Well, just about. This is a project we’ve been working on for several years now. First overseas with a wonderful manufacturer but then, we wanted to bring it home to the good ‘ole USA and our neighbors to the north in Montanta – RIO Products/Far Banks. Initially, we approached them to help us figure out a few issues we were having with our design. But after we connected with their R&D production designer, Wayne Peterson, he was so interested and excited by the idea and design, he suggested we have RIO produce them instead. As a small company this was the best complement we could have imagined.
RIO loved the idea and the fact that what we were attempting to make, was completely unique. There was simply nothing like it in the market in product or concept, and Wayne assured us that RIO loved projects like this. They enjoyed the opportunity to experiment, design and be involved in something novel and different within the fly fishing industry. So after tons of emails, pictures and drawings, we finally had working prototypes in hand and got real busy putting them to the test. And let me tell you, we ran these lines through the mill – in fresh and saltwater scenarios, on big fish, little fish and everything in between. We gave them to tenkara anglers of all skill levels and compared them to other lines. We also put them in the hands of regular fly anglers along with our tenkara rods and asked them for feedback and opinions. What we concluded was, people really enjoyed casting and fishing with these lines.
Over the last two years we’ve been able to focus on the whole as well as the minutiae, improving durability, changing grain weights and profile tapers. We tweaked material composition to reduce stretch and deterioration rate. And then things stopped, due to Covid. It’s been a labor of love that has finally come to fruition. So now let’s finally find out just what a Zen Tenkara Fusion Line is.
The Zen Fusion Line Series are lines specifically designed and weighted for tenkara rods (especially Zen rods). They are meant to be fished on the surface of the water like a regular fly rod setup. They have been meticuous grain weight matched to load and cast highly flexible rods and have connection loops that make attaching them to your tenkara rod fast and easy. Zen Fusion Lines are a “fusion” between the East and the West by combing two methods of fly fishing, regular and tenkara, into one, simple, seamless, intrinsic expereince. We’ve taken what we love about both methods and created a Zen expereince on the water.
Zen Fusion Lines are level, and will be available in two weights and several lengths. We have also designed an additional Fusion Line with our Kyojin Spey Tenkara Rod in mind. This line has a unique profile and taper. It has also been grain weight matched for optimal casting and rod load. This accurate line has connection loops at both ends of the line. Depending on which end you attach to your rod lillian, the unique taper will produce two different line turn-overs and presentations. One soft and delicate with the addition of a standard tapered leader – perfect for smaller flies, low wind or soft set downs. The other delivers an almost skagit-head effect. It’s ideal for casting very heavy setups or when facing the challenges of casting into very strong winds. Paired with the Kyojin Tenkara Rod, this line delivers the ultimate reel-less expereince.
Zen also designs and producs another floating line, the Zen Floating/All Purpose Line. While this line does indeed float, it is primarily intended to be fished traditional tenkara style – meaning off the surface of the water. This line is much finer and lighter and delicate. It easily pairs with tiny kebaris or dry flies and delivers an ultralight cast sentation. It is low memory, no stretch and is super supple, making it a true pleasure to cast. It is a low-knot/tangle material and we designed it with color coded tag ends and connection loops for convenience. We added a floating coating to the line so anglers have the option of laying it on the water if they wanted or needed to. But this line, with it’s core can be cast through wind with minimal effort – even though it is very light and delicate. So, think of a 3 or 3.5 level line feeling without memory, stretch or knots to tie. We even added 8″ of a Hi-Vis section to make it easier to spot AND, built a loop and added a tippet ring again, to give anglers more options for attaching tippet and/or leaders: Tie on straight tippet using the ring, or do a loop-to-loop connection if you hate tieing knots or if you want to add a tapered leader to your line quickly.
Innovations in simplicity – it’s what we do. It allows you to be present on the water and do more of what you love, fish. Not every tenkara angler will love our lines and that’s okay. We have tried to offer a pure tenkara expereince with our super light lines, that also happen to float, as well as a unique expereince with our Fusion Line Series. Our Fusion Series combine some of the old joys of regular fly fishing with the new, lighter, simplier tenkara method, and created something different. The Zen Fusion Line Series, combining the best of both for an incredible tenkara fly fishing expereince. Coming soon to our website and retailers.