Nylon level line

I realize that nylon level line has been vaguely referenced in several of the other threads, but it as a standalone topic had not specifically been discussed. This week, I ordered 3 different kinds of nylon level line to try out. I’m curious to see what it’s like to fish with and to see how it highlights my flaws and weaknesses in casting.

I ordered it from the Rakuten website. The one downside is the brands of line they are allowed to ship to the US is very limited. Yes, I could have used other means to order some that would have likely enabled me to try multiple different brands, but I had Rakuten points to use that helped defray my shipping costs.

Because of the aforementioned, I ordered three different lines, all by Varivas. They should arrive next week as long as Hurricane Irma doesn’t have anything to say about it. Here they are:

Varivas black snapper 3号 (0.285mm)
mor-g-ksp-otsvep-fr

Varivas black snapper special 3号(0.285mm)
mor-g-kdsp-gr

Varivas Vermax Iso 4号 (0.330mm)
mor-vmvlsfl-2

Has anyone else specifically used nylon level line?
What’s been your experience?
What did you use for size and brand?

A friend of mine had a really long piece of nylon level line that he got as a sample from the discover tenkara folk.

It was pretty long…I forget the length. It may have been 20’. I casted it on my sato and I think we may have casted it on another rod.

It was not for me at that length and did not have the luxury of trying a smaller segment as it was not my material to trim down. There was a 10 mph wind and it really complicated the cast. If that line at that length is any indicator of poor casting mechanics…the siren was going off and a spotlight cast over me…hahahahahha.

a lot of the line pooled and the energy did not transfer. I do not fish that length on a 4m rod…ever. The only time I might fish that length is on a 5m rod, but I did not test it on a rod of that length. If I want reach I will lengthen the rod over lengthening the line…or…I will approach a spot closer with my legs.

I have some Fujino Tenkara Line its a tapered nylon line. I bought some 7 and 9m lengths to pair with my carp rods. They do not have enough density to load up my carp rod, but I should revisit them with my gm 53.

I would suspect that nylon may have less memory than mono or flouro. By weight it probably has a similar diameter to mono and a larger diameter than flouro…but these are assumptions.

At this point in my journey, I feel that I am good with the furled and flouro level lines I own and really do not see any advantage for my fishing with nylon. It may be more of a niche line. I like material that may have broader utility…especially in the areas I fish here in NewEngland, there always seems to be significant wind.

To start off I’ll say that you aways hear it’s tough to cast … it can be - but in shorter lengths (12’ feet and shorter) it’s not so bad at all with a little practice - and I do think it will hone your casting skills by trying it out - you’ll really learn how to adjust to get the most of it - it will not hide casting deficiencies like heavier lines do

I’ve just used regular old nylon quite a bit. Hi-vis yellow Suffix Elite Premium in 12 or 14 lb

The 12-lb would be roughly a #4.5 line perhaps the 14 is #5.5 maybe

I have not tried any nylon level line made specifically for tenkara though - if that’s what those are

I’ve used the Suffix for years (used to be primary line for me) - in those larger sizes it’s pretty easy to cast - I started using it simply because it was cheap and easy to get in hi viz colors and I liked the floatability (compared to FC) for smallmouth fishing on creeks using poppers and brushy dry flies

I’ve been messing around with lines closer to #3 (just some Stren 8-lb) and it’s a bit too supple to be ideal - though at 12’ its pretty easy to cast - up at 18-ft not as easy but still do-able and I think a bit more stiffness would help - so I’m looking for that

the Suffix in 12 and 14-lb is fairly stiff - but I haven’t bought any in 8-lb

you’ll have t let us know what you think of those

1 Like

Back in China, I tinkered with using nylon level line as the main line for tenkara style fishing, but gave up pretty quickly, as it just didn’t want to work for me if there was any sort of breeze. Granted this was using rods sourced locally, but I doubt that the results would change much now if I was used my Nissin Zerosum. I suppose it would be worth giving it a go though. All I brought back with me was a spool of 3号, so it is likely going to be too light. The Zerosum will work with 2.5号 fluoro, though not all that solidly. Again - if there’s any sort of breeze. I recall reading that 3号 nylon is supposed to be comparable to something like 1.75号 fluorocarbon when it comes to casting.

I did try using clear fluorocarbon mainline, the 3号 nylon as a sighter then tippet. That did seem to cast just fine. I just haven’t tried it out on anything more than the local Chinese Tilapia - so no real test.

Now back in the US, I currently, I just use the mono as a sighter when keiyru style nymphing. It’s a bright, solid yellow color. Sure, it’s odd going from 4x to 3号 down to 6x, but it seems to work well enough.

1 Like

No Anthony, these are not designed specifically as tenkara lines.

