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Sanyo Valcan Lo-Vis Fluorocarbon Level Line Thoughts

by Karl Klavon
(Fresno, California)

For Tenkara lake fly fishing, I mostly use a floating T-line, which works a lot better when used with a tapered leader to distance the fly from such a highly visible fly line lying on the water. In the past I used green Amnesia and Stren Original Gold nylon mono for the butt section because of the lack of line memory, which were both bright chartreuse under a Black Light and also highly visible in daylight. So, when I saw that Valcan had marketed a Lo-Vis, Fluorocarbon level tenkara line I got quite enthused

I had tried FC lines before but in these large diameters line memory was too big a problem. Nylon did much better.I found that #s 4.5, 3.5 and 2.5 T-FC would provide the right step-down diameters and pound test progressions. I bought the Valcan Sanyo line spools in the a fore mentioned sizes and constructed 7.5 foot tapered leaders less tippet. The leaders cast wonderfully, and with the memory-free butt sections made out of FC, casting into the wind will be better than it was before with nylon butt sections. And the added stealth of the Sanyo lines was all to the well and good.

As an after thought, I took a look at the line under a Black Light, low-and-behold the lines lit-up like a lantern, the light olive green line transforming into bright sky blue glowing beacons. Showing that what we see is not always what we get when it comes to visibility.

Did I waste My money on undelivered line stealth? Not necessarily. Only time and fishing will tell. But the leaders I have used in the past were constructed with at least 60% of the leader being FL-green and yellow Nylon, and only the transition and tippet sections made up of No-Vis and FC tippet composed of the least visible line available. And I have caught thousands of fish on those highly visible leader constructions. Next season, we will see.

Comments for Sanyo Valcan Lo-Vis Fluorocarbon Level Line Thoughts

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Jan 18, 2018
Black light
by: Charlie Phelps

I am ignorant on this subject.

Why is black light visibility relevant?

Thank you!

Jan 18, 2018
by: Les Albjerg

Karl - Thanks for sharing your techniques and thoughts. I having been going over some of my notes that I took when I was mentored by Clive Stevenson. If you lived in the 1930's you probably would have heard of him if you fished on the West Coast. He was Zane Grey's fishing guide on the Rogue and Umpqua Rivers in Oregon. He learned to fly fish in Japan. Clive was from England, moved to Japan in the early 1900's, married a Japanese woman. They moved to the USA in the 1930's. I was a chaplain in a long term care center, and I got to visit with Clive daily. His only daughter became a close friend too. I was privileged to see hundreds of pictures, and a lot of his flies and gear. He would teach me lessons, and I would go out and try them. The more I learn about Tenkara, the more I see the Japanese influence on Clive.

I share all of this because the two major lessons Clive hammered me with was the size of the fly and presentation are what matter the most. In my notes, Clive told me, "The size of the tippet influences the natural drift of the fly. Finer tippet helps a smaller fly drift better." I think we get too hung up on the fish possibly seeing the line. A natural drift according to Clive is the second most important thing. He also taught me a lot about manipulation to make the fly life like as well. I think fluorocarbon being more neutral in its buoyancy is what makes it so good, not that the fish can't see it as well which is also true. Stealth is also very important. The major advantage of the fly first presentation Tenkara promotes gives us is stealth.

I have not tried a floating line fishing fixed line yet. I have had great success with level line fishing lakes. I might have to give floating line a try. I look forward to hearing how your new leaders work.

Jan 19, 2018
When Do Fish View Flies Under A Black Light?
by: Karl Klavon

Answer - never, and all the time.

Black Light is the name given for an ultraviolet light emitting light bulb, which we cannot see, the UV light that is. These light bulbs emit a purple light that humans can see as a safety factor, so we can see if the light is on or off, and so we do not cook our eyeballs and ruin our eyesight in a very short period of time with the damaging light we cannot see.

