Saturday, October 22, 2011

The RC Sakasa Kebari

Lately, I haven't been able to get out as much as I would like to or was used to during the last few months, so I started focusing on Tenkara "indoor" activity such as making lines (i.e. the horsehair line from the previous post) or tying flies.

I have been playing around with a few ideas for flies and one of them made it to the current Tenkara USA Swap V, this swap is themed Western Fly Tenkara Variants. After a lot of back and forth I decided to take shot at the Royal Coachman.

I tied a few prototypes before settling on the final design, my biggest challenges were how to incorporate the white wing and what material to use. I never tried to tie a wing to a sakasa kebari, and between wrapping the body with red silk, peacock herl collar and hackle it wasn't until a few flies later that I had the best tying sequence figured out (with help of my buddy Jason of Tenkara Talk).

For the wing, I tried calf tail (looks crappy), goose biots (even worse), traditional wet fly wing (meh) and antron (yeah, that's it). I realized that the key for tying in the wing is the ability to finish the fly under the wing, so I used a trick that I learned when tying the mercury RS2 with an antron wing: Tie tie a good length (i.e. 2"-3") of the wing material and fold it back over the hook eye and out of the way, when the fly is finished trim the wing to length.

May I introduce, the RC Sakasa Kebari:

What is your favorite Western fly and would you tie it Tenkara style?

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.