Sign In | Sign Up to Shop/Forum

Tenkara floating lines

Discussion of tenkara lines, tippets, etc...

Tenkara floating lines

Postby jakobb » Sat Sep 29, 2012 4:22 pm

I just got an Iwana 12' after my Winston 4wt broke on a backpacking trip. I used it on a trip to the Smith river, CA and Metoilus, OR and had a lot of fun (even found to land a fat 18" rainbow not difficult). I mostly fished the 4.5 level line which I liked it better than tenkara traditional line on these streams. I got less good presentation (fly landing a foot or so behind the middle of the tippet) if the level line was longer than 15' and then I also got wind knots just a few inches above the fly as the tippet.
I ended up to use 4' or 10' of level line with an loop on the end and looped in the traditional line. better presentation and no knots! I also tested a Airflo hover light trout leader (stretched before) which was quite easy to cast in that combo but had some coil memory on the water.
Using the traditional tenkara rod position (high) worked fine except when the wind got stronger which causes drag on the line. Lowering the rod made the level line and after some time the traditional too sink which was o.k. sometimes but there was a much surface action going on.
I just returned from an other Sierra backpacking trip and did some lake fishing. Inspite of catching a lot brookies (almost one every second cast) I also wished here for a longer floating line.
I am thinking of following options added to a short level line:
RIGS floating hiviz 12'
Orvis nylon floating braided leader, 9' 3-5 or 6-7?
Airflo floating trout leader
What about using Rio power flex .024F or Airflo shooting line (by itself or with fluorocarbon level
Any experience or advice?
Posts: 3
Joined: Tue Aug 14, 2012 5:11 pm

Re: Tenkara floating lines

Postby Stan Wright » Fri Oct 05, 2012 8:48 pm

When I was fishing in Montana last month I got a new fly line at Fins & Feathers fly shop there in Bozeman. It was a special Tenkara line made from regular floating fly line... except very thin. They just got the package in from the manufacturer that day. I don't remember who makes it or anything, but it is made especially for tenkara. I went to their web site, but it isn't ju pn their online store site yet. I haven't had a chance to use it yet.

This trip I used a braided line and leader, both made from mono and used fly floatint on it. Worked with the floating grasshopper flys than when i used flora carbon. Can't wait to try this new "fly line"
Why let the truth stand in the way of a good fish story.
User avatar
Stan Wright
Posts: 502
Joined: Mon Jul 26, 2010 2:09 am
Location: Oahu, Hawaii

Re: Tenkara floating lines

Postby Softouch333 » Sat Oct 06, 2012 4:31 am

Keep on experimenting and let us know. Having said that, you'll find that floating PVC lines sacrifice the tenkara advantage of suspension with no line splash/shadow/drag and you'll probably end up using either level or tapered furled lines.

There are times when a floating line is helpful, though even fluorocarbon level line sinks slow enough to enable casting a dry fly under a branch or two without capsizing the fly too rapidly. Remember tenkara float time is pretty short. My best floating rig, which I especially like on smaller creeks is a tapered furled traditional line. On small creeks in the East you don't have overhead clearance enough to suspend line and a floating presentation is the most visible. The older nylon tenkara lines were just fine. More recently I am using lines I furl myself out of Dyneema/Spectra which float nicely (specific gravity around 0.98) yet don't coil/twist when I have to break off a tree fly. Furling is easy (see "Tenkara" book) and you can make any taper/color/length you like.

A small length of nylon single filament line between tippet and level works well too. Misako was probably the first in the west to use Amnesia nylon as an indicator/floating section. And yes, the Orvis nylon braid works too and serves as a nice anchor for longer lines. British angler, Jeremy Lucas, uses this system with co-polymer line for his "Line-to-hand" system, but braid requires a longer tippet section in my view.

Yvon Choiunard and others do use very light fly line, which as you have seen, allows casting in the wind nicely and lays down over grassy banks without snagging. It is a pleasant transition line for a western angler too. However, the weight of even the 000 lines are heavier than fluorocarbon line by twice. In heavy wind, I tend to either resort to dapping Dyneema furls, or nymphing with my bright and heavy polyester thread furls.

Level line fluorocarbon's ultimate advantage is high density, that is, small diameter to weight ratio. It is in my opinion, and most other early adopters, the best all rounder: good casting, on-stream adjustable, minimal spray, simplicity of rigging, cost, durability, and most important of all...stealth. Fluorocarbon level line simply out catches anything else in most conditions, because it is so thin and its refraction index is close to that of water.

