Having now spent an entire season using this rod on my local Welsh rivers and somehow managing to land a fair few trout and grayling on it, I now feel qualified enough to give a proper review on this rod… not one based on a five minute session using the casting pool out in front of the office!
This particular model has been designed for modern nymphing techniques, primarily with a French leader, an indicator or a heavy bugging set up. The action is perfect… parabolic enough to flick a French leader with microscopic nymphs right across the river, but still able to pitch out a team of heavy 4mm tungsten beaded jigs or czech nymphs at short range into a heavy flow.
It also excels at playing fish as it flexes from tip to butt under load, so you have no worries about hook pulls in fast water or breaking off on light tippets. It’s a really fun fishing rod to use, you do get a great fight off almost anything half decent due to the soft playing action. However the power is there when you really need it , I managed to land a cracking wild brownie of 3.5 lb in a really heavy flow without breaking into too much of a sweat!
Although it’s a nymphing rod I’ve also used it with a 3 weight line casting dries at long range on big flats. It’s a very accurate caster for a 10’ footer and capable of producing some really sweet tight loops. When you are up to your armpits in the drink that extra length does really help, allowing me to keep the back cast high off the water and above the surrounding nettles.
What amazes me is the performance for the price. The ultimate river rod in my opinion was always the Sage SLT, a crisp, accurate casting rod which is light in the hand and performs with excellence. The Streamtec doesn’t have the hefty price tag of the SLT, but upon comparison in fishing situations there is hardly a difference other than it’s weight! The finish is great and well thought out, the matte non-flash blank and understated wood effect reel seat giving it a classy feel. The cork handle is also top notch for a rod in this price bracket… its only £109.99 !
This rod was so good I also invested in the 7’6 #3/4 model. This has also been a real peach of a rod. It’s the perfect toy for tiny brooks and mountain streams, being really soft, but still extremely responsive. It’s been fantastic fun tussling with 8 inch browns which do punch well above their weight on this little gem.
There are some competitor’s rods on the market for more than twice the price; in my eyes they are no better both in terms of finish and performance… all I can say is get one (or two!) of these for much less than the same money. They are an essential purchase for the modern river angler, along with the new Super-Dri fly lines!
View the Airflo Streamtec Fly Rod range from Fishtec
As I write this snowed under my uni work, nothing is more desirable than summer evenings fishing the local rivers of South Wales. Good weather and free time allowed quite a few of these pleasant short trips last season. However despite the wistful tone, one such trip does not provoke such fond memories. Anyone who fishes or has fished the rivers of South Wales can empathise with anglers who have to overcome the myriad of obstacles that hinder the approach to the river. During one session on my local River Taff, a stumble down a steep embankment resulted in a small but unwelcome tear near the knee of my chest waders. Despite this, the urge to fish persisted. After around one hour of fishing however a slip, on what seemed to be a section of AstroTurf in the river resulted in yet another comedic fall and the dreaded “snap” that anglers immediately recognise as the sound of a broken fly rod.
The next day saw the rather mournful drive to Fishtec’s Brecon outlet and the search for a new fishing rod. After contemplating the choices that were available, I eventually settled on the purchase of an Airflo Streamtec Nantec 10ft AFTM 4/5 rod. The low price of Airflo’s Streamtec range seemed to provide a neat “quick fix” solution to the absence of a 10ft rod in my river armoury. Being a self-confessed “tackle tart” I can admit to being somewhat sceptical at the capabilities of the Streamtec at such a low price (£109.99); how wrong I was. At this price, the Streamtec Nantec is an absolute steal, compared to other fly rods of the same specification from the likes of Greys, Guideline, G Loomis and Hanak, which while requiring substantially more investment that the Streamtec, yet in my experience, offer minimal advantages in performance.
For the river angler, the Streamtec offers superb versatility being equally adept to handling various European nymphing techniques, the popular New Zealand-style method and presenting dry flies. It is often the case that during a session on the river, I will carry two rods each set up differently in order to minimise time alternating methods. As a result the 10ft Streamtec has primarily been used as a nymphing rod, particularly “French nymphing”. For this, the Streamtec has excelled, as it has in other methods such as light weight nymphs in the “Spanish style” and for using heavier bugs and nymphs in the Czech fashion targeting grayling hugging the bottom; as has recently been the case through the winter and the rather adverse weather conditions. When playing trout and grayling the Streamtec offers a fine hook hold and is capable of managing even the most savage of takes of a trout in fast runs and the slow monotonous lunges of a grayling in the deeper runs of the river.
