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What is your favorite line?

by Tim

What is your most often used / favorite tenkara line? And, what length and color do you prefer?

Comments for What is your favorite line?

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Aug 08, 2013
Hi-Vis Orange
by: JDSmith

Tenkarabum hi-vis orange 3.0 lengths from 13' to 20' with 14' being the happy spot.

Aug 08, 2013
Tenkara line
by: Anonymous

I use 15 lb. high visibility fly line backing. Cast great in wind and I can see it for miles even underwater. The fish see it too but I still catch a ton of fish

Aug 08, 2013
Hi-Vis Orange
by: Brian N

Tenkarabum hi-vis orange 3.0 lengths from 9' to 11'. I prefer short line method w/ Tenkara.

Aug 08, 2013
Tenkara Bum orange Hi-Vis
by: Tom Davis

Tenkara Bum #3-3.5 (#4 if wind) Hi-Vis orange with 12 inches of 12 lb green Amnesia as a sighter. Lengths 8', 10'6", 13', 16'. Tippets from 2'-5' depending on desired depth of fly penetration or skittishness of fish.

I like TB Hi-Vis orange for one main reason: it is not as limp as some of the newer lines. I find it transmits the energy of my casts better than most other lines. WIth experience comes clarity; I have fished almost every other brand and although I may like them at first, I keep coming back to Chris's line.


Aug 08, 2013
Line stiffness is important
by: TenkaraBum

Tom's point on the limpness of tenkara line is one that isn't discussed much, but it does matter. A stiffer line does in fact cast better than a limper line.

You can find line reviews on other sites that praise the lack of memory of a particular line. Other than in the dead of winter, memory can be dealt with very easily by stretching the line before using it. The lines that have very little memory coming off the spool, though, are generally quite limp lines and they just do not cast as well as a stiffer line.

Besides, just a very little bit of coil left in the end of the line is the most sensitive strike indicator you can imagine. When the coil straightens out, something is on the end of the line! It might be a rock but it is often a fish.

The line I use most is the size 3 orange Sunline Hi-Vis fluorocarbon. I actually like the horsehair a bit better, but the fluorocarbon is just so much simpler. Length varies with the rod, but generally rod length plus or minus 1 foot.

Aug 08, 2013
Sanyo "Gentle Green" 3.5 Level Line
by: Anonymous

For lakes my line of choice is the Sanyo Valcan (not high visibility) Tenkara fluorocarbon level line. I have it in 3.5 and 4.5. These are called "Gentle Green" in Japan and have had to scrounge for sources. I maintain a tight, controlled line so visibility is not particularly important and bright colors can spook fish in my subsurface presentations. Probably not a good choice on streams for strike detection. I use the Sunline orange that Chris sells for this application and it is perfect.

Aug 08, 2013
Sanyo green line
by: TenkaraBum

I can get the Sanyo light green line very easily. I just didn't realize there was any demand for it. I believe that is the line that TenkaraUSA just dropped in favor of orange and pink lines.

Aug 08, 2013
Not that same line
by: Anonymous

No Chris, it is not the same line. It is a muted olive "bleen" - same color as the western DT/WF lines I have sought out for 30 years. It is called "gentle green" in Japan. I fish stillwaters for trout 90% of the time and authored a popular regional guide on the subject. When I started fixed-line fishing four years ago and switched to it almost exclusively last year I adapted what I had learned in western fly fishing about color, presentation and stealth. It could be old age setting-in, however it has become pretty apparent that more takes are had on the low-vis line in my subsurface fishing. I will send you an email with a photo link - perhaps you can order some wholesale from Sanyo or a distributor. It might not be worth bringing in. Most Tenkara anglers fish in moving water and are satisfied with High Viz lines.

Aug 08, 2013
Seastrike or Red Ice Sea Fishing Line
by: Anonymous

My preferred Tenkara line is 0.35mm or 0.38mm diameter Ultima Seastrike or Red Ice copolymer, 3 feet shorter than the rod with 3 feet of tippet for dry flies & 5 feet shorter than the rod with 8 inches of fluoro yellow braid plus 4 to 5 feet of tippet for fishing nymphs.

These lines do not cast as easily as fluorocarbon or furled lines but they offer much improved presentation since they are easy to hold off the water & float well in situations where it is not possible to hold the line off the water. They are also very cheap.

