When the lads from Manic started talking about Airflo’s new SuperFlo Tactical Ridge 2.0 line that incorporates the updated Airflo Ridgetech 2.0 technology, it perked my interest. I have been a long time user of Airflo lines and can’t speak highly enough about their longevity, outlasting anything else out there by a long shot. I know, I know, I sound like a broken record, but I love to get value for money.
Those who know, and fish with me, will attest to the fact, I’m not a subtle fly fisherman. I like to cast long, strike hard and, by nature of living in Wellington, am used to hauling my arse off into 20 knot headwind as the norm. So it will come as no surprise that I’m not a “presentation line” kind of angler, but we do have some small, intimate streams in the Wellington region that necessitate a much softer delivery than a standard weight-forward line can muster.
I’m not a technical reviewer, but I know what works and will sing its praises if it's good, and tell you if it’s crap, but the new Airflo Tactical Ridge 2.0 is very good, and it came as somewhat of a surprise on a recent trip into the Wellington back country.
PUTTING THE AIRFLO TACTICAL RIDGE 2.0 THROUGH ITS PACES
I figured the only proper way to test a new fly line is to spend a few days with it. no, not on a small lowland gravel stream, but in this instance, chucking huge, bulky #6 cicada flies to back country browns… what could go wrong?! I didn’t even take a backup line, so I was forced to put this thing through its paces, a real test.
Using a presentation orientated line for chucking cicada flies is a bit like buying a Ferrari and trying to tow a caravan with it - it simply is not what it was intended for, but it would be a fun test right?
THE AIRFLO RIDGE 2.0 TECHNOLOGY
The new Ridgeline 2.0 technology is interesting. It’s slicker than Lucas Allen on K Road on a Friday night. Slickness would probably be, if I’m honest, where Airflo has traditionally lacked a little to the competition, but no more, the Ridge 2.0 is a superbly slick fly line!
They shoot so well and float even better. This stems from, what I can interpret, is the ridges being rounder in profile and not so sharp which ensures they shoot better, are far quieter, promote less wear on the guides, pick-up less dirt and is just an all-round easier line to handle.
One interesting factor I didn’t expect is the Tactical fly line just falls so nicely and it coils well. The line doesn’t stick to itself, so obviously picking up for a quick cast, she simply flies out with little to no effort.
THE FRONT TAPER
The first thing I did was to jump onto Google, search up, and compare the tapers of my beloved Airflo SuperDri Back Country Camo WF5 and this new Tactical Ridge 2.0 WF5 line.
Presentation lines obviously have a longer front taper for a more subtle transfer of energy and often have a long belly for good line control and mending. Whilst the Tactical’s front taper is 20’ in length, the SuperDri Camo’s is only 6.5’ in length, this is why my deliveries were consistently good, even with a Cicada.
However I would have thought at the expense of some lack of punch into a headwind? But NO! One thing I did notice that may contribute to this, is the tip, despite being much longer, seamed thicker in diameter to my eye, perhaps counter acting the tip length, it also floated VERY well, no doubt helped by the thicker tip’s associated buoyancy.
The belly was a surprise - the Tactical having a relatively short 16’ belly compared to the SuperDri Backcountry’s 24’! This no doubt explains the ability of the Tactical to punch a big fly into a breeze, it’s almost like an extreme weight forward with a presentation head, and it worked very well.
THE REAR TAPER
The rear taper of the Tactical is also half the length of the SuperDri, hence why this thing shoots! Not once did the front taper collapse pushing a cicada into a breeze, the Tactical handled it superbly and I’m certain the line feels softer in-hand than previous Airflo lines.
THE RUNNING LINE
Running line is thinner to my eye than previous Airflo lines and very nice to handle. The colour is superb, on first glance I thought a bit gaudy, but sky blue for everything but the front taper makes perfect sense, I mean what does a trout see when looking up through New Zealand’s crystal-clear waters?... Sky blue, not that a trout should ever see your running line!
The tip is a skin / peach colour. I’m slightly colour blind, so it could be pink for all I know, but it’s an easy neutral colour to track and certainly I could get VERY close to some super finicky browns!
AIRFLO’S LINE I.D STAMP
Line ID is pretty standard on most lines these days and a welcome addition, I’m always swapping lines onto spools as I can’t afford to own twenty spare spools so it’s great to know what’s front, what’s back and what weight it is.
The new Airflo SuperFlo Tactical Ridge 2.0 is a superb line and I was pleasantly surprised in its ability as an all-rounder with a soft touch. It’s well suited to small to medium sized streams and rivers - and, in a shock move, it’s still on my spool, whereas the ‘old faithful SuperDri Back Country waits in a dark cupboard, likely never to see the light of day again.
I might bust it out one day for old times’ sake…
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Andrew Harding is a die hard fly fisherman that spends more time on the water than most of us do at work. Check out some of his amazing fly fishing film work over on his Youtube channel.