Aug 23, 2012

Airflo Streamer Max Fly Line Review


Airflo Streamer Max Sink Tip Fly Line

The new Airflo Streamer Max is a very powerful sink tip line. What I mean by this is that this line is an extreme weight forward line meant for turning over big heavy flies. It packs a lot of mass over a very short distance (the WF6 is only 24 feet long) which helps to shoot a lot of weight with very limited back casting (minimal line outside the rod tip). These types of line tapers are not revolutionary. There are many on the market today that have very similar tapers with similar lengths of sink tip fused into the front of the line. Most of these lines have a floating portion and a sinking portion, but there are a couple that actually integrate an intermediate section of line between the floating running line and the high density tip. This can be found in the Rio Outbound Short, as well as the Streamer Max.

I am a big fan of this line construction. As a long time streamer angler for trout, I prefer a tip line that is versatile. Fish live deep but they also live shallow. It depends on the time of year, the time of day and the river dynamics before you. When I am fishing shallow banks and pieces of structure, I like a line that I can move around once it hits the water. If I want to roll a downstream belly into the line during the presentation, then this is no problem with most tip lines. Full sink lines and even long sections of sink tip do not allow you to do this, as it all sinks aggressively beneath the surface. Furthermore, they limit your retrieval rate to being exceptionally fast in shallow water.

However, there are those times when you want to get deep and stay deep. Long tips and full sink tips shine in those situations when the fish are on the bottom, hanging in some really deep water. The longer the sinking portion, the more your fly will stay anchored to the depths of the river. So for dredging deep holes out of a drift boat, or swinging long sections of water of uniform depth from shore, long tip sections are the ticket.

But since I prefer the shorter tips in general, I am always kicking myself for not having a full sinking line when drifting over deep tanks, where you just know the leviathans are hanging out. I just don’t want to give up the agile nature of a shorter tip, especially when fishing around intricate structure.

Enter the Streamer Max. The idea here, is to give you the best of both worlds for one all day streamer line. The head (the tapered portion of the fly line) is a blend of intermediate and Type 7 sinking line. So you could consider it to be a full sinking line, however the intermediate section is still easy to lift or maneuver early in the drift. The tip section sinks very quickly – about 7-8 inches per second – to get you down into the habitat. But perhaps the most noteworthy aspect of this line is its customizable nature.

Each line comes with a level portion of tungsten tip that can be cut down to match rod action and angler preference. All rods are different and all anglers cast differently. We all have our own particular styles and preferences so why not build a line that can be tailored to you?

The line that I have been fishing is the 200 grain WF6. Please note that each line is different depending on the weight. This particular line is 24 feet long where it is fused to the running line. Making up this 24 foot head is 15 feet of type 7 tip that is integrated into 9 feet of intermediate line. The first day out, I fished it out of the box without cutting back any of the tip. My 6 weight fly rod is an older, medium action Sage SLT and the line felt extremely heavy. Remember, that with very short lines like this one, grain weight will feel exaggerated. It was difficult to stay accurate and hit all the spots along the banks. It was obviously over-lined, but once it hit the water, the front sunk like a marble while staying manageable on the back end.


Orange Running Line, Blue Intermediate Sink, Black Tungsten Tip

My second day out, I set out to tailor it to fit my particular rod. Airflo recommends cutting the tip back in 6 inch increments but I figured I would speed it up by going by the foot. Ultimately, I ended up cutting off 5 feet of the level tungsten tip. Throughout the process, I was casting 4 feet of tippet with a large, lead-eyed fly, because this is what I normally fish. Normally, the faster the rod, the less tip material you should need to remove. Furthermore, if you prefer a lazy, relaxed stroke, then you will likely prefer to keep the tip longer. I spoke with Randy Stetzer with Airflo about this line and he mentioned that he ended up cutting off 2 ½ feet to dial in his 6 weight. He didn’t mention which rod he uses but something tells me that it is stouter than my SLT.

What else can I say about this line… Well, it shoots really well. Airflo has included their ridge technology throughout the entire length of the line, from tip to backing. The line is coated with little vertical ridges that keep friction to a minimum as the line passes through the guides. I should mention that the line does make a slight sound while leaving the rod but I didn’t find it irritating.

This is a very short line and not meant to be used with more than one or two false casts. It is simply to uncomfortable to keep the line elevated at long distances behind you and the taper prefers an earlier release. For short casts – between 20 to 30 feet – this line loads up and shoots effortlessly. Of course, it all depends on your rod… but fight the urge to hit it too quickly on the forward stroke. Take your time and build momentum gradually. It will want to flex your rod a little more deeply, so let it. All 24 feet will lift off the water into a back cast, but it is easier to start with less. If you are using this line correctly, you will lengthen your line during the back cast and slowly accelerate forward. And best to lay the line on the water before starting another back cast. I liked about 5 – 10 feet of running line out the rod tip when coming forward for distance.

One more thing to consider when cutting the tip material is how well it roll casts. A roll cast is a great way to lay the line on the water and line-up for a back cast. I need to be able to roll - at the very least -half the head on this line to stay somewhat efficient. Too much tip and it’s a little arduous.

This is a very nice line for short to medium range fishing. It’s perfect for slinging streamers out of a drift boat or stalking fishy hideouts from shore. I have high hopes that it will help me hook a few this summer and fall.

Airflo Streamer Max Fly Line

Streamer Max Line Specs

Have a good time,
Duffy

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