Sunday, January 23, 2011

Make Your Own Tenkara Line


Over the last few months I was reading quite a few forums, blogs and websites that were talking about making your own furled or twisted lines. Right from the bat, this sounded very interesting since I love to tinker with equipment and customize accessories.

So, I finally took the plunge and tried to make my own line. My biggest help was a post on the Tenkara Fisher Forum (, providing instructions and discussion as to how to setup your "rig" and actually explaining how it works. I highly recommend to check this post if you are interested in making your own lines.

If you have already been fishing, you will probably already have most of what you need:

- line material (i.e. tippet in 1x, 2x and 3x to start)
- a hook or nail in the wall (away from where your better half might object to it)
- a swivel
- 3 lead weights, each 1oz or so
- a piece of plastic with with 3 holes, such the top of a peanut can, cut a slit from the hole to the edge
- 3 bottles, pipes or similar

You start by attaching three 5-6ft lengths of line material  to the swivel which you have in turn attached to a nail on the wall (as high as you can comfortably reach). The other end of each strand of line material you attach to one lead weight each and let each hang into a separate bottle (or pipe or other contraption that lets the weight with the line attached spin freely). Then you take the piece of plastic and thread each strand into one of the holes in the plastic piece through the slit. Then you start twisting the line at the swivel and move the plastic piece down as you twist the line tightly. Once you are at the bottom, make an overhand knot into the line and unhook the weights and make another overhand knot at the swivel and unhook the line from the swivel. Your first line segment is done! You will do the same with each segment for your line (to achieve the taper you want) and then knot the segments to each other with surgeons knots. In the butt end, attach the loop for the lilian (I used a 30lbs backing line) and to the tip you can knot a piece of mono with a loop or hand-twist another piece of line material (which gives you a 2 strand twisted line with a loop at the tip ( which you attach to the tip of the line with a surgeons knot also.

The end result looks like this:

Now I can make the line I want, using mono or fluoro (or other material), the taper that will suit my needs best. The possibilities and combinations seem almost endless. I colored the knots with an orange sharpie to give me a bit more visual help seeing the line and maybe detecting strikes when fishing sub-surface.

Questions? Let me know!!

Tight Lines, -K

This is the year of Tenkara!

Addition Feb. 8, 2010:
Also this website provides pictures of the basic setup to better visualize it:

This is how I attach it to the wall in the basement (hook/screw & swivel):

One of the weights at the end of the strand:

My contraption to separate the weights from twisting with each other (you can also use a pipe each, a bottle or whatever you have handy that fits the purpose - in my case it was an old big Costco pretzel jar where I drilled holes into the top):