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Thin nylon line & weighed flies

PostPosted: Thu Feb 20, 2014 10:30 am
by johnlaudenslager
Though fluorocarbon, denser than nylon, is more able to carry itself plus unweighed flies, that ability becomes less important with weighed flies. Even lightly or moderately weighed, streamlined flies like the 0.2 gram, 7/64" (2.8 mm) tungsten bead head ones I routinely use, to a significant extent carry the line rather than vice versa.


With weighed flies a nylon line of small diameter, which bellies less from its own weight and from wind resistance, shines.

The line I now prefer for nymphing is 6# test red Sunset Amnesia nylon. 6# is strong enough to not break before the tippet and its .009" (0.23 mm) diameter is also the thinnest I can see well.

Finally, though my bead heads hardly require a line to carry them, there seems to be some loss of casting accuracy as the mass and stiffness of the connection from rod to fly go down. When I first tried real small lines I thought the accuracy loss was probably too much, and even posted that. However, with more use I have come to think this line's tradeoffs are worth it.

Amnesia of various sizes on 100 m spools has been available from FishUSA for $3.95 with a free shipping option.

Re: Thin nylon line & weighed flies

PostPosted: Sun Feb 23, 2014 11:16 am
by johnlaudenslager
Sorry, I just found that FishUSA no longer has the "any-order" free shipping option, but now it's for orders over $30. Nor at the moment are they showing any Amnesia under 15#. Bummer.

Re: Thin nylon line & weighed flies

PostPosted: Sun Feb 23, 2014 10:24 pm
by jd_smith
Ah still good information John. I appreciate that you shared it with us. Unfortunately I might be the only one though. Kind of quiet around here.

I've always been a fan of the very thin level lines too and I still use the original pink line that TenkaraUSA first introduced in late 2009-early 2010. I actually cleaned out the shelf at the fly shop when I found out that it was being replaced by that cream green line and I still have a couple packs left. I can see the pink very well but the cream green and the chartreuse were both really hard for me to see throughout the day in various conditions.

The pink is about a 2.5 or 10 lb test fluorocarbon and is also a nice choice for nymphing and swinging. I have a spool of some size 2.0 fluorocarbon Sunline that's barred in 3 colors, orange/clear/pink. It makes a very light LL and I also use it for Euro nymphing or sighters for tightlining.

I've had some trouble finding Amnesia in the lower lb test. The local fly shop only stocks it as low as 15 lb and I want some 8 lb.

Re: Thin nylon line & weighed flies

PostPosted: Mon Feb 24, 2014 8:09 am
by johnlaudenslager
jd - I see the TUSA shop still showing a 2.5 pink. The TUSA 2.5 pink I got a year or so ago is my favorite when I use fluoro - which I do for unweighed flies.

Maybe because of its opaqueness I find this TUSA pink actually slightly more visible in some dappled light than even otherwise brighter 8# Amnesia and of course more visible than 6# Amnesia. I would really like to try some red/orange/yellow/chartruese fluoro/nylon line that was even opaquer than TUSA pink or Amnesia. I suspect you would, too.

Anyway ... anybody out there fishing with something they think is more visible per equivalent diameter than Tenkara Bum's or TUSA's level lines?

Re: Thin nylon line & weighed flies

PostPosted: Mon Feb 24, 2014 10:59 am
by jd_smith
John- The 2.5 pink line I'm referring to is the original pink line that TUSA marketed. It was more of a faded red if you ask me and labeled as a 10 lb tenkara line rather than using the Japanese decimal rating.

It was spooled onto flat plastic line holders and was only 35 feet of line rather than the new spools that have 20 meters. I only use it for nymphing because it doesn't cast as well as others, it has a little more memory to it than the orange Sunline that Tenkarabum sells. The Sunline cast's much better and is much more visible to my eyes. I haven't yet tried the newer opaque pink or orange lines from TUSA.

Level lines last for years. I just don't find a need to try every so called new item that hits the market. For me, it just leads to too many boxes of unused stuff that I eventually end up giving away.

I fish Tenkara exclusively in mountain creeks, rivers and streams and only for trout. Two LL line sizes (2.0 and 3.0) and cut into 2 different lengths each is all I will ever need. I like a 3.5 line too but I just don't use it as much. I don't recall ever using a true 2.5 LL but that size might actually be golden for my frequented locations. I also use two Japanese made furled lines, they are very thin and fish better than any other furled's that I have tried. One is nylon and the other is fluorocarbon, both are 360 cm and both are clear. I place a 50 cm 3.0 orange Sunline sighter on the end of both to give a total length of 410 cm before I add my tippet.