From my digging around, I was not able to find any; at least that I could get sent here. These three are all salt water fishing lines. I did get some advice as to what specifically to look for in nylon lines to make sure they’re like what are used by some of the Masters in Japan.

Although, I could be totally wrong on this, it’s my understanding that people in Japan use other nylon lines for this purpose (though not sure if exclusively these ones), not necessarily ones made for tenkara.

Thanks @Gressak and @Scott_T and @A_Naples for sharing your experiences thus far.

I have a couple of places I can go where wind is seldom a problem. Since it won’t arrive until next week, I’m curious to see what the weather for the weekend will be like and whether the hurricane impacts New England.

I’ve got spools of two different sizes of Amnesia in that intense red. I wonder how it would cast?

I had a Fujino 7M tapered line that I tried with my Nissin Sakon 36, and I think once with my Seiryu-X 45. I just could not make it work. I’m sure it was me, but I just didn’t know how to time the cast or work the angles with that much line.

Recent article by DT talks about different lines, including Nylon Level Line. The stuff some of the guys use in Japan has very specific properties. The nylon line part is all the way at the bottom, but doesn’t give specifics.

http://www.discovertenkara.com/ultimate_guide_to_tenkara_lines.html

I fished with a size 4 Japanese nylon saltwater fishing line before I got my first hi-vis fluorocarbon line (2008). It cast just fine on a still da, but died trying to cast into even a slight beeeze. I stopped using it once I got the bright pink fluorocarbon (which has been discontinued so long i am sure most US tenkara anglers don’t remember it).

I spent a lot of time experimenting with the gold Stren and a little time with Sufix. I like the Stren much better. When I still had a Daiwa Sagiri my favorite line for it was a 14# gold Stren, which might have been equivalent to a size 3.5 but I don’t recall and I’m not home now to check.

Like the first nylon line I fished with, it casts just fine on a dead calm day but is nowhere nearly a nice as fluorocarbon in any breeze at all.

I have cast the bright green line that Paul Gaskell and John Pearson rave about (but not a 20’ length). It has been a long time since I cast the Stren so I can’t really compare them. A rod-length line, which is what I usually fish casts just fine.

I have thought about importing some Japanese nylon lines but haven’t decided whether to do it.

I was out casting about 12’ and 18’ of 8# nylon (approx #3.5 ) in the wind (slight breeze) yesterday - it went okay actually

It was Stren - and I think I’d have really preferred the Suffix (have to disagree on that point due to stiffness CM_Stewart)

At 12’ even with some breeze it was pretty easy - 18’ was trickier in the breeze - but messing about with casting stroke I found a sort of modified belgian style with a sidearm delivery worked pretty well - the belgian style keeps the line moving nicely and the sidearm deliver allowed me to see the line which seemed to help me

and a “standard” tenkara overhead worked too but timing was much trickier with the 18’

The key for me seemed to be just a faster cast overall - quicker pickup (which is always good) but a much quicker delivery than I’d normally do

When I got it right the line would unroll to the end very nicely even with a little breeze - but like I say I do not have the 18’ line down pat yet

12’ piece of cake though

My new lines arrived today, earlier than expected. I had the chance to run to the Post Office during my lunch break and pick them up. The colors are considerably brighter than I had anticipated them to be. It also looks like I may have a chance later this week to experiment fishing with them; I just hope the weather cooperates.

I got a short break from my long day at work before it got dark out to take some photos of the new line.

1 Like

looking forward to hearing how you like them

1 Like

You just got to love those nice opaque colors…

FYI, the brightly colored nylon lines I used in China were very low density, specifically so they’d float on the surface. You might find that to be the case with yours as well.

Yeah Scott, I believe that will be the case for one of the lines, as it specifically stated in the description that it would float. The other two said they were formulated to sink faster in the description on the manufacturer’s website. I keep all my line off the water as much as possible, so I don’t care about that. But like you say, it may affect how they cast.

It looks like the weather will cooperate and I have a day off tomorrow, so I should be able to test these out. Well, barring there’s no wind.

1 Like

I couldn’t wait until tomorrow. After work this evening I went to a stream in town for about an hour. I tried the pink Vermax VLS Iso line with my typical setup. For me that means a line the length of the rod plus 1m of tippet. This is what I use 95% or more of the time. I occasionally (a few times a season) will change the line length, but it’s rare.

Today, I paired it with a Suntech Tenkara Bum 40. So that meant I had 4m of line and 1m of Trouthunter 5.5x tippet and I tied on an Ishigaki style kebari; mostly because that’s what was easily at hand. It was a beautiful evening and I had plenty of opportunity too find out if I could see the line. There was direct and bright evening sun and I had no difficulty seeing the line. Additionally, there were plenty of places with full shade and again, I had no problems seeing the line. The only really difficult place to see it when it was directly against small stones. This steam was very low and plenty of the bed was showing. I could still see it against that background, but it was harder than all the others.

