Titanium Tenkara Line Review
I tried a titanium line a couple years ago. They are a dull gray color that blends in perfectly against almost any background, making them absolutely impossible to see. Even with a length of bright fluorocarbon as a strike indicator, I found the line very hard to follow. I decided that being abe to see the line was much more important than any advantages that titanium might have in a breeze.
I've thrashed, bashed, scraped, and gouged my Amago. It's fallen onto rocks. I've backcast the rod proper into cliffs. And so far so good. TUSA rods at least, are pretty darn tough.
I don't think a finished wire will have much affect. IMHO.
For me, personally, the Ti Line does not have much appeal as a wind line because it does not float. But for anglers who need to get their flies deep in the water, there is no other Tenkara line presently available that will fish a fly as deeply in the water as the Ti Line will. Fishing deep is mostly done by feel anyway and not sight, so the lack of visibility would not be that big of an issue for deep subsurface fishing. As a matter of fact it would be better to replace the HiVis section of the Ti Line with NoVis FC tip section to avoid spooking fish, even though the fish are a lot less wary when presentations are made deep in the water. Since a Ti Line would cut through the wind so well because of its high relative density, super thin diameter and the stiffness of the line, rod safety should not be an overly big concern for a reasonably good Tenkara fly line caster.
Last edited by Golden; 04-20-2013 at 01:12 PM.
I'm not sure why everyone thinks titanium line will damage the rod. It's just a thin, light wire. Anyone who raises this as a concern hasn't tried one. If you tried one, you'd see it's not heavy and sharp enough to cut through graphite merely by casting. And, if your line is hitting the rod that much, there is probably something seriously wrong with your casting technique! In fact, I don't think you could even cut through a blank with it if you made a concerted effort and intentionally ran it back and forth over the blank like a saw.
Tatsurou Okaniwa (owner of tenkara.com) developed titanium lines over 10 years ago and he uses them exclusively. As one of the most experienced tenkara anglers in the world, I highly doubt he would continue using them for so long if they were cutting his rods in half.
These lines have their application. Just as floating lines, nylon lines, fluorocarbon lines, and furled lines do. No one line will satisfy everyone's need in every situation. This is a specialty line and does what it is supposed to do well.
Danny I did in no way mean to imply that you, personally, have any casting problems, and I am sorry that you took what I wrote to be insulting, it was sure not meant to be taken that way from my point of view. What I was trying to communicate was that if one is a fair caster I do not believe a Ti Line would pose much of a threat to anyone's T-rod or rods, especially considering how little effected by wind that line would be. I don't believe a Ti Line would pose much of a threat to first time T-fisher person's equipment. The length of my Western fly fishing experience is similar to yours, and I am not too concerned about who is and who is not a Tenkara expert. You are right about Tenkara fly fishing being in its infancy in the US, so I do not believe there are any true Tenkara experts out there yet. Its your fishing and your rods, so please fish with what ever lines you like and enjoy using. No one here has to take anything I have to say as being particularly important. I just try to put information up on this board that I think other Tenkara anglers might find interesting or useful. One of the things I really like about this board as opposed to others that are out there is that it is not as dogmatic and cult driven as many of the other Tenkara devoted forums are that out there. And to some extent expecting "a return volley of personal, disparaging remarks..." is a kind of self-perpetuating prophesy that may have caused you to see a slight where none was intended, at least not by me, or Jason I believe. I enjoy reading your comments greatly and I believe you add a lot of value to this forum. Please accept my apology if I have rubbed you the wrong way in any of this. I certainly did not intend to do that and I am sorry if I did.
I don't think it is that at all. Let me share some of the thought process that was behind me trying one - and then buying another when I found out one of my suppliers carried a titanium line (which I must confess I still haven't used and probably won't carry).
Originally Posted by Danny
To me, the essence of tenkara is keeping the line off the water's surface. (There are techniques where you do want your line in the water, but leave them aside for now). The limiting factor in casting a light line is wind resistance. The best way to overcome wind resistance is by using a denser line (more weight for a given cross section). Level tenkara lines are generally fluorocarbon because it is denser than nylon, and thus casts better, particularly into even a hint of a breeze. Titanium lines are denser than fluorocarbon, so they should cast even better than fluorocarbon. They should be less affected by wind and you should be able to cast a thinner line.
I say should because I don't know. The titanium line I tried was impossible to see. I couldn't tell if it cast better or not.
I would not say that offering them for sale is attempting to market an unnecessary product. They have properties that should make them better - particularly in the one are where tenkara is weakest - fishing in the wind. If you have better eyesight than I do, or can more easily see a relatively short brightly colored strike indicator, they might work very nicely for you. If you can overcome the visibility issue that has prevented me from using them, you might have a line you like so well you'd never think of using fluorocarbon or nylon again. As Jason, says, the owner of Tenkara.com has used them himself for years and years. I don't think he would use them himself if they held no advantage.
I do not think they will damage the rod as long as the tag ends of the knots or loops are covered in some way. (The very end of the wire could scratch the finish.) If you hooked a very large fish and grabbed the line with your bare hand before the fish was quite ready to come in, you could potentially cut your fingers I suppose, but I think the risk of that happening is not that great.
I may have to give the titanium line another try, but line visibility is a huge issue for me so I really don't think I will like it.
It is easy to say a product is unnecessary if it does not appeal to you and to accuse merchants offering new or different things of "selling out" just to make a buck. I've been accused of that by a few people in the tenkara community. The emails from satisfied customers thanking me for offering those exact products, which they say perfectly fit their own specific purposes, allow me to ignore the sniping by people who don't understand that other people could want something different than they do. I know your comment was not directed at me, since I don't sell titanium lines, but I want to stand up for the guys who do.
On the other hand, all the blue materials that I now shamelessly have for sale to go with the Blue Fly Challenge, now that stuff IS unnecessary, but it's kind of fun.
Last edited by CM_Stewart; 04-21-2013 at 01:43 AM.
Reason: Blatant plug for Blue Materials
As just one more person in the Tenkara life style, I am extremely interested in trying a T line. great write up
Chris, thank you for providing a well balanced view based on actual experience. Like you, I like visibility, and am working on my own prototype titanium line (much longer and with with more visibility). We'll see how it goes.
I hope my self censorship serves as an additional apology. I was only concerned about hype and excess profiteering creeping into Tenkara like it has progressively in my 40 year involvement in the western ff industry. My gruff remarks were not particularly constructive. Sorry I am so reactionary. Almost everyone involved in bringing T products to the US is in it for the love of the game - Jason and Chris for sure. I will keep my mouth shut and just fish. Better for you all and better for me. Thanks for your time.