Testing fly lines for Airflo holds multiple pleasures, not the least of which is the excuse to fish more. However, sampling new technologies always seems to bring added excitement to an otherwise ordinary day on the water.
Admittedly, there are occasions when it takes a little time to warm up to a new design that might be intended to replace something that I have already found to be quite satisfactory. But this was not the case on a summer day spent with Airflo Sales Rep, Brandon Prince.
“Don’t let the name fool you”, he said as we spooled up the River and Stream Taper (aka the ‘lake pro’ in the UK) at the TroutHunter Fly Shop. It was early August and we were headed for Sheridan Lake and a session with its beefy Kamloops rainbows.
Rarely am I blown away by the first cast with any item of tackle but there is no better way to describe my response to the River and Stream.
Fishing multiple wet flies on more than twenty feet of leader, I was instantly impressed by the smoothness of the line and its aerial stability as I shot a seventy foot cast with amazing ease toward a big cruising Kamloops.
With a hand grip weakened by time and more than forty years of professional fly tying, I appreciated the reduced effort required to push long and accurate casts over a three hour period on the lake.
The versatility of the River and Stream came instantly into effect when the trout began sipping Callibaetis mayflies from the surface at around noon.
In this dry fly situation I was compelled to constantly adjust the casting distance from as close as twenty feet to as far as I could reach as the big cruisers fed erratically about the boat. The River and Stream shifted easily to this contrasting type of fishing as it consistently accommodated every requirement.
I fished the River and Stream exclusively on still waters that also included Henry’s and Hebgen Lake through mid-October, and my affection only deepened for this impressive line.
It was nearly November when I finally began to apply the line toward its designated purpose. Adjusting the leader to a short, aggressive taper, I found the River and Stream to perform perfectly for streamer fishing on the lower Henry’s Fork, where I finished the season chasing big brown trout.
The arrival of February places a return to the water only a few weeks away, when testing of the River and Stream will resume. Midges, Baetis and smaller nymphs will be the name of the game in the beginning, but more diversity on moving water will come as the season advances. Based on experience thus far, I do not expect to be disappointed.
In the interim, I will continue to stock up on still water flies for those days when I know what line I will be fishing. Brandon was right, the River and Stream is more than its descriptive title implies.