November 15, 2013

Clip On Line Control

There are a lot of ways to control your line when you are moving from one fishing location to another. I have tried line spools, EZ-Keepers, and just coiling the line in my hand. Each of these has pros and cons.

Line spool. From Tenkara Bum

EZ-Keepers. From Tenkara Bum

I just received another potential line control devices in the mail. They are advertised as "Line Winder for 3.6meter (11.8ft) Tenkara rod"; I bought them on Ebay. There inexpensive at $5.50 a pair, but plus $5.50 shipping the total price was $11.00. I ordered them on November 3rd and received them November 14th. They shipped from Singapore.

These 15 cm long plastic clips have a red and/or green foam insert and are designed to clip onto your tenkara rod. The line is then wound around the holder and the fly either secured in the foam or one of the side holes. This sounds pretty promising, but let's see how it really works.

The line holders came in a little sealed plastic package along with a complimentary key chain advertising the Republic/City of Singapore. There was a peace of paper with the key chain letting you know what you can't do in Singapore. The fines are included. Why these were sent with the line holders, I have no idea.

The packaging

Sounds like a fun place, but I like chewing gum!

I used one of these line holders on the stream today. It did clip onto the rod I was using, but it didn't grip the rod at all. Because of this, it slid easily up and down the handle section of the rod. This doesn't seem that big of a problem, but it means that the holder won't stay in place. After you get your line wrapped around it, the whole contraption can slide right off your rod, if you're not careful.

The line wraps on easily and didn't come off while I traversed through the woods. My line holders are advertised for 360 cm rod lines, but I'm sure they would handle longer lines, particularly if the lines were level lines. I did not try these holder with a furled line. My fly fit into one of the side holes.

On the rod.

When I got home I tried the line holder on all of my 360 cm fixed-line rods. Once again, it would slide freely on all of them (Zerosum 360, Pro Spec 2-way, Try 360, Next 360, etc) except two. These two were the Suntech Seikui (really a 390 cm rod) and the Daiwa LT36SF.  These two rods have larger diameter handle sections than the other rods and therefore the line holder gripped them tightly, not moving. My Iwana 12' is at the cabin, so I couldn't try the line holder with it.

I then tried the line holder with my 390 cm rods. It did fit most of these better, but still a few were too small in diameter to allow the line holder to grip.

Conclusion: I'm ambivalent about these line holders. I was hoping that they'd work, but that fact they they slide mades them inconvenient. If you're not careful they will slide right off the rod, taking your tip section with it. They are streamlined and should work well even using the rod sleeve, however. But, I don't think they are any better than just using the small Meiho line spool slid over the handle section and secured.

I guess if they could be modified to grip your rod snugly they might be a good option for line control. I'll try putting some foam tape on the inside of the clip and see if that will make them grip the rod better. Maybe that will work; I'll see and let you know.

FYI: Jason Klass also blogs about this same devise at Tenkara Talk.


  1. Tom,
    In their listing on eBay, they describe it as being for a 3.6 meter "rod", not line. The one I got was for a 2.7 meter "rod". That's a strange way to describe it but the two must be for different diameter rods. Mine seems to fit more rods than yours does probably because it's a smaller diameter.

    1. Ya, I probable should have bought the 2.7 model. I think I'll stick with spools for now, though.

    2. Me too. BTW, mine also came with one of those strange keychains. What is the deal with that?

  2. They are probably designed for keiryu rods, which do come in 2.7m and 3.6m lengths. The keychain is to make sure you understand that chewing gum is a more serious offense than peeing in an elevator.

  3. Wow. So many things to say about that keychain and the warnings. LOL.

  4. I have several of the clip on line winders in the 2.7m size. But they are too small to fit onto my Kiyose 43M-F big fish rod which is a rod I believe you also have. Do you think a 3.6m size clip on line winder would fit this rod? I see now they also sell a 45m size but I think that will be too big. Thanks for any opinion. Charlie

    1. I'm not sure which one would fit the 43MF. It has a pretty thick handle section. The line winders are cheap enough that you should consider just buying a few sizes and see which one fits.

    2. Tom - Thanks for the quick reply. I'll buy several sizes to see which one fits. I do have the foam strips that came with the 2.7m size winders I bought from Dragontail Tenkara so I can use them if the larger size winder is too loose.