Tenkara Line Building by John Vetterli
Eddie Yamakawa gave me a few properly constructed tapered lines to try a few years ago. I initially tried them but really liked the stealth of a level line technique.
So the lines went in a drawer.
Recently, I got an Ayu 2 for teaching purposes and I forgot how it came to be but I ordered a line from John Vetterli for it. When the line came, it was curiously like Eddie's lines. Little did I realize, when looking at a book from Hiromichi Fuji, then Eddie's lines, and now John's, I was seeing a direct lineage.
These lines are awesome.
I recently purchased a Keiryu rod by Nissin. I remembered Eddie's lines and pulled out the longest one, a 7.2m and put it on the Nissin. The line seemed to be made for the rod. I contacted John and asked if he would make a line specifically for the Nissin 450ZX 2-way (medium) and John immediately got on it. I asked him if he would provide a few photographs of the line being made.
The following is what I received.
Tenkara Line Building
by John Vetterli
This is the 57th order I have built for a customer. I feel honored each time I receive an order to build a line for someone. I strive to make each line a work of art and engineering that hopefully will make your fishing more enjoyable.
One of the first things you notice about my lines is that they are kind of spendy.
My lines are not cheap because of the cost of raw materials. I spent a lot of time using over a dozen different fluorocarbon line materials until I found the best fluorocarbon for making tapered, twisted tenkara lines. The custom lines I build today are the result of over 40 prototypes. I continue to refine my lines and test new materials regularly.
Each and every line I send out is built by me and no one but me. I do not mass produce anything. I build your line for you. I have no warehouse, no stockpile of prebuilt lines. I make them one at a time at the time they are ordered.
One thing that is very unique about my lines is that I can tune the line to a specific rod. No other line maker in the world does this.
Line order #57 is built specifically for a Nissin 450ZX Medium Stiff keiryu rod.
I tuned this line by varying how tight individual segments are twisted together, the weight of each segment, the overall mass of the line in relation to the flex of the rod, and the degree of taper. All these factors dictate how much kinetic energy the line will deliver on the cast, how much energy the rod has to generate to propel the line, and the feel that you get from the combination of casting the rod and line. They function as a complete system. My goal is to get the maximum amount of power out of the rod to propel the line. Make the rod work hard for you instead of you working hard for the rod.
When you order one of my tuned lines the line length is an approximation. Line lengths will vary 1-2 feet plus or minus the length ordered. This is done to get the maximum performance out of the rod and the line.
Efficiency and performance are more important than an exact line length. These lines are not a one size fits all product.
Are my lines for everyone?
Simple answer is no. Not everyone will like how these lines cast. They are very high performance pieces of gear. They are expensive, they do not work well for every rod on the market. Rods designed for level lines get overpowered by my lines. They are heavy in comparison and level line rods are not engineered to work with that much line mass.
When you contact me about a line I ask about what rod or rods you want to use with the line, the types of fishing conditions you fish in, and what type of performance you are expecting from the lines.
I have recommended to several potential customers based on these factors that they use level lines because my lines may be counter productive to what they are trying to achieve.
Bottom line is when you commission a line from me, I build a line just for you. It is labor intensive and highly detail oriented process. You get a product designed, built and tested by a craftsman instead of something mass produced, marketed, and sold by a retailer. I do not advertise my lines I do not market my lines, every order that comes in is from word of mouth. I feel that if I push to sell my lines then I will eventually lose that little bit of my soul that goes into each line I make. That would suck.
I truly care about every line I build because it is a reflection of the care and detail of the man who builds it. Me, John Vetterli.
Pretty cool rig, great post
Many men go fishing all of their lives without knowing that it is not fish they are after.
Henry David Thoreau
I know I am biased, but John's lines are awesome. With the right rod I can cast one of his lines with a 9' 4x leader with a big fly 30' with my a cliff at my back. By no way am I bragging about my own casting ability, but am bragging about how John's lines act. I use them on big rivers, he uses them all the time, either way they are great.
I forgot to mention that Eiji Yamakawa taught me how to make these lines and gave me the line making machine in exchange for my sharing what I have learned with tenkara anglers outside of Japan.
ERiK, looks like we agree on his lines.
I will have him make one more for me then I am making my own.
What is the weight of one of your lines?
Whatever you might have laying around, the longer the better.
Originally Posted by GregM
I don't have a good scale for measuring the weight. I have learned to build lines from trial and error when it comes to segment weights and lengths for a line tuned to a specific rod. That's where the over 40 prototypes come from.
Maybe Adam or someone else that has one of my lines can weigh one with a good scale.
For a point of reference, they are heavier than TUSA kevlar lines or their old mono furled lines.
Overall weight is not really the important thing, it is where the weight is within the line and the degree of taper. When I tune a line to a particular rod, I look at the action of the rod, the desired line length, rod length and primary fly type. People who fish with very light kebari need a line that casts differently than someone wanting a heavy nymph or euro-nymphing line.
My lines can be made to work for dry fly fishing by using a good paste type floatant but I think that mono lines work better because they are less dense and naturally have better floatability.
One of the coolest lines I have built is one Erik and I came up with for fishing big rivers with really big keiryu rods. It is a 24' tapered line with a 9' western tapered mono leader attached for the tip. That line is the one he referred to in his post above. That thing with the right rod is a very impressive piece of gear. It takes tenkara lines into a whole new realm of performance. Kind of like bringing an M1A1 Abrams Tank to a spork fight.
My kitchen scale is nice but not sensitive enough to weigh a line.
I will work on sourcing a good, inexpensive microgram scale.
There a number of versions.
I have a 200 x 0.01 that has served me well for a year.
Greg, a 1st generation (before optimization) 28' line is 39.7 grains.
20' is 27.5 grains.