As tenkara anglers, we like to push the boundaries and experiment with different techniques and tackle. One area of our sport that particularly lends itself to R & D is using unconventional materials for lines. While early lines may have been constructed of furled or braided horse tail or silk, commercially available modern lines have evolved to include furled nylon, furled Kevlar, furled polyester, level fluorocarbon, braided fluorocarbon, titanium wire, and tapered nylon and even some secret proprietary materials. And individual anglers have taken it upon themselves to push the envelope even further by experimenting with floating PVC lines, braided level nylon, level nylon, Dacron backing, knotted level line and more. My friend Dennis exclusively fishes with a rainbow-colored line made from kite string!
Recently, I was talking to a friend in Argentina who is heading to the Andes soon to fish some lakes with his tenkara rod and was wondering about which lines to use to get down deep. I recommended a sinking line like Airflo’s Poly Leader and we also discussed some other tungsten-impregnated lines. But then the question arose, “how would you attach it to the lilian?” With their softer “rubbery” finish and thicker butt section, they don’t really work with the typical knot used to attach level lines (they’re too soft and aren’t slick enough to cinch tight and would create a lot of bulk). I immediately though of a method I’ve been using for years that I thought would work and described it to him. Then, I realized anyone out there who is experimenting with off-the-beaten-path materials for tenkara lines might find it useful so I made this brief video on how to do it.
As you can see, it’s very simple. If you can tie an overhand knot, you can tie this. And the girth-hitch connection is not only strong, but quick and easy to attach and detach. Some might wonder if the more supple Dacron creates a “hinging” effect. It doesn’t. The transfer of energy goes from the rod tip right through the Dacron to the main line seamlessly. In fact, this isn’t even my idea. This type of connection has been used in commercial lines for years so it’s tried and true. The only thing that might be original about it is my DIY technique.
The title of this article might be a little misleading. You probably can’t tie absolutely ANY line using this knot (for example, a stiff and springy material like titanium wire), but for any line that’s supple, it will work. And that inclues using it as an alternative to your conventional level fluorocarbon lines. I just think it’s a more convenient connection. So give it a try on your next line experiment and let me know what you think.