Aug 08, 2013
I stand corrected (maybe?)
by: Anonymous

Perhaps you are right Chris. I just looked at some of the first green level line from brand XXXX and it may be the same or similar. In any event I now have a lifetime supply of the Sanyo. I also acquired 10 meters of red and black FC too. Like the Sanyo because it is real Tenkara level line with the correct specs and not repurposed. If I fished primarily in moving water I would not have had any reason to look beyond the TBum Orange!

Aug 13, 2013
RE: What is your favorite line?
by: Paul Vertrees

My favorite line is the weight-forward nymphing line, engineered and sold by the outfit I guide for, RIGS Fly Shop and Guide Service ( This line is a hand-tied, weight-forward line, tied with segments of bi-vis fluorocarbon level line. With a sub-surface fly pattern (Ishikagi kebari) or a weighted fly (i.e., killer bug, killer kebari), this line is extremely accurate on the cast. I've even used it for fishing dry flies when I didn't want to stop and change lines. It's like this line has a laser sight on that pocket water!

Dec 22, 2013
Mono better for nymphing?
by: John L

I see "anonymous" likes Ultima Seastrike and Red Ice because it is easy to hold off the water and floaty if in the water (though doesn't cast as well as fluorocarbon). Just today I played with a line of 8# (.011" = about tenkara number 2.5)Sunset Amnesia mono. I (almost always)cast a 7/64", 2.7mm tungsten bead head fly with a tenkara fluoro 2.5 or 3 line, and am aware that I more cast the fly with the line following than cast the line with the fly following.

Not so surprising then that the mono line cast fine? And, being lighter than the same diameter fluoro, bellied less, drug the fly less and was easier to keep up off the water?

Have any of you come to prefer mono line for nymphing?

Dec 22, 2013
Mono line
by: TenkaraBum

I know of one tenkara angler who prefers mono to fluorocarbon for all his fishing.

I have not tried 8# test but I did try 2# and 4# mono with bead head nymphs. I was trying to follow the Japanese keiryu anglers, who use extremely light lines and cast the weight of their split shot rather than the weight of the line. I found it to be very jerky and very inaccurate (although I did not do it long enough to learn how to cast accurately). I managed to catch streamside trees much more than I do with a heavier line. I'm sure there is a middle ground between a heavier fluoro line that is smooth to cast but causes more drag and the lightest possible mono that causes no drag but is a nightmare to cast.

If it works for you, though, that's all that matters. After you've done it for a while, stop back and tell us whether you still like it.

Dec 22, 2013
Mono for nymphing?
by: Anonymous

Chris, I think I saw you state something like that before. I once tried 4# and 6# clear fluoro as line and found what you found: accuracy was lost (visibility, too). This particular line, Amnesia 8#, didn't seem to degrade casting accuracy. Will it satisfy me later? Would a thinner but STIFFER line be as good or better, if it isn't too kinky and is visible enough?

Right. I need to try more and fish more a while and report back.

Apr 07, 2014
What us your favorite line?
by: Anonymous

I do not have a favorite line for every fishing situation and condition, so the line I choose to use varies with the fishing water I am fishing and the fishing conditions at the time of the line's choosing. And I will change line types and lengths as conditions change through out the angling day.

For fishing high lakes for trout and warm water ponds for bass and bluegill, I like a T-line made of a western style floating fly line because the floating line eliminates wind current induced drag better than a sinking T-line can.

For stream fishing where the Bow-And-Arrow Cast is used a lot because of brush and an overhead tree canopy, I like an all fluorocarbon hand-tied tapered line, a foot or two shorter than the rod is long, with as much HiVis FC line built into the line as is possible down through 8 Lb. test, then 6# and lighter for the transition to and including the tippet sections in clear FC.

For more open streams where you can cast in the more usual ways, I like the T-Bum HiVis Orange line in size #3 level line the best, with a short, tapered transition section made up of 2.5 FL-Pink FC as a spotter, and then a short length of 6 Lb. FC before a 2.5 to 3.5 foot length of 5x or 6X FC tippet material, depending on the rod's tippet strength requirements that I am using.

