Right now, finding a small trout stream with a fishable flow near my place is harder than finding a good gluten-free vegan steakhouse.
The best I could manage for a day testing the new Airflo Creek 7’3 three-weight was a stream clear enough, but running a little hard and fast from yet another bout of heavy rain. This stream is not normally my first choice because, though it’s very beautiful in its upper sections, it’s not straining to breaking point under the weight of fish and travelling upstream in higher water is harder physical labour than a relaxing stroll with a fly rod. It is, however, excellent rod-testing water thanks to a broad range of casting challenges both long and short, and a modest population of spooky little brown trout that seem very adept at holding in the hardest water to get a natural drift over.
Like the Airflo Bandit three-weight I recently reviewed, the rod is geared more for power than twiggy flicky flex and it certainly won’t wilt under the pressure of some aggressive casting or a punchy fly-line. Experienced casters will have no problems getting what they need out of the little Creek and absolute beginners, with the right line, will find enough feedback to help develop their casting while not being held back as they get better.
I park-tested the rod with a range of Airflo, RIO and Scientific Anglers lines and it seemed pretty happy with any of them, though, like the previous model, a little bit of over-lining will improve the rod for very short casting without sacrificing too much distance. As ever, the RIO Perception remains a favourite, though I also found the Scientific Anglers Sharkskin GPX to be very well suited.
The general build quality is good. No, I’m not a huge fan of ornately built rods and some of the thrills and frills of the little Creek three-weight are a bit over the top for my more reserved (possibly boring?) and senior tastes. That said, when the rod arrived I showed it to my seven-year-old daughter and, after explaining all about the nymph carved into the reel seat, her eyes lit up like a labrador at at a tennis ball factory, declared the rod was now hers and demanded to be taken to the river. Yes, she does remind me of her mother.
The colour of the blank is a brown-green mix that, if coughed up, would probably be the first signs of a slow death, but on a fly rod it looks right at home. The grip is really nice in hand, being a little shorter than the previous model and more what I would expect in a lighter rod.
At around two hundred dollars, including a Cordura tube and trip-saving spare tip section, this rod is very good value and punched well above its weight on the stream. For anyone looking to expand their rod collection without un-expanding their bank balance, these Airflo rods are a great place to start and would also be perfect for getting the kids into fly fishing or as a back-up.
In Australia/New Zealand, Airflo rods are sold with Manic Tackle’s ‘Quick Fix’ warranty that aims to get a broken rod section replaced as fast as possible for a charge of around fifty dollars.