The sun, moon and stars are all sources of UV light. Uv light is also available on moonless nights, and is most intense during the periods of dawn, dusk, and under overcast and rainy conditions. And contrary to what many suppose (that UV light is absorbed by the water in the first few inches) it actually penetrates to water well below the levels that visible light can penetrate.

But the ability of a fly tying material to reflect UV light is only half of the story. Peacock herl and sword, as well as Jamieson's Shetland Spindrift Wool (the principle ingredient in tying Killer Bugs) are highly UV absorbent materials, and we all know how well those materials catch fish.

There are also times when the only illumination available to fish is indirect UV light. The body of a fish and some aquatic insects are opaque to Uv light just as they are also opaque in visible light, and the blocking of the light forms a solid target that predators can easily see whether there is any visible light or not.

Why would fish that live below the levels where visible light can penetrate have eyes? Because UV light provides all the illumination they need to find their prey far below the level where visible light can penetrate.

And even though small trout loose their UV receptor cells as they mature, those uv eye sight functions are taken over by the normal rods and cones of the adult fish as they mature.

Why get a Black Light? Just like with the Sanyo Lo-Vis line that gives no indication that it is fluorescent, if you check out your fly tying materials under black light you may find that you have been tying flies all along with FL-materials you had no way of knowing were fluorescent. I hope this answers some of your questions, Charlie.

Jan 19, 2018
Good Presentation Is Everything
by: Karl Klavon

Les, thank you for the comment and I agree with everything you have said, 100%. Good presentation will forgive a multitude of sins with fly patterns. Tackle and rigging only makes or breaks us if it spoils our presentations.

For fishing in running waters, I also believe using level FC lines with the line being held up and off of the water is the best way to go. It is in the fishing of stillwaters, especially if it is windy, where using a floating line is most advantageous because holding your line off of the water will not work as your line and fly are being blown all over the place by the wind, causing drag whether the fly is in or on the water, wet or dry makes no difference.

On the high lakes I fish there is a very predictable and repeated sequence of events nearly every day, day after day. As it begins to get light, the fish will start feeding on midge pupa just under the surface, with the fish’s rings making the water look like a light rain is falling on its surface. So I fish midge pupa on a floating line in a sink and raise presentation to the surface action until the midge activity falls off with the rising temperature and/or the breeze comes-up. Then I fish a subsurface patterns such as a Sheeps Creek or Herl Thing patterns until the fish start hitting on top. Then I change to terrestrial patterns, - ants, beetles and/or hoppers, with all of these patterns being fished on the same floating line. Thermal-up-drafts caused by the sun heating the rock peaks sucks in cooler air from lower elevations, bringing all kinds of bugs up with the wind to fall out over the heat sinks created by the much colder lake waters.

If you do not have high lakes to fish, the same kind of tackle and tactics will work equally well with bluegill, bass and crappie on warm water ponds and lakes, but be sure to add damselfly nymphs to your fly inventory for both of these fisheries. Give it a try and let us know how you do and what you think.

Jan 21, 2018
More Reasons For Getting A Black Light
by: Karl Klavon

More reasons for having one or more Black Light lamps

One dictionary-definition of fluorescent is: Any color or material that is strikingly bright, vivid, or appears to glow. Not all fly tying materials sold and marked as Fluorescent or FL – are really fluorescent. Fluorescent materials emit radiation in the form of visible light, produced while they are being bombarded by an external form of radiation of a shorter color wave-length than (Usually, the radiation is in the form of invisible ultra violet light, but X-rays can also work.) the visible FL – Color you are seeing.

Most anglers also believe that the HOT Colors are also FL-Colors, which some are and some are not. So having a portable Black Light flashlight is very handy item to have when you go to a fly shop to buy fly tying materials, and/or for testing the materials you have already bought to see if they really are fluorescent. Getting a Black Light bulb and screwing it in a desk lamp you can put on or above your fly tying station can quickly show you which FL marked materials are and which are not fluorescent.

Another consideration is the fact that FL-Colors look different in sunlight and under artificial light than the same color appears when it is illuminated by UV-light, in the fishing environment. Often times, pink ends up being orange and orange may turn pink., white becomes blue and yellow turns green, and such abrupt changes may clash with the other colors you have chosen to tie the fly pattern with.

