Our friends over at TenkaraPath on Etsy sent us over a care package and the creator and designer of this amazing little line spool Dennis has written a little something about this super unique tool below.
“I was an early adopter of tenkara. I had been western style fly fishing for about 2 years and was fishing as therapy and meditation to treat my combat related PTSD. It was a great way for me to find my center and connect with the outdoors.
One of the main issues I had with western style fly fishing was that line management was kind of a distraction. A family member shared an article in the Denver Post about Daniel Galhardo of Tenkara USA and this unique style of fly fishing from Japan, and I was impressed with the idea of the simplicity. So, I decided to investigate tenkara.
After taking my first tenkara rod up to my local mountain stream and landing a nice brown trout I was hooked. I am someone who values simplicity, I felt that I could commit to this style of fly fishing with confidence. So, I got rid of my western gear and really simplified what I was taking out with me to the stream side. This was a liberating experience and the essence of tenkara has affected almost every other part of my life.
I have a creative mind and I like to make things. As a professional magician, my main vocation, I have made my own magic props and items for years. I like the process of creating useful things and using materials in unconventional ways, “life hacks” as they are commonly called.
I had an idea for a spool and I started looking at the different line holder spools on the market and just didn’t see what I had in mind. The spool design I imagined was an all-in-one set up for carrying my tippet, leader and storing my flies in one convenient spool. I have a small woodworking shop and decided that a wooden spool would be nice esthetically to make.
My first models had a thin, flat, wooden top that pivoted and covered the chambers holding the flies. I created several versions of this style but the process for making them was labor intensive. I gave many to friends as I adapted the design and eventually came to the current design that I make now.
When I added the neodymium magnets to the fly chambers I realized that the pivoting top was now obsolete. By removing it I was also able to go from 6 fly chambers to 8 and that the magnets were strong enough to hold at least 2 flies in each. Ultimately this made the spools less labor intensive and I was able to price them where they were affordable to make and sell.
I officially released the spools at the Tenkara USA Summit in 2017. They were received very well, and I even sold a special eastern red cedar spool to Dr. Ishigaki who loved the spool design and commented at the time how unique they were. The red cedar is hard to find in the right size to make spools so he got one of only a few of those that I have made.
Because each spool is made by hand individually every spool is just slightly different than the next. There is a general standard for size and track spacing and I offer a few different wood choices depending on what I have available to me in the category of reclaimed and responsibly harvested woods. This keeps it interesting for me and I feel good about the environmental aspects of re-purposing wood that would otherwise end up in the landfills.
When I started making spools I had no idea how much fun the process was going to be. I learned a lot along the way. Each new design seemed to spark new ideas and challenged me to make them better. Here I am two years later, and I have a mostly standardized spool design available in several woods. I feel happy with how this has all worked out and I love seeing people using something that I made. ”
Check out Dennis’ blog and his shop over at Etsy. I’ve used this line spool for a couple weeks now and I am really enjoying it. The magnets are a nice touch so I can keep a bunch of flies ready to go.