I just purchased my first proper tenkara rod (Fountainhead Stone Fly 360), and I was wondering if anyone here had a suggestion as to what line works best with this rod. I know that it boils down to personal choice, but I do need a starting point, so all opinions are welcome. I can furl my own leaders, so if you suggest a furled leader, please include the material (Kevlar, UNI, etc.) and length. I am looking at fishing small streams, and possibly a small reservoir. Thanks in advance for your input.
As a starting point, size 3 level fluorocarbon tenkara line, the length of the rod (a little less for narrow streams, a little more for lakes). If there is a bit of a breeze you might want to fish with a 4.
Furled leaders will cast more easily - largely because they are almost universally heavier, and a heavier line is easier to cast. It is also harder to hold off the water's surface. To me, the light line you can hold off the surface, minimizing drag, is the essence of tenkara. Since you furl your own leaders, I know you will make a tenkara line. I would suggest you make it no more than 12' and lighter than any you've ever made.
Kevlar and UNI-thread will absorb water and get even heavier. I would treat them with floatant, not to make them float (because they should be in the air not on the surface) but to minimize water absorption. The other alternative is to make them extremely light and plan on the water absorption to give them the weight necessary for casting.
Excellent information! I guess I'll be furling up a 12' leader with the same proportions as my typical 1 weight leaders. Thanks.
AZ, a size 3 level FC line is 10 Lb. test; a size 4 level FC line is 15 Lb. test or there abouts. It varies some what between the different line makers. The pound test may give you a better point of comparison than the Japanese line size number system does, which is a very long ways from the American and English fly line number/size rating system.
So, the Japanese system of numbering lines does not correlate to the line diameter? And as far as FC is concerned, are there any domestic US brands/product that make for an ideal (or slightly less than ideal) leader? I read that the big issue is the stiffness of the line is the issue, where the stiffer line is preferred (which is confusing to me, because furled lines are praised for their suppleness).
Originally Posted by Golden
I did some experimenting with P-Line and Cabella's brand FC lines and leader materials early on in my T-fishing carer, making up level, hand tied tapered lines, and weight forward tapered FC lines with satisfactory enough casting and fishing results, but the lines were very difficult to see in the air and on or under the water. But once you try fishing with a true Tenkara brand of FC line, you will not want to fool around with the substitute materials any longer in spite of their cheaper cost. The Tenkara specific branded lines have the right hand and are so much easier to stretch the coil set out of them that they are well worth the extra cost they entail. The visibility is also way a head of just about everything else there is out there. The Japanese system does roughly correlate to metric diameters but I find the pound test ratings easier to remember and work with.
The suppleness of furled lines varies with the material or materials they are made out of, which in some cases can be too soft. Just as a fly line needs some body to cast well, and leaders likewise, there is a sweet spot in T-lines for cast-ability also, which can vary with the rod being used, your casting style, and the length and weight of the line being used. Fly size and weight will also factor into the final working line solution or solutions. In some respects furled tapered traditional lines are easier to cast in the beginning for most people, mostly because they weigh more, especially when wet, than FC lines weigh. They are also usually quite visible. If made out of the right materials, nylon mono not being one of them, furled lines may not need to be stretched to remove line memory from them, which many people find to be a big advantage. Depending on the construction material, furled lines can be made to sink or float, with the heavier than water lines generally having better wind fighting casting abilities. Furled lines have more of a water spray problem than mono lines do, they also tend to freeze up more in cold conditions. But with furled lines you are pretty much limited to a single length of line. Level line can be cut to individual lengths for different fishing conditions (stream widths), or shortened by trimming or lengthened by looping on more line. This can also be done to some extent with furled lines but it will compromise the line's taper and casting ability to a much greater extent than it does with level lines. In the final analysis line choice is mostly a matter of personal preference, depending on what is most important to you. To decide, you will probably have to fish with both types of lines to see which style you like the best for your fishing conditions, casting style, and fishing preferences. And there are T-anglers out there who change back and forth between furled and level lines when they feel one type of line has an advantage over the other. Its all purely up to you and just a part of the Ten Colors of Tenkara fly fishing.
Last edited by Golden; 02-28-2013 at 07:37 PM.