June 22, 2014

In-line Tenkara Line Holder -- review

For line control, I prefer spool cards since they are very thin and allow me to carry many lines in a small pocket. But sometimes I want to control the line when moving from place to place on a stream and I don't want to wrap the line onto a spool card. Here is where I use a In-line Tenkara Line Holder from The Tenkara Shop.

Here is what Jason says about this holder: "This is a very unique line holder that attaches to your tenkara rod blank or handle. It is light enough to be left on the rod without affecting casting; however, we recommend removing it to prevent accidental loss. It attaches to the rod easily with a velcro strap. On one side, there is a fish engraving and foam where you affix the fly. After hooking the fly in the foam, run the tippet through one of the notches at either end, wind, and then secure the end of the line in the other notch. On the opposite side, there are two foam cushions prevent the holder from sliding. There is also “tenkara” spelled out in katakana and an indented square that holds a small label to record line size and/or length. You can either write on the label with a pencil and erase it to change the information, or simply add a new label. Includes a cloth bag and spare labels."

This small wooden oval spool is 3.75″ x 0.5″ x 1″ (9.5 x 1.3 x 2.5 cm) in size and is 0.6 oz (17 g) in weight.  The face has a large black foam patch to where you stick your fly. The foam is thick enough to handle most flies smaller than a size 8 but larger flies don't hold as well. The foam has held up so far, but it will be interesting to see if the foam will hold up to many dozens of fly sticks over time. Also, if the foam wears out, or tears, can it be replaced easily?

The backside has two round foam patches that press against your rod and keep the holder from rotating or sliding off.  These work pretty well, but you have to make sure that you wrap the holder to the rod very tightly. If you don't, there isn't enough pressure to keep the holder from rotating off the rod shaft.

The hook and loop strap is attached to the holder with glue and a small brass brad. It appears to be fixed in place well. The strap is easily manipulated so to fix the holder to either the handle or the shaft of the rod. I prefer the rod shaft.

As far as aesthetics, this is a nice looking holder, but aesthetics is not what I like about the product -- it is its usefulness. Even if it didn't have the carved fish motif or the Japanese characters on it I'd like this holder. Pretty is as pretty does, but functionality is what wins the day.

I'm sure some people will buy a bunch of these on which to store their lines, but I only use mine on the stream. It seems to work about as well as any other method for winding up your line before moving from one place to another when you're out fishing.

Conclusion: I like this holder.  Its shape fits in your pocket well and takes up less room than a round spool. It appears well built and it is handsome in aesthetics.

Here is a video of me using the holder, as well as catching some fish:


  1. The tenkara community has very talented craftsmen, this line holder is very nice and you did a very complete review of it.

  2. Thanks for the review Tom. Glad you liked the line holder. It's actually one of my best sellers.