Airflo Fly Line Reviews and Recommendations: Fly Line Buyer’s Guide
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This post is part of our Fly Line Shootout, so if you haven't read our main post, you probably want to check it out.
About Airflo Fly Lines
Airflo lines have gained a lot of popularity in the last couple of years - and with good reason. They've got an incredible pro-staff that includes the likes of Kelly Galloup and Bruce Chard. They've also come out with great innovations like low-stretch cores, ridged fly lines, and PVC free lines. Below you'll find our opinions as well as taper diagrams for the most popular Airflo trout lines.
Please note: While our taper diagrams are really great for most lines, they didn’t work as well for Airflo. The reason for this is twofold. First, Airflo lines are ridged. This means that they are not round and when we’re talking about 1000ths of an inch, it makes a big difference. Second, Airflo lines have larger diameters. That means that Airflo lines have more air inside for any given weight of line. This makes them float better, but it also makes them squishy and hard to measure.
Airflo 40+ Easy Distance
The Hype: With its easy loading 35' head and low diameter running line, you'll soon be reaching for the horizon.
The Airflo 40+ possesses a very long front taper, a short belly, and virtually no rear taper. It’s designed to shoot line, yet (presumably) retain a bit of presentation.
The 40+ certainly stood out in this test… and not in a good way. When we first rigged it up, it was pretty obvious that this was no ordinary line. First, even with a mere 10 yards of backing, the line wouldn’t fit on the reel. This is due to several factors:
- It’s 123’ long
- It’s got a head weight of over 250gr (190gr at 30’), which is HUGE for a “5-weight”
- The running line is at least .01” thicker than Rio or SA.
This line didn’t have much of a chance out of the gate, but we cast it anyway. It does actually give us some easy distance, and surprisingly (after seeing the weight) didn’t turn the Circa into a total noodle (though it definitely felt heavy). Frankly, if you’re willing to cut the last 30’ off of your brand new $85 line, it’s actually pretty nice on faster rods. Still, the negatives of this line are huge and we can’t really recommend it.
Another note: this was the first line we weighed and we decided that we needed to change the way we did it, so we’re missing a few data points on this line.
- Loads rods fast and lives up to its name and gives casters easy distance.
- Ironically, this line could be cast even on the Circa.
- Is this really a 5-weight?
- Won’t fit on your reel
Bottom line: This line has very limited appeal and we can’t recommend it for most casters.
Airflo Super-Dri Elite Trout
The Hype: The Super Dri Elite fly line is our 'go-to' trout taper. The standard head length and modest front taper will allow any angler to present a fly with ease at distance with great presentation.
As stated, the Airflo Super-Dri Elite Trout is a fairly traditional line with a standard front taper and a standard rear taper. Combine this with roughly average weighting, and this is a truly average line. The Elite Trout is the first of many “average” lines in this test. These lines are all “fine”, and because they don’t stand out in any way, it’s very difficult to determine any significant differences between them. Please see our note above on average lines.
The Elite Trout is average by design. It should come as no surprise that its performance is also average. Given its lighter weight, it performed better on the Circa than on the NRX.
- A fine line for short-to-middle distance fishing on softer rods.
- Didn’t wow us in any way
Bottom line: A fine line for short-to-middle distance fishing on softer rods.
Airflo Super-Dri Xceed Trout
The Hype: This slightly heavier weight forward head has a condensed taper optimized for casting into the wind and generating higher line speeds.
Like the Elite Trout, Airflo Super-Dri Xceed Trout is a fairly traditional line, but with a slightly shorter front and rear taper. It’s also a little heavier… but really only a few grains. In fact, when the margin of error is taken into account, it could technically be considered the same line (it’s not).
As you’d expect the performance of Xceed is pretty much identical to that of the Elite – average. The extra weight does in fact make it a touch too heavy to cast on the Circa.
- Better than Elite Trout on faster rods, particularly for beginners
- There are better lines out there for every application
- Too heavy for slower rods
Bottom line: A fine line for short-to-middle distance fishing on faster rods.
Airflo Super-Dri Distance Pro
The Hype: … designed for ultimate distance whether your fishing from the bank or boat. Featuring our longest belly on any single hand fly line, the Distance Pro is a firm Pro-Staff Favorite.
