Katana line review

Katana Hi-Vis Orange Line

Katana Hi-Vis Orange Line

A few weeks ago I knew this day was coming.  Our weather was turning into more typical PNW fall with 3-4 days of rain forecast and a few breaks before the next rain would start.  The rivers had been in perfect shape but I knew that by the time it cleared up again they would be higher and, with any luck, clear up before the next rains hit.   Yesterday that finally happened.  The Middle Fork, which had been fishing at about 180 cfs rose to over 800 cfs just a few days ago and then began a quick drop.  It was at 430 yesterday morning which was higher than I would prefer but it gave me the chance to test a new line out – the Katana from Moonlit Fly Fishing.

I had been wanting to fish a longer line once the rivers rose and I personally do not like level lines.   I had used  20-24′ level lines on my Amago for sea run cutthroat fishing in the Snoqualmie before and also threw a long level line at the pond at the Freestone but I was never too happy with it.  I tried an 18′ furled line from Cutthroat Leaders a few weeks ago on the Amago, it cast well on that rod but I couldn’t cast it well on the Sato.   Just in time, Brandon Moon contacts me and asks if I’d like to try out some new lines.   Oh, it comes in 20′ lengths, perfect.  When the line arrived a few days ago the rivers were brown and still going up.   I just had to wait and hope they dropped and cleared before the rains began.

Yesterday I got out.  I decided to try the 20′ line not on my Amago but on my Sato fully extended to 12’9″ just to see if it would cast at all.   Before this I’d never fished anything longer than my 13′ Shogun line on this rod.  I was amazed, once I slowed down enough and got the feel of it the line shot out perfectly most of the time.  I found I could even spey cast it pretty well and get it to roll out.   I was able to cover the far seam on this run even in high water and, to make it perfect,  I caught some cutthroat.

The Katana is different than most furled lines which just taper from back to front, the Katana has a weight forward design that helps in cast more accurately at the longer 16-20′ lengths.   Here you can see the line at the butt end and the line a few feet from the tip, the front end has significantly more weight which really helps turn the line lay out well.

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The Katana is a thin furled line overall, it is the thinnest furled line made by Moonlit Fly Fishing.  Here you can see the Katana (bottom) compared to a 3.5 level line (middle) and the Shogun line (top).   The hi-vis colors make the line very visible and I would recommend them due to the thinness of the line.  I personally like orange better than chartreuse and the Hi-Vis Orange color was perfect.

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The Katana can be purchased in light weight for soft rods or medium weights for stiffer rods, the light was perfect for the Sato’s action whereas maybe the medium would probably work well with the stiffer Yamame.   The leader end can be a loop or a tippet ring, I like the rings myself since it makes attaching the tippet so easy and I don’t have to add a short length of 3x to use to connect the 5x to.  The line is available in four colors – Hi-Vis Orange, Hi-Vis Chartreuse, Camo with Chartreuse Tip or Patriot with Flame Orange Tip.

For a long, furled line I haven’t found anything else that casts as well as the Katana.   This is going to be my default line now for high water situations, for lakes and  for swinging flies steelhead style on long runs on medium to large rivers.

As a side note,  Katana is a form of samurai sword as is Oudachi, the other line I need to test out soon when I’m ready to go to a bead kebari.   For more information see this article on Samurai Sword Types, I’m sure some upcoming line names are in this article.