The Rats Nest

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Airflo Streamer Maxx Fly Line Review.

 On the heels of my interview with Roger at Ask About Flyfishing last night, I thought it would be a timely post about one of the lines that I like to use when I streamer fish, and impress upon you why I like it so much. 

***Unnecessary Disclaimer***   As I have said before, I am not a real big fan of doing reviews, and I am of the honest opinion that many of the reviews that we find these days in the "blogger-dom" are often incentive driven, lacking true insight, skewed, not compared against other competitors products, embellished upon, cut and pasted from the companies website or anther's review, confusing, not beneficial to the consumer, any and/or all of the above and then some, etc. etc. etc.

As I have stated in the past, I like to really put something through the paces before I make some noise about my thoughts, opinions or suggestions on it.  Having fished this line for over a year now, and tinkered with pretty much the entire series of grain weights, I feel pretty confident in my critique of this product.  For the sake of being fair, I have included 2 other lines in the review to compare this line with, not because I am receiving monetary kickbacks, perks or anything else by including them (I bought and used extensively all of the lines in this review over the past few years), but merely because that is all that I fished exclusively with prior to my introduction to this line.  SO, enough of the small talk, lets get down to business.

To kick things off, lets talk a bit about the line itself, most of this information is right off the Airflo website but it will paint a bit of a picture for you.  Airflo in my opinion finally nailed the welded connections on their integrated lines on this one, as the transition zones on this line are flawless.  This particular integrated line has three (3) distinct sections, all of which are color coded.
The head/sinking portion is black and depending on the grain weight is anywhere from 22 to 27 feet long.  If the head is a bit longer than you like, Airflo suggests you cut the tip 6 inches at a time until you find the right fit for your needs. 

The second section is a thicker diameter intermediate ridged belly section which kind of works like a skagit head in my opinion.  This section of the fly line is the backbone, and helps turnover even the largest of flies with ease as well as the sinking head.  The rear is made up of a floating ridged running line, at about 73 feet or so rounding the whole line out to a nice 100 foot length.  Like most lines by airflo, it is a polyurethane coated line with a low stretch braided power core.  The key there is low stretch, which is an attribute that I think makes this line superior to it's competitors, and I will talk about that a bit later in the post.   
Airflo Reprint

Unlike other lines on the market that typically run in 50 grain increments, Airflo refined their series a little more, running their lines in 40 grain increments that really seem in my opinion to be a shade more fine tuned to the rods that they are meant to be paired with, and as evidenced by the table below, they took the grain guessing game out of the equation for the consumer who only can relate to line weight.  A bonus for all.

Airflo Reprint

As stated earlier, the tapers are unique, the line itself as you can see from the table has different lengths associated to the line size for the sinking portion.  This is a three part constructed fly line folks, the front loaded sinking head, a transition zone of much thicker diameter blue colored intermediate line tapered into the orange running line.  What this equates to is much more fluid turnover even on the largest of flies, and a line that just shoots for the stars, always seeming to want more.  Seriously, if distance is what your after this is your line, and the sink rate on these lines is second to none if getting down is important to you.  The other positive attribute that this line configuration offers is the ability to roll cast or do a quick single spey style cast in an area with no back casting room.   The line due to its taper and configuration, can easily pull a larger articulated fly out of the water column and send it flying, but, like with a skagit set up, you will have to use the principals utilized in proper skagit casting and placement of your anchor to get this to work properly.  A couple practice runs and you'll see what I mean. 

Due to the polyurethane coating and low stretch braided power core, the line tangles less making for a much more enjoyable experience on the water.  I can't impress upon you enough how much of a pain it is when your fishing streamers all day and you spend a majority of your day stretching and untangling knots and tangles from your line.  Let's face it, if your fishing streamers hard, you tax your gear, and the line is the first thing to feel the effects of your efforts.  The Streamer Maxx line hands down from my experience tangles the least out of any integrated line that I have used, Rio or SA, period.  I would go on to say that it on average tangles 1/4-1/8 less than the others do.  That's an enormous positive attribute for me these days as I just don't get out as often as I once did prior to kids.   The SA Galloup Streamer Express line would be next  in this department with the Rio DC compensated sink lines coming in third, as they seem from my experience to tangle the most. 

The second positive attribute to a low stretch core is quicker and harder hook sets.  If you have a line that has a core that stretches, when you strip set on a fish after a hard strike, you need not have to strip as far or as hard to seat the business end of the hook home.  I am sure many of you can relate that sometimes you feel like your going pull your shoulder out when setting the hook with lines that excessive stretch.  As long as you stay in touch with the line, the distance and energy you need to expend to seat that hook home is far less than you would exert with many other lines on the market. 

Most of what I discuss in this review is based off my experiences with these lines from a wade anglers perspective, but I do like many fish from a drift boat from time to time too, and this line is a treat to toss from the horn of any boat.  Like fishing from a wade anglers perspective, be sure to carry only the head and transition zone in the air and shoot the line accordingly, as trying to carry the entire head and several feet of the running line may become problematic for some casters. 

As line technology continues to reach it's pinnacle, there are a lot of choices out there for the consumer, I am 100% sold on the Airflo Streamer Maxx integrated streamer lines.  After fishing them hard for more than a year, I can honestly say that I am not looking back. Thanks Airflo for creating what I believe is a superior product. 

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