Sunday, October 16, 2011

Horsehair Tenkara Line

If you are like me and like to research on the subject Tenkara and try "new" things that are actually quite "old", you might have come across lines made from horsehair. Horsehair used to be the material of choice for a long time before new modern materials (including silk lines) took over.

I recently purchased a Horsehair Line Kit from Tenkarabum to play around and see how this type of lines cast. Making a horsehair line is quite similar to the method I posted in two of my previous blog posts here and here, but instead of mono or fluorcarbon lines you use horse hair.

The kit included a hank of horsehair, plenty to make several lines and have spare hair to fix lines (if necessary) and instructions - very detailed instructions with a lot of tips and tricks, probably mostly based on Tenkarabum's experience making this type of lines.

Hank of Horsehair
The horsehair will be furled/twisted (from as many horsehairs you like, depending on your needs, but typically somewhere between 3 and 8 hairs) into "snoods", about 2ft long, give or take.

You will furl/twist several snoods which you will then knot together to form a line in the length and taper (depending on the number of hairs you used) you like, 6 snoods will give you a line apx. 11ft in length.

My main observations making my first line were that the furling/twisting is much easier than with mono; the inherent stiffness of the dry horsehair makes the tag ends less twist with each other. It will also help if you hold the hair so that the tag ends fall straight down (instead of the tags extending to the side). Also, each horsehair is different, the smoothness, thickness and taper varies, so give this a consideration when you select the individual hairs.

I finished the tip end with a two strand twist/furl of yellow hi-vis mono, this way I can attach my tippet with a loop-to-loop connection (you could also include a tippet ring into your furl, I couldn't find my spare tippet rings so I didn't).

To the butt-end I tied a loop of backing that will attach to the lilian of my Tenkara rod.

The finished line, ready to be fished. I think I will take it out in my next and probably last trip for this year to RMNP. If you are new to making your own lines, be sure to get Tenkarabum's Horsehair Line Kit instead of just the hank of horse hair. The kit comes with 5 pages of instructions, tips, tricks and pictures that will make it much easier making your own horsehair line.

And now, a well-deserved seasonal brew! Tight Lines, K

PS: Please excuse the poor quality of the pictures, I have had some issues with my camera recently; maybe it's time to get a new one.

Disclaimer: I purchased the the Horsehair Line Kit from Tenkarabum at a discount for testing purposes.


  1. Nice post! Would like to try out Tenkarabum's Horsehair Line Kit... Looks like fun!

  2. You should definitively try it, it's fun and easy.

  3. Karel, thanks for the post. I saw the kit on Chris' site the other day and thought about giving it a try, you may have just convinced me to try it.

  4. Go for it! I will need to make a new line, believe it or not I can't find the two I made after test-casting in our yard...

  5. Hi Karel, I have bought a kit from Chris, I now LOVE horsehair lines with Tenkara! First day out with it & some flies (also from Chris) I managed 4 nice pan sized brown.
    Keep he posts coming!