I did a much needed overhaul on my deteriorated floating fly lines this spring and added a few Cortland fly lines to the mix. They have some really cool options with general and specialty line models.
Trout Boss Fly Line Review
I picked this one up in a WF 6. It’s a floating line coined as their versatile choice for trout fishing. The line I had originally paired with this rod was a WF6 floater from another brand. It simply wouldn’t load the rod so I dropped it to a 5 weight rod and where it works a little better.
The Trout Boss has no issues loading a rod and it immediately felt great. The taper is not overly aggressive but doesn’t flop either. I’ve used this line for high-sticking with an extra long leader and it doesn’t require much length out the rod tip to help load a cast.
I’ve also been using it for general purpose nymph, streamer and dry fly rigs on 7-9 feet of leader. I’ve only put around 14 days of hard use on the line but the coating feels solid and seems like it will last for a long time. It’s definitely versatile and I love having a do-it-all line so I can easily change rigs and styles throughout the day without feeling like performance is suffering. Overall, this is one of the better all around trout lines I’ve owned.
444 Modern Trout Fly Line Review
First off, I love the bright orange. As a photographer, it’s great for background. As an angler, I know fish don’t care about line color. Shadows and movement spook them, not the color of your line.
This is dubbed an all-purpose fly line and it’s exactly that. I do personally prefer the aggressive tapers of the Big Fly and Trout Boss because I have an aggressive style but this line is slick and feels great. It’s nice on the false cast and it lands softly.
If you’re looking for a solid fly line, this is a great choice. I used it with a 6 weight and did some heavy streamer and high stick nymph fishing. It performed well. I would like it in a 3-5 weight setup for general trout fishing with a dry or dry dropper setup.
Cortland Compact Float Fly Line
This is a seriously cool fly line. It’s more of an aggressive floating head with a running line and is great for chuck and duck, single hand spey casting and throwing big bugs with no more than two false casts.
I have the 6/7 weight model and in most cases, I’d opt to overload the rod. I happened to have a 7-weight on hand and went with it and am glad I did. It loads up the 7 and might even be a bit much for many 6 weight fly rods. If you match with a 6, choose a stiff fast action that can handle the head.
I’ve only fished this for one day but love it and will keep it rigged for aggressive situations. It turned over a heavy streamer with ease. It would also be killer for situations without room to backcast. You can single hand spey cast this thing and put out some distance. I covered a wide section of the Blackfoot river in Montana with a single haul and launch sequence. I couldn’t generate that kind of line speed that quickly with any of my other floaters. Keep in mind that the line is aggressive and is anything but delicate. It launches and definitely is not a match for delicate presentations and spooky flat water fishing.
Cortland Big Fly Line Review
I picked this up in a 6 and 8 weight. The 8 weight will be a perfect fit for my Pike Outfit. Those big, wind resistant flies need an aggressive taper that really punches. Pike season is a few months out here so I haven’t tested the 8 weight yet.
The 6 weight however is awesome. I paired it with a fast action rod and this thing is slick. I was becoming a bit obsessed with the Trout Boss line but am now on the fence after a few days of playing with the Big Fly. While I’ve only used it on foot thus far, I think it’ll quickly become my go-to drift boat line.
You can pickup a ton of line and a big fly with very little effort. It loads up the rod in a hurry and slings your bugs easily. I’m not big on false casting non-stop. Having a line I can pickup and re-cast with less than 2 false casts is ideal. Less time casting, more time fishing. You would think a line that loads up quickly and handles your biggest, heaviest bugs would land a little harder than most but the Big Fly Line lands softer than expected. It’s no double taper, spring creek line but it’s not going to spook fish when it hits the water either.
Ultimately, I’ll be using this to toss medium and large dries and dry dropper rigs from the boat and on foot. It’ll be solid for weighted streamers and nymph rigs as well. Pretty much all the heavy lifting a floating line can handle. I’ll swap out for something more subtle during trico season and when I hit flat water with spooky trout but otherwise this’ll be a go-to fly line.
Cortland Floating Fly Line Conclusions
It’s been a refreshing experience using these lines. A few of the floating lines I’ve been using from another brand are just too soft and the tapers aren’t really doing it for me. I love the high performance taper from the Trout Boss and Big Fly lines. The Compact Float is no joke and will be fun for launching streamers and pushing hard. The 444 Modern Trout is more of an all around forgiving line. If I was still guiding, I’d love it as a general, all-purpose trout line. It’ll also be a nice stillwater line for fishing Chironomids and damsels. I have a few stillwater trips planned for ice out and will report for performance from those specific outings.
In conclusion, Cortland’s floating fly lines are awesome and I highly recommend them. I’m stoked to punish these things this season and put some trout in the net.