind the line around, so as to minimize twist. This takes a while. I think I'll still use my other spools for larger flies and larger fish, but these are just perfect for small stream adventures.

Jan 05, 2017
Line winding trick
by: David

Jay, one of the ways to avoid or limit line twist when wrapping the line onto the spool while holding the spool stationary is to just flip the spool around every 8 or 10 wraps around. How often to flip it round kind of depends on how long a line you use.

iow, hold the spool stationary and wrap the line on going away from yourself over the top for 8 turns or so. Then flip the spool around holding it from the opposite side, such that now you wind the line on over the top coming toward yourself. Repeat, maybe reducing the number of wraps before flipping it round as you get toward the end. Just judge it by how much the line looks twisted or not twisted as you get near the end.

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“The bitterness of poor quality remains long after the sweetness of low price is forgotten” - Benjamin Franklin

"Be sure in casting, that your fly fall first into the water, for if the line fall first, it scares or frightens the fish..." -
Col. Robert Venables 1662

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