The Nano technology that Airflo incorporates into their range of fly fishing rods allows the weight of the rod to be kept at a minimum, while not compromising strength. This weight reduction certainly helps alleviate the strains of fishing at a full arm’s length in order keep control over the indicator.
The alignment spots that the Streamtec has on each of its sections are a particular feature that is worth drawing attention to. This is a seemingly small and for some perhaps an insignificant addition, yet any change that helps minimise time spent tackling up in favour of even the smallest increase of time on the water is one to be appreciated. Since its purchase the rod has survived the stress of many river sessions. Not only has it remained a rather attractive piece of kit despite the treks through brambles and woodland encountered on the approach to many rivers in the area, but the cork handle and the finish of the blank have survived quite a few more Charlie Chaplin like falls in and out of the water.
The one feature that does seem missing however is the lack of a fighting butt. This is a feature that I usually look for in many of the rods over 9ft that I use on both rivers and lakes in order to make the use of a rod, and playing a fish more comfortable.
That said however, there is very little to dislike about the 10ft Streamtec. At £109.99 it can be considered a bargain for what it offers and a significant advantage over many other rods of the same type. Most importantly is the fact that the Streamtec is capable of handling the vast majority of situations that a river angler is likely to encounter throughout the year.
With Airflo offering three other lengths and line ratings of the Streamtec Nantec, there will certainly be more additions to my collection of river rods ready for the opening the trout season while my 10ft 4/5 Streamtec Nantec remains my preferred choice of rod for my river fishing.
See the range of Airflo Streamtec Nantec Rods here
As being part of the Airflo team I have the pleasure of being privy to new products before they are introduced to the general fishing public. One in particular that caught my eye was the introduction of the new range of Airflo Switch Fly Rods. I have had the pleasure of using many switch rods in the past for various fishing situations and was keen to see what the Airtec’s had to offer.
There’s been a lot of buzz in the past couple of years about switch rods – lightweight double-handed rods in the 10 to 12 foot range that are designed for both two-handed spey casting and single hand overhead casting. Traditionally these rods have been designed for fishing rivers for Salmon, steelhead and sea trout, of late, their ability has been rendered and switch rods have been set-up on smallwaters all around the UK.
Mainly, Im a river fisherman, but growing up in south Wales I’ve been lucky enough to fish many hill lakes and reservoirs where these switch rods would came in handy. When the first batch of Airflo Airtec Switch rods came into stock, I could not wait to get my hands on the 11′ 3″ 6# switch.
I had plans of teaming the rod with an Airflo Speydicator #6, to give that extra bit of distance on a river that averages 20 yards in width. You’d normally struggle to hit some of the spots using a traditional single handed rod because of the lack of back cast. With some knowledge on double handed rods I felt fairly competent with my roll casting, so pulled off some line and gave it a whirl. After just 30 minutes of casting and getting used to the rod and line combination, I was having some incredible fun and was lucky enough to hook into a decent trout from one of my favorite pools.
Having used it for a full day on the river and thoroughly enjoying my time with it, I decided to take it with me on my next lake trip. Many of the lakes I fish have a difficult back cast and often anglers will sacrifice distance because they struggle to get the best back cast. I decided to team up my 11’ 3” #6 Airflo Airtec Switch rod with one of my 7# Airflo 40+ fly line. Me and a colleague Ceri Thomas took a trip to one of our local reservoirs and when I pulled out the switch rod, he was skeptical to say the least.
I stripped out my 40+ and with a single false cast to get the 35ft head out I powered out more or less the whole fly line! Ceri’s skeptism changed slightly into awe. I knew from previous experience with these rods that they can really power out a line, and partnered with the 40+ you’ll be casting to distances only ever dreamed of. I handed Ceri the rod and he used it for the rest of the session. Not only does it handle the overhead cast well but also the switch style butt, you can create easy roll cast’s with maximum distance.
Even though the switch rods were created mainly for salmon, steelhead and sea trout I have used this across the board for most fly-fishing situations and am very impressed with how it handles. I’ve got some highland lake fishing planned for late spring, so will get another review on the site when I get chance.
