New Airflo Bandit Fly Fishing Line | Review by Simon Taylor

The Airflo Bandit fly line has been around now for around 5 years and was designed specifically for the New Zealand and Australian markets. The Bandit’s taper, along with the olive / brown (Camo) colour of the line was developed with ‘back country’ anglers’ in mind; it is the ultimate all round stalking fly line, and a proven performer.

I had been using the original version of the line since its release (probably the same one as they are nearly impossible to wear out!), so when I heard the Bandit was now available with Airflo’s Ridge 2.0 technology, I was keen to get my hands on the newest version, to see what Airflo had done to improve what I already considered to be a fantastic fly line.

Airflo Bandit Fly Fishing Line

To get a proper comparison between the new Bandit Ridge 2.0 and the original line, most of my early season trips fishing with mates involved setting up two identical Scott Radian 5wts; one rigged with the new Bandit Ridge 2.0, and the other with the original Bandit. The rods were then shared throughout the day, with us comparing our thoughts during the drive home. The Radian / Bandit combos were fished side by side on multiple trips on a variety of different waters, in changed weather conditions and using varied fishing styles to get a good idea of how the two lines compared.

Both the original Bandit and the new Bandit 2.0 Ridge line share the same user friendly and versatile taper. A taper which loads the rod quickly, has enough power to turn over bulky flies into strong winds, but is still forgiving enough to enable anglers to present delicate casts and small flies when required. The taper used in both versions is great over any distance and the 20 ft rear taper helps when mending line and with loop control when delivering flies at longer distances.  Both versions of the line retain feature Camo coloured tips. The new Ridge 2.0 version also has Airflo’s laser printed I.D on the tip to help you identify the line.

Airflo Bandit Fly Fishing Line

After a few months of heavy use, there is no doubt the new Airflo Bandit Ridge 2.0 is an improved version of an already very good fly line.

One of the first things I noticed after fishing the two lines was the new Bandit felt more supple and had less memory than the older version. It felt softer in the hand and comes off the reel holding very little memory, even straight out of the box. When fishing a few freezing cold days in the Tassie Western lakes early August, the line remained supple and held very little memory. On a different day off the plateau, the new Bandit excelled during a day polaroiding cruising fish from the boat, the line did not tangle on the floor, or stick to itself which can be a common problem in this style of fishing.

Airflo Bandit Fly Fishing Line

In the sight fishing / stalking style of fishing I love, long casts are rarely needed. However, on the few occasions when distance was required, the Ridge 2.0 technology helped the line pass through the eyes of the fly rod with little effort. Coupled with a super slick coating, the small ridge profile used on the Bandit 2.0 reduces friction as the line moves over the eyes of the rod during the casting process. The combination of slickness, and reduction of surface area makes a notable difference and helps produce faster line speeds, making casts more efficient pushing into head winds and better shootability when delivering a long cast. The smaller, less aggressive size of the ridges also eliminates noise, and the friction cuts some ridge lines are known for producing.

Airflo Fly Fishing Line

Another standout during our comparisons was the new line having improved buoyancy, it floated better and sat noticeably higher on the water than its predecessor. A pet hate of mine is fly lines that sink in the tip, and the increase in floatation (achieved by the ridge profile trapping small pockets of air and increasing the lines surface area) made the new Bandit very resistant to sinking tip first, even when fishing wet flies or during long drifts with heavy nymphs. Having improved buoyancy also made the new line easier to lift of the water when needing to re-cast, and helps it resist being sucked below the water surface when fishing broken water and swirly currents on rivers.

The new Airflo Bandit Ridge 2.0 also features a clear colour change between the rear taper and the running line, giving anglers less familiar with casting a visual refence of the ‘shooting point’ when ready to release longer casts. The line is made using Polyurethane and free from any PVC in its construction. By eliminating PVC, Airflo have produced a fly line able to withstand damage from UV rays and which is more resistant to cracking than many other brands after extended use under the strong sun of the Southern Hemisphere.


After a few months of solid testing, there is no doubt that the new Ridge 2.0 is a better version of what was already a great fly line. The new SuperFlo Bandit is fantastic, and now after fishing the textured Ridge 2.0 technology, it is clear I now need to start saving to update all my current stable of Airflo lines, to their latest and greatest Ridge 2.0 versions.



Airflo Bandit Fly Fishing Line 


Simon Taylor is our man on the ground in Tasmania, who loves to also spend a lot of time on the ground here in NZ too. He's a fly fishing fanatic who knows what he's talking about. Heading to the Apple Isle? Check out Simon's Fly Fishing Tasmania article for a deeper, year round overview.