If you’ve been following tenkara for any length of time, you’ve probably seen some discussion on line visibility. For traditional, furled tenkara lines, this isn’t really an issue. They’re pretty thick and are often brightly colored so they’re almost as easy to see as western fly lines. But for the thinner, fluorocarbon lines many tenkara anglers prefer, it’s a different story. Not only does their comparatively anorexic diameter aid in on-stream invisibility, their color and transparent nature can make them impossible to track in different lighting situations. While it might not matter much for an angler fishing a dry fly or sight fishing, I argue that line visibility makes a big difference for those fishing wet flies in the more traditional tenkara method.Read More
If you’ve fished tenkara for any significant amount of time, at some point, you’ve probably run into a situation where you wished you had a line that was either longer or shorter than the one you had on. But since tenkara is fixed line fishing, you can’t adjust line length as you would with a reel. Luckily, the connection between line and rod in tenkara allows lines to be switched out easily, allowing you to adapt to changing conditions (or, you can simply tie more line on or cut it off). Even the most experienced tenkara anglers in the world such as Masami Sakakibara use different line lengths depending on the water they’re fishing, so I think it’s worth every angler’s time to experiment with different lengths and see how they perform in various situations. I see basically three categories: short lines, rod-length lines, and long lines. Here is a brief summary of what I believe are some of the advantages and disadvantages of each…Read More
That’s right. Titanium. As in the metal. Believe it or not, some tenkara anglers in Japan use lines made of thin titanium wire instead of fluorocarbon or nylon. This might seem strange, but titanium lines have some interesting properties that give them some distinct advantages. I recently got to try out a titanium line that will soon be offered by Tenkara Times and here are my impressions.Read More
Japanese Rating Metric Diameter English Diameter
#2 0.235 mm 0.009"
#2.5 0.260 mm 0.010"
#3 0.310 mm 0.012"
# 3.5 0.3175 mm 0.0125"
#4 0.330 mm 0.013"
#4.5 0.3556 mm 0.014"
# 5 0.370 mm 0.015"
Math is definitely not my strong point but I did a little to try to answer some questions I’ve been getting about the Japanese line rating system for fluorocarbon level lines and what it translates to in diameter. Please note: lb. test is irrelevant. Diameter matters more for turnover than test. And, test per diameter varies from company to company so I narrowed it down to the most relevant and popular diameters for tenkara. Also keep in mind that these are approximations that seem to have consensus. But some companies’ ratings might slightly vary outside these diameters. Anything outside this range is specialty and I don’t think applies to most of us so I didn’t include it. I hope this helps.
I recently had a chance to field test the new Yamatoyo level lines available from Tenkara Times. There has been a proliferation of fluorocarbon lines on the market over the last few years–especially good ones. And this line is no exception.Read More
If you’re anything like me, you’ve accumulated a bunch of level lines that live in anonymity. You’ve long forgotten the size and have no idea what the length is. And they all start to look the same after a while. Rather than getting the micrometer and measuring tape out every time you uncoil a mystery line, here’s a simple system you can use to instantly identify any level line’s length and diameter.Read More
While fluorocarbon has proven itself to be the ideal material for tenkara level lines, it’s density makes it sink. When using subsurface flies, this is an advantage. But when fishing dry flies or other techniques, it can be a real drag–literally. Having the line underwater can prevent you from getting a drag-free drift or even pull a floating fly under (which always seems to happen at the perfectly wrong time). An alternative is a nylon line. But level nylon is harder to cast and furled nylon lines don’t “float” as much as they “don’t actively sink as much as fluorocarbon”. Many have been searching for a tenkara line that really floats–the way a western fly line does. And with the release of the new floating lines from Rigs Adventure Company, the search might be over.Read More
When I first heard Rigs Fly Shop (a Tenkara USA dealer here in Colorado) was coming out with a new level line, I wasn’t really all that interested. After all, how much can you really innovate a level line? But when I first laid eyes on it, I knew it was something special. And when I first fished it, I got excited and knew it was unlike any other tenkara line I’d ever fished.Read More
An ongoing dilema I’ve faced has been line visibility. If you’re using a furled tenkara line, then visibility is usually not an issue. But if you use level fluorocarbon lines, you know that even the brightest line can sometimes be hard to see in different light conditions. I basically use two colors: orange, and bright yellow. Neither are 100% high vis all the time so I find myself switching between them based on the conditions. I really don’t want to do this. I’ve thought about knotting alternating sections of orange and yellow lines together, but this is kind of a pain and having too many knots can affect line performance (not to mention increase snags). But what if you could paint your line with alternating colors?Read More
Some rod manufacturers may cringe at me suggesting this tip to remove line twist when you’re winding your line on to the spool for fear of broken rod tips. But I have been using this technique for over two years and have never broken a rod. You just have to take the same care you normally do with any tenkara rod tip.
Over the weekend, I got a chance to field test a prototype line made by John Veterlli of Tenkara Guides. It’s a hybrid line based off of a formula invented by master Japanese tenkara angler Eiji Yamakawa (a.k.a. “Eddie” on the Tenkara USA Forums). While I’ve pretty much been fishing tenkara level lines exclusively over the last couple of years, this line made me reconsider tapered, furled lines…Read More
In tenkara, we talk a lot about level lines and tapered furled lines but there really isn’t much discussion on “weight forward” lines. Yes, I do mean “weight forward” in the western fly fishing sense. In fact, I had never even considered it until Tenkara Talk reader Tony Wee mentioned it in the comments section on one of my recent posts. The concept intrigued me, so I had to give it a try. And, I think he’s on to something…Read More