In my opinion the next few years we will see an increase in the amount of anglers that will be using the switch rods. This rod does not only appeal to the river fisherman but to the whole fly fishing world as it offers diversity in it’s casting ability. I must say that these fishing rods take a lot of getting used to, if you do happen to purchase one and you’re struggling to get to grips with it, I’d recommend getting some casting tuition from a local instructor, im sure you’ll reap the rewards!
Back in the summer Robbie Winram reviewed the new series of Airflo Mini Tips fly lines, I said that there was one more to come to complete the range and here it is – the 12-foot slow intermediate.
With seven different mini tips already available from Airflo, does this model offer anything different? Well for a start it has a 12-foot slow glass tip which is fused seamlessly to the main floating line and it sinks at half an inch per second. This coupled with the impact taper which has a relatively short front and long rear taper make for a great casting line at close, medium and long range.
The six-foot slow mini tip version is already a favourite of mine for the washing-line method but the 12-foot is great for anti-wake fishing in flat, calm conditions. The sink rate is so slow it gives the impression you are fishing sub-surface, however it is sinking all the time. But once under the water there is no disturbance at all, great for really spooky fish. Use it with a degreased co-polymer leader and you can slow it even more, keeping your flies in the taking zone for as long as possible.
Another technique it excels at is dibbling wets or damp dries through the surface when fishing loch-style drifting. No matter how wild the waves become the slow glass tip will track back perfectly towards the boar just anchored beneath the surface. So often a floater is pushed and blown all over the place, but not this line, its perfect for the job. What’s more the takes are a lot more positive as the line is anchored in the surface and the low stretch core take care of the rest.
Traditional loch-style short-lining in a good wave when the fish are up in the water is a whole lot of fun with this airflo fly line and whenever these conditions present themselves I know what I’ll be reaching for.
The fly line has an opaque olive tip and a sky blue running section and is available in WF6F, WF7F and WF8F.
Reviewed in Trout Fisherman Magazine Issue 440
With anglers all around the UK getting more and more into competition fly fishing there is what feels like, a need for hundreds of flies to see you through any fishing situation. An anglers box is usually littered with blobs and boobies in tens of colours and slight variations. Nymphs and buzzers become plentyfull in all different kinds of weights and sizes. Dries are tied to exact specification with an added hint of glint or sparkle.
Question: Where do all these flies go? Our answer: Airflo Competitor Fly Box
By keeping all your flies in one place your fishing tackle box or bag will be kept organised and so will your flies. You often see anglers sifting through box after box looking for that perfect fly, by using the new airflo competitor fly box to store all your fly patterns, variations can be arranged and colours can be kept separate. We’ve all had the problem when you put a white fly next to a black fly and the marabou or fritz from the black runs, destroying all flies around it.
With a capacity of over 1000 flies, this four sided fly box will cater for anglers fly selections and the rubber seal will ensure the box stays fully water tight and the content remains in perfect condition. Large palm sized black clips lets the box be opened and shut easily in the coldest of weather.
One of my favourite features is the colour, not only does it look stylish in white (very Gucci) but also the colour reflects heat. Reducing the heat the box takes in when left on the bank or on top of the fishing tackle box will ensure that the adhesive bond between the plastic and foam will remain in-tact. The problem with previous fly boxes from all manufactures was that most were produced in black, the black plastic would attract heat and the glue holding the foam to the box would often melt causing the foam to bend and flies to fall from the slots. Not any more!
The Airflo Competitor fly box retails at a very reasonable £24.99. The box is very good value for money with its vast capacity and solid, water-resistant construction.
Check the box out here - Airflo competitor fly box
Towards the end of 2011, my good friend Mike Green and I were contemplating where we would travel during 2012 for our annual destination trip, and without me listing half the contents of “Where to fly fish before you die”, it was agreed we would try the East Cape of Baja California Sur, to hopefully land a Roosterfish off the beach on a fly. I’ve always admired this majestic fish, it’s sleek lines and the distinctive dorsal comb, and a picture for the photo gallery would be great.
