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Little Things Matter: Make Time to Tend to Your Tenkara Gear

The new year is a great cue to take care of some of the little things that can make your next time out on the water far more enjoyable. Instead of watching college football blowouts, I took advantage of the day off from work to do some maintenance on some very important, but often underappreciated parts of my tenkara kit – my lines and fishing licenses.

Line Maintenance

If you’ve been fishing tenkara for any period of time, you’ve probably accumulated several different types of lines – furled lines, level lines, floating lines, and so on…

As primarily a level line angler, I admittedly do a horrible job organizing the various lengths that I’ve cut (and since stowed on spools) over the past year or two. (I’m not really a “keep the line on the rod guy”, at least not for long term storage.) Not to mention, I knew that I had a few encounters with trees where some on stream surgery left my line lengths decidedly shorter than originally intended.

Little Things Matter - Make Time to Tend to your Tenkara Gear - Tenkara Angler - Lines

Something simple I did was take a ruler and measured out all of my existing level lines, and built a few new lines to replace those that were in poor condition. It took about an hour, and now I’m good to go for 2022. This isn’t rocket science, just some time spent deliberately.

I had also recently invested in some of the NIRVANA double line holders, so now I have all my frequently used sizes, from 11 foot to 15 on two spools, clearly marked for easy reference. (I know, I should have just marked them in the beginning, but I know I’m not alone in this dysfunction.) Many manufacturers make spools that hold multiple lines – from ikari to Tenkara USA to Tenkara Path, there are plenty of options out there.

Renew Licensing

It goes without saying, you need a fishing license if you want to fish. At least you do if you want to do so legally. Being a somewhat nomadic angler, I maintained annual licenses in Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, and Pennsylvania in 2021. While some auto-renew, most don’t, so I also took the opportunity to re-up all of them for 2022.

Fresh licenses now in tow, I can retire the old ones to the cork board and also have all my paperwork in order should that fish & game warden approach and ask me what the heck I’m doing waving that magic wand around in the water.

Little Things Matter - Make Time to Tend to your Tenkara Gear - Tenkara Angler - Licenses
2005, the good old days when there actually was a real trout stamp on the PA license

Oh, and if you’re a gear head and maintain multiple fishing packs, make sure to also take the opportunity to print out multiple copies, one for each pack. Stow them in a little Ziploc bag or similar and tuck them away today and have the peace of mind to never have to fumble around to find your license.

Other Things

While I haven’t (yet), the new year is also a great time to tie (or buy) some new flies and refill the fly boxes… or just reorganize existing boxes that have been ravaged by a long season. I tied a half dozen honryu flies the other day, but still have a long way to go.

Little Things Matter - Make Time to Tend to your Tenkara Gear - Tenkara Angler - Flies

I also usually take the opportunity to check the condition of my boots’ screw in studs and replace if needed. You could also disassemble and fully clean your rods, replace your spent tippet spools, or empty out the haphazard contents of your fishing packs… I’m sure you’ll find some goodies at the bottom that you thought were lost forever. Honestly, the list could go on and on… so I won’t, you get the idea.

Little things matter, and a bit of time spent over the New Year holiday tending to your tenkara gear will pay dividends come later this Winter or early Spring.


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