Tenkara Grasshopper Central

What do I do for line management?

What do I do for line management?

by October 8, 2016 6 comments

When one hears the word tenkara, the most common thing that comes to mind is “A rod, a line, a fly!” That is really the essence of tenkara gear wise. Yet a question always arises when a person is new to tenkara.

“If I have a twelve (12) foot line with three (3) to five (5) feet of tippet attached to my rod and no reel, how do I keep my line from turning into a rat’s nest when moving from one spot to another on the river?”

This is a common and fair question for many anglers and one I struggled with for quite some time. I am unsure as to whether I have come to a conclusion but I feel I am getting closer every time I go out to the river. I have experimented with a wide range of spools and leader wallets and felt it would help you to make a choice for your own line management.

tenkara line management

The first spool I used was the Tenkara USA Line Holder. Formed of blue plastic and a core of yellow foam, this is truly one of the simpler spools I have used. There are a total of eight (8) small triangles on the body of the spool designed to have the fly attached to it when a line is completely rigged. The center hole on the spool allows the angler to keep the spool on the rod during transport.

tenkara line management

Tenkara USA also offers a new iteration of the line holder known as The Keeper. This is designed as a minimalist line storage system. It will hold up to two fully rigged tenkara lines or a rigged line and a spool of tippet. There is an incorporated fly box on one side of the body that will hold up to six (6) kebari. I actually use The Keeper on one of my rigs that I keep in my vehicle for impromptu fishing trips when on road trips with my family. The Keeper is definitely my go to line management system at this time.

I have tried three dimensional printed spools as well as foam spools. Both are lightweight and durable, functioning very well, yet I am unsure that they have hit the nail on the head for me personally. If nothing else I have found them to be great storage for random lines I have lying around.

And then there are the truly artisinal spools that are showing up on the tenkara market. The materials I have seen over the last couple of years have been made from bamboo to elk antler. I had shied away from using these spools while fishing simply because I regarded them as works of art. I have come to realize that these are truly functional pieces of art. Each one of these pieces is lovingly created by a craftsman and each piece deserves it day in the spotlight.

I think you might get a few ideas of what a spool is and what to look for. In an upcoming post I will cover non-spool line management systems.

I hope you have enjoyed this tip and will come back for many more to come in the future. If you have not yet registered for the sweepstakes which ends on Thursday, October 28, 2016 at 12:00 AM follow the link here and get your name on the list for some awesome prizes. Sweepstakes Registration

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6 Comments so far

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  1. Bill
    #1 Bill 15 January, 2018, 17:13

    Total beginner question. So, with the Keeper I can wrap my line with the tippet attached to it on one side and another line with tippet attached on the other?

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    • Graham Moran
      Graham Moran Author 15 January, 2018, 17:36

      Bill, great question. Yes that is currently how I use my Keeper, at least one of them. The Keeper in my car is set up differently. One side has a rigged line, the other has a complete spool of tippet. Just one of many ways of loading the Keeper.

      Tenkara Grasshopper

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      • Bill
        Bill 15 January, 2018, 18:59

        Thank you for explaining. I am learning every day a little at a time. Just got a tenkarausa sato kit.

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        • Graham Moran
          Graham Moran Author 15 January, 2018, 19:22


          It is my pleasure. I am happy to share what I know. I look forward to hearing more from you.

          Tenkara Grasshopper

          Reply this comment
  2. JosephR
    #2 JosephR 12 October, 2016, 10:26

    I use furled lines and prefer the large (2 3/4″) foam spools. I can carry different lengths and types of line in one pocket of my cargo pants/shorts, and they’re dirt cheap – about fifty cents or less if you buy them on Amazon.

    I’ve used the “line keepers” that attach to the rod and though I still use them on occasion, I find I’m moving away from them. If you use them, they seem to work best if you put them on “backwards” – they hold your line much more securely and are less likely to dump your line at an inopportune moment.

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