Tenkara Line Holder

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The tenkara line holder spool is one of those accessories that is very handy to have. When fly fishing small streams, it is often necessary to walk along the stream bank to get to the next spot you want to fish. With a 9 to 13' tenkara rod, it is necessary to collapse the rod if there are any trees or brush. The line holder allows you to keep the fly, tippet and line attached to the rod - and prevents the tangles you'll inevitably get if you just wrap the line around your hand.

A number of people have come up with creative ideas for holding the line. This tenkara line holder really is a clever design, though. The notches on one side allow you to hook your fly in the notch and then start winding the line around the yellow foam insert. The foam has enough give to it to allow you to wind tightly - so the line stays put. You can slide the holder over your collapsed rod and it will stay in place, either snugged up against the grip or held by it's own weight.

If you are fishing with a dropper New Zealand style (with the tippet for the point fly tied to the hook bend of the top fly), you can wind the line on just as you would without a dropper, and the hook will not be exposed where it could catch your hand, your shirt or stream-side brush. If you tie your droppers on a long tag end of your tippet knot, keep winding until you get to the dropper fly, pull the line a little snug, and just barely insert the hook point into the foam. The tension on the line against the foam will keep the fly from coming loose.

As you wrap the line around the line holder, stop winding when there is about a foot of line left (the actual amount depends on the rod). Catch the line between the yellow foam and the blue side plate just before bringing the line out one of the notches.

Meiho Chibi Maru tenkara line holder on tenkara rod

Insert the end of the collapsed rod through the hole in the center of the spool, but make sure it is inserted though the side that has the notches. See photo above. This is critical. The notch side of the holder must be toward the rod butt, not the rod tip. That traps the line and prevents it from unwinding.

If you have a cork, foam or wooden grip you can snug the holder down onto the grip. If you snug the holder against the grip with the line tight to the rod tip, it will also keep the rod tip protected inside the collapsed segments. Just to be safe, it is still better to carry the rod with the grip end down. For rods whose tip plugs are fluted, like most of the Daiwa and Nissin rods, inserting the tip plug reduces the chance of a broken tip if a branch happens to catch your line as you are walking through the woods. For rods that come with Fuji Rod Caps, reattach the cap to completely protect the rod tip.

If you have a rod with no cork, just trapping the line between the foam and the side of the spool and then through a notch will hold it, as long as you insert the rod through the side of the spool that has the notches and carry the rod with the tip up and grip down. Gravity will hold the line holder in place.

People really like the Fuji EZ Keepers as a way to manage the line when they move from spot to spot, or even to keep the rod fully rigged and ready to go at a moment's notice. However, these small tenkara line holders offer some advantages, too.

First, you can easily keep a line fully rigged - with tippet and fly or flies attached even after you have taken the line off the rod. You will find it very handy to cut lines of different lengths, so you can fish with a shorter line on smaller streams and a longer line on wider streams or lakes. With two of the line holders you can keep both lines fully rigged and easily switch if the stream widens out. Second, if you are fishing multiple flies, as mentioned above, it is a bit easier to secure two or three flies safely with the round spool than with the EZ Keepers.

Meiho Chibi Maru tenkara line holder with ruler for scale

If you'd like to try the pesca a mosca Valsesiana technique, which utilizes a cast of four flies, having a couple of these spools allows you to tie the casts the night before and carry them fully rigged to the stream. If (should I say when?) you get a tangle, take the whole cast off and replace it with a new one that's ready to go. Trying to undo a four fly tangle could put you out of action for a long time.

Pesca a mosca Valsesiana isn't quite tenkara, but the simplicity that comes from having a spare cast already tied certainly is. And if you ever get a chance to do some tenkara fishing for bluegills, you really should try it with four flies (if your state regulations will allow it). I've found it to be much more effective than with only one or even two.

Like the other tenkara accessories, these never get mentioned along with "rod, line and fly" but if you have a couple you'll be glad you do.

One very nice aspect of these tenkara line holders is that you can measure line just by wrapping it around the line holder. The circumference of the line holder is almost exactly 6". If you want to measure 12 feet of line, make 24 wraps around the line holder. You will be within a couple inches of 12'.

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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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