Gear Review: Airflo Ridge Clear Tactical Fly Line
Weird. That was my first initial response when I was spooling my sample of Airflo's Clear Tactical WF4F line onto my reel.
What We Say
Cool. That was probably my second response as I fished it for the first time late last fall on the S. Platte River in Eleven Mile Canyon. I must say, when it comes to new and tricky items I oftentimes find myself being a naysayer...Thing-A-Ma-Bobbers...yep didn't fish them for a year out of spite...haven't really used any other indicator since my first encounter on the San Juan River 4 years ago. So when I was first introduced to a "clear" fly line I was asking the question...Why?!? Why would I ever need a clear fly line? When and where would I use this? Is it really necessary? The answer to these questions is you probably don't need it, nor is it necessary in most fishing situations. However, for the person who finds themselves fishing microscopic flies, fine tippets and extra long leaders to highly intelligent trout...this is a MUST have! There I said it, I'm a believer.
By no means are the fish extremely smart along the stretch of the S. Platte where I initially tested this line, it was however extremely low, slow and gin clear. Based upon conditions, I thought this would be the perfect testing ground for this fly line. Rigged to my Sage ZXL 486-4, a medium fast action rod ideally suited for delicate presentations and fine tippets, both of which were on order for the day. Once fishing this line I was amazed, extremely smooth, loaded the rod perfectly at all distances, mended and roll casted like a dream and turned virtually invisible in the water. It did take a few minutes to adjust to this new line on and in the water. Because it was so clear, I initially had to take a moment to track my line in the air to see where it landed, thus allowing me to better and more effectively control my drifts. In swift water this line is easily lost, but if your are a proficient fisherperson you will know where and how your line should be acting in certain conditions. Essentially, if you think you should mend...mend...because the belly in the downstream line sure isn't going to tell you.
When it comes to the Ridge Line technology I am sold. As touted, this line is extremely slick through the rods guides, creating less friction and allowing the angler to add more distance with less effort. This performance has to do with the ridges running parallel to the fly line. Additionally, by having them run parallel, as opposed to perpendicular likeScientific Angler's Sharkskin, you get a much quieter casting line. Your buddies and fellow anglers around you will thank you for not impacting their serenity. Where this line truly shined however was not in the air, but on the water. The Ridges assist in trapping little slots of air, allowing the line to float higher on the waters surface. This enhanced buoyancy translated to better, more efficient mends and roll casts. This ridge technology, coupled with being a clear line makes this one heck of a fun fishing line.
Oh yeah....did I catch any fish? Yes I caught fish, plenty of fish. I caught them on nymphs with an indicator, nymphs without an indicator and even on some #20 Extended Body BWO's on 6X fluorocarbon. Would I have caught as many fish without having used the Airflo Clear Tactical Fly Line? Probably so, but maybe not??
Last Minute Thoughts:
For those of you that are naysayers too, perhaps you should check out some of the other lines offered by Airflo. They have a fantastic offering of different tapers and colors to match all of your fishing pursuits.
What they say
New for 2011, Airflo's Ridge Clear family is the ultimate stealth line that won't spook fish, shoots well and handles superbly while remaining supple even in cold water. Using Airflo's unique knowledge of advanced polymer coatings, they've created a new blend in coating technology, a development that finally has allowed them to make a clear floating line that remains supple, stable and easy to handle across a wide range of climatic conditions.
The best clear floating line in the industry. Clear floating lines are a niche product that have serious sex appeal. You can say that clear floating lines are probably not for everybody, nor are they needed or appropriate for every fly fishing situation. However, if you find yourself in situations where ultimate stealth and invisibility are the key to your success, you WILL want an Airflo Ridged Clear floating fly line.
· MSRP: $79.99
· Available in WF3F-WF6F
· Tactical Taper is a true grain weight fly line that has the widest performance range.
· Ridged lines run parallel to the line, creating less drag/friction through the guides without all that Sharkskin noise.
· Welded loops at both ends for easy change of leaders and fly lines.
· Line size and identification is printed on the rear loop, assisting you to keep your fly lines organized when not in use.