Loading... Please wait...

News - Tenkara

Zen Tenkara Floating Line, Reviewed by Jason Klass, TenkaraTalk.com

Posted by

A few weeks ago, I met up with Karin Miller from Zen Flyfishing and she let me try out her new floating line along the banks of the Fall River in Estes Park, CO. I pretty much exclusively fish level fluorocarbon lines; however, there are situations in which I find a floating line works better (more on that in a minute).

I’ve been tenkara fishing since 2009 and since then I’ve experimented with a lot of different lines. But I have to say, I was blown away on the first cast with this line. My friend Brian Lindsay was there too and I kept asking for the rod back because I couldn’t get enough of casting this line. It’s hands down one of the easiest lines to cast with an effortless turnover that makes you feel like you’re a tenkara rockstar. Not only is it a thrill to cast, but some of the design features are pure genius …

Technical Features

First of all, I’m not sure what material the main line is made from but I’m assuming it’s PVC-based similar to a regular fly line to give it its floatability. On one end there’s a (Kevlar?) loop to easily attach it to your lilian. But the real genius is in the tip end. It’s an 8-inch section of hi-vis orange for strike detection and at the very end there’s both a loop and a tippet ring. This means that you have the option of attaching your tippet either by a loop-to-loop (handshake) knot OR a clinch knot to the tippet ring! I’ve never seen this on any other line and I think it’s pretty innovative.

From end to end, I can tell Karin put a lot of thought into every detail of the design of this line. It’s currently available in the following lengths: 7′, 11′, 12.5′ and 15′. Some other practical advantages are spelled out on the packaging itself 

Applications

I mentioned earlier that sometimes I think a floating line is preferable to fluorocarbon in certain situations. To me, these include …

  • High-wind conditions. The greater mass of a PVC line cuts through the wind. And, if you’ve ever tried to maintain a dead drift with a level fluorocarbon line, you know that the wind can make it impossible because it grabs your line and thrashes it around, taking the control away from you. It’s better to have a line that cuts through the wind and keep it on the water to make a good presentation.
  • Stillwater. In lakes and ponds, I prefer a floating line. There’s no need to keep your line off the water in stillwaters and I feel like I can make a better presentation.
  • Fishing larger flies. Floating lines tend to be able to turn over bigger flies like streamers or weighted flies with more grace whereas with a fluorocarbon line you’re kind of “lobbing” it out there with an ugly cast that just feels terrible.
  • Beginners. Again, because of the heavier mass, a line like this is much easier for a beginner to cast that a level line. It almost turns itself over without any effort. I’ve seen plenty of novices get frustrated when they couldn’t get a fluorocarbon line to lay out. But with this line, it’s much more intuitive and will shorten the learning curve of the casting stroke and timing.
  • Dry fly fishing in slow waters. There are some places I fish where the water is slow moving and there are no cross currents to create drag, so it’s OK to have your line on the water. In these cases, I like a floating line.

Conclusion

Over the years, I’ve seen a lot of experimentation and innovation in tenkara and in my opinion, the Zen Tenkara Floating Line is one of a few notable hallmarks of the evolution of our sport. It may not end up being your everyday line, but it’s definitely worth keeping in your arsenal when the conditions demand it. You’ll be glad you had it with you.

Zen Fly Fishing 3-in-1 Tenkara Spoolbox, by Jason Klass

Over the long holiday weekend, I was able to catch up with my friend Karin Miller of Zen Flyfishing and got my hands on their new tenkara spoolbox. This is a really innovative piece of gear that is as beautiful as it is function.It’s basically a round wooden box that can hold more flies than [...]

Read More »


Bonefish Bonanza, Tenkara Style

It’s mid-July and I’m hunting around the bottom of my closet for fleece pants and wool socks. I’m heading to Alaska in less than a week and I’m excited but getting a little nervous since I’ve never been and I was invited there to fish and talk tenkara. It’s sort of surreal that its happening and the invitation only [...]

Read More »


Shark and Tarpon Tenkara

Today is a snowy, cold day in Colorado. I pulled out my Patagonia Stormfront Wet/Dry Duffel last night and started prepping for my upcoming trip to Las Pampas Lodge, Patagonia in a few weeks. I’m feeling extremely grateful these days as only two months ago I was able to fish with Scott Yetter, owner of Sight Fish Charters in the [...]

Read More »


The Making of a Tenkara Rod

I’ve always been a sucker for a really good rod. After fly fishing as a teenager and young adult with an Eagle Claw Trailmaster (which, by the way, was a pretty darned good way to begin), I started out with my old matched pair of venerable Fisher fly rods, one a 6’9” 3 WT, the other a [...]

Read More »


Margarhitaville Here I Come

The weather outside is changing and autumn is officially here, in fact, it arrived early in the morning on Thursday, September 22nd. And like clockwork, the sunshine had that warm golden hue to it and shadows were long. Darkness fell a little quicker and the night was noticeable colder.I was born, raised and lived in South Florida the [...]

Read More »


Suzume: Small Stream Versatility

I hit my local rugged, semi-desert canyons early yesterday with what I consider the most versatile small stream tenkara rod out there, our Suzume. This particular creek has deep bend pools, runs of riffles dotted with pocket water, and edges shaded by tall grass, cottonwoods, and willows. The quintessential small trout stream. [...]

Read More »


An Update on the American Tenkara Rod (Is that an Oxymoron?)

As you may or may not know, Zen Tenkara will be offering a new rod in the near future that will be making history. It will be the first-ever 100% American-made tenkara rod. Not only is this groundbreaking news, it’s (as our tag line states), “defining American tenkara,” for real.A ReviewZen is a small company and we have a [...]

Read More »


The “Sparrow” Suzume is Here

Talk about busy, these days, busy doesn’t come close to describing the Zen Team. We’re burning the midnight oil to bring you some really cool new products. The first was the Crosscurrent Chest Pack. Made right here in good’ole Colorado, USA. Streamline and bomb-proof, it’s the ultimate in efficiency and simplicity yet has 462 cu of storage. It’s a [...]

Read More »


Why Did I Get into Tying Flies?

Why did I get into tying my own flies? When I look around my tying area at all of the materials I have collected, the tools I have acquired, and the time I have dedicated to staring at my vise, this question is often contemplated. After all, there are tons of websites, local stores and friends [...]

Read More »


Sign up for our newsletter

View Cart Go To Checkout