The Tenkara USA Forum is no longer active, and is now a read-only resource. If you’re interested in current topics and discussions, please join us on the Facebook Tenkara Anglers group (link:

Floating fly line on a tenkara rod?

Trip reports, findings, events, and general experiences with tenkara fishing. Tell other tenkara enthusiasts about your tenkara experience

Floating fly line on a tenkara rod?

Postby madison320 » Tue Apr 07, 2015 12:07 pm

I've been experimenting with a tenkara rod and a fly rod to see which I prefer in small streams. I hired a tenkara guide last weekend and had a great time catching small trout in a small North Carolina stream. The next day I fished the same stretch with my 7 1/2 4W fly rod. I think I preferred the fly rod for one reason, the wind. I couldn't cast the tenkara line into the wind, even a slight breeze. I like the simplicity of the tenkara rod so I was wondering if I used some slightly heavier line if it would work better. What about some ultralight fly line like 1 or 2 weight on the tenkara instead of the fluorocarbon that I'm using now? Or what about just a small section of fly line, maybe 2 feet on the end of the fluorocarbon? So instead of 10' of fluoro you'd have 8' of fluoro and 2' of fly line (and then the leader of course). That would make it a sort of "weight forward" setup.
Posts: 4
Joined: Tue Apr 07, 2015 11:55 am

Re: Floating fly line on a tenkara rod?

Postby » Tue Apr 07, 2015 2:36 pm

Hi Madison,

a floating fly line is all i use. I bought my tenkara usa Iwana at the Denver fly fishing show and at that show, the booth that was partnering with daniel and selling thier rods was Riggs fly shop in colorado. I did not like what I saw from the furled line and in talking to their guy, who was a tenkara guide, I told him I almost exclusively fish dry flies and he told me Riggs had developed a tapered floating fly line just for tenkara. it's been awesome and makes the whole cast and experience more similar to by traditional rod. But to your question, I can't see why not just cut the last 15 feet of line off an old line and that could work too. I can't recall right now but the one I bought from Riggs probably had a connection loop set up ready to attach to the lillian.
Posts: 3
Joined: Wed Mar 06, 2013 2:17 pm

Re: Floating fly line on a tenkara rod?

Postby madison320 » Tue Apr 07, 2015 6:39 pm wrote:a floating fly line is all i use.

My rod is a 12' 3.3. The only problem I can see with the fly line is that it might be too heavy for the rod? My first thought was to use some really light line for the whole length, like 1F. Then I thought maybe it would be better to only use a small section of fly line on the end, just to give it some weight to cast.

Posts: 4
Joined: Tue Apr 07, 2015 11:55 am

Re: Floating fly line on a tenkara rod?

Postby Hunt4lyf » Thu Apr 09, 2015 5:30 am

Some solutions for the wind can be a floating line such as the Rigs or Badger Tenkara, Badger has a floating-lite line that I prefer and casts really nice. Chris at Tenkarabum has a titanium line that he says casts good in the wind since the diameter is so thin, I've not tried it yet but I plan to soon. For mild breezes to moderate winds I just use a 3.5 level line and have no problem laying it out there, when the wind gets stronger I'll put on the floating line. This is whats worked for me, I have no experience with what you are asking about.
Posts: 60
Joined: Fri May 18, 2012 3:56 pm

Re: Floating fly line on a tenkara rod?

Postby Vince_villavivencio » Fri Apr 10, 2015 11:41 am

I use Braided Mono when the wind kicks up. The Fluorocarbon works well in the wind, but the braided mono really zips it out there in a stiff wind. However, the braided mono seems a little too heavy when the water is calm (fish shy away from it hitting too hard or can see it). I also dress the Braided Mono with Mucilin (green can) to keep it floating.

Here is a write up on using Braided Mono for Tenkara ... r-tenkara/

Posts: 21
Joined: Tue May 20, 2014 3:01 pm

Re: Floating fly line on a tenkara rod?

Postby Bobc » Sun Apr 12, 2015 6:59 am

I really like the Riggs floating line. On my Amago it really punches thru the wind. Also good for throwing larger flies.
Posts: 94
Joined: Fri Sep 17, 2010 3:10 pm

Re: Floating fly line on a tenkara rod?

Postby houghland1966 » Mon Apr 13, 2015 4:45 pm

I think when most people move from Western to Tenkara they struggle with the wind. There's nothing wrong with fishing a cut down fly line and you will catch fish but if you learn to cast a level fluorocarbon line you will really unlock the potential of the tenkara rod and catch a lot of fish. A 4.5# line will cast into a stiff breeze if you tighten up the loops and increase tip speed. I'd fished western style for 30yrs before I took up tenkara and it took me a while before I could conquer the wind.
Posts: 23
Joined: Sat Mar 31, 2012 1:17 pm

Re: Floating fly line on a tenkara rod?

Postby Adam Trahan » Wed Apr 15, 2015 4:38 pm

Tenkara works in the wind, you just have to work "with" the wind. Not bragging but I've caught fish in 40mph blasts. I just did it all downwind, floating in the fly...

I've communicated with a bunch of Japanese Tenkara anglers over the years and have found that the Tenkara line is a personal choice. The line is a big differentiation point. Some use level line (Sakakibara and Ishigaki sensei) while others use braided line (Fuji sensei and Sebata-san) while others use dacron backing (can't name names here, sworn to secrecy) and even some masters use a cut fly line (K. Horie) so please don't get bent out of shape if you are having a tough time with your light level line. Oh, there is one guy, can't think of his name right now but he uses a titanium line (Tatsurou Okaniwa), I'm personally not a fan of titanium or metal lines but hey, that's just me, doesn't mean that they don't work.