The line itself is moderately shiny and very pliable. More pliable than any of the tenkara level lines I already owned. It almost had this relaxed sense to it. There was no noticeable memory to the line when taking it off the manufacturer’s spool. One thing I did seem to notice was that it did not seem to hold knots very well; then again, I only played with it for about an hour. I’ll need to make more observations.

I thought that my casting had been gradually improving, particularly this year. Then there was today. Okay, that sounds a little extreme but, the first 20 minutes or so today, definitely showed that I have plenty of room for improvement in my casting.

The main thing I observed, was that I was trying to cast the line and wasn’t letting the rod cast the line. I’m not sure if this make sense or not. The first 15 minutes of being out, I was lucky if my kebari was landing 2-3m in front of me. So, I tried changing my casting stroke to let the rod momentum move the line and not try to move it with my arm and shoulder. After another 10-15 minutes of trying this, I had a beautiful cast. The line fully unfurled and my kebari dropped on the water within a short distance of where I had intended for it to hit the water.

The cast just felt right as it was happening, so I tried to replicate what it felt like. After another 20 minutes or more, seven or eight casts of ten would nicely unfurl with the kebari gently landing on the water within a dinner plate’s diameter of where I wanted it to land.

Once I started to understand what it felt like, I was able to get my kebari to land on the water with the most delicacy that I’ve ever been able to do. I certainly do not consider myself good at this, but I do agree that nylon line certainly does elucidate your flaws in casting. I was surprised at how subtle changes in how I held the rod, how my arm was positioned, and how tense I was all dramatically improved or degraded my casting. Next is to try one of the infamous #3 nylon lines and see how much more that accentuates areas in which I need to improve and get to learn. Until tomorrow.

Wow
you are GREAT :hugs:

casting nylon definitely improves your casting - this is a big advantage of working with nylon from time to time

A Japanese acquaintance of my actually recommended using yarn to do what you describe - that is finding how to use the rod rather than rely on the weight of the line

I went out for half a day today to a river I really like, but where fishing is rather difficult. Today was no different. This river is mostly comprised of pocket water and is overall quite fast compared to many rivers and streams around this area. The headwaters of this river are one of my favorite places with very few people, but due to work obligations I don’t have time to head that far into the mountains right now.

I arrived just as dawn was breaking and already had the pink Vermax VLS Iso line rigged up from yesterday evening. The air temperature was 48F (9C) and the water was 50F (10C). The air was perfectly still. As the bright sun started creeping over the mountains, the pink line quickly became very difficult to see against the rocks and boulders.

After losing several fish, I decided to change and try the green black snapper special. This line was very easy for me to see against all backgrounds. I like the opaque color of it better than my green Yamatoyo fluorocarbon line. It had some memory coils from being on the spool, but they quickly straightened out.

This line cast a little differently than the pink one. It was not any more difficult (though it was the infamous #3), it was just different. After about fifteen minutes, I figured out that I needed to let up right at the end of my cast in order for the end of the line and my tippet to turn over. After that, it was a lot of fun. I left that line on the rest of my time out.

The frustrating thing was that each pocket was a “one and done.” They would strike once and if you didn’t set the hook, that was your only chance. Even if you change fly/kebari or change presentation style, it didn’t matter. Either way, I caught some and lost a lot more. I didn’t get too many photos because I almost fell in twice trying to take them and gave up.


Sorry for the bad last photo. Most of what I was catching were wild browns today and this was the only photo I got.

3 Likes

Interview with Kura San about Nylon Level Line.

I had a conversation with Robert Worthing of the Tenkara Guides about Monofilament Level Lines in general (both nylon and FC). He’s tried a lot of different lines made for bass fishing, tenkara, salt water, and so on and he mentioned that the differences between nylon and FC are starting to blur and become more of a spectrum. Tournament bass fishing gets a lot of money in line technology, so they have Nylon lines with similar densities to a lot of FC lines and there are also FC lines that are just as supple and stretchy as nylon.

Whether it is Nylon or FC, I think the main point in all of this is having a dense, supple, monofilament line that has a small diameter (more aerodynamic) that allows you to cast with accuracy in a multitude of wind conditions, but is as light as possible to keep the line off the water and have the least amount of influence on drag.

1 Like

Well said Jay.

Thanks for the video too.

Nice discussion - I’m fascinated to see that you find the same “diagnostic tool” effect for your casting that light nylon level line seems to have in my (& JP’s) experience Peder.

I put a few more diagrams and a bit of explanatory text to the blog post I set up for Kura-san’s video. Link below in case it is useful/of interest:

http://www.discovertenkara.com/expert-guide-to-level-nylon-tenkara-line.html

2 Likes