You also need to be cautious in your use of FL-Colors: If more than 30% of the fly pattern’s surface area is made up of FL- materials, it will adversely affect the productivity of the fly pattern in catching fish. Having more than one Hot-Spot on a pattern can adversely effect its productivity. So, as you can plainly see, a Black Light can show you where you are and what you really have to work with in your fly tying materials.

Glo-Brite claims their Fluorescent Floss, multiyarns and suede chenilles materials are the best available and come in a range of 16 colorfast, fully fluorescent, and constant in color shade from dye lot to dye lot materials. Here are Glo-Brite’s color/condition recommendations:

Dawn, Dusk and Dull Days – Shades #1 Neon Magenta; #2 Blo-Brite Pink; #3 Glo-Brite Crimson; and #4 Glo-Brite Scarlet.

For Bright Days - Shades #5 Fire Orange; #6 Glo-Brite Hot Orange; #7 Glo-Brite Orange; #8 Glo-Brite Amber and #9 Glo-Brite Chrome Yellow.

For Colored Water and Dull Lighting Conditions- Shades #10 Glo-Brite Yellow; #11 Phosphor Yellow; #12 Glo-Brite Lime Green and #13 Glo-Brite Green.

For Clear Water In All Lighting Conditions – Shades #14 Glo-Brite #14 Glo-Brite Blue; #15 Glo-Brite Purple and #16 Glo-Brite White.

The U.S. importer of Glo-Brite products from the UK is Hareline INC. , which has their own ordering number system and color listings that are different from the English color names, but they are cross referenced on their company sight, i.e. GB137 FL Orange is #7 Glo-Brite Hot Orange, so ordering from other suppliers can make it difficult to be sure of getting the colors you really want.

Jan 22, 2018
Why Are There 16 Shades of FL Glo-Brite Floss?
by: Karl KlavonYour Name (REQUIRED!)

Wouldn’t fewer colors do just as well? The reason there are so many different shades of Glo-Brite Floss is due to the fact that adjustments in color and brightness need to be made for the different water temperatures anglers encounter, which are divided into Cold – for below optimum temps; Cool for optimum water temperature; and Warm for water temperatures that are above optimum for the species of fish you are angling for.

Besides an adjustment in color and brightness needing to be made, an adjustment in size is also required, with Cold Waters requiring the largest and brightest of lures. Optimum or Cool Waters require a reduction in brightness and lure size, as well. While Warm Waters need the smallest and dullest of lures to be used with the inclusion of Black as the principal lure component color to make up the most effective baits we can use in the above optimum water temperature ranges.

The color of the water is also a significant factor in determining the colors of lure components that need to be used. The color of clear water is Blue. Green is the color for yellow/green stained waters; while brown/red stained waters are classified as being turbid waters. And those 3 colors of water determine which colors a lure and its components need to be made up the most effective lure possible in any given water color situation. Prey species have evolved camouflage markings and coloration to hide themselves from predators in order to survive and elude capture. As anglers, we do not want our flies to escape capture. Making our artificial baits look as much as possible like camouflaged natural food items the fish eat is often counter productive. We want to make a lure that stimulates a strike, whether the fish is hungry or not.

Blue Water’s Operative Colors are: White, FL-blue, FL-chartreuse, Fl-green,Silver and Gold Plate. In the short-range mode, the color decorations that apply are FL-Red, FL-Pink and/or FL-Orange. Blue, green, chartreuse and gold will offer the longest distance colors to use in blue colored waters.

Green Water’s Operative Colors are: Fl-chartreuse and Silver Plate, with decorations of FL-Red, FL-Pink and/or FL-Orange. In green colored water we are only dealing with short-range applications.

In Turbid water (red/brown), the Operative Colors Are: Gold Plate, FL-Chartreuse and black. In brown stained waters, the fish's visibility is always extremely limited.

