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Its a Shooting Head!

by Les Albjerg
(Caldwell, Idaho)

I bought a spool of Sunline #1 line last week. Roughly following Chris' instructions under the title "Tenjo Line", I finally got what I was looking for. I made a line up for my Suntech GM Suikei Keiryu Special 44. I began with a girth hitch, 3 feet of Sunline #1; a tippet ring; 6 feet of 5x fluorocarbon tippet; tippet ring; 3 feet of Sunset Amnesia Monofilament; small snap swivel; Gamakatsu Zero Yamame #3 hook snelled with 7x fluorocarbon 18 inches long.

This line casts like a dream! It reminds me of casting a shooting head when fly fishing. The only real weight is the small snap swivel. I continue to learn that Keiryu and Tenkara fishing seems simple at first, but it isn't simplistic.

At Wilson Springs yesterday, the line just laid out like a feather. Wilson Springs is really a slow moving pool, so the water is moving. I took 6 redworm wigglers with me, and some Mummy Worms. It was a "Many Fish" day. All were lip hooked and released. I fished the wigglers with no weight, and several fish came up from the depths and nailed them! I have not had so much fun in a long time. I had to put a very small split shot for the Mummy Worms, and they worked as usual, very well! I need to try some of the other colors I bought. I seem to be stuck on the natural ones. Sorry no pictures today.

Thanks Chris for all your help getting my Keiryu lines figured out to some degree.

Comments for Its a Shooting Head!

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Feb 09, 2017
The Snow is Melting
by: Les A.

I headed to the Boise River yesterday morning to get a little fishing in before the runoff blows it out of shape. It was a 5 mountain whitefish day, and one trout day. I love catching mountain whitefish. They fight like a bulldozer! All fish were caught on a beadhead killer bug and my new line.

I finally met a fellow tenkara angler on the river! He was amazed at how well my line cast! His comment to me was, "Wow, you are really a great caster." I told him, "No, not really, I am just a beginner." I looked at his fine rod from another source, and then at his lousy line. Since he was fishing a 390cm rod, and my line was made for fishing my rod at 400cm, I said, "Why don't you try my line." He was blown away by the balance of my line. In about 5 minutes he was making that line dance! Watching a guy with 4 years experience fishing Tenkara made me realize how much more I have to learn. He caught a couple of fish with my line. We exchanged phone numbers and lines. I guided him to the TenkaraBum website.

Lessons learned: 1. His first question was, "What Rod are you using? It wasn't the rod, it was using a well balanced line. He had a high quality rod.
We are fixated on the pole (rod). More and more I am learning these rods are powerful fine tuned instruments and they need a quality line to really make them perform to their potential. 2. I have a lot more to learn. I picked up some great pointers from this fellow fisherman. 3. If you look at the "Line and Tippet" section of this website, Chris is committed to getting us lines that maximize our equipment. 4. I would like to hear more of the collective wisdom on lines from the group.

The river is blown out today!

Feb 09, 2017
Treasure Valley Tenkara/Keiryu
by: Conrad E

Les- I too live in the Treasure Valley and fish Tenkara. I have run into one other Angler on the Boise. It would be cool to get a Treasure Valley Tenkara group together. I am a self taught (mostly online) Tenkara angler but would love to learn from others. It is funny I just bought a keiryu rod and have been trying to figure out the best way to rig it up. I'll have to try your setup. This is my first keiryu rod. I hope to get out on the river tomorrow and give it a try. All the best. Hope to see you on local waters one day. Conrad

Feb 10, 2017
Learning Tenkara - Keiryu
by: Les Albjerg

It would be fun to meet, but I don't think Chris is running a "match service" here. With my custom wood turning business, Thor Tampers, I am pretty easy to find. Give me a call. I am self taught as well. I have spent hours on the web, bought several books, and made lots of mistakes!

I looked at the Utah Guides website, and it doesn't seem that they are offering the Oni School this year. I was hoping to attend. According to Tom Davis of Teton Tenkara, spending the money having them guide you is worth the money for the lessons learned. I may do that this summer. I would like to attend a school this year. I am seriously thinking about going to the "Tenkara Jam" in North Carolina next year.

