For any fly fisher choosing the right fly line can be a complicated task. Understanding the action of a certain fly rod, the mechanics of your cast, and what you’re trying to accomplish with certain flies can all be good variables to base a decision. Clearly some make it easy, for example, throwing dry flies a floating line is optimal. When it comes to streamers, deeper water, and fast moving current the options can be somewhat overwhelming. With all the different sink tips and full-sink lines it can be tough to make a decision when there is so much variety available.
Growing up as a kid the only fly line I used was a double-taper, weight-forward, floating line for everything. The industry today is packed full of a variety of options for every kind of fly fishing. For streamers I tend to use a weight-forward floating line with a small shooting head for the local rivers here in Salt Lake City. The Provo River in Utah rarely requires a sink tip; simple mending will do the trick to get down your average streamer. When it comes to a sinking option on larger rivers and even stillwater I tend to use my Airflo Streamer Max Short. For trips to the Green River, bigger Idaho rivers, and certain lake conditions the Streamer Max has become my go to streamer line.
I chose to give the Streamer Max -Short a shot because I had a trip to the Middle Fork of the Salmon River coming up and knew I needed to get some streamers deeper than usual to better target Bull Trout. The Middle Fork of the Salmon River has a variety of water including some quick water with deep pools and class 4 rapids spread throughout. I had done the hundred mile float before with a full sinking line and despised the fact that I could not mend. Although the water is large, it can also be severely pocketed with massive boulders tumbling down the 4000′ deep canyon creating some tricky water. This was probably the main factor in choosing the max short because it has an 18′ sink tip and doesn’t completely eliminate the ability to mend in certain situations. Most of the time fishing streamers I’m using a swinging type method and letting the current put in the work. This line allows me to have my cake and eat it too. I can strip flies through deeper holes, punch shallow pockets, and still swing streamers with a deeper hang-down.
Besides being able to accomplish an assortment of streamer tactics with this line, one of my favorite features is the “Ridge Tech” technology Airflo has employed in their fly lines. Basically, it’s a parallel texture on the fly line that allows for easier casting and lifts off the water for exceptional mending. The texture reduces friction and increases durability. Not only will your line shoot through the guides easier but it will pick up off the water with hardly any effort. In addition to not having to clean your line very often, the texture increases the longevity of the life of your line because it can take a bit more of a beating. The texture does cause the line to make a strange noise and can burn your finger when stripping in big flies all day. This is really the only negatives to this fly line. I’ve always had fly lines giving me a burn without texture so for me that’s not a big issue. The benefits of the texture far out-weigh the downsides when it comes to this fly line. I don’t notice the noise anymore, plus it’s easy to take pleasure in the fact my finger is a little burnt, means I got to go fishing.
When it comes to certain kinds of stillwater tactics the Airflo Streamer Max is a reliable weapon. Regardless of the ammo you’re throwing, likely large streamers, this Airflo line could come into play. My favorite thing about this fly line is the ability to sink flies with lots of material in a variety of water columns. Whether you’re fishing from the shore or a boat, the streamer max can be a serious player in the game when it comes to getting flies into a more visible window. For obvious reasons the streamer max is a performer on rivers in a drift boat but one of the last times I used it was at one of my favorite reservoirs. I started off fishing from the shore in the early morning and the fly line was extremely helpful. I was throwing an articulated pattern with lots of material and it worked to perfection. The most helpful aspect was the running line not sinking into massive weed beds caked to the shore of the reservoir. The location I was at is notorious for large beds of weeds extending far from shore which causes a mess for any full sinking line. Later that day, I was lucky enough to be picked up by my friend’s dad who happened to be at the reservoir on his boat. I continued to fish the streamer max short and was impressed with its ability to still bring fish up for the munching of my baitfish pattern. It’s not the best for deeper retrieves, but around 15-20 feet even the 18′ sink tip with a short count still made it happen.
The best type of water I’ve found for the streamer max lines are bigger rivers with deep holes and more strenuous current. That should be apparent but I’ve also been pleased with how versatile this line can be fished. Streamers all day with this line can be good fun but it could also be used for nymphing some really deep pockets if need be. I’ve had the chance to put some stress on this line now and shoot it through enough guides to know it’s durable and extremely useful for certain situations. When the Wiper boils I ran into at local reservoir kicked off one day I was happy to find an extra reel in my truck loaded with a good sink tip line – the Streamer Max. Once again the sink tip got my flies down in the zone but the floating running line kept me casting and quickly taking shots at different fish.
Overall I’ve enjoyed this line and will always have one with me in Idaho from now on. I wasn’t able to get a big bull to the net but this line made it much easier to get lookers and trackers on my fly during a Salmon River trip. Like anything in fly fishing there is some personal preference but understanding a few key variables when it comes to purchasing a new streamer line can be beneficial. Whether you’re a hardened streamer junkie or just starting out chucking meat I highly suggest looking into the Airflo Streamer Max lines. Curious to get your hands on one or have a particular question you need answered feel free to stop by the shop and we can get you going in the right direction.
Thanks for reading and follow me on Instagram @cuttypowshark and stop by the shop next time your in the Salt Lake area.