September 12, 2010

Gear Review - Streamside Leaders Tenkara Line

In tenkara fishing, the fly line used in "typical" fly fishing is most commonly replaced with either a furled line or a level line roughly the same length as the rod itself.  Tenkara rods allow for such an ultralight fishing experience, the weight associated with standard fly lines is not necessary to effectively cast your fly.
Fly line is not necessary for tenkara fishing!

In choosing a tenkara line, both furled & level lines have their pros & cons.  Furled lines generally cast a bit softer for a more delicate presentation, but because they are braided contain a bit more stretch than a level line and can create a bird's nest when snagged.  Level lines on the other hand tend to be much stiffer, which is great for nymphing, and can be almost essential for casting in breezy conditions.  Because of these differing qualities, many tenkara fishermen carry both, but may prefer one over the other.  I tend to fall into the furled line camp; just my personal preference.

In experimenting with different brands of furled leaders, I've found that an excellent, and relatively inexpensive option for a furled tenkara line is available from Streamside Leaders. I've been fishing a 10.5 foot Streamside Leaders line for about 8 months on my 11 foot Tenkara USA Iwana, and just picked up a 13 foot line for my (new to me) 13 foot Tenkara USA Ayu.

The tenkara lines from Streamside Leaders are furled to order to your length specification (anywhere from 8 to 14 feet) and only cost $12.99 each.  Shipping within the USA is free.  They come in 5 different colors, including a hi-viz yellow.  This makes for an interesting option for those that have problem tracking their line.

One feature I really find appealing about the Streamside Leaders tenkara lines is the tippet ring.

Many other furled tenkara lines available offer a loop-to-loop connection for line to tippet attachment.  Some anglers prefer this because they feel a tippet ring gives their cast an unwanted hinge point.   That said, the ring is very convenient, a simple quick knot to attaches tippet to the line.  The ring can also minimize the odds of mistakenly snipping off the wrong loop when changing your tippet.  I've used both set-ups, and experienced no ill effect with the tippet ring.  I feel very comfortable saying that Streamside Leaders tenkara lines cast as smoothly and effortlessly as the more expensive lines also available.

So here's my advice to conclude this review - if you're making the leap into tenkara fishing and need to outfit your new rod, or simply are a level line angler who wants to give a furled line a try, check out Streamside Leaders tenkara lines first.  The product performs great and will leave a little extra spending money in your pocket.

The tenkara line tested in this product review was bought by me at full $12.99 retail; I currently hold no association with Streamside Leaders whatsoever. As with all independent gear reviews at Troutrageous!, I try my best to keep my reviews honest and unbiased. If something is good, it deserves applause; if it sucks, I'll let you know that too. That said, I probably wont waste my or your time reviewing something that sucks, unless it's really that bad.


  1. Looks good thanks for the review. I like the micro-ring it' a great way to attach tippet and the fact it's cheaper well "bonus".

  2. I'm in need of a new tenkara line - I'll have to give this company a try. I don't buy into the "hinging" thing so I love tippet rings. Thanks for the review.

  3. I know very little about fly fishing, but someday want to learn...saying that, I enjoyed your review. I'll find info like this very valuable when I finally make the commitment to learn a method that has been on my back burner for way too long.

  4. @ F&F - I'm a huge proponent of tippet rings, I've never had any issues.

    @ Anthony - Check these guys out, it's good stuff

    @ Dennis - Thanks for the compliment, fly fishing isn't as hard as others make it out to be.

  5. A little late but I have a question for you. Do these lines attach to the lilian the same way the TenkaraUSA furled lines do? I can't really tell from the picture. If so I'll have to pick one up, I love how easy they are to attach and how nice they cast. After using level lines for a while, I'm back to the furled. They just cast so nice.

  6. Brandon - Yes they do. They have a similar piece of looped cord at the top as the TUSA furled lines. I can't speak for the furling methods, but they are identical in every other way except the tippet ring.

  7. Sweet, that's what I wanted to know. I like the TUSA furled lines, but I don't like the loop to loop connection. Tippet rings are so much easier. Thanks for the info.