Fly Line Shootout

 

Trident Fly Fishing is a full service fly shop. We spend a lot of time testing gear and writing shootouts to give you all of the tools to make your next trip a success.  We are not a blog, or a review site. 100% of our funding comes from your gear purchase, so if this shootout helps you on your next fly fishing adventure, support us by buying your next fly line (or better yet, your next rod and reel), from us.

 

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.

 

The Reviews:

 

Airflo 40+ Easy Distance

 

Price: $84.99

 

The Hype: With its easy loading 35' head and low diameter running line, you'll soon be reaching for the horizon.

 

Taper Diagram:

 

 

Casting Notes:

 

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.

 

Pros:

  • Loads rods fast and lives up to its name and gives casters easy distance.
  • Ironically, this line could be cast even on the Circa.

 

Cons:

  • 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

 

 

Price: $79.99

 

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.

 

Taper Diagram:

 

 

Casting Notes:

 

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.

 

Pros:

  • A fine line for short-to-middle distance fishing on softer rods.

 

Cons:

  • 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

 

Price: $79.99

 

The Hype: This slightly heavier weight forward head has a condensed taper optimized for casting into the wind and generating higher line speeds.

 

Taper Diagram:

 

 

Casting Notes:

 

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.

 

Pros:

  • Better than Elite Trout on faster rods, particularly for beginners

 

Cons:

  • 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

 

Price: $79.99

 

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.

 

Taper Diagram:

 

 

Casting Notes:

 

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.

 

Pros:

  • Tight, stable loops

 

Cons:

  • 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

 

Price: $79.99

 

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.

 

Taper Diagram:

 

 

Casting Notes:

 

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.

 

Pros:

  • Great loop stability
  • Solid all-around performance

 

Cons:

  • 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.