February 7, 2016

The Eyes Have It

Most all fly anglers know that one essential stream side tool is polarized sun glasses. But to us tenkara anglers sun glasses are critical. Not only do they increase your ability to see into the stream, to detect fish and to see the bottom better (if you are wading), but they also allow you to see the line better.

In level line tenkara all of the line is off the water's surface. This is what makes tenkara so effective. Without this fundamental concept, tenkara is just fly fishing without a reel. Keeping the line off the water allows the tenkara angler to direct the fly around obstacles, adjust for stream currents, and detect subtle subsurface takes with more efficiency than traditional "line on the water" fly fishing. Essentially, keeping the line off the water allows the tenkara angler to achieve that "holy grail" of fly fishing, the drag free drift.

But to keep the line off the water you must have a light line. Monofilament nylon in too light to cast, unless it's a tapered line like a Midi, Soft Tenkara, or Fujiino Tenkara line. Because of this, fluorocarbon level lines have been the tenkara anglers line of choice. But to effectively keep the line off the water, especially of you fish upstream, like I do, you must use a lighter gauge line like #2.5 or #3.

Light lines work great at keeping the line off the water, but the smaller the line diameter the more difficult it can be to see the line -- even if the line if blazing orange! A #2.5 level line can be exponentially harder to see than a #3.5 line.

To help my tired old eyes see the takes better, I use a sighter, a 6-8 inch section (not 3 feet as mentioned in Jason's article) of contrasting colored nylon (Amnesia). This gives me a focus point and, at least I'm convinced, helps me miss far fewer fish. But even a #2.5-3 orange level line with green sighter is difficult for me to see, particularly if the line is longer than 9 feet.

Enter polarized sunglasses. I have found that wearing polarized sunglasses increases my ability to see the sighter. But more important than sunglasses alone are sunglasses with side shields. Light entering between my eye and the lens causes unwanted glare, and thus greatly reduces contrast. Adding side shields dramatically improves contrast and lets you see the line better -- just like wearing a hat does. Personally, since I wear corrective lenses I wear optical grade fit-over sunglasses. These surround my eyes and eliminate any stray light from entering at odd angles.

Another thing that helps me is the tint of the lens. Many sun glasses are grey or neutralizing. These are OK in full sun, but on overcast, foggy or rainy days they may actually make seeing your line more difficult.  So, if its overcast, raining or the like, I have found that amber or yellow polarized lenses bring my line out of the background much better than grey scale lenses. The line I use is orange and the sighter is green; amber or yellow lenses makes the orange line color "pop". They also help accentuate the green sighter.

So, here's what helps me see my line:
     1) always wear a hat (I wear a long bill baseball-type hat with dark under brim)
     2) side shields help improve contrast and reduce lens glare
     3) polarized lenses are a must
     4) amber or yellow tint help you to see orange fluorocarbon level lines.

January 31, 2016

Moonlit Fly Fishing hooks

Moonlit Fly Fishing is expanding their offerings for fly anglers from just furled lines to now fiberglass fly rods, Loop fly rods, reels and hooks. I was at their office the other day and picked up a few of the new hook offerings. They come in various hook shapes, sizes and gauge of wire.

The hooks are competition style hooks -- barbless, needle point and, in one model, jig style. They are strong and competitively priced.

On one of the styles that I received the eyes were pretty small, but usable. Other than that, I can't find any issues with these hooks.

So, if you are in the market for some new hooks (or new fiberglass fly rod, Loop rod, furled line or reel), give Moonlit a try.

Disclaimer: I have no formal affiliation with Moonlit Fly Fishing. I receive no compensation for reviewing their products. I did receive the hooks free of charge, however.

January 22, 2016

Two New Tenkara Lines from Tenkara Times

I recently received two new fluorocarbon level lines from Oleg Stryapunin of Tenkara Times. He is aware that I, like many tenkara anglers, prefer level lines over furled lines, as they provide a lighter presentation and are easier to keep off the water's surface. I have used Sunline Buttobi fluorcarbon line for a number of years now, and it has been my preferred line, but these two new lines appear to be up for the challenge.

The two lines are Line Systems Tenkara (LST) orange and YGK pink fluorocarbon level lines. Both are supple fluorocarbon lines that come in #3, 3.5, 4, 4.5 sizes. The LST also comes in a 2.5. The YGK is just a little stiffer than the LST.

Both are highly dyed lines with excellent color retention. Both come on a plastic spool, but the YGK spool is much thinner than the LST. The YGK spool is about as thin as a standard tippet spool, making it much more easily carried in a chest pack or vest, as it takes up very little room.

There's really not much more I can say about these lines other than they both work great. So, if you use fluorocarbon level lines you should consider the LST and YGK fluorocarbon level lines from Tenkara Times. They will serve you well.

January 19, 2016

Items for Sale Tab Updated

I have a few items for sale on my "Used Items for Sale" tab. One item is new and unused. The other is very lightly used.

I'm still thinning my stock of items, slowly. It's better that they get used by someone than sit in my fly room!