Mostly, I have tried to translate my fly fishing experience into fixed line fishing. That said, I have found fishing bait to be a lot more effective and fun! Thus I am much more interested in keiryu fishing. Right now I am working on a system for keiryu fishing for carp. Once tested, I will share with the group. Maybe Chris could share once or twice a year, the educational opportunities available around the country on the website.

It would be fun to fish with someone who doesn't look at me with strange looks. That said, I really don't have the time to organize a group.

Feb 10, 2017
There is an Oni School this year!
by: Chris Stewart

There is an Oni School this year!

September 8-10, 2017. Registration is open now, but is limited to 20 students so don't delay!

Their website does not seem to be updated. It might be best to send an email to either John or Erik

one of the two first names at

Feb 10, 2017
by: Les Albjerg

Thanks Chris for the information. I heard from John about the Oni school. Those are lousy dates for me since it is the "Three B" season for me, Bucks, Bulls, and Brookies. September is archery season for elk and deer, and I have two friends I hunt with and we enjoy fishing in the afternoons for brook trout near our camping spot. I may just book a guided trip with Tenkara Guides this summer.

Feb 10, 2017
Book a two day trip!
by: Chris Stewart

Book a two day trip. One day for carp and one day for keiryu on one of the big rivers.

Feb 10, 2017
Utah Slam!
by: Les A.

I emailed John of Tenkara Guides to see if his group would put together a one or two day trip to catch all 4 species of native Cutthroats in Utah. The State of Utah and Trout Unlimited have a cool program where you can earn an awesome pin and contribute to the conservation of the Cutthroat trout. I would think a guided opportunity would be awesome as then you wouldn't be bumbling around an unfamiliar State trying to complete the slam. Carp and the Green River sounds good too! The Green is on my "to do" list.

Feb 12, 2017
Treasure Valley Tenkara dating service
by: Conrad Estrem

Ha ha. Yes it would be nice to meet someone local that has some Tenkara knowledge. I will look you up. It seems we always learn a lot from each other. I always feel like I am a local Tenkara ambassador giving a Tenkara lesson to some interested observer every time I am on the river. Last year I wanted to go to The Oni school but the dates had a conflict. I am hoping to go this year. I feel like this would likely make a big difference in my fishing. I intend to get the ok tomorrow and sign up. If not then I agree a day or two of guided fishing with Tenkara Guides would be the next best thing. I look forward to meeting you.

Jun 20, 2017
Hi Conrad
by: Zane in Boise

I've been hounding Les this past 3 weeks off and on through email picking his brain on rods. Little does he know that I'll be dredging his mine of experience on lines and true Keiryu next. :) It's been a good exchange and the long rod experiences he's had have already been a big help to me.

I'm going to tease Chris that Les will deserve a commission on my next order. I certainly hope Chris doesn't mind this ad hoc matching service, but I'm going to forge ahead anyway...

You're welcome to contact me at z online at earth link dot net.

I'm just now trying to figure out using these rods on ponds because of our blown-out rivers. I'm interested in learning what you've gathered along the way as well.

Thanks to you, Les, and certainly Chris!

Nov 14, 2018
Line Recipe
by: Jon Wu

Les I’ve followed your comments over the years and have gleaned quite a bit, thank u. I’m curious about your line recipe. You mentioned 3ft of Sunset mono just prior to your tippet. What lbs test are u using. And are you using that as your indicator section? I use yarn indicators. The only Amnesia I know is 15 lbs. That seems weird to have heavy mono in between 5x FC mainline and 7x FC tippet.


Nov 14, 2018
It is a bit strange!
by: Les Albjerg

Jon - If you have ever fly fished with a shooting head, it wouldn't seem so strange. Yes, I am using the 15 pound test. I fished this line a few weeks ago, and it really cuts the wind! I use the Sunset line as an indicator. I'm not shy about using yarn marker either. The weight of the Amnesia is just enough to really turn the line over.

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“The bitterness of poor quality remains long after the sweetness of low price is forgotten” - Benjamin Franklin

"Be sure in casting, that your fly fall first into the water, for if the line fall first, it scares or frightens the fish..." -
Col. Robert Venables 1662

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The coffee's hot.
The fish are slippery when wet.

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