Get a fly line and cut it to your specification and have fun with it.

Myself, I personally started with a 00-weight line cut for my Ebisu, I still have that line. It was my introductory into Tenkara. I'm sort of proud that I transitioned to Tenkara that way.

In the wind now, I use the same line I normally do with no wind. I simply use the wind to my advantage and light the fly instead of casting OR I will wait and cast in between gusts. Our wind is crazy here with thermals and if you are patient, you can get casts in between blasts on open streams.

The wind does not have to be a pain, work with it or get a line to deal with it but do not let anyone tell you that it isn't Tenkara. I keep hearing about "purists" but I don't really understand who they are or why people refer to them. Some people have more experience with Tenkara than others. The most knowledgeable Tenkara anglers that I have meet or had the pleasure in conversing with have unanimously have told me personally and have said in public, "enjoy Tenkara in your own way" and with that, I suggest you do as you please.

Take care and have fun with the wind.
Adam Trahan
Posts: 285
Joined: Sat Aug 15, 2009 8:42 pm
Location: Phoenix, AZ - USA

Re: Floating fly line on a tenkara rod?

Postby madison320 » Mon May 04, 2015 12:44 pm

I've been testing about a 5 foot section of floating 4 wt followed by a 5 foot section of the normal tenkara fluoro and then the tippet. It seems to work really well. You get the ability to cast into the wind but you also get the same delicate presentation of an "all fluoro" setup since the floating fly line almost never hits the water.
Posts: 4
Joined: Tue Apr 07, 2015 11:55 am

Re: Floating fly line on a tenkara rod?

Postby Markpdx » Tue Jul 16, 2019 11:39 am

I have been using various floating lines on my amigo since the day it was delivered.
Went outside all excited to cast it with a 3.5 TSUA level line, but there was a 10 mph wind blowing. Very disappointed at being able to cast to a specific location.
I have been fly fishing single hand, Switch, and Spey for about two decades, so I am familiar with casting and line setups.
Went inside and cut off some 3wt floating @ 12' long and added some leader/tippet.
Went back outside in the same wind and was able to cast spot on.

I am an advocate of what works best for your intended fishing application + current conditions. I am an advocate of what Tenkara fishing has to teach all of us, but I also believe in being adaptable when the conditions are beyond the capability of a traditional Tenkara line approach. I will use short level line when a hatch is going off on a big river close to the bank, or working a smaller river/stream widths. If I need to sight cast rising trout 40' away on a river like the Deschutes, I'm going to switch out to a much longer floating line with appropriate leader tippet to turn over what ever fly I am throwing.

I now have leader wallets set up for level line in various lengths/diameters, others for floating lines from 7' out to 40' long in @ 5' increments (different wt/lengths), sinking lines, and nymphing lines. For strength, the woven core of floating fly lines are typically rated to 20# up to a 5wt-7wt. Beyond that they get stronger. Strength of a 1wt really isn't an issue for the fishing most people do.

When it comes to casting any lines effectively, you need to find the narrow "weight range"(grams/grains/ounces) that properly loads the rod you are using, for good casts. Experiment. My experience has been to buy some inexpensive 1wt and 3wt line and cut it down to say 40' + leader/tippet + fly to start testing. Use a kitchen gram/ounce scale to weight*

How does it cast? Does it produce narrow loops "for you"? Turn over a fly weight well, and have good presentation? If not, start cutting the floating line down by 5 foot reductions, and retest until it does. You are starting to find the "weight window" range for your rods flex characteristic by reducing the weight of the load. Now start reducing the length by a foot at a time and keep testing. Don't just make the assumption that a 6:4 Tenkara rod casts like the next one. They don't.
Find the optimum "weight window" range with your setup and your rod. Write the "X" weight range down.

Now if you are going to use different lengths, it stands to reason you will need to load the rod with the same weight for good loops. That means you will need to use lighter, perhaps 1wt line for 40', and maybe 3 wt for 20' of line, to approximate the weight to load your rod, etc.
You will most likely need to adjust the type of floating fly line weight designation (1wt, 2wt, 3wt, 4wt, etc) for the length of the line you wish to cast, how you are using it, and wind conditions. Smaller diameter lines will cast better loops that larger diameter lines going through the air, but if you want your rod to do the work instead of you, become very aware of the weight needed to load your rod, work on your timing, and let the rod work like a bow to cast the line, instead of your throwing the line like a baseball.

My typical line setup, for better turn over, going from the rod tip is the main line, 8" of Rio 2X indicator, trout tippet ring, leader, tippet in descending diameter. Longer lines with 3wt floating line get hand tied Seaguar Red fluorocarbon leaders of .017 > .012 > .007". Sometimes tied down with an extra section of .004" for more delicate presentation. Sometimes I'll just but a tapered leader with similar transitions. Sometimes I will add a small trout tippet ring between the leader and tippet, since I don't want to reduce the leader length every time I need to replace tippet with a knot between the two.
Hope this helps.

TUSA Amago, TUSA Ito
User avatar
Posts: 8
Joined: Sat Aug 20, 2016 12:25 pm

Return to Your Tenkara Experience

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 4 guests