Airflo Xceed fly reel review

The Airflo Xceed fly reel is made from machined aluminium and looks and feels pretty good, given the low to mid range price tag.

Airflo Xceed fly reel review
© Fly and Lure
Airflo Xceed fly reel review
Picture copyright © Fly and Lure
Airflo Xceed fly reel review
Airflo Fly reels Fly lines Estimated reading time 3 - 5 minutes

What's the Airflo Xceed fly reel made from?

The Airflo Xceed is made from machined bar stock aluminium. This makes it stronger than a pressure die cast reel.

Machined bar stock fly reels like this, and the Orvis Battenkill and Orvis Access fly reels, are made from a solid disc of aluminium that's carefully cut down to size with a computer controlled drill. 

They cut loads of holes in them through a process called "porting" which keeps rigidity, but cuts down on weight. The end result is a solid, lighter weight aluminium reel and spool made from a single piece of solid metal.

In what sizes does the Airflo Xceed come?

There are quite a wide range of sizes in the Xceed range. The 4/5, 5/6 and 7/9 models are all ideal for trout fishermen, while the 9/11 and 11/12 models are aimed at salmon and pike fly anglers.

How's the drag?

There's a big disc drag on the Xceed fly reels, complete with a chunky drag adjustment knob on the rear of the reel to let you release or tighten up the drag mid-fight.

This works well, but the screw in the centre of mine was set so tightly when I removed mine from the box that I had to loosen it with a screwdriver to get the drag to function, which makes me think this one missed quality control.

Once that was loosened, the drag worked well. It's quiet and strong, with more than enough power to stop trout in any of the waters I fish. It's nothing like as smooth as the drag on a more high end reel, like the Sage 2200 series, but it's more than adequate. 

Are they heavy?

My 5/6 Airflo Xceed is much heavier than my Orvis Battenkill or Orvis Access fly reels designed for the same rod. 

The large arbour 5/6 Xceed weighs in at 6.2oz/175g. The Orvis Access Mid Arbor III weighs 4.6oz/130g, while the small arbour Battenkill III weighs just 3.2oz/90g. Quite a big difference, really.

However, although a bit beefier overall, they do balance my rod OK and don't feel too heavy. It's just that the more expensive Orvis models are so much lighter by comparison.

That said, the Xceed is of a different design entirely to the Orvis models. It's a chunky, large arbour reel and features quite a wide spool, and have a more capacious line capacity, so looking at weight alone isn't comparing apples and with apples, I suppose, but it is heavier...

What are the spools like?

The spools are also made of barstock aluminium, so they're quite substantial and therefore not as cheap as those plastic cassettes found in some other reels. 

There's a decent capacity on these wide spools. I've been using my 5/6 spool on my pike fly rod with a nine weight floating line (admittedly without the backing, which isn't needed for pike, as they don't run like trout) and it's been fine. 

How much are they?

The Airflo Xceed comes in five models: 3/4 at £59.99 (spool £29.99); 5/6 £64.99 (spool £31.99); 7/9 £69.99 (spool £34.99); 9/11 £74.99 (spool £36.99) and 10/12 at £79.99 (spool £39.99).

They're well worth considering if you want something heavy duty and robust, but the expensive spools mean they're less practical if you use more than just a floater.

Check out our other fly fishing gear reviews for more unbiased opinion on fly fishing tackle. 

Available from: Amazon

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matt

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