Over the last few seasons, when it comes to fly fishing gear, my main focus has been to find a fly line that can cover a wide range of fishing situations. The Airflo SuperFlo Universal taper has hit that mark.
In a typical days fishing I usually run into a range of different scenarios from bombing a team of heavy nymphs into a deep backcountry pool with a long leader, casting delicate dry fly presentations on a slow glide, and throwing heavy streamers into a headwind.
All of these methods are generally performed on leaders 15ft+ length and, as the name suggests, the Airflo Universal taper has covered all these applications without missing a beat.
AIRFLO SUPERFLO UNIVERSAL FIRST IMPRESSIONS
The first thing I noticed was the I.D marker on the welded loop of the fly line, which is an excellent addition for easy identification. Airflo is known for its strong welded loops, which will stand the test of many leader connections over time.
Other brands with welded loops I've used have been sliced by the leader nylon and exposed the line's core, which is never good.
HOW THE FLYLINE LOOKS
The dulled downed olive/tan taper fits consistently with many New Zealand backcountry environments, which is critical when fishing in gin-clear waters. The second section of the rear taper that meets the thin running line, known as the "haul zone", is lime green, which is a great contrast that works as a visual indicator of the sweet spot to shoot line, and shoot line it does!
ON THE WATER
As mentioned I am typically sight fishing with long 15ft leaders, sometimes 20ft+ with only about 10ft of fly line outside the rod tip. Finding a line that can load a 5 weight or 6 weight fast action rod and turn over a long leader like this can be challenging. I was pleasantly surprised when I was able to achieve this with the Airflo SuperFlo Universal line as it meant using standard size leaders would be of ease, and it was.
When fishing for lake edge cruisers at a distance of 15ft to 50ft, the line loaded the rod quickly when picking up off the water. The taper is designed to have multiple pick up points and the high buoyancy properties unique to airflo technology-aided considerably in this.
This led to less false casting and quicker shots at cruising fish, which is crucial when the casting window is short due to tricky and had to predict moving targets.
The taper design allows quick and easy shooting of the line for those split-second longer shots, with a more compact taper design than similar lines on the market.
The lines head length is 39ft with a thin running line for shooting longer lengths of line and I found the tapered design to be very smooth to cast with a minimal tip bounce, a good design for beginners to seasoned anglers. It felt easy to load and cast, meaning I didn't need to overload the rod or try too hard throughout the cast, which naturally helped keep a smooth stroke and the presentation of the flies natural.
THE NOR'WESTER TESTER
That afternoon a stiff Norwester blew down the lake, allowing me to see how the line would handle turning over cicada patterns and streamers into the wind, a common situation in the New Zealand back country. The line performed well and excelled in the 30ft to 60ft zone where most fish get caught. The relative short front taper for a "jack of all trades" fly line certainly helped turn over wind resistance cicadas and streamers.
ROLL CASTING & MENDING
Roll casting and repositioning the line felt effortless with the line responding well to delicate movements. The buoyancy properties of this line came in clutch here as it pulls off the water with ease.
Well, it is hard to say there are any.
Airflo lines are coated in polyurethane which is a fully recyclable material that lasts longer, compared with other brands that use PVC, which can break down and leech into the environment over time. So you can fish with a clear conscience.
You may need to give the line a good stretch out of the box before using it to uncoil it, but that’s good practise with all new fly lines anyway.
The Airflo SuperFlo Universal Taper is just that, universal. Personally I’ll be using it around lake edges on calm days, on slow-moving lowland streams, and up into the headwaters of the backcountry rivers as it can present flies delicately and has the power when you need it.
Applicable to many situations and confidence boosting to cast, regardless of what conditions the day may bring.
ABOUT TODD ADOLPH:
Todd Adolph is a full time fly fishing guide based in Queenstown, New Zealand who knows his stuff when it comes to fly casting and catching fish. Plus he's great dude to spend some time on the water with, so you should do just that and look him up if you're in the area and looking for a days guiding.