Level FC Line To Tippet Transition Sections Provide Superior Casting Performance

I’m learning a lot reading your posts. Thank you.

I really should have given the Transition Segments a little different name: I should have called them Stealth/Transition Sections. Stealth Sections because they provide 2+ feet of better turning over clear line between your Hi-Viz Level Tenkara Line and your tippet. Whereas a 5 foot tippet in a single step from 4.5, 3.5 and even a #3 line is not nearly as positive as the Stealth/Transition Section will be. But Hay, if you are happy with what you are doing, keep at with my blessings…Karl.

This thread popped back up on my feed and I don’t think I ever updated my own experience testing out tapered level lines. I built some tapered level lines and tried out some different iterations. I was really surprised at how much I hated the way they cast compared with just a straight constant diameter level line, ie #3. The odd thing is that the tapered line just felt limp. I’m not sure how else to describe it. When casting it was tougher to get a nice cast. It was also difficult to get the line to stretch out with a solid fly first type cast. I gave these lines a shot on different rods to see if that made any difference. In the end I just found I like a regular level line far more. This is just my take on it and experience.

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UPDATE: Like Adam recommended doing above in his excellent article, I have now made the Stealth/Taper 2-Step (18” of 8 Lb./ 9” of 6 Lb. test) Clear Lines a permanent part of my level line system, eliminating the tying of 2 loops per line.

I still rate the length of the Level line by the Level Hi-Viz Colored Line section, then the 2’ 3” tapered Stealth Section is added but not included in the line length measurement, on to which 3 feet of 5 or 6X FC Tippet material is Looped to Looped On, depending on whether I am fishing in Stillwater or on running water. The lines start at 5, and go on to 7, 9, 11, and top out at 13 Feet for the streams I most often fish, which seems to put the Hi-Viz line far enough away from the trout to get the desired results, while still producing Fly First presentations under fairly windy conditions if the wind is not blowing too hard for the wind resistant fly patterns I mostly use, mostly foam terrestrial patterns…Karl.


@T-stillwater Karl,
Thank you so much for bringing this to our attention. I used to do this with fly fishing and then
migrated to tapered braided leader lines. However, I thought I would use the braided line as before but enjoyed the level line so much that I have stuck with that option. I need to try this formula and give it a chance. Maybe this will be my new favorite. Thanks again Karl for sharing all the information on this forum. I really enjoy reading your thoughts. You are a great asset to the forum

Mike, thank you so much for the reply and kind thoughts, and appreciation. My Tenkara line progression was like yours - I also started with traditional tapered lines and eventually settled on using level lines as the line style that fishes best for me on my streams.

Please let us know what you discover in adding a Stealth/Taper Section to your level line setup and how it casts and fishes for you…Karl.

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I preface my comments with admitting I’m not an expert at this at all.

As others have mentioned I get good turnover with a level line the length of the rod or a bit longer and don’t need longer lines in most waters I fish. And I find line and fish management with longer Tenkara lines are more difficult than using a fly rod and reel, which are the better tools for me in those situations. My reasons for using a tapered Tenkara line are increased visibility while maintaining (or increasing) stealth, and reducing the amount of expendable fluoro tippet that is rather costly and unfriendly to the environment if I snag up and lose it.

I take level #3 to #4 fluoro lines and bloodknot an 18" tricolor section of Orvis 0X .279mm Chartreuse, orange, and white nylon sighter that brings my line length to about the length of the rod. Then I bloodknot about a 12" section of 6lb .229mm fluoro and terminate with a tippet ring. Finally I use a 3’ section of (usually 5X - ~5lb) fluoro tippet.


I tied up some of these leaders to test out. They take maybe 3 minutes to tie and to me do make my casting more accurate (vs simply adding more tippet) when I am trying to fish a longer leader when the water is low and clear. The rivers I fish are generally a bit larger and having the extra reach is always an asset as wading closer is often not possible. If you find yourself in situations where having a longer line while keeping the line off the water would help you catch fish I would recommend giving it a try.

I just wanted to echo what someone said above and thank Karl for his contributions to the site. Lots of interesting thoughts and advice for those of us trying to adapt fixed line to different contexts. :handshake: