Many fly line reviews are made with the product fresh out of the packet – not a real ‘test’ at all in my book. So, In this review I am taking a look at a fly line that I first spooled up exactly one year ago – The Airflo super-dri Xceed.
When I first selected the line, I had river fishing in mind. With it’s shorter compact head, the specification looked perfect for ‘quick loading’ casting situations, i.e in a stream channel with confined back-casting space, or under a tight tree-lined canopy.
Knowing the head was short and compact, and slightly over-weighted on the AFTM scale, I opted for a 3 weight, to use on my 7’6 #3/4 and 10′ #3/4 Streamtec rods. I found I was correct in my choice – a 3 weight loaded both of these rods perfectly, and in the case of the softer 7’6 rod extremely well at shorter range.
When spooling up the line I noticed just how smooth and slick it felt when compared to the older Airflo ridge impact lines. The neat welded loop was also a nice touch, as were the loading zones in olive.
Once on the water I found the line floated nice and high, even right at the tip – again a big step up from the last generation. The presentation was delicate and controlled, and the line landed gently even with my worst casts. Skittish river trout certainly obliged. Roll casting under thick cover was also effortless. The ‘pumpkin’ colour was just perfect too – ideal for picking out your line in a dark tree lined tunnel, or in the evening, but not so flashy as to be a fish spooking risk.
The line had an initial baptism on the Wye and Usk foundations wild streams – more than 30 sessions in fact through the trout season. Wild is just the right description for these small rivers. Your fly line can and WILL get caught and snagged up in rocks, tree limbs, brambles etc. Plus it will also get stood on – almost inevitable in such cramped, overgrown venues – all part of the challenge!
Unlike many other fly lines however Airflo are much tougher than the average. Once having worn out a Cortland 444’s coating in just under 6 weeks, and wader studding a Scientific Anglers GPX in half, not to mention ruining a Lee Wulf triangle taper in a rose bush, I have often cursed an expensive line purchase for not being man enough for the job. I have now probably used enough lines from the various manufactures to know that Airflo make the toughest out there.
The Super Dri Xceed proved to be almost indestructible despite being thoroughly punished over the last 12 months. To be honest I don’t really look after my lines, and have never cleaned this one but it is still just like the day I got it out of the packaging, despite literally going through a few hedges backwards. Flotation is still just as good as day one – the polyurethane formula with Teflon impregnated coating keeps the dirt off. Unlike PVC the line never leaches out it’s lubrication, or will crack.
This line has basically been in continuous use for a full year – rocky wild streams, big freestone rivers, tiny undergrowth choked brooks, upland hill lakes for wild browns, winter grayling fishing and even rock strewn torrents in the tropics, it’s truly been through the grinder and back.
This spring I am currently using the Xceed extensively on the larger Welsh rivers with my 10 foot 3/4 weight for dry fly fishing. For a 3 weight it is surprising just how well the taper cuts through a gusty head wind – 20 yard plus casts are fairly easy to achieve, and turnover of my favoured 18 foot leader is just spot on.
In conclusion, I am more than happy with this line and am confident it will just keep on going and going. If you are looking for an extremely durable line, that offers decent value for money (£39.99) when compared to the competition, plus great performance then I don’t think you can beat this one if you are a hardcore river angler.
I will update this review in 12 months time!