February 11, 2015

RIGS Floating Tenkara Level Line -- review

The last month I had the opportunity to take some young men from my church to one of the rivers open for fishing and teach them tenkara. The first time we went out, I had them use furled lines and kebari, but they didn't catch anything. They did OK learning to cast the furled lines, but a breeze made it difficult for them to effectively cast and control the line.

Despite the frustration, the group wanted to go fishing again so I decided to take a different approach -- I decided to have them use PVC floating lines, an indicator and a small beadhead nymph. I have a few PVC lines that I had made, but I had also just received a couple of samples of RIGS Floating Tenkara Level Lines to test out. I thought that having these tenkara neophytes use the RIGS lines would be the best test of all.

#18 Mylar Prince was the fly that saved the day!

Here's what RIGS says about their proprietary floating lines: "RIGS Floating Tenkara level line was designed with some deliberate applications in mind: windy conditions, dry fly drifts and still water presentation.   Our improved Transitional Loop connection and new HI-Viz taper will turn over a five foot section of tippet with ease, while the floating line section offers the finest buoyant coating and floating line technology available.  RIGS Hand Tied Floating Tenkara level line allows anglers to combine traditional Tenkara fly fishing technique with the best of western tactics - a progressive blend of efficiency."

We arrived at the river to find a 15 mph wind, blue skies and a couple of western fly fishers downstream of us. I helped the boys rig up using the Dragontail Tenkara Shadowfire rods I had bought for just such an occasion. To these rods the boys attached the floating lines.

We then waded out into the flow and I positioned them near holes where I knew there had to be fish. Usually the fish were rising this time of day, but the wind kept all the midges off the surface and so there was no risers at all.

I borrowed one of the rods (I didn't fish that day, because I was trying to help keep the boys from falling in. The other leaders fished, however) and showed them how to cast, how to watch the indicator and how to adjust for the wind. On my third cast, just as I was saying, "if the indicator stops or hesitates, lift the rod tip", my indicator stopped. I lifted the rod tip and was into the first rainbow of the day. I don't need to tell you that catching a fish within the few minutes of being on the water sure made me look like I knew what I was doing!

The boys cast the RIGS line much easier than they had the furled lines on the previous trip. Soon they were into their own trout. One young man hooked three in a row! I helped them get the fish into the net and take pictures for their mothers.

It didn't matter that the rainbows were 10-12 inches and not monsters. We all had fun, no one drowned, and amazingly enough, no flies were lost.

I was impressed with the RIGS lines, both 12 and 15 foot versions. They cast very well. They float well, and they are easy to attach to the lilian via a generous transition loop.

I'm not a PVC line guy. Heck, I'm not a furled line guy either, but I must admit that using those PVC lines on a windy day worked pretty well. I can see that lines like these would be great for fixed line fishing on ponds and lakes, in the wind, or when throwing large, wind resistant flies. They also cast well for beginners.


  1. I have the RIGS line for my pond fishing in Florida. It's great, easiest casting line I own.
    It's actually made its way on to my daughter's tenkara rod due to how well it casts.
    I still prefer the benefits level line provide for prospecting trout, but this line is a gem that doesn't get enough exposure.

  2. I do a lot of T-fishing on high mountain lakes, and Rigs type floating T-lines are the most often used and the most effective T-lines you can have for that kind of fly fishing as it is almost always windy on the high lakes in the afternoons. But like you (Tom), I still prefer fishing level FC style T-lines for fishing running waters, unless it is too windy for that kind of line because it is easier to hold your line up and off of the water with a lighter line. However, it is surprising how well the Rigs Floating T-lines fish in the line held off of the water mode as well....Karl.

  3. Hello, I am a western-style fly fisherman from the north of Spain. I usually fish most of the time with nymphs, I have a 10ft line 3 rod and I fish with a 0.12 mm tippet. Our rivers are small mountain rivers, with small trouts.
    I tell you this because I am going to change to tenkara style, but I have several doubts. I am not sure how to do the rig. Do you use the same setup for fishing with dry flies and nymphs? I looked for information about it but I did not find it. Please, could you tell me how do I have to make my line for fishing with dry flies and nymphs? Can I use level lines for both styles?
    A rod of 12ft and 6:4 action would be appropiate for fishing small trouts with delicates tippets?
    Thank you very much.

    1. Yes, you can use a level line for both styles. Level lines are a little more difficult to cast but they are easier to suspend off the water. A 360 cm 6:4 rod would work very well for this type of fishing.