Airflo’s Ridge lines are pretty popular in the freshwater fishing world. We’ve been hearing about their bonefish line for a while now, and last month we got the chance to try one out at Andros South.
Let’s start at the very beginning.
What’s A Ridge Line?
It’s a fly line made by Airflo that has ridges running along its length. Basically, if you were to cut a Ridge line and look at a cross-section, instead of seeing a circle you’d see a star. The ridges make for less surface area in contact with your guides, and that means less friction when you shoot line.
Test Rig and Conditions
The most notable feature of the Bonefish Ridge Line is, well, the ridges. You can feel the ridges when you’re handling the fly line. Airflo says that less surface area in contact with your guides makes the line shoot better, and after three days fishing this line, well…we buy it.
In a fishery like ours on South Andros where the fish aren’t that spooky, getting your fly to the target really quickly is much more important than having surgical precision. False casts are a bad thing – bonefish move pretty fast, and the quicker you can get your presentation made, the better. This line shoots well for sure – the only problem we had was consistently overshooting fish until we got used to it.
Like other Airflo lines, the coating on this line is polyurethane, vs the PVC that’s used by most other fly line manufacturers. Polyurethane is said to be more durable than PVC and more resistant to DEET as well. We only fished the line for 3 days so we can’t really speak to durability on this line specifically, but our experience with other Airflo lines like the Skagit Compact tells us that they hold up really well.
The color of the Airflo Bonefish Ridge Line is basically khaki – they call it ‘Sandy Tan’. It blends in really well on the flats, and it would probably be a benefit in places where the fish are super spooky. We didn’t love the color on South Andros – we’d rather be able to see the tip of the line a little better. We like to know where our fly lands, and most importantly we like to see that little hesitation in the tip of the line when the fish eats.
The Airflo Bonefish Ridge Line has a pretty short head – 6 feet of front taper, a 24 foot belly and an 8 foot rear taper. It loads your rod quickly – even with a fast rod like the TCX – and that’s a good thing when you need to get your fly out there fast.
The front taper on a fly line has a big impact on how the line turns over – short tapers make for faster, more powerful, less delicate turnover. We actually didn’t know the specs on this line until after our test period, and were surprised that the taper was as long as 6 feet – it turns over big flies really well. For reference, a couple of other lines that we really like for our big fly environment on South Andros are the Bruce Chard Bonefish Line and the Rio Tropical Clouser, and they’ve got front tapers of 18″ and 3’6″ respectively.
Our friends at Airflo tell us that the large diameter of the tip and the core material help with better turnover. We’re not line designers so it’s a bit of mystery to us…regardless we can tell you that this line loads rods fast and turns over big flies great.
This is a great all-around line for bonefishing, on South Andros at least. Lines like the Rio Tropical Clouser and the Bruce Chard Bonefish line probably turn over heavy flies a little easier but present a little less softly. Lines like the Rio Bonefish Line allow a little softer fly landing but don’t turn over the big stuff as well. The Airflo Bonefish Ridge Line seems like a nice middle ground, and the extra ‘shootability’ from the ridges is a nice bonus.
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