During the early part of 2012 I booked our guide, our accommodation and the flights to get us there. (It ended up being a two and a half day journey thanks to the greed of British Airways who had in fact over booked the flight, meaning we actually lost a full day of our trip)
Once you’ve got a trip booked, it’s amazing how quickly your attention turns to your gear. Even a very basic list from the guide confirming rod weights, fly lines and the obligatory “decent reel” makes you start to build an armoury in your mind. I own a couple of fly fishing reels with the now common sealed drag, so I was most interested to read that during the spring, Airflo were poised to release a new reel with their first fully sealed drag.
After an exchange of e-mails with my contact at Airflo I had purchased the new Airflo V-Lite reel and it was on its way.
As a bit of a self confessed tackle junkie, I’d already admired the prototype in burnt orange, having seen some great pictures of it alongside a wild brownie and the mere idea of this in a 12 weight in black and silver had me considering the backing I thought might suit it. As luck would have it, I had 250 yards of red 60lb gel spun which actually fell short on the spool of where I expected given the claimed 200 yards of 30lb dacron.
After picking the reel up for the first time you notice instantly that the reel is far lighter than anything else in the sealed drag class or indeed any other class for that matter. Its frame has a matt black finish with aluminium exposed silver spokes. Upon further inspection you notice the distinctive drag casing in a deep red colour which houses a smooth and positive drag. The overall width of the reel is moderately wider than conventional reels, but it needs to be as the claimed backing capacity I feel would fall slightly short of that required for a twelve weight line. The reel has a v groove spool as with the older Airlite model and on the first few revolutions of backing you wonder if the line is laying correctly. Even when the reel was full of backing and a wf11 intermediate line went on, I was still surprised how light the reel was.
For the first day’s fishing, and a chance to try out the V-Lite, I swapped over to a Di7 equivalent and we were encouraged to take a boat offshore to find one of the huge shoals of football sized Tuna. This worked for a number of reasons. I for one, had never caught a Tuna on the fly although I’ve long been assured they’re great fun on a fly rod, it was a golden opportunity to get into the backing on the V-Lite!!
We were told the run out to the Tuna ground was about 40 minutes. Let me set the scene for you. On the Baja peninsular, the most economical boat fishing is in a panga. This is a 24 foot centre console with a 150 Yamaha outboard. Its a fibre glass body with lots of movement and most of them look like they’re 30 years old. The ride isn’t comfortable and on this particular journey we were 12 hours away from a storm which turned into a twister the next day. After an hour we still hadn’t arrived and the rough ride left us with not a stitch of dry clothing on either of us, Mike and I looked at each each dripping wet and just shook our heads before the glum faces turned into two grown men giggling like little girls. By the time 90 minutes had passed we eventually found the tuna. They were smashing bait on the surface flying in all direction, leaping out of the water and generally creating a foam like surface on swells of dark blue water. The captain confirmed there was a mixture of yellow fin and skipjack. Mike and I selected some blue and white 5 inch deceiver patterns, cast our flies into the school and stripped like mad men. Before either of us had even reached the head of the fly line the line was torn out of our fingers and in the blink of an eye the V-Lite lit up as yard after yard of backing flew out of the rod tip at lightening speed. For those of you who’ve caught Tuna on the fly you’ll understand what I’m referring to, If you haven’t then imagine tying your line to anything moving away from you at 50 mph and this will give you an idea.
The V-Lite impressed me immediately. There was no start up inertia and the textured drag knob was very easily adjustable which proved important playing hard fighting fast moving Tuna. The reel felt smooth and balanced as the backing left the spool and the whizz of the drag gave a sound to assure confidence in it.
Once the Tuna had taken nearly 100 yards of backing I was ready to see how the V-Lite retrieved line. Again, the lightness of the reel meant I could crank the handle with speed and before I knew it the line was back onto the spool. After a short 7-8 minute fight, Mike was first to land his fish, a fit and impressive 12lb yellow fin. I took a minute or too longer claiming I had a good one on and as it came to the boat I was surprised to see it was smaller, about 8lb’s.The captain confirmed that pound for pound, the Skipjack is one of the hardest fighting fish, and that was what I’d landed. Mike and I went on to land another dozen or more Tuna and really gave the V-Lite a good workout.
The next day we dedicated our attention to the prize quarry we had travelled all the way to Baja for. The process is relatively simple. The Roosterfish patrol the water just behind the wash where they are waiting to ambush the baitfish that sit close to the shore. The Rooster fish fly into the shallow water at high speed, eat and then disappear, not very sporting really. Our requirement to get a shot at hooking one of these fish was to ride an ATV on the beach, spot the fish, jump off the bike, run ahead of the fish (which I’ve confirmed swims pretty quickly) and make a perfect cast infront of it and start stripping. Mike said you only have to have 3 things to catch a Roosterfish, 1. Eagle eyes, 2. To be a terrific caster and 3. To be able to run as fast as Linford Christie.Sound easy? Yeah, you guessed it isn’t. After getting a few shots on day one we left the beach fishless vowing we’d be back the next day with renewed enthusiasm.
Mike spotted a fish early on during day 2 on the beach and after sprinting up the shore line, which is great for anyone who hasn’t sprinted since you were at school, he made a cast, stripped and hooked into his first Roosterfish. Again, the V-Lite had it’s drag tested, this time on land and a now more powerful fish to test the drag with greater pressure. Mike said straight away how good the reel felt under pressure. Mike doesn’t mess about playing fish and has been known to boat a tarpon over 150lbs in less than 20 minutes on a fly rod. After it’s first run, Mike had the fish close to the shore and was ready to bring it in on the next wave. He was keen to use the V-Lite for the rest of the trip, a testament to how good it felt, and how it played fish on the drag.
I have to be honest in my findings and say that the V-Lite isn’t perfect. Against some of my other 10/12 weight reels, the V-Lite has the smallest diameter. I did attempt to load a floating line on the reel and as I approached the end of the running line the line was starting to touch the frame. I would guess that if you wanted to use a floating line you may only get 150 yards of backing onto the reel which is perfectly adequate in the UK, but you need that much as a minimum just for bonefishing with an 8 weight. The other thing I noticed about the V-Lite is the quality of the anodized finish. It looks more like a light powder coating and after a day on the boat the reel had sustained a few scratches in only a couple of hours, something I dont have on reels 3-4 years old.That said, reels are there to be used so if you don’t mind a few scratches then it’s not a big problem.
In summary, and given the cost of the reel, which I have to add is less than half the price of the next sealed drag on the market, the V-Lite is indeed a great reel. It doesn’t have the finish of some of its competitors and it’s slightly smaller but if you wanted the perfect bonefish reel at a great price that will balance a 9 weight rod, then the V-Lite could be your perfect partner.
Features – 8
Value for Money – 10
Performance – 10
Build Quality – 9
Finish – 7
Functionality – 8
To view more information on the V-Lite take a look > Airflo V-lite reel : From £99.99
Review and post written by Ryan O’Dwyer.
Airflo V-Lite reels from £99.99
NEW for 2012 Airflo’s top of the range V-lite reels that have just landed in the TF Office. There are four models, 3-4, 5-7, 7-9 and 10-12 and i decided to concentrate on the two most popular sizes with stillwater anglers, the 5-7 and 7-9.
These fishing reels are tooled from quality aerospace alloy and have been given a black anodised finish. The back of the reel cage has added silver highlights which creates quite an individual look. Both the reel cage and spool have been heavily ventilated to make them as light as possible (the spool on the 7-9weights just 52gr) while at the same time keeping their strength and integrity intact. This ventilation, especially on the spool, allows the line and backing to dry out quickly and with V-shape in the spool the line drops neatly to the centre of the reelm so you dont have to use your fingers to level wind it on.
The reels have been machined to very high tolerance and there is no movement between spool and reel cage. Spool release is by way of captive nut although if you pull hard enough it will come off, something to be aware of. Once the spool is off it reveals a totally sealed drag unit making the reel ideal for saltwater use as well, especially in the larger sizes. The drag itself is smooth and very effective and can be set in small increments via the drag knob on the back of the reel cage. If you are looking for a reel with the power to stop hard-running fish then this drag wont let you down. It can also be loosened off completely and will not overrun due to a click mechanism on the ‘line-out’ and ‘line-in’.
The 5/7 model will match up perfectly to a small stillwater outfit or for top of the water tactics on a reservoir, while the 7/9 would be ideal for reservoirs and larger, harder-fighting fish.
The reels do represent very good value for money, and are light and powerful with good line capacity. A bit of bling is your tackle bag without being too over the top!
The 3-4 model weights 159gr and costs £99.99, while the 10-12 reel weights 240gr and retails at £139.99.
Printed in the July 25 – August 21 issue 434 of Trout Fisherman Magazine.
Click here Airflo V-lite Fly Reel to view
There can’t be any more demanding situations for a fly line than saltwater. You’ve got salt, rocks, sand, everything that can destroy a fly line in one environment, which is why its worth investing in a line that’s got staying power.
Airflo have designed two Forty Plus Cold Saltwater lines – a fist intermediate and DI7 – just for these situations.
The 120-foot lines have polyurethane coating that makes the lines incredibly tough and resilient. Like the freshwater Forty Plus, the line profile with relatively short head length is designed to load the rod quickly. And because the line is built around a very low stretch core all the energy from your arm is trasferred downt he rod and intot he line, giving maximum performance, regardless of wind strength and weather conditions. Because it is low stretch, bite indication is greatly enhanced and setting big hooks is mademuch easier.
The fast intermediate has a clear head section backed up with a floating running line so you can track its location on the water, while the DI7 has an intermediate running line. When casting these lines I had to make sure I didn’t aerialise too long a head length because it did affect distance.
Keeping the end of the head length just inside the rod tip, double hauling and then shooting made all the difference. The running line just streaked through the rod rings for a good distance cast.
Both lines on these were 10wts and they matched perfectly to the 10wt rod I was using. They are also great lines to use when predator fishing in freshwater. These excellent lines are available from a WF8 to WF10.
Review written and published by Trout Fisherman Magazine 2011.
This gear bag which performs part of the Airflo Outlander Luggage range, is made from a very hard-wearing synthetic fabric, which feels soft to the touch. This material has been backed with a waterproof PU nylon to make it water-resistant and the bottom of the bag features a durable and rubberised waterproof base that protects it and keeps the content dry.
The bag is simple and well thought out with one big compartment for the main storage. It comes with a set of removable dividers that are held in place with Velcro fasteners. This means you can quickly and easily customise the space to your own requirements. The top of the bag is wired so zips open in a perfect rectangle, giving easy access to the main compartment and the bag’s pale blue ilining highlights the content.
the are a furhter either external pockets of various sizes with another two on the inside and the bag has two carry handles and an adjustable and detachable padded shoulder strap. Teh robust zips have pull tags and all other fittings are quick-release bayonet clips.
Measuring 16in x 11.5in x 11in this would make an ideal fishing tackle bag for the roving angler or even an overnight travel bag.
Click here to view the Airflo Outlander gear bag and its features
I have been using one of Airflo’s relatively new fly lines, the sixth sense washing line for the last few months, It’s helped me to catching many wary fish and thought this line should get the praise it deserves.
I had been searching high and low for a line that not only places my flies in the feeding zone for a long time, but also fished the flies in a way which the fish at my local haunt may not be so wary of. With the ever increasing popularity of catch and release in our sport it doesn’t take long for our quarry to become very wary of not only lines but also the items put before them and how they move through the water column.
A quick mention on what makes these lines stand out from the competition – Airflo’s Sixth Sense range, with their low stretch power core really does help bite detection of even the slightest of takes.
I wanted the flies to fish in a completely different way to the conventional sink and draw action of a ‘normal’ fly line as offering something they haven’t seen I think will give an edge. This is where the washing line comes into its own. Based on the popular method of having a buoyant fly on the point holding a team of buzzers/nymphs further up the cast, the actual belly of this line sinks and the tip floats creating a unique retrieve path that ultimately results in your flies fished in the deadly arc that trout find irresistible. I think by having your patterns travelling through different depths is simply more natural to the fish.
I have personally fished with the same patterns and leader length on the same day and had interest from the fish was three-fold on this line when compared to fishing with a floating line and washing line set up. The best part about this line is that as most fishermen will know, the fish will alter their depth throughout the day and as the line is pulling your patterns through several layers with every cast its helping you keep in touch all day rather than changing your lines.
The colour of the line is an ice blue which I find helps me track the depth at which the flies will eventually travel through which also helps me fine tune my retrieve for the day once I have worked out how the fish will take the flies. The line feels supple in hand and shoots effortlessly with no memory whatsoever. All I can say is that if you don’t have any of the sixth sense range in your kit bag you really are missing out on a type of line that will result in you putting more fish on the bank.
Review Written by Chris Jones, Llanelli.