Sunday, August 17, 2014

Product Reviews - The Ultimate Adjustable Indicator - Air-Lock Strike Indicators

I've been beta testing various versions of these trapped air indicators for John Van Leeuwen @ Depth Skru/Field Systems Research, LLC and after two years, I think he's finally got it!

These ingeniously designed indicators have just hit the shelves.  The Air-Lock design is simple, its a thing-a-ma-bobber only its much more versatile.  It has a nylon threaded post, a nylon nut and a rubber washer.  The post has a slit in it which you slide your leader through, you tighten the nut down and the indicator stays in place.  Simply back the nut off a turn to adjust, no line kinks or abrasions.  You can do it when your hands are frozen unlike other indicator systems and with a little practice, you can do it with one hand.  Adjustments are precise and quick taking only about 5 seconds.  Also, get this, if you decide you want to throw streamers or dries or high stick some riffles, you can simply take the indicator off without cutting and retying, imagine that!  The smallest size (3/4") is ideal for small/medium waters (Truckee in winter/summer), the medium size (1") is good for runoff conditions on the Truckee or any heavy waters in conjunction with some weight, and the large size (1-1/4") would be best suited for lots of lead in pursuit of steelhead and salmon in a big river like the Deschutes or Umpqua.

Airlock Indicators from Rajeff Sports on Vimeo.

  • Best depth adjustability of any indicator on the market
  • If you want to switch to a dry or high stick, no cutting of leader involved!
  • Won't kink your line
  • Won't slide down your leader (just don't lose the rubber washer)
  • Multiple sizes and colors
  • Frozen hands can adjust it
  • Rides high on the water
  • It doesn't use the word "Bobber" in its name
  • No-kink 90 degree functionality (see images below)


  • A little on the pricey side @ $2/ea, but I literally get 50-100 days or more out of one (so long as I don't lose it)
  • Doesn't cast as good as yarn but no worse than a thing-a-ma-bobber
  • A little clunky for super delicate waters or spring creeks (i.e. Little Truckee, Hat Creek, Fall River, etc.)  But then again, you can high stick those.  Also, a 1/4" prototype is in process that should solve this soon.  See image below.

I have to say, I'm very impressed by these indicators and they come highly recommended.  Try them, you won't go back to any other indicator.  They can be purchased at the following link: Air Lock Strike Indicators


Anonymous said...

just found these and did a 3 day test on the Frying Pan River 7-9 Dec 2014. First impression is these are the answer to our indicator prayers. Works just as advertised, and perhaps the best feature is you can remove it easily and fish another method. The only problem is when tightened down they can be a tiny bit difficult to open at 22 degrees and your fingers are frozen plus if you drop the cap among rocks or in the water then you are done if you cant retrieve it. Someone should suggest to the company that they should include a spare cap for the price. One side benefit for me is the ease of taking it off eliminates that annoying problem at the end of the day when trying to put your rod back in the rod case,you know having to adjust the indicator down so you can reel up tight after putting the fly in the keeper.

Ryan said...

Very valid points. Regarding the extra nut, I fully agree and will pass that onto the owner. I'll point out that you can find extras in bulk for cheap on the web, but for a 2-cent item, they should include it. Regarding the cold, agree as well but I'll say this, its still much easier that trying to undo and move a thing-a-ma bobber. Best Regards.

Josh Coburn said...

Any word on when the smaller ones will be available? And how does one find these spare nuts?


Why not take a short length of Mono 1", and superglue it to the cap and the male part of the bobber, making a tether? This way you will never lose the cap.

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