Building Up Your Own Tapered FC Tenkara Lines
Stream Fishing: My first T-line was a 10 long Nylon Furled T-USA line that I did not like at all right from the get go. It kinked badly and was very hard to straighten out right off the spool. And when you had to break off on a snag, it would recoil and become such a tangled mess that it could take 20 minuets or more to make it fishable again. At the time I was not completely committed to Tenkara fly fishing, so I had Western fly tackle along with me and I put on an Amnesia butted small stream leader, and it worked a lot better for me than the Nylon Furled T-line did.
Lake and Pond Fishing: For Tenkara lake and pond fishing, I used longer Western style lake fly fishing leaders as my T-lines quite successfully, again with Amnesia running line utilized for the butt sections on the lines, and the transition and tippet sections being made up from Fluorocarbon line and tippet materials. But under windy conditions (without the weight of a fly line behind the leader to pull the line along with it) my make shift tapered Tenkara lines lacked the mass to cast well into the wind. So I bought some spools of FC leader materials in 20, 15 and 12 Lb. test, which were the same weights that the Amnesia running lines I had been using for leader and Tenkara line construction were used in. And I made my tapered Tenkara lines with those materials, which worked out a lot better for me than the Amnesia butted lines had.
Getting A Real Spool Of Tenkara FC Fishing Line: After getting my first spool of T-Bum?s size 3 HiVis Orange Tenkara Line, and seeing how much more easily it was to cast, to see and straighten the coil set out of, I did not care to use the PLine FC materials any longer in my T-line construction.
My Second Furled Line Try:
I did also buy a Second Generation T-USA Kevlar Furled line to try for my second time around with a furled line, which came off of the spool with out any hint of coil set, cast great in the wind, and did not tangle at all but felt a lot heavier than the other T-lines I had been using, and would sink pretty rapidly when I was trying to fish dry flies on lakes and ponds when the wind kept me from holding the line up and off of the water, often pulling the fly under the water at the worst possible moment. I tried the usual floatants and some pretty exotic and expensive treatments as well in an effort to get the heavier than water Kevlar line to float, but with only short lived successes. I now consider the Traditional Furled Kevlar T-USA Traditional Line to be my sinking Tenkara fly line, most useful for getting flies deep in the water.
Stream Fishing T-lines:
The essence of Tenkara fly fishing on running waters is to hold as much of your line up and off of the water as possible. In that application, whether the line floats or not, is made of FC, Kevlar or Titanium is is of little concern because as much of the line as possible is going be held up in the air and not be placed on the water. While furled nylon lines can be made to float with floatant applications, there is little need for floating lines in fishing on running waters. Tapered Furled lines are often preferred by many T-anglers to level lines for their high visibility, casting ease, and the greater ability to make gentle presentations present with the furled lines. But you can also make your own tapered FC lines that possess most of these same attributes, and are often better wind fighting lines as well. So let?s look into what it takes to make your own Tapered FC Tenkara fly lines.
Tapered FC Line Construction:
Tapered FC Line Construction:
The lines are constructed by tying different sizes and lengths of FC line material together. I use a Double Uni-Knot for joining different line diameter segments together for a tapered line, and a triple Surgeon?s loop knot is used for the transition to tippet line connections. Joining the line to the Lillian can be done with the Slip Knot, or a Perfect Loop, and the loop-to-loop connection. The girth hitch method can also be used as well as attaching a loop to the end of the Lillian for doing the loop-to-loop Lillian to line connection. Contrary to common belief loops do not need to be made as small as you can make them. Longer loops are easer to make and are more pliable. They are also easier to get apart. Now that you have an idea of the knots we need to know to tie these lines with, let?s get right into the particulars of making up some of these Tapered FC Lines for the different rod actions available.
Making Tapered FC Lines For 5:5 Action Rods:
A simple tapered line is probably the best approach to take in fishing with the slower action rods. The first determination that needs to be made in making a tapered line is how long a line do we want and need to fish with ? let?s say 10 feet as an example. The next thing we need to determine is how heavy the line needs to be at the beginning of our line ? say size 3.5 or 12 Lb. test for the first step of the tapered line. And how many steps we are going to be used to get down to the desired tippet strength ? say 5X tippet in this case. Going down in roughly 2 Lb. increments would give us one length each of 12, 10, 8 and 6 Lb. test lines in 4 steps. 10 feet of line divided by 4 equal steps results in 2.5 feet of line for each step in length to make up the total 10 foot long tapered FC Line. Because a tapered line will not weigh as much as a level line of the same length will weigh, it may be necessary to go up one line size or more above what is recommended for the rod you are using to get enough weight built into the tapered line for it to properly load the rod. For a really long line, you may need to start with a lighter than the recommended line to keep the total line weight light enough to be able to cast that length of line well. But in either case, dividing the line length by the number of different line weight segments to be used will tell you how long to make each line segment to get to that line length.
Making Tapered FC Lines For 6:4 Action Rods:
With moderate 6:4 and faster action rods we can try using a compound tapered line building technique, which involves progressively shortening each line segment as it steps down in line weight and diameter. To some extent this can be thought of as being a ratio: The classic being 60% butt section, 20% transition section, and 20% tippet section for the total line length including the tippet and fly, or be in specific measurements of length for the various line segments. A formula that has worked out well for me with my fixed line rods is: 4/3/2/1, or 4 feet of #3 HiVis FC line/ 3 feet of 8 Lb. test FC line/ 2 feet of 6 Lb. test FC line/ and 1 foot of 4 Lb test FC line, with 2 to 3 or more feet of 6 or 7X tippet material being used for the final line segment. If you start out with a heavier line size, you drop the 4 Lb test on the end. The first two steps are considered to be the butt section of the tapered line, the next two steps are the transition section, and the tippet is the final section of the line. Tippet section lengths may need to be tuned for the wind resistant qualities or the weight of the fly or fly patterns being cast to ensure proper turnover of the tippet. With flies to be fished subsurface, an incomplete turnover will allow the fly to sink deeper, faster.
Making Tapered FC Lines For 7:3 and 8:2 Action Rods:
When tip casting stiff action rods are being used, more weight is going to need to be built into the butt sections of the line to properly load the rod. And with the faster tapers these rods have, taking bigger step-downs may also prove to be more helpful. For example, you may want to make up a line going something like this: 4 feet of size #4.5 HiVis line/ 3 feet of size 3.5 HiVis line/ 2 feet of size 2.5 HiVis line/ and 1 foot of 6 Lb. test clear FC line/ and then 3 to 4 or more feet of 5X FC tippet material.
While this may sound complicated to anyone who has never tried to make up a tapered T-line or a tapered leader, it is not rocket science or hard to do at all. Assuming that your casting is proficient, if the line lacks power it is probably too light in weight. If the line hinges, the hinging section may be too thin a diameter to transmit the casting energy or need to be shortened up a bit to make it a little stiffer in that section of the line. If the back of the line is too heavy and stiff, it may over load the road causing accuracy problems and not reaching the distance wished to be cast to. Too light a line will also lack accuracy, distance casting ability, and wind fighting abilities. Make the necessary changes you need to get the line to do what you want it to do.
In tying the different line segments together, different colored FC lines can be used to ensure the best line visibility under differing lighting conditions, which will be much better than can be had with the whole line being of the same color. The sky is the limit with what you can do when you make up your own T-lines, and you can fine tune your lines to your rods and your casting style. Making lines is not something that is limited to just the people who make up their own furled lines, you can make your own tapered FC lines as well level FC lines.