I heard via the grapevine that Cortland is revamping the company. New lines and products.

They took a big hit when new line companies started showing up. For the longest time it was Cortland and Scientific Angler as the primary line companies. That changed.

One of the founders of Cortland was a virtual friend of mine... the late Leon Chandler. Once he retired from Cortland, he spent his summers camped along the Missouri River. He was crazy about that river. I had a standing invite to go fishing with him but unfortunately, he passed on before I made it to the Missouri.

Over the years, I flipped flopped back and forth between Cortland and SA lines. One in one specific model would be better than the competition but not all. I've always felt the Cortland, clear, intermediate sinking line was better than the SA offering. I also prefer the Cortland 444 over the SA Mastery. However, I like the SA bass taper more than the Cortland version.

During recent history things have gone wacko in the line biz... as far as I'm concerned, the companies started offering far too many specialized lines and too many companies tossed their hat in the ring. Fortunately, I don't need any new lines right now and that's a good thing... I have no idea what line I would buy. For crying out loud, you don't need a specific line for nymph fishing. You don't need a specific line for spring creeks. You don't need a specific line for use on Tuesdays. You don't need a different line 1 hour after eating lunch.

Anyway, it will be interesting to see what direction Cortland will take. I'd cut the number of different lines back to the basics. I don't have enough extra spools to accommodate a different line for every single situation I may encounter while trout fishing and offering all the specific situation lines is too damned confusing.
It will be interesting to see what they come up with. I agree that there are so many line to choose from, maybe to many. It's obvious that in each company some tapers are being repackaged into several general purpose and species specific lines.


the sultan of swing
I'm a longtime loyal Cortland user, I think their lines coil better in cold weather than other brands. I just wish that they made level 14 wt. & 12 wt. lines for building skagit spey lines out of like they once sold.


Active Member
GAT...I have no idea how I managed to catch fish all those years on:

A) Level floating line

B) Level sinking line

I thought I was getting pretty high-tech when the WF lines came out....

But, I guess those were just doofus fish.

The complexity of today's different line and gear systems intimidates would-be flyfishers....which only means a smaller market and, ultimately, fewer advocates for the least resource extractive fishing genre.


Geriatric Skagit Swinger
I'm sure they will now have to start "Blueprinting" their lines to go with the new rods coming out. Currently I am in secret negotiations with them to integrate some Fishing Mojo® into every line. This should only raise the cost by $20 or so...

Old Man

Just an Old Man
I use one line for each rod that I have. I do many things with just the one line for each rod. I think that the line company's just want your dollar. That's why there are so many useless lines out there.
I started on a 444SL, double taper years ago and continued buying them. Nearly all of my single hand lines are 444's. I didn't start buying others until I brgan beach fishing and using an Outbound. That was about 12 years ago and then I began to branch out to other companies and lines. I still have and use the 444's for trout fishing. I like the Cortland lines so much, I think, that I didn't want to ruin them in the salt. I'll be heading to the Deschutes in a few weeks and the 444's will come along for the trip.


Author, Writer, Photographer
I sure hope Cortland's "revamping" isn't anything like RL Winston's "revamping". I just clicked on Winston's web site and their history link. Glenn Brackett's name is conspicuously absent from their history even though he shared ownership with Tom Morgan and together they sold Winston to David Ondaatje.

Glenn, Jerry Kustich, Wayne Maca and (the now deceased) Sam Druckman are artists dedicated to making bamboo rods in a tiny Montana town. They still make rods old style under the name Sweetgrass Rods. I fish my 3wt bamboo they made for me, but I rarely let anyone else even touch it. I consider it a family heirloom and will pass it down when I've finished supporting my life long oxygen habit. I have no such affinity to anything made in China.

Rio, Sage, and Redington are now owned by Far Bank Enterprises.

I think the future of fly fishing products is trending toward consolidating under holding companies, production moving to China, and the CEOs living and working far from any trout or steelhead stream with their noses in P/L statements instead of fly boxes.

I've used Cortland lines for many, many, years. I've enjoyed their products. I too think they are making too many specialty lines that are unnecessary. I've told people "You don't need more gear, you need more time on the water."

I can't bring Leon back, Gene, but I will extend his offer to show you the joys of my home water, the Missouri River.



Tim Cottage

Formerly tbc1415
Didn't Hardy buy Cortland a few years ago about the same time they bought Greys? Who owns them now?

One of the unfortunate consequences of the increased competition in line brands is the need to constantly create new product to replace existing product that isn't meeting its sales goals. A number of years ago I discovered the Rio Selective Trout lines. I really liked them and used them on a number of different rods. Then they were discontinued. On the plus side I was able to buy a number of them in different weights and tapers on closeout sales. But when I've used those up there ain't no more. They were replaced by the Rio Trout LT which is a considerably different and more specialized taper that does not hit the general purpose sweet spot. It was the first line since the Cortland peach (444) that hit that spot for me.



Trapper, hopefully I can take you up on that before one or the other of us runs out of time :)

Speaking of big companies taking over small companies. At one point, JW Outfitters built the best fishing pontoon boats. Scientific Anglers bought the company. I thought, that makes sense, SA doesn't sell pontoon boats so they must want to expand into that market.

Nope. They closed down the JW Outfitters manufacturing facility and that was it. SA never sold the pontoon boats.

I can understand buying out competition but SA didn't sell pontoon boats so why on earth would they buy a pontoon boat company just to close it down??? It was crazy. JW Outfitters made state of the art pontoon boats before SA bought them and closed them down.

Tim, as I understand it, Cortland is now employee owned... I think that is why they've hired some new guys at the top. That's just word on the street.

Chris Bellows

Your Preferred WFF Poster
i'm not sure building specialty lines is a bad thing. rio makes a ton of lines for practically every fishery and they are not suffering for it. they struggle because most dealers do not stock cortland lines. in fact the only times i ever see cortland lines is when i visit a sierra trading post.

go check out their website. having an e-bay store isn't gonna make dealers want to stock your stuff. simms can sell direct because they make some of the best waders... can cortland say the same thing about fly lines?

Jim Wallace

Smells like low tide.
Thanks, Gene. This confirms the rumor I was told by a fly shop employee last summer. He told me that the Cortland line I was looking for (444 intermediate clear camo sinker) was no longer going to be available, and their shop was sold out of 'em, had none on order, and no longer carried them. He said he heard that there were some changes going on at Cortland.
I found the Cortland Clear Camo I wanted on line, though.


Active Member
I also grew up with s.a. and cortland. the 444 is still a great line. I also only used double tapers for at least twenty years because you could actually false cast more than 40 feet! the first wt. forward heads were only 30 to 40 feet long so many of us only fished double tapers.

Lines have already gone the specialty rod way. look at rio's steelhead and nymph tapers and competition lines the grain weights can be as much as 2 weights heavier - a 6 weight nymph line weighing in the range of an 8 wt. line. It seems they had to start doing this to keep up with the faster than fast rods everyone started making. they needed lines to flex them! this in turn made it hard to find a line for older flexing rods like superfines or LL's and the such. It used to be pretty simple - lines were made right around the grain weight specