Cortland Sylk Line-Reports?

Is anyone out there using Cortland Sylk line? I have a couple bamboo rods with traditional small guides and am looking for a line that will cast well. I was thinking this may be the ticket because of the small diameter, but was hoping to get some feedback from others who know more about it than me before doing any purchasing. Also, since I'm going for smaller diameter line, should I be looking for a DT? Is the weighted portion of the Sylk WF line substantially thinner than that of a standard WF line? I will be fishing small streamers as well dry flies. Thanks for any input.
Cowboy, all my freshwater fishing is done with bamboo rods, and I use the Cortland Sylk lines in weights 3 to 6, all DT. It is noticeably thinner than a normal plastic line of the same weight, and is remarkably memory free, coming off straight even after months of being coiled on a standard arbor reel. I really like the way it casts, coming off nice and soft on the landing.

Since I have more reels than lines, I tend to take swap lines between reels, and a DT line is perfect for that -- with loops on both ends, it takes just a few moments to move the line from one reel to the other.

One downside that I've experienced, although this also happens with "normal" lines, is that after a long day of fishing, and especially in rough water, the first 2 or 3 feet tends to sink if you don't treat it beforehand with some sort of floatant. I use red mucilin which works well.


Greg Armstrong

a worthy line for certain and yes be sure to grease the first few feet of it unless you don't mind it sinking
I've heard of this being an issue with the early Cortland Sylks, but the two I have (about 3-1/2 years old now) haven't had the sinking issues.
If you buy one, you can seal the end of it prior to use to keep water from soaking up the end and causing the line to sink, just as a precaution.
Like Kenneth, both of mine are double taper lines (a 4 and a 5 wt.) and work well, the 5wt. even with up to size 8 long shank streamers.
BTW; Most traditional bamboo guys are using double taper lines, although it's worth it to try different lines on the different bamboo rods you cast to find that "sweet combo'".
You might just try any appropriately sized modern line to match the rods you're using - you may be surprized to find they cast just fine w/o having to buy a smaller diameter line. I find that some of my older bamboo rods do just fine with modern lines.
Also, you can always buy the traditional genuine silk lines. They're still being made and are available - though at a cost.

Have fun with your bamboo, and let us know how it goes. Be aware though, this can be a slippery slope!


Active Member
The bulk of my fishing is with modern bamboo rods so the guides may be larger than those used on your vintage cane. That said, I use considerably smaller guides than what is considered standard on modern rods.
I have several Cortland Sylk lines 3 to 7 wt and find them ok. The good part is that they are smaller diameter and very soft. I think the softness enhances presentation but reduces casting distance. These lines are fussy about being clean. It’s mandatory that I clean them each time or they seem to be a bit sticky in the guides along with the floatation issues mentioned by others. I know that I should probably clean every line every time but when I compared to the 444 Peach, Sylk is a bit fussier. Don’t get me wrong the lines are fine, but if I was forced to choose I’d take the Peach DT’s every time.

Ray Taylor

Tim Cottage

Formerly tbc1415
I fish a number of older rods with small guides. I use a wide variety of modern lines and don't find that their diameter causes them to hang in the guides. Like any other line there are some rods that like the Sylk and some that don't. As indicated in a previous post you should really try regular lines first before assuming that smaller guides need a smaller diameter line.

The silk is as good as any other modern line in all respects. The problem some experience with the sinking tip is most likely due to the leader butt soaking up water weight after a few hours and dragging the small diameter tip down with it. Seal the tip with whatever sealent you have handy.
If extra delicate presentation does not play a big part in your usual fishing just cut the tip back to a larger diameter, Maybe 12" - 18". It won't have much effect on the line and may even help with turnover of larger or heavier flies.

I use it on my glass rods and it performs flawlessly. I just made sure that I sealed the end before I fished it so that the core wouldnt wick up any water.