Tail-water is the only place that I use the pink line because I only use nymphing techniques to fish those waters. Technically I don't use weighted flies or split shot with tenkara rods. I have a 43MF to handle that duty. I bought it specifically for the tail-waters because the fish get very big. This one is above average but very small in comparison to some of the really big trout that can reach the 10 lb+ mark.

Re: Thin nylon line & weighed flies

PostPosted: Mon Feb 24, 2014 4:40 pm
by johnlaudenslager
jd - Nice fish.

I don't do much experimenting. The waters I have handy and like are freestone and run about 300-500 cfs during much of Spring-Fall, and wind is common. Maybe that is why I quickly became fond of weighed flies, and thin, short nylon line to facilitate direct contact with them. With a 12' rod, 8-9' of line and about 5' of fluoro tippet.

There is a 5-25 cfs creek that I intend to spend more time on this coming season and for that I will probably use unweighed flies with whatever line proves to cast well with my lighter 12' rod. I'll probably start with the 2.5 TUSA pink fluoro line. Should I try something else?

Re: Thin nylon line & weighed flies

PostPosted: Wed Feb 26, 2014 2:47 pm
by jd_smith
John- Yes, I do think you should try something else. Not because I think that the 2.5 won't be a good choice, it will, but because you're trying a new piece of water and you owe it to yourself to do some experimenting to find out what combination of gear works best. I would recommend you carry a 3.5 or 4.0 line if the wind becomes moderate, similar to your handy freestone, as well as the 2.5 you already have. Only going up to a 3.0 won't provide enough of a difference to give you some accurate tactile feedback of line length and weight while paired with the rod you're using and under the new conditions.

As a rule of thumb for myself. If casting becomes a struggle, and I'm finding myself making multiple casts (2 or more) placing and controlling the fly accurately, it's best then to change out line size. I try to use the lightest line possible until things start to fall apart. Usually going up a size or two will get my control and accuracy back on track.


Re: Thin nylon line & weighed flies

PostPosted: Wed Feb 26, 2014 9:09 pm
by johnlaudenslager
jd - Agreed: if casting on the creek becomes problematic I probably should try bigger line as you mention. I believe weightier and also stiffer line can help with accuracy and just getting a light fly out there. Perhaps on the creek a little more castability could make up for increased post cast line belly from weight and wind drag. But it will be months before I fish that water.

Meanwhile, on the river, weighed flies and a direct, non draggy connection to them via light, thin, high viz line, works well.

Re: Thin nylon line & weighed flies

PostPosted: Tue Mar 04, 2014 9:23 am
by johnlaudenslager
Maybe only jd and I are interested, but ...

TenkaraBum and I had a brief correspondence regarding using a thin line. He mentioned the problem of visibility, and that keiryu anglers use thin line and sometimes cope with the visibility problem by using flying indicators: bits of yarn or other things along the line. If you don't know, keiryu uses a small live bait and weight to fish about the same waters as tenkara, but fishing generally deeper. It seems that the style I have been describing in this thread is something like kieryu, except with a bait that is artificial and incorporates the weight. Maybe I will try flying indicators.

Here's a little more about kieryu: ... ngler.html

Re: Thin nylon line & weighed flies

PostPosted: Sun Jul 06, 2014 12:20 pm
by johnlaudenslager
I bumped into a post regarding competition leaders that, though long, includes my findings:

Lucas mentions the disadvantage in casting accuracy and casting into wind with lighter vs heavier lines, but concludes that competitors find the overall advantage in lightness. Me, too.

He fudges some, I think, when he describes his personal leader which has a pretty heavy butt. I have read guarded mentions of some competitors running nothing but tippet from rod to fly.

I am still prefering having the line as an indicator rather than no indicator or having flags or other flying indicators. Since no tippet I care to use is visible enough for me, as a light but visible compromise I still use the Amnesia, and waffle between 6# (.009") and 8# (.010").

I think an ideal line would be bright, and opaque rather than translucent, and stiff but straightenable, and light. So far I don't know if such a line exsists. If you know of such, please tell us.