A while back I got a few lines from Moonlit Fly Fishing to test out – well this post has been way to long in the coming. I received 3 lines. One each of the three line types offered by Moonlit:
- Ronin Tenkara Line: The lightest and most supple made with only polysester thread
- Bushi Tenkara Line: Made with polyester thread and a core of nylon mono. The nylon core provides a bit more body to turn over larger flies – but remains light.
- Shogun Tenkara Line: A slightly heavier line made with polyester thread and a core of fluorocarbon mono. This line is most suited to the largest and heaviest flies.
Each line can be customized for your preferences. You can choose the color combination, tippet connection (tippet ring/loop/micro-swivel), weight (2 weight choices) and length (9 to 13.5′ in 6″ increments). Cost is $14 for lines of 9 to 11.5′ and $16 for lines of 12 to 13.5′.
How do they fish?
Well I got all my lines in the light line weight and with tippet rings. I also chose to have them made in subdued colors (as you can see above).
My first remark has to do with my own mistake – I should have gotten brighter color lines. I thought that a more camouflaged color scheme would be better for stealth – and perhaps it is – but it is so stealthy that even the angler cannot see it. I would highly recommend getting these made in more hi-vis colors. I found the dark color Ronin line (far left in pic above) very difficult to see. The other lighter lines were a bit easier to see. This visibility is especially important if you’re fishing subsurface of course and you need to see the line to detect strikes. If you’re fishing dries then it is not as much of an issue. Again this is not a criticism of the lines – as you can choose a wide range of colors and avoid the problem that I had with visibility.
I started tenkara with furled lines then switched to level lines – but lately I have been reconsidering. And have actually come to a two-line system. I am using level lines for bigger streams and furled lines for the small streams and also furled lines on stillwater (panfish ponds). So my interest in furled lines tends to the lightest furled lines – and the heavy non-floating kevlar furled lines are not my thing. These Moonlit lines, even the Shogun, are fairly light and can be made to float by applying floatant – which is what I did. I used a paste floatant. An application of floatant makes these into nicely floating lines.
For my small stream fishing I want a delicate presentation and so I spent much more time fishing the Ronin and Bushi lines as they were lighter. On small streams with skinny water and placid pools – even when fishing subsurface I want a very delicate delivery and some turnover power. A light furled line can give you that. There is often not much casting room on these small waters and a furled line can be easier to cast when backcasts are limited. So what about floating – why is that important? In tenkara the line is held off of the water isn’t it? Ideally yes – but in reality on small heavily canopied streams I often don’t have enough headroom to get the rod high enough to keep the line off of the water. Fluorocarbon level lines and heavy furled lines can sink – and on small streams I’ve had the problem of lines sinking and getting snagged or when dry fly fishing pulling flies under.
The other huge advantage to light furled lines is when fishing dry flies. The furled lines turn over wind resistant flies much more easily than level lines and the floatability is crucial – especially when attempting to fish dry flies at a distance. Sometimes it is very nice to be able to lay the line out on the water – western fly fishing style – and get a nice delicate long distance presentation without the line sinking. Maybe not traditional tenkara but still….
Another advantage to floating lines is for stillwater dry fly fishing. I don’t have much opportunity for stillwater trout fishing here in Pennsylvania – but I do a bit of tenkara panfishing and these lines have worked nicely for that too.
So in short if you have been looking for a light, supple furled line – that can be made to float (if need be) – then these lines may serve you very nicely.
ps. Moonlit Fly Fishing’s running a coupon special on the website of 25% off now through July 4, 2013 using code “Independence”.
Disclaimer: I did receive these lines from Moonlit Fly fishing for testing purposes – but was in no other way compensated for this review.