For really windy conditions where I am not going to be trying to hold the line up and off of the water, and where I do not mind the fact that the line will be sinking, I use tapered, hand-tied and furled lines, made of 100% Fluorocarbon Low-Vis fishing lines that I make up myself. These are also to be used primarily stillwater fishing situations, where the strike will be felt rather than visually seen, so there is no need for the HiVis lines to be added in this situation or for this application.

Apr 07, 2014
What is your favorite line?
by: Anonymous

On the above post I forgot to mention how the front of the floating T-lines are handled. Since you have a highly visible to the fish floating fly line that is a major portion of your floating T-line, and the line is not held up and off of the water in windy conditions the way you would do with a level FC T-line, you need more separation between the fly line and the fly to properly fool lake fish.

This is best accomplished by using a tapered leader type of line construction as is usually done with western fly fishing tackle and floating fly lines. I use HiVis nylon for the 12 and 10 Lb. test butt sections, then clear FC for the 8 and 6 Lb. test transition sections, and clear 5X FC for the tippet section. The leader becomes a permanent part of the floating T-line, and as with all of my T-lines, tippets are looped on and off and changed out as needed.

You are probably wondering how all these different T-lines are carried on the water, which would be a lot of weight and bulk involved if line spools were used. Rather than line spools I use a RIO Leader Wallet Insert, which has 6 Zip-lock Bag compartments, all bound together into one compact unit.

By placing a cut down 3 X 5 note card in each bag, you can double the line carrying capacity of the insert to 12 lines, and also make written notes on the size, length, and line construction formula for the lines contained in each pouch for present and future use.

I coil the lines around my hand, holding the thin end on top of my first finger with my thumb and my other fingers spread until all but the last 8 to 10 inches of the line is coiled. Then you spiral wrap the last of the line around the coil to hold it together, remove your hand and slide the line into a pouch on the line wallet insert and zip it shut after pressing the excess air out of the bag.

Putting the line into use is just the opposite: You remove the coiled line from the pouch, unwind the securing spiral wraps with your fingers spread through the coiled line, then pull the line off of your hand like line coming off of a spinning reel spool. With a little practice, this becomes very fast and an almost automatic action.

Apr 07, 2014
RIO Leader Wallet Insert Link
by: Anonymous

The above address link didn't work. Here, try this one:

Aug 31, 2014
Mono For Nymphing Report
by: Herb S.

Chris, just read (belatedly) your Dec.22,'13 comments on mono for nymphing and have done it enough on warmwater streams this summer to share my findings. I'm using 6# Stren Original Gold which is very visible for a light line. There is or can be some bounce and jerk while casting which depends on the rod, fly weight and casting style.

My Nissin Fine Mode Kosansui 320 casts light nymphs like a dream, smooth and very accurate. It handles the mono almost as well as #3.5 level fluoro. It's my go-to rod for working pockets in the brush and when I want to just have fun with a light rod.

My Daiwa Kiyose 39SF requires heavier flies (1/8" bead head and up) and more careful casting to reduce bounce and increase accuracy. Using the old fly rod dictum "tight line from fly to hand" - rod tip in this case - I found that circular casts such as the Belgian cast or the reverse with a cross body motion helps reduce line bounce which is more evident with the Kiyose. Overhead casting requires a bit more concentration on style to keep things smooth. The effort is worth it with this rod. It my go-to for big water, big fly, big fish hunting and has the reach to cover most spots I can't wade to. When I lose concentration and get line bounce I figure superiour strke detection and fish fighting ability override it.

With both rods the line is rod length or a foot or so less, with 2' to 3' of tippet, 5X on the Kosansui and 4X on the Kiyose. I'll still fly fish when necessary, but Keiryu with thin line beats it hands down for nymph fishing!

Tight lines,

Aug 31, 2014
mono for nymphing
by: John L

I had preferred 8# orange Sunset Amnesia mono over any fluorocarbon for nymphing, for reasons mentioned above: lighter weight = less line sag = straighter, tighter connection to fly. Later I preferred 10# for increased visibility, feeling the disadvantage of increased sag from weight and wind resistance worth it. Now I prefer Umpqua Bi-Color Tippet material which is both thinner and to me more visible.

A material that was as visible, thinner and STIFFER would be even better.

