I’ll admit it. One of my pet peeves is standing in the parking lot ready to go while a fishing partner takes forever to get set up. It’s wasted time that I could be fishing. I don’t get to fish as much as I’d like so I like to maximize my time on the water as much as possible. Tenkara rods are intrinsically faster to set up than Western rods but there are a few things you can to reduce your setup time even more. If you want to spend more time in the water and less time in the parking lot, try these three simple tips.
1. Prepare at Home
Probably the biggest time waster when getting rigged up is assembling all the gear you’ll need for the day. I’ve seen people bring a huge gear bag with every fly box, tippet spool, and gadget they own and then select each item on by one in the parking lot. They could probably shave 15 – 20 minutes off their setup time if they had organized their gear the night before. Luckily, you don’t need a lot of gear for tenkara. I have all the gear I’ll need for pretty much any given trip pre-assembled in my chest pack. It’s always ready to go. If I feel I do need some specialized gear or flies for a particular trip, I will add it to my pack the night before. The last thing I want to be doing is spending 20 minutes packing my chest pack while the fish are rising.
2. Keep your Line Pre-rigged
Another nice time saving benefit of tenkara is that you can keep your line pre-rigged and ready to fish so you don’t have to set it up on the stream. I keep several spools with various line weights and lengths pre-rigged with tippet and fly so that I am ready to go the minute I arrive on the water without even tying one knot.
3. Add Girth Hitch Connections to your Lines
If you’re fishing furled tenkara lines, you most likely already have a loop at the end of the line that you attach to the lilian with a girth hitch connection. And, you’ve probably noticed how fast the connection is. The girth hitch connection is no doubt the fastest and easiest way to connect your line to you rod. But if you’re using level lines, you typcially have to use a knot that takes a little longer to connect. So what I do is add loops to my level lines so that I can use the same girth hitch connection you would use with a furled line. It’s easy to do and is one more time saver that gets me to the water faster. Click here to learn how to add a girth hitch connection to a tenkara level line.
While some of these tips might not seem that significant, remember that seconds add up to minutes. I don’t know about you but I’d rather have an extra 15 minutes on the water than standing in the parking lot.
Jason, tip number 3 is a revelation! Just seeing this for the first time. Do you find that the bit of dacron between the lillian and the line affects casting at all?
I have had my own personal issues with parking lot time suck and I find that simply spending half an hour the night before sorting gear and rigging lines makes all the difference. I now try to rig up one dry and one wet fly/line combo, with the dry on a TenkaraBum hand-tied and the wet on a level. I don’t worry too too much about fly choice – I’m not one fly, but definitely a lazy attractor fan.
No, the braided line doesn’t affect casting at all. It just makes for a super fast & easy connection. Nice to see another prepared boy scout out there!
Great tips, Jason! One thing I do is pre-arrange my gear in a Rubbermaid tub, similar to yours but deeper, in the order in which I’ll put it on. I also pre-pack my day pack before I leave the house so everything is ready to go. I typically stay out for the entire day, so I carry a 2,300 ci day pack. I do not have loops on my level lines, so that’s something I could do. Thanks!
Thanks again for another great story with useful ideas. I’ve really enjoyed your sight and check it often.
I think points 1 and 2 are good, however I do not think point 3 is all that valid to the minute savings in time and the fact that you’d be doing that right at time of fishing anyways. Plus, I don’t think the girth-hitch extension is a great solution IMO.
I just ran a time study:
Using a girth-hitch, average of 4 seconds to tie the knot
Using the slip knot recommended for the level line average of 6 seconds.
But, by having a girth hitch extension for the level lines you miss a couple of the versatility points I find in the level lines that would be more time-consuming if you do it.
1) Cut a portion of the level line (the part that would tie to the rod tip) if your line is too long. You’d have to depend on the girth-hitch and retie that if you ever did it.
2) Join two lines (or the line you cut) for a longer level line
Also, it’s good to know and practice the level line knot, lest you really depend on a small piece of dacron.
Just my opinion, of course.
I think there are a few ways to save a lot of time in the morning on the way to go fishing:
1) Sleep in your waders
2) Drive in your waders, and don’t stop for coffee – just don’t drive with your tenkara net on your back, or it will break.
3) Don’t stop for photographs of beautiful landscape, or if you see yeti walking by your car
4) Don’t talk to big-foot if you see him; chances are he wants to fish too and doesn’t want to waste time while the fish are rising
5) Don’t walk, run!
