Free Tenkara Line Spools Right Under Our Noses

Tenkara Line Spool

Did you know that when you buy the new  level line from Tenkara USA  you also get a free line holder?  Neither did I (and maybe they don’t either).  But since they’ve changed their packaging to include a new plastic spool design, I was curious to see if the wider diameter hole in the center of the spool would fit over the blanks of my tenkara rods.  And sure enough, it did!

Many people have found great DIY sources for tenkara line spools.  But I like this one because I have to buy the line anyway, so I might as well get a little more bang for my buck.  Also, it’s a form of upcycling, which I always like to do when possible.

Tenkara Line Spool


All you have to do is punch through the label and you’ve got yourself a new tenkara spool!  And for what it’s worth, I tested the diameter on both Tenkara USA and non-Tenkara USA rods.  All of them fit through the center hole.

Sure, these spools are intended only as packaging and aren’t as nice or ergonomic as the Meiho blue spools, but if you test a lot of lines like I do, these freebies are a great, cheaper alternative for storing numerous lines. There is even a plastic clip for the tippet end and back end of the line:

Tenkara Line Spool

The only drawback I can see is that there isn’t really a good place to secure a fly if you want to stay rigged up.  I suppose drilling some small holes around the lip of the spool would solve that but for now, I think I’ll use my empties more for storage and identification than on-stream use (though in my mind, they’re perfectly acceptable).

Discovering that these new spools fit onto tenkara rods was a great serendipity for me as I always seem to be running out of storage solutions for my lines and don’t want to keep buying more holders (believe me, I have way too many already).  I’m not sure if this design was done on purpose or not but I like it.  Now, every time I order a new spool of level line from Tenkara USA, I know I’m also getting a “free” line spool thrown in.

Author: Jason Klass

Jason is an avid fly angler and backpacker. As a former fly fishing guide originally from Western New York, he moved to Colorado and became an early adopter of tenkara which perfectly suited the small, high altitude streams and lakes there. He has not fished a Western-style fly rod for trout since.

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  1. I spoke with a gentleman last Saturday that suggested slicing off an inch of a pool noodle and carving a “V” on the rim and cutting a hole in the center for a line holder.

  2. I’ve been using these spools since the yellow line came on them . Drill a hole in the central hub in line with the v-clip . Hook goes in the hole tippet in the clip and wrap your line. I use those elastic hair bands to secure the line to the spool . They are more “stretchy” than rubber bands and go on and off easier.

  3. I never really liked the tool noodle thing. Maybe I’m impatient or incompetent, but the line never spooled straight for me. A regular line holder (Or the one from this article!) has taller walls and elements that “issue.”

  4. Thanks Jason! I just got a new 11′ furled line and noticed the “free” holder. But I KNEW the hole was too small and almost tossed it away. Saw your note, pulled out my NEW Iwana 11′ and sure enough — it fit perfectly! :-)

  5. Just be careful with these. I have shattered one by accidentally dropping it on a hardwood floor. The plastic is brittle. I don’t think the company that manufactures the plastic spools ever imagined them being used in the field.


  6. Yeah, mine is already shattered too. heh-heh

  7. Hi John, thanks for the warning. They’re certainly no replacement for the blue spools–just a good backup. Surprised to hear they shatter on a hardwood floor because I have several spools, hardwood floors, and a 14-month old and haven’t had any break yet. And you would think that would be the perfect recipe for disaster. :)

  8. Nice idea Jason, you could cut a strip of 2mm craft foam and glue it to the inside of the spool giving you somewhere to hook your fly and a softer surface to wrap your line around.

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