Line length

I think there was a thread query on Adam’s site where peeps noted their preference on line length. It was a great thread.

The thread discussed anglers preference but I do not recall ever someone noting the why they had a favorite. A guess would have a lot to do with how and where they fish.

In general, most of us seemed to keep the line line length to the length of where the fly is at the butt of the rod or within 1.5 of the rod length.

A lot of this comes down to control and aspects of presentation.

Fly…topwater presentations… vs deepwater presentations.

Angler…fishing from a bank above water level …vs fishing from a bank at water level…vs wading…vs upstream presentation…vs down stream

conditions…ice…rain… wind.

All of the above factor into effective control of a presentation.

Keeping the line at length of the rod is most versatile, but I will tailor the length to the predominant factors.

I would say in the above cases it would be wonderful to have a magic way of interactively changing line length…sans putting guides and a reel on the rod. We are talking ±3’.

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more often than not, my mainline (whether it is LL or Tapered Mono) will be very close to rod length, and I’ll put 18-36" of tippet on there. This works for most situations that I fish, but if I need extra reach or to get deep, I’ll do extra tippet before I cut a longer length of LL.

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Depends on conditions
On the short end on small brushy streams I’ll do short lines on a 12 or 13 ft rod: line + tippet = 1 to 2 feet shorter than rod

When specifically nymphing on spring creeks - I’ll also do lines that may be 1 to 2 feet shorter than the rod and extend tippets depending on water depth - tippets up to 6ft sometimes - but I’ll vary tippet as needed

for general “tenkara style” fishing on medium sized streams with good casting room - I generally go to 15’ lines

There are very few places where more than that is needed on the creeks that I fish normally

Occasionally when I go to a larger river I’ll go up to 18 or 20 feet of line but I just don’t fish bigger water that often where 18 or 20 feet is useful

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I don’t tailor a line to conditions.

I don’t carry long and short lines.

I don’t care what people think about the way I do it but I do study Japanese tenkara in books and I listen to the Japanese friends that have been doing it for a while.

Not so much from Americans, they are trying to figure it out and they just do what other people do, I don’t do that.

All my rods get the same formula.

I use the same line material, Nissin or Sansui (Tenkara USA) LL in pink, #3.5 with the mainline about 50cm longer than the rod, 50cm of #3 clear fluorocarbon tip terminated with a small tippet ring. From there I use Seaguar GrandMax FX in .8, .6 or .4 depending on fish size or protecting my travel rods.

Same configuration in length and construction.

#3.5 is a line that will cast in some wind and still have decent drape. Clear tip helps with the relatively short tippet lengths I use for casting accurately and it seems to help with a soft presentation?

  • 1.5m length (rod length + 1.5m to fly) in all rods helps me in many ways. It keeps me out of the trees because I always know the rod and line length. I know the backcast area. Same length gives me the consistency in gauging everything.

It’s my system, what I use.

I want to forget about my fishing stuff.

Forget about it.

Important but no longer a “thing” because it’s what I’ve been doing for so long.

People tend to keep things complicated. That does many things, all which I’m not interested in.

Working towards one fly, one rod and one line is where I improve. That process is where all my advancement has come.

Consistency in replicating a method, the line, which I once thought was the great variable is no longer.

+1.5m is the sweet spot.

The only hassle, it’s a little long as I thread the needle walking spot to spot, the tippet can hang up on stuff, I’m getting better at finger weaving the slack and it’s no problem for me to walk a 4.5m rod through tight foliage, spot to spot, rod in front.

Do the same thing over and over so you don’t think about it. The equipment becomes an extension of thought. Fish appears in your net, smile on your face.


Don’t let people dictate what you do.

Just do it.

Your way.


Rhythm is important for tenkara angler

Dancing with the river while rod in hand

If you dance with same partner(rod and line lengths) the rhythm will be good well

I totally appreciate becoming intimate with ones tools.

At the same time…if your partner does not know the waltz…you need to find on that does…if you want to enjoy the moment.

Adam. I do not see adjustments of tippet or line length as conplications. No different than the 10 rods you note in your quiver.

I own ten rods but use one at a time.

As described.

Rhythm, I like that, partner, so true.

The question was answered and I suggested to practice tenkara your way.

Rhythm, partner, dance… yes. I like that.

I do not know Waltz

Shall WE DANCE :dancing_men:

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Maybe he knows some moves.

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Good morning everyone!
Japan time is now 9 am
I will go fishing.:smiley:

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Next weekend, we meet for big big tenkara summit. It’s going to be fun.

Maybe a little fishing.

Many of us will close the gap and finally meet.

I like that.

…and do a little fishing too.

Dr. Hisao Ishigaki, can’t wait to meet him, he is the level line man. It will be an honor to meet him. And Yvon Chouinard too. Simple fly fishing enthusiast. Biggest meeting of tenkara, lots of anglers, just like I like.

I wish you could be there. I’ll take some pics for you and write a little story.

Sometimes the simplest thing is change to meet conditions rather than fight them in my opinion - it can be more complicated to try and fit a square peg in a round hole - simplification can be its own complication too if its not a fit for you personally

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I try to keep the line + tippet around the length of the rod, maybe only a foot or two longer. It annoys me when I’m moving from one spot to the next and I have 5ft of line and tippet dangling.

It takes 30 seconds to cut some line or add a section of it. This way I don’t carry multiple lengths of line, but just a backup spool (respooled onto a thin tippet spool like trouthunter or fujino).

Man isn’t that the truth.

Not able to wrap my head around complicating simple.

My mom taught me, “it is what it is”

So I try pretty hard not to overthink it, when I fail, that’s when I overthink it.

right tool for the job concept

To touch on right tool for the job…consider this.

Recently reported a trip to a brook trout stream. This stream had dried as it is summer and the banks that flank the channel are 1-3’ higher than the water surface.

Like a robot i put on my favorite line length and found that both my posture and casting stroke required adjustment. Yes i could fish this way but there was no efficency in it. A simple change of line length made a huge difference and i could cast in my rythm again.

There are three tools that need to be on harmony. The anglers body, the rod, and the line. If any one of them is out of whack its going to affect your enjoyment of casting. Balance. Your body is the primary tool for fishing…the other two should be adjusted to support it.


Most of the time I would say I use a line 1m longer than the rod + 1m tippet.
(basically the distance from my hand to the water surface I find not to long to easily deal with)
But also a range of RL (Rod Length) + .5m to + 1.5m. Occasionally line length = RL, but not often.

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I wasn’t going to give it away, I wanted to see if someone else got it and David did.

I tried a line as long as the rod and it’s easy to thread the needle but that isn’t what I want in a rod, I could care less about that, pain in the ass but still not the reason why.

Catching fish is the reason, the line length I describe is all about accuracy, playing the fish (rod) and landing the fish. Short lining the rod, it is rough on the thin part of the rod when playing and landing. I found myself worrying about folding the tip, especially when it all came together and I catch a nice one. Having a net helps but, I don’t always have a net.

But you got it David, same reason, about the same length.

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