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Old 05-21-2012, 07:53 PM
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Default Airflo Ridge Rangefinder Distance

Wondering what anyone's experience has been with this line. Looking at it for its mending and roll casting ability more than the distance casting it gives. How does it compare to the Rio Gold or other long belly lines.
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Old 05-22-2012, 11:24 AM
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Default Re: Airflo Ridge Rangefinder Distance

Good question. This Airflo features a 65' head which includes a long front and very long rear taper. I have just rigged a #5 and hope to cast it with intent this coming weekend so more later. For now, and this is my preferred line design as long as the rod in question agrees, there are a small group of floating lines in this class: Rangefinder along with the excellent RIO Gold you mentioned as well as the original in this class, SA Expert Distance Taper and newer SA Textured Trout Stalker. These are all extended head (formerly called "long bellies" but I don't like that term) with hinge eliminating 25' rear tapers. All are ideal for reach casting and in air and on water mending. The Rangefinder has the longest front taper which I am slightly suspicious of but will reserve opinion until used (duh!).

These lines are the bomb for dry fly technical presentations and the ill-named Expert Distance Taper is the choice of most aspirants for FFF instructor certification. Were it called Expert Presentation Taper SA would, I believe, sell a lot more of them.
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Old 05-22-2012, 07:59 PM
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Default Re: Airflo Ridge Rangefinder Distance

Having used SA Expert Distance since it was called XXD I have to say I was less than enamored with it for fishing. For pure distance casting and in fishing when only the head was out past the rod tip it wasn't at all a bad line. It was when the running line was in the water that it failed to please me. The running line was so thin it wouldn't float. It hovered in and under the surface and tangled in my fins when floating. For distance casting the same thing that was an issue for a 'floating' line became a huge asset for throwing a long line... the thin diameter made for less friction in the guides and helped the line really soar.
Of late I've been playing with Rio Gold Tournament line and so far it excells the Expert Distance in many ways. The 75' head allows a lot of line carry and the stepped down tapers create very smooth transitions both in front and in back of the head. The fact it is true to it's rated line weight for the first 30' instead of being overweighted really helps keep a grip on things. I can't speak for it's fishability as the day-glo, ultra bright orange color steers me away from using it to fish with (I never cared for very bright fly lines for actual fishing) but it is the best I've found for allowing students to see the line and for myself to see when watching my back cast and getting proper range for hitting targets.

I may be off base here in speaking about distance lines when you specifically asked about roll casting and mending abilities but I can't help but to wonder why you don't just go with any number of fine DT lines for those purposes. The most you will lose going with a DT is a bit of backing capacity and a few feet at most in distance.
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Old 05-22-2012, 10:24 PM
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Default Re: Airflo Ridge Rangefinder Distance

I'm not opposed to a DT line. There just doesn't seem to be much of an offering in 6wt from what I've seen. Please give me some suggestions if I'm wrong. I have the original RIO Gold in 4wt. While not as long a head as the others in the group it convinced me to not go back to normal WT forward lines. The control I get from the gold is so much better for fishing. 's What I like best is it's DT attributes so maybe that is the way I should go. If Airflo made their Tactical Trout in a 6wt DT that might be the line I am looking for.
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Old 05-23-2012, 03:52 PM
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Default Re: Airflo Ridge Rangefinder Distance

My issue with DT is all the additional weight dialed into the cast once the initial 30' of line is out the rod tip. With the extended head design the line beyond the head is slowly reducing in diameter as the long rear taper attenuates. It realy gives all the presentation attributes of a DT with a lot less of the added mass. Not to mention that when shooting for distance the WF(EH)-F lines have less resistance and mass to contend with as rearward portions of the line pass through the guides.

I will be comparing the Rangefinder to Gold and Expert Distance this weekend first on the lawn and then on the River mounted on the #5 ONE. I have been using its intended Gold up to this point happily but it is time to experiment.
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Old 05-23-2012, 08:06 PM
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Default Re: Airflo Ridge Rangefinder Distance

Can't wait. Please report back.
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Old 05-23-2012, 09:48 PM
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Default Re: Airflo Ridge Rangefinder Distance

Again you asked about mending and roll casting ability. If you are roll casting and mending 65-75' and expect even more distance then maybe a DT isn't for you. If the rod you're using likes a true-to-weight line and you intend to overhand cast it well past the normal 30' head length then too DT may not be the best bet for you. In the same token and if indeed you have a rod that likes a true-weight line some of those sweetandsalt will be testing leave the gate already 1/2 line weight heavy.
For normal fishing within normal fishing ranges I can easily get by with either a DT or long belly WF line. After long, tough usage though I can always end-for-end that DT and have what is virtually a new fly line for free.
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Old 05-24-2012, 08:24 AM
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Default Re: Airflo Ridge Rangefinder Distance

Jackster, I don't have a digital scale (maybe I should) but, for my information, which of the lines that I mentioned are (in the first 30') heavier than AFFTMA standards?
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Old 05-24-2012, 07:51 PM
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Default Re: Airflo Ridge Rangefinder Distance

When I got the XXD and later the Expert Distance they were rated 1/2 weight heavy. Rio seems to be dialing in an improved way of measuring line weight in that they give the 30' weight and the entire head weight. The Gold Tournament is true-to rated weight for the first 30'. Echo/Airflo seems a bit secretive about the weight on the Rangefinder as I can't find any weight details on their website.
I can weight the 30' head on the XXD, ED and Gold Tournament if you wish verification.
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Old 05-30-2012, 01:45 PM
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Default Re: Airflo Ridge Rangefinder Distance

I would like to know the first 30' weight and I think others in this forum would too. Thanks

I was under the impression that XXD/Expert Distance was a true to size line not 1/2 heavy so it would be interesting to know. Rajeff Sports maintains that Airflo lines too are true to size. And Gold is also supposed to be true with Grande being the GPX 1/2 heavy type.

I originally fished the Gold and the Grande on ONE. They made the rod feel quite different but both worked well. I decided I preferred the lighter touch of the Gold. Rigging with Expert distance, ONE felt very good. This would be a fine line for this rod. Rangfinder felt good too especially at mid to long distance casting but I felt its in close casting suffered from its elongated front taper much like I don't like the performance of Triangle Taper in close either. Between Expert Distance and Gold is a close call but, after switching back and forth and casting with some of the guide/casting instructors where I fished last week, I am giving the nod to Gold by a nose. Just slightly smoother loop formation and a hint more sensitivity made the slight difference. Gold it is!
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