Over the 2020 angling season, Chris - Tenkara Bum - wrote 3 essays about why a Tapered Leader should be included in between our Level FC T-Lines and our Tippets. But rather than go into a wordy explanation for why that is here, I am going to simply list the measurements, which will tell the tail far better than I can in words.
LEVEL FC.T-LINE MEASUREMENTS IN INCHES:
4.5 - 0.015" - 17 Lb. Test
3.5 - 0.013" - 14 Lb. Test
3.0 - 0.012" - 12 Lb. Test
2.5 - 0.011" - 10 Lb. Test
TROUTHUNTER FC 5X and 6X TIPPET MATERIAL’S DIAMETERS IN INCHES:
5X - 0.0058" - 4.9 Lb. Test
6X - 0.0050" - 3.7 Lb. Test
As can easily be seen from the above, when you add a tippet to your level FC. T-Line, regardless of the size line you are using, there is a very BIG step-down in line diameters that transmits energy from the line to the tippet and fly poorly, especially in a wind. It gets the job done, for sure, but smoother, more accurate and better wind fighting casts can be made by introducing a section of Tapered Lines in between your Level T-Line and your Tippet Material. Also, having more No-Vis Line space in between your highly visible T-Line and your fly can significantly increase your catch rates, (by up to 70% according to Discover Tenkara). Chris chose to call this a Tenkara Tapered Leader, incorporating additional step downs in sizes #2, 1.5 and even size 1 Level FC. T-Lines in the construction of the Leader, as well as equivalent diameters of FC Tippet Materials in the needed step downs to get the desired performance levels he wanted. I believe the progression should go: T-Line, to Transition Section, to Tippet, rather than calling the whole thing a Tenkara Leader.
BUILDING AN ALL PURPOSE TRANSITION SECTION:
Since most of us probably use Level T-Lines running between size #4 and size #2.5 (0.014 to 0.011" in diameter), the next 2 step downs can be of 0.009 and 0.008" respectively, which equals out to 8 Lb. and 6 Lb, Test FC lines or tippet materials, followed by either 5X or 6X tippets. or lighter if needed for your rod’s protection.
To minimize the cutting and retying of lines due too wear and tear, we will use the Loop-To-Loop Connection, with Perfection Loops (running @ 95% break strength) at the ends of our T-Line, at each end of the Transition Section, and at the leader end of the Tippet material, with a Double Fig-8 Knot being used to join the 8 Lb. and 6 Lb. Test Transition line sections together with (@ better than 90% knot strength).
The length of the finished 8 Lb. test section should be about 18 inches long, plus enough line to tie the necessary knots of course, and the finished length of the 6 lb. test section should be about 9 inches or so. If you start by tying your perfection loop about an inch short, as it tightens down, it will come out close to your target length. This is not Rocket Science, and an inch or 2 one way or the other will not make any noticeable difference in the casting and fishing of your line. The tippet length should be about 2 to 3 feet long, or as you prefer for your fishing conditions, The total length of the transition section and the tippet (@ 3 feet) will come out to be around 5.5 feet long, which will cast much better than 5 feet of tippet a lone would when it is attached directly to your much thicker T-Line, while still maintaining enough distance between the fly and the Hi-Viz T-Line to eliminate most of the Hi-Viz Line’s Spooking of fish. Give the Transition Section a try and see what you think…Karl.