What's special about the AirFlo AirLock Strike Indicator?
The AirLock Strike Indicator is a relatively new strike indicator being marketed in the UK by Welsh fly fishing gear manufacturer Airflo.
They're a spherical strike indicator that is claimed to be easy to attach, easy to move and shouldn't leave a kink in your leader.
How do they work?
The ball of the Airflo AirLock Strike Indicator is fitted with a screw thread with a couple of rubber washers on it and a slit to take your leader. You simply unscrew the nut, slot your line in the gap and then tighten up the screw.
Compared to those fiddly polystyrene strike indicators that attach with a sleeve of rubber, these are a doddle to attach to your leader, and they don't have a tendency to fly off either.
You need to be careful not to drop or lose the screw-on nut, otherwise your strike indicator will be rendered useless. Fortunately you get one spare nut in the resealable packet, as well as three indicators in white, orange or pink, so you can pick the right one for the weather conditions.
How big are these strike indicators?
They come in several sizes: half inch, three quarter inch and one inch. I guess the big ones are really made for the US steelhead market, as they're rather large for fishing in a typical UK stillwater.
The smallest half inch model is about the size of a marble, so it's on the large size for a strike indicator. You could probably suspend a small anchor beneath the bigger ones!
How buoyant are they?
As they're large and full of air they float very well and remain upright, so they'll suspend whatever you're fishing underneath very well indeed.
They float so high that they're very visible, even in bright conditions. They're probably one of the easiest strike indicators to see, so they're great if your eyesight is as poor as mine!
Can they be moved easily?
Yes, they're really easy to move. You simply loosen the nut slightly then slide the strike indicator along your leader and re-tighten.
They don't leave a kink in your leader and they stay in place very well, providing you tighten up firmly. Even when casting in windy conditions, mine stayed put the whole time.
How easy are they to cast?
Unfortunately, this is the drawback. These are bigger, bulkier and heavier than most other strike indicators so they're not the easiest of things to cast. You really have to adjust your stroke to ensure you open your loop and don't end up with a tangle.
Casting an AirLock Strike Indicator on a lighter rod, like my five weight Zephrus, isn't the most pleasant of experiences. You really feel it bump on each forward and back-cast on a light rod.
It's a bit easier on a stiffer six weight rod, but it's still quite a horrible thing to cast. You'll really notice the difference between casting with one of those lightweight polystyrene rugby ball indicators, like the Fish Pimp, and one of these.
They add noticeable weight to your leader so care is needed to avoid everything collapsing in a tangled mess, especially if you're fishing with several droppers.
How much are they?
Airflo AirLock Strike Indicators cost £6.99 for a packet of three in mixed colours. That's double the price of most other strike indicators, but hopefully these will be less likely to be lost than the Fish Pimp style polystyrene strike indicators, so they should last a while.