Aug 31, 2014
Try tapered
by: TenkaraBum

John and Herb both, if you are going to fish mono, I would strongly suggest trying a tapered line. John, The Umpqua bicolor line comes in two diameters that I know of, I would try about 75% of the line length being the thicker line and 25% the thinner, then your tippet. If there are three lengths, use all three. Alternatively, alternate 60% Amnesia 10# green, 30% Amnesia 8# red and 10% 6# Amnesia green. Herb, try a taper with 8#, 6# and 4# in the Stren gold.(60% 8#, 30% 6# and 10% 4#), then your tippet.

It won't take much of a bead head to help turn the line over.

Aug 31, 2014
by: John L

I forgot to say I tried 4X and 2X Umpqua material and settled on the 2X for its better visibility - great visibility - maybe because the Umpqua stuff is more opaque than the rather translucent Amnesia.

Chris, for months now I have used only about 7'of line and 4' of tippet with a 12' rod, so I am short line fishing. Through my eyes and yellow polaroids, on my waters, I like to see the green segment of the 2X out where the tippet attaches. So I have those two reasons for not using a tapered line, yet.

Jan 10, 2015
1.5 years preferring mono for nymphing
by: John L

Since for a while I have settled on 13' rods and short, 7' mono lines, plus 3' tippet, for bead head nymphing, I asked myself if I could still detect a difference compared to fluoro of equal diameter and length. Absolutely. It was easy to see the more belly of fluoro in calm or wind.

Do fish care if we have a tight, straight connection from rod tip to fly? I'm not sure. But I believe the Euro competition fishers still think tight is right.

Of course light, supple lines don't cast as well as heavier, stiffer ones. On my wife's favorite rod, a 9' Soyokaze, she wants 9'-10' of line, and I agree with her that a #3 -#4 fluoro line casts even a bead head much better than a shorter, lighter, more supple mono line; enough better that the extra fluoro droop is worth accepting. I think it is that such a shorter rod doesn't load itself as well as a longer, especially longer, softer, rod. I think longer and softer rods tend to load themselves during a cast, which helps the cast.

2X Umpqua Bi-Color Tippet is still my favorite line because it is more visible to me than any other 2X diameter line, nor have I found thinner line that is visible and stiff enough. I could use a thinner, less visible line with add-on indicators, but I prefer the whole line to be the indicator, and I like the stiffness of 2X Umpqua. Always the trade-offs.

Green is generally more visible to me than orange. Maybe it's because of my waters' backgrounds, or maybe because I use amber and yellow polaroids, or maybe because of my eyes.

Tight lines!

Jan 17, 2018
Valcan's Sanyo Green Lines Are Fluorescent
by: Karl Klavon

In fishing lakes and ponds with Floating Tenkara lines, and in building up tapered leaders to do so with, I found that #4.5 level FC T-line was the required 60% of the diameter of .024" PVC floating Running Line I am using for a floating T-line, (at .0144 diameter/ 17 Lb. test) for a length of 36", and 24" length of #3.5 level FC T-line (at .0122" and about 14 Lb. test breaking strength) very nicely and quite effectively completed the 60% requirement for the butt section of the standard Ritz 60/20/20 leader formula.

The 20% transition section is made up of 24" of #2.5 level FC T-line (at .0100" / 10 Lb. test) followed by 12" of (.009/8 Lb. test) FC fishing line, for a total leader length (less tippet - which is usually added at the fishing destination) of 7.5 feet. This leader casts like a dream, even during pretty windy conditions.

For lake fishing I use 5X FC tippet material, at a 36" length, (at .009" in diameter and 5 Lb. test breaking strength).

The only problem with using the #4.5/3.5/2.5 T-lines was that they are all Hi-Vis lines – much too scary for surface feeding fish. I thought that Vulcan’s much more stealthy looking lines (a frosted light green in color) would solve all my problems. But under a Black Light the pale green lines change into a very bright neon electric Fluorescent light blue color that really glows!

That is not to say that leaders tied with Valcan’s Sanyo line will not catch a lot of fish. For many years I fish with similar leaders that were tied with Chartreuse Green Amnesia running line, and with Stren Original Gold nylon mono line, which are both an exceedingly bright FL- green under Black Light. On those leaders, only the 8 Lb. and 6 Lb. test transition sections, and the 5X and 6X tippets were non-fluorescent, clear FC mono, and I caught plenty of fish on those leaders. But it sure was disappointing to discover that Valcan’s Sanyo Lines are Fluorescent as well, even though they do not appear to be fluorescent in normal lighting.

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