What is the Airflo SuperFlo fly line?
The Superflo is a new premium floating fly line from Welsh fly fishing manufacturer Airflo. Airflo's sinking and intermediate lines are among the very best on the market and the standard choice for most competitive fly fishers and its existing crop of floating lines is fairly good. However, I think it would be fair to say that, historically speaking, its floating lines have not been held with the same high esteem as its intermediates and sinkers. I reckon this could be the line to change that view among fly fishers, as it's really pretty damn good.
What's special about the Superflo?
Airflo says it's the only company which extrudes polyurethane fly lines, which it says gives its lines a tougher coating but adds technical difficulties that have "up to this point made it impossible to smoothly make a large ratio between head and running line diameters."
Airflo says: "Low diameter running lines are a key element of making a line come to life, giving both the head and the rod increased line/recovery speed that really make you smile when you cast.
"With the inclusion of our new Flo technology, we are able to make lines that have running lines slimmer in diameter than our competitors, without any of the durability issues associated with PVC."
It reckons that on a five weight line that's allowed it to drop the running line diameter from the 1.1mm of its former floating lines down to 0.85mm with the new tech - while competitors are around 0.95mm.
What tapers do these lines have?
The Superflo fly lines are available in two different tapers. The Presentation version uses Airflo's Elite taper and is said to be true to weight against the AFTM spec, so a six weight should conform to the standard. It has a 40' head comprising a 25' belly, a 7' rear taper, a 7.5' front taper and a 6" tip. There's 50' of running line at the back end to create a standard 90' line.
The Stillwater taper uses an updated version of Airflo's Delta taper, which is presumably not true to the AFTM standard. This is a longer line aimed at casting further than the Presentation taper. It consists of an 18' belly, a 12' rear taper, a 15' front taper and a 1' tip to give a 46' head, but has 59' running line to give a longer 105' total length.
As the Stillwater line has a shorter front taper, more of the weight is up front, making it faster loading. It does this in quite a pleasant way, allowing the line to load nicely without feeling ridiculously heavy and without significantly impacting presentation. The design works well, I think.
What colours are these lines?
The SuperFlo Presentation has a lichen green head and sunrise yellow running line, while the Stillwater line is available with either a hi-vis fluorescent chartreuse green head and an ivory running line or a lichen green head and ivory running line.
Do they have welded loops?
Yes, there are welded loops at both ends which makes them really easy to set up on your reel and avoids the need to use a braided loop to attach your leader. Simply tie one end to your backing and attach a leader to the other. The welded loops are small and neatly formed and seem pretty strong, though with most fly lines on the market welded loops rarely last forever, so I'd expect they'll need replacing at some point within the line's lifetime.
How does it feel in the hand?
The SuperFlo has a very limp and supple feel - it's probably one of the limpest lines I've used. There's barely any memory to it and it feels soft and slick. It's got a braided core so has virtually no stretch to it. It lies very straight on the water surface too. Any minor bends in the line from being spooled up disappeared after a gentle pull. After a month of use and over half a dozen days' use, it's got some minor bends in it but nothing notable. It seems to be holding up pretty well.
What's it like to use?
The SuperFlo is really great to cast. It loads the rod nicely, without being too heavy and forms nice stable loops. The twin colour head section makes it very easy to see when the head is outside the tip and it shoots really well, thanks to the smooth and shiny coating. It's pretty effortless to make 50-70 foot casts and you'll easily be chucking it over 90 feet if you've got a half-decent double haul.
The Stillwater profile I was using is a tad heavier at the front that the Presentation version, which, unsurprisingly, will land a bit more delicately. We found the Stillwater version was still fine for dries, and it worked well in a boat and on the bank. The quick-loading design means you can cover fish quickly with fewer false casts, too. It turns over bulky flies and indicators well, so it's a great all-round line for the average stillwater fly fisher.
While on a junior coaching day, a few of the adults in our club (including a GAIA instructor) borrowed my rod and all commented on how much they liked the line attached. It's quite a change from the older Airflo floating lines I've used many years ago and certainly a line that's going to give Airflo a strong reputation in the floating line bit of the line market, I reckon.
How is it faring up to long term use?
We've used the Superflo at least once a week since the spring. It's proven to be a good line, however, there's now a little bit of memory appearing and it's not lying as straight as it once did. This memory seems to be worse when the weather is colder.
We still enjoy using this line and it casts really well. It doesn't stretch much compared to other floating lines so, anecdotally, we seem to get the odd snap off on smash-takes as there's no give in the line. The other downside of the lack of stretch is that you can't easily stretch out the memory.
How much do these lines cost?
Airflo sent our line to us for review, but that hasn't influenced what we've said. It really is a good line! The Airflo SuperFlo lines retail for £69.99, which puts them in the premium fly line price bracket, but you can usually pick Airflo lines up a bit cheaper than full RRP. Indeed, they're going to be available for £49.99 for the next few months.