User avatar
Posts: 153
Joined: Thu Jul 16, 2009 4:35 am
Location: Blue Ridge Mountains

Re: Tenkara floating lines

Postby jakobb » Sat Oct 06, 2012 9:30 am

Thanks for the replies. The attraction to tenkara for me is simplicity. I am thinking of a following system:
Level fluorocarbon line 4-10' with an loop on the end. With a loop to loop connection a short furled/braided leader and tippet. This would be my "traditional" T system for streams.
For lakes/ wind I would insert a piece of level floating line with loops on both end (same level line and leader tippet even fly).
I found on the web that a #4 level fluorocarbon line (ø 0.33 mm) weighs 15.2g/100m. A PE line of ø 0.024"=.61mm is 28g/100m. I am assuming that a Rio power flex .024F would be slightly lighter but still more that that level T line. That system should behave like a miniature shooting head and may be better at distance casting than untaperd fluorocarbon.
Posts: 3
Joined: Tue Aug 14, 2012 5:11 pm

Re: Tenkara floating lines

Postby Karl Klavon » Sat Oct 06, 2012 2:19 pm

Jakobb, I have been fishing Rigs 12 foot Floating Tenkara Fly Line quite successfully on high Sierra lakes here lately. The Rigs line is actually easier to hold up off of the water than T-USA,s Traditional lines are, and it casts better in the wind than any level FC line I have used, and I have gone as heavy as a #5 line.

I modified the Rigs line by putting a glued on braided loop on the rod end of the line - all my T-rods have those same loops glued onto their lillians. I cut the tippet ring off of the Hi-Viz Amnesia section on the Rigs Floating Line and made a leader extension by adding 14" of 12 Lb. Hi-Viz mono, then 12" each of 10, 8 & 6 Lb. test FC line, with a looped on tippet of 5X Orvis Mirage FC tippet material. Here is a link to an article I wrote, with pictures, about a recent high Sierra backpacking trip I made where a lot of fish and a very big brown trout were caught on this set up:

Another option (and more cost effective in the long run over the Rigs Floating Line) would be to buy a spool of RIO's PowerFlex Core Floating Shooting/Running line, which comes in a 100 foot length, with a big and a small welded loop on each end, is 0.024 inches in diameter for the 20 Lb. test, and Orange in color on the 20 Lb floating running line, they also offer intermediate sinking running line at the same diameter in 20 Lb. test, which is light blue in color, that you can cut to your desired line length and make a number of lines out of for the 39.95 a 100 foot spool costs.

I do a lot of stillwater dry fly fishing and a floating line is much better at eliminating drag than the sinking Tenkara lines (whether level or tapered) are. You can still hold a lot of line off of the water with these floating lines, although not as much as you can with the lighter weight FC lines. However when the wind is blowing, holding your line off of the water is not an option as the wind will blow your line and fly all over the place, creating all kinds of drag. Although you could effectively fish running waters with these floating Tenkara Fly lines, I believe FC lines are still superior in that application. Stillwater fly fishing is where the Floating Tenkara Fly Lines really come into their own....Karl.
Last edited by Karl Klavon on Wed Oct 10, 2012 2:31 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Karl Klavon
Posts: 559
Joined: Wed Mar 02, 2011 10:01 am

Re: Tenkara floating lines

Postby narcodog » Tue Oct 09, 2012 6:40 am

I would stay away from the Orvis braided leaders, they throw a lot of spray, more than a furled leader. When I want to float my furled leader I just apply Musclin floatant to about three feet of the leader then attach my mono tippet to it.
Posts: 291
Joined: Sat Jul 11, 2009 9:47 am
Location: N. Ga. USA

Re: Tenkara floating lines

Postby Karl Klavon » Sat Sep 28, 2013 8:22 am

I would like to add an up date to my earlier post concerning the use of Floating T-lines and the line to lilian connection. I have moved away from using the Loop-to-Loop attachment method in favor of using a short (6" or so long piece of) Uni-knotted on length of Level size FC 4.5 Line tied to the rod end of the Floating T-line, which has an overhand Slip Noose knot tied into Level FC line's other end, with the Lilian run through the Slip Noose Loop twice before the Slip Noose is tightened down for a very secure line to Lilian connection.

A Double Surgeon's Knot or a Figure Eight Knot tied in the tag end of the Slip Noose Loop Knot makes it very easy and quick to disconnect the Floating T-line from your Lilian and T-rod.

Besides this joining method making it faster and easier to change lines, it also allows you to be able to completely take your rod apart for drying and cleaning, which you can not do if you Super Glue a braided loop to the end of the lilians on your T-rods. A fly line backing Girth Hitch could also be used to accomplish these same things as well, but I do not believe that is as secure a joining technique as the Slip Noose Loop Knot method is, but that's your decision you will have to make for yourself....Karl.
Karl Klavon
Posts: 559
Joined: Wed Mar 02, 2011 10:01 am

Return to Tenkara Lines

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 3 guests