All valid points. You can definitely tie the level line knot faster than I can. I have just always preferred the girth hitch connection. I rarely adjust my line length so I don’t really care about that. To each their own I guess.
As for sleeping in my waders, that is a great idea. But one that would surely end in divorce. 😉
Jason, give the level line knot a real try, you’ll like it, and then you won’t have to prepare lines ahead of time.
Can you get away with using 20lb Dacron?
Hi Brandon, yes. The diameter doesn’t seem to make a difference. If you think about it, the Spectra braid that typically comes on the furled lines is thinner than 30 lb. backing. I just used 30 lb. because I happen to have tons of it from saltwater fishing.
Hi Daniel, Um, I think you’re misunderstanding me. I have used the knot and prefer the girth hitch. In fact, I made a video on it. Also, I don’t mind preparing lines and other gear ahead of time. That’s the whole point of this post. I like to prepare as much ahead of time as possible to reduce rigging time one the stream. I can still cut the line and use the knot in the very rare occasions I need to adjust my line length. But as I said above, I almost never do that. But if I did, cutting off the dacron is a pretty small sacrifice to make.
I’m sorry, but I really can’t see the point of the dacron for a girth hitch on a level line, and I don’t see why you prefer it. there’s an easier way to tie a slip knot too, which is create a loop in the knot and push the line throught part way and pull it tight, the way we did as kids (don’t tie a knot and thread it!). This is so fast that it makes all the effort of attaching dacron seem rather complicated and redundant to me – if you want to do it, fine, but I chop and change my level lines all the time, so it wouldn’t suit me. I would bet you a beer that I could attach a level line as fast as you with the dacron loop, it’s pretty much the same. I timed it tonight to see after a few beers just for heck of it, and my fastest time is under 4 secs, the most fiddly bit for me is feeding the lillian through the loop (possibly due to the few beers).
I do share your frustration with car parking twilight zone. My kids are now trained the hard way – on the water now or else. It’s critical in Australia and New Zealand, where an extra 5 minutes stuffing around at the car can mean the claim to a spot or beat or not. For me, the key is having all the gear ready to go the night before, including a pre-rigged rod (for this reason I use fuji line holders or my own DYI equivalent – and with western rod similarly pre-rigged with fly ready to go). Gear is at hand and goes on as fast as I can do it – in summer, this simply means clipping my gear belt to my waist and grabbbing my rod, locking the car and going. I am generally fishing while others are still fiddling with gear.
p.s. I hope the above didn’t come across the wrong way, and I didn’t mean to offend, so if I did, I’m sorry. I just can’t understand the need, and prefer simplicity. best regards
Not at all. Though on the stream, to me the girth hitch is simpler than tying a knot. The preparation is done at home so you have to do less on the water.
I don’t know if it’s just the rods I have or this is true of other tenkara rods but I’ve noticed that there is an inconsistency to the length of lilian that comes off the tip. Some of mine are longer and it’s easy to wind around the loop to knot it. Others are very short, making it difficult to the point where I feel I risk breaking the rod tip. This is one reason I prefer the girth hitch. On those shorter lilians, it’s easier to attach.
But in general, I still prefer the lilian. Maybe it only saves a few seconds and I shouldn’t have touted it as a “time saver” but I still think it’s easier to rig up. Again, I don’t find myself adjusting line length so that’s not a big deal for me. But if I had to, I could easily cut the braided loop off and tie the knot. It’s not like I’m losing any expensive material or anything and I could always reattach the loop when I got home if I wanted.
I suppose I think of level lines differently than some. Some people treat level line similar to tippet. The cut a length off for the day, chop some off or add more on during the day to adjust it. I think of my lines as static. They’re pre-made in different lengths & weights for different situations. Since the streams I fish don’t change much, I usually select the right line for the conditions and don’t have to switch all day. I might have to switch if I go to a different stream, but then I just change lines.
Anyway, everyone’s got their own preference if it it works for them, then that’s the right way.
Are there any Google+ meetings planned in the future? Living down here in Florida I seldom get the chance to pick the brains of fellow Tenkara anglers.
Hi Brandon. Thanks for the reminder. I will plan one soon.
What line is mentioned in this blog that that you bought at Gander Mtn?
Was it Stren fC or another brand?
If so, was it # 15, 17 or 20 lb. & was it the hi-vis blue stren?