Hidden Gem from Vermont: Diamondback Aeroflex Saltwater

// Photos by Livia Nowak
Leonard Schoenberger

When it comes to fly rods there are big players such Sage or Orvis.

But I love looking beyond these names to discover smaller brands such as Diamondback. Diamondback fly rods might sound familiar to you if you’ve been fly fishing for a few decades. The company was originally founded in 1983 in Stowe, Vermont. Back in the days, this small manufacturer was known for a standalone braided pattern in their carbon blanks. Joe Goodspeed revived the company and moved its headquarters to Brattelboro, Vermont. Prior to taking over Diamonback, Joe made a name for himself in the industry be heading fly line production at Cortland and fly rod developtment for Thomas & Thomas.

On a recent saltwater trip to Montauk, NY, I had the chance to fish the Aeroflex Saltwater as a #9 for striped bass and bluefish. Here’s how it performed.

Diamondback Aeroflex Saltwater: Specs and Features

Name: Aeroflex Saltwater

Line classes: #7 to #11. All rods comes at 9’0″.

Parts: all variants come as 4pc rods.

Price: $600

Warranty: $50 for any broken section of a fly rod.

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On the Water with the Aeroflex Saltwater

Nam Epic Waters Fly Rod Reel Seat
Striper fishing with the Aeroflex Saltwater #9 paired with the Abel Rove 7/9 fly reel.

Since I wanted to test the Aeroflex Saltwater during a visit to Long Island, NY, I went for the #9 as it’s a great allrounder for mid-size saltwater fish. Plus, I enjoy using my fly rods for different fly fishing scenarios and figured the #9 could be a good choice for some pike fishing that I practice in freshwater and brackish water estuaries during fall. All the rods from the Saltwater series come in at 9ft.

Nam Epic Waters Fly Rod on table
The Diamondback Aeroflex Saltwater comes in a beautiful greenish color that looks stunning in bright sunlight.

What struck my eye first when I took the rod out of its cordura rod case is the standout blank color that really makes the Aeroflex look different than other fly rods in the market. I think the greenish/blue colorway is a very modern looking fly rod. Plus, Joe Goodspeed went back to the roots with the braided pattern of the carbon fiber blank that really comes out nicely in plain sunshine.

Nam Epic Waters Fly Rod on table
Beautiful greenish/blue blank color of the Aeroflex Saltwater.
Nam Epic Waters Fly Rod Blank
The Aeroflex comes with a full wells grip and a fighting butt made from foam.

Besides the standout blank color I also liked the full wells grip on the rod. I wear a size 8 in gloves and had a good feeling when casting the rod all day in demanding saltwater conditions. At the bottom of the handle the rod is equipped with a fighting butt with a foam top that worked well too (trust me such details can make a difference when you are fighting several strong fish such as striped bass or bluefish).

Nam Epic Waters Fly Rod Grip
Casting the #9 Saltwater version for stripers off Montauk, NY.

Casting Performance

Nam Epic Waters Fly Rod Review
Flexing the Aeroflex deep into the blank when casting into the wind.

I took the Aeroflex out on two windy days searching for stripers – an ideal setting to test such a rod in challening conditions. I paired it with the Abel Rove fly reel (7/9) and a triple density line. Compared to most modern day fly rods, the Aeroflex felt to me a little more like a medium-fast action flexing quite deep into the blank (as you can see in the photo above).

Nam Epic Waters Fly Rod on wooden deck
Fish on with the Diamondback Aeroflex #9 saltwater fly rod.

We found a pack of feeding fish early in the day which gave me the opportunity to cast to them into the wind. Because of the slightly slower action I had to adapt my casting stroke a little before hitting the sweet spot. Once I had done that it was a pleasure casting the rod no matter whether I had the wind into my face or over my shoulder.

The Eira River in Norway.
Looking for stripers out in Montauk with my friend Sumner.

The same held true when fighting a number of stripers. The Aeroflex has enough power to handle these fish and makes you feel in control at all times. Like I mentioned before, the fighting butt also played a key role here.

Nam Epic Waters Fly Rod with salmon flies
Playing a striper with the Aeroflex Saltwater.

Verdict: Diamondback Aeroflex Saltwater

The Aeroflex Saltwater series comes in at $600. As crazy as it might sound, this makes it a medium priced rod nowadays in the range of the Atlas Signature and way cheaper than the Winston Air Salt for example.

In terms of its performance, the Aeroflex has no reason to be shy. It’s a beautifully designed fly rod that ticks all the boxes of a great saltwater rod. In my eyes, 9ft is also the sweetspot for such a rod in terms of length. Last but not least you get a fly rod that really stands out with its blank color and cool carbon fiber design plus the fact that you will most likely be the only one fishing a Diamondback.




How many line classes are available for the Diamondback Aeroflex Saltwater fly rod?

The Aeroflex Saltwater comes in 5 weight classes ranging from a #7 to an #11.

What species can I target with the #9 version?

The #9 9ft version is ideal for striped bass and false albacore fishing and also a good choice for bigger redfish.

Does the Aeroflex Saltwater come with a warranty?

Yes, Diamondback offers a replacement of any part for $50.