Airflo Super-Dri Distance Pro surprised us. It’s actually a pretty nice line. It’s also very non-traditional – it’s got a long front taper, long rear taper, and a long belly. It’s got one of the longest heads in the test. A belly that long gives you an amazing amount of control of the line in the water, be it mending or roll-casting, and the Distance Pro doesn’t disappoint. It produced tight stable loops. Unfortunately, it’s also 120’ long so it won’t fit on your reel.
- Tight, stable loops
- Don’t try to put this line on your 5wt reel.
- Doesn’t load fast in close
Bottom line: If you cut 30’ off and fit this on your reel, you’ll have a fairly nice line…
Airflo Super-Dri River & Stream
The Hype: Airflo's Super-Dri River & Stream has been specifically designed for the Trout angler, this line utilizes the popular DELTA taper profile for easy distance even when casting multiple flies.
This is the sleeper in the Airflo lineup. It’s called “River and Stream” in the US, and “Lake Pro” in Europe, neither of which really inspires a lot of confidence in it as an all-around trout line. Let me be the first to tell you that this line is EXCELLENT. While it’s a little difficult to see on the taper chart, this line features a long front taper, short-ish belly, and long-ish rear taper, which is a very unusual combination. While the taper itself is similar to the excellent SA VPT , the first 30’ of weight of the line is nearly identical to SA GPX, which gives it an all-around type feel. While this taper visually looks like a dry fly specific line, it also casts both a small nymph rig and streamers remarkably well.
River and Stream is the best Airflo line for the all-around trout angler, and one of the best lines in the test, but we wish that Airflo would redesign this line to better suit the American market. No one needs a line that’s 105’ long.
- Great loop stability
- Solid all-around performance
- 105’ length and Airflo’s larger diameter means you need bigger reel, or way less backing
- Not powerful enough for larger nymph rigs
Bottom line: River and Stream is our top choice for an all-around line for anglers that prefer to fish dries.
Airflo Saltwater Fly Line Reviews:
Airflo Super-Dri Tropical Punch
The Hype: For accurately punching quick casts at moving targets in windy situations.
Casting Notes: This is a hybrid line, great for shooting line in windy conditions and loading fast action rods at short-range, as advertised. This line loaded the Meridian really well because of its heavy front taper and aggressive profile. We were pleasantly surprised with the line’s loop stability and it got a pretty high rating in the ‘Shooting’ category. It’s also a fine line at distance but maybe not as good as other lines. This is also a great option for presenting large flies at shorter distances.
When we compared it to the SA Grand Slam, we thought the Grand Slam had slightly better performance at longer distances and better loop stability overall. These definitely aren’t presentation-oriented lines and Tropical Punch isn’t going to help you land a Bonefish fly delicately. If you don’t need a presentation line, however, Tropical Punch will help you cut through the wind quickly and efficiently, especially with large flies.
- Loads fast action rods well at short range
- Great shooting capabilities
- If you have a softer rod, it's tough to carry in the air
- Takes up a ton of room on the reel
- Don't expect this line to land a fly delicately
Bottom Line: This is a line we've loved for a long time… and it proved itself yet again to be a great performer. Tropical Punch loads close but also shoots well and can get your fly out there. We also love that they’ve continued to support Bruce Chard and are environmentally friendly.
Airflo Tropical Bonefish
The Hype: This is a line designed to be versatile and provide the ultimate balance between close shots and distance casting.
Casting Notes: Since we couldn’t get our hands on the newest version of Airflo’s Bonefish Line, we decided to include the older iteration that’s great for light flies and longer distances. We were a little hesitant about casting this line alongside the rest of the pack. It is, after all, outdated. And in an industry that is constantly innovating and changing, old products often (not always) don’t stack up against the newest technology. I’m happy to report that this wasn’t the case with the Airflo Tropical Bonefish. This line had solid performance across the board and allowed us to throw tight loops with ease and carry a lot of line in the air.
I think part of what we like about this line is its simplicity. It has a classic taper, a muted-color design, and it’s a line that caters to a wide range of anglers. It probably isn’t going to rise to the top of the point board or impress anyone on the water, but it’s a line that will help you catch fish without all the frills. This is a fine choice for the intermediate angler looking to target Bonefish or Redfish with smaller flies.
- Decent shooting capabilities
- Great all-around performance
- Doesn't do any one thing particularly well
- Lacks the latest technology
Bottom Line: If you already have this line and you’re planning on targeting Bonefish or Redfish, it’s a solid option. If you want the latest technology and performance, a different Bonefish line is probably a better choice.