Fly lines are too often under appreciated. You can have the latest, greatest fly rod and reel outfit that set you back 3-4 months of food or 1-2 months of rent and it still not perform. You can flail away, work too hard, or simply not be able to accomplish the cast you need. Don’t save an extra $30-$40 on a cheap fly line, if necessary, save it on the rod or reel.
There are a bevy of lines with varying tapers, materials and whiz-bang technologies out there that claim, in jargon-laden verbiage, why they are the greatest thing since slice bread. The truth, as I see it, is that several of today’s top line manufacturers make great lines that will make your fishing experience more pleasurable and more effective.
Airflo’s latest offering of freshwater lines is the Super-Dri series. There are 5 different tapers of full floating lines, however this review is focusing on only 3 of them.
I’ve fished these lines extensively and think all 3 are great. Which one to choose depends on what tactics you choose to fish and what type of fly rod you own. The things all 3 share in common are the new Super-Dri material that does a surprisingly good job of repelling water, dirt and other gunk. The Super-Dri material is also self-lubricating and makes these 100% PVC free lines slick as snot. Airflo has included their Ridge technology. Essentially this means there are horizontal ridges running down the length of the fly line minimizing surface area contacting the guides. This allows for an even smoother fly line that soars through the guides.
The Super-Dri series features Airflo’s much loved, low stretch Power core. The low stretch core gives more feedback throughout the cast and is especially good for providing great feel when tight-line or Euro nymphing. Additionally, it makes for quick, positive hookups.
The Elite taper is a true to weight line (not over-weighted to compensate for fast action rods) with a casting friendly taper. As we know, most trout are caught at roughly 40 feet and closer. The taper of your fly line will go a long way in determining how easily you can shoot fly line at close distances. The Elite features a fairly aggressive 40 ft. head with a compact 7.5 ft. front taper. This allows for more grain weight up front and provides good feel for short casts while making shooting line a breeze. I’ve found this taper to be perfect for medium-fast and slower action rods or for experienced casters, accustom to timing, that prefer a lighter feel. It will switch between dry fly and nymph fishing without skipping a beat. You can also throw small streamers without too much effort thanks to its relatively aggressive taper.
The Exceed taper features a slightly over-weighted head perfect for many of today’s faster action fly rods. Standard weighted lines are fine on fast rods with 40+ ft. of line out, however they becomes more difficult to feel and shoot when fishing up close. The Exceed features an aggressive 38 ft. head and 6.5 ft. front taper that make loading, feeling and shooting line a pleasure. This a great all around fly line for those who don’t want to carry extra spools and may switch from dries, nymphs and streamers throughout the day. This line is great for anglers of all levels but is certainly recommended for beginning to intermediate anglers needing stronger casting feedback to master timing. The extra weight up front also makes this a bit better in windy conditions.
The Mend taper is very similar to the much-loved Salmon/Steelhead taper offered by many makers. It boasts a long 52.5 ft. head and short 5 ft. front taper. If you’re a nymph angler looking for a line to roll cast, mend like a dream and, when necessary, throw the nastiest of thingamabobber, heavily weighted multi-fly rigs… this is it.
- Jason R.