In Low-Light Conditions, the fish cannot see color at all because they are running on Rod Cell eye vision. Black, White, Silver Plate, and Glo-White are all that is required to fish effectively in early dawn, late dusk, and/or at night.

The reason there are 4 different FL-Reds, 4 different FL-Orange shades, 3 different FL-Yellows, 2 different FL-Greens (Is Phosphor-Yellow a yellow or a green?) and 3 FL-Blues is to give you a light, very bright, or medium, and a dark or very dull Fluorescent color choice to match the different water temperatures and water colors we have to deal with in our fishing.

Jun 11, 2018
Sanyo Valcan Lo-Vis Fluorocarbon Level Line Results
by: Karl Klavon

So far the Sanyo Valcan Lo-Vis Fluorocarbon line constructed tapered leaders I have been using on floating fly lines have been catching fish just fine, that is when I have been able to find willing fish to fish to, which has not been all that often yet so far this season. But I expect that situation to improve a lot in the not too distant future.

The Sanyo Valcan line leader butts and transition sections do sink faster than similar leaders tied with nylon line do, which is to be expected because it they are made of fluorocarbon line but, not so much faster that it is a problem. And the leaders are quite stealthy whether in the air, on or in the water whether the water is clear, green or brown.

Dec 20, 2018
Stealth Line / Leader Update
by: Karl Klavon

Well there is only a few days left in the 2018 angling year, which will complete my first season of fishing with leaders made out of Sanyo Valcan Lo-Vis Fluorocarbon Level Lines, and I have to say this has been my most successful season I have ever had from the standpoint of the lack of negative fish reactions to the Stealth Leader constructions.

And even though the Sanyo Valcan Lo - Vis FC Line is the most stealth line I have ever used for T-fishing, it is visible enough that you can easily see and get a hold of the line to hand-over-hand in the line to unhook the fish in most lighting conditions except darkness.

I have not fished it in Level Line Mode on streams yet but, if and when I encounter fish spooking to Hi-Vis Lines, I will not hesitate to give the Stealth Lines a try....Karl.

Oct 31, 2019
2019 Stealth Line Update
by: Karl Klavon

Further dry fly fishing experience has proven that the 4.5 size Sanyo Stealth FC T-line sinks too rapidly to fish dry flies to their best and fullest potential. So now I am using RIO STEELHEAD/SALMON 16 POUND Test TIPPET MATERIAL for my Floating line tapered leader butt applications.

The formula I am presently using is: 24" of 16# RIO Nylon Steelhead/Salmon Tippet Material; 18" of size 3.5 Valcan Sanyo FC Tenkara Level Line; 12"of 2.5 size Sanyo, and 9"of 8 pound test Cabela's NO-VIS FC Spinning Line; finished off with about 3 feet of any 5X FC tippet material of your choice. The total leader length is about 5' 3", not counting the tippet length. With the tippet, we have a leader between 8 and 9 feet long, which has proven to be ample and very satisfactory for stillwater Tfishing applications.

Depth is easily regulated and attained by adding weight to the fly, with the use of either wire and/or brass or tungsten bead heads.

Most Floating T-lines test out at about 20 Lbs. breaking strength. This gives us a 20 Lb., 16 Lb., 12 Lb., 10 Lb., 8 Lb. ratio of breaking strength reductions over the length of the tapered leader. Either 6X or 5X tippets will work well with this formula, and I have fished tippets until they were less than 1 foot long with no apparent falloff in fish catching action.

With a Floating Line the same length as the rod is long, this will give ample reach on the water but will require some Hand-Over-Handing in of a considerable length of line. The easiest method I have found to do this is to get hand control of the line with your non-rod hand first, then transfer the line to your rod hand, and pull the line in through that hand with your other hand - releasing and tightening tension on the line as needed with the rod hand until the fish comes to hand. Giving line is accomplished by simply letting the fish pull out line through your controlling rod hand. At times, it may be necessary to put the fish back on the rod and start over again in your landing operation but, it is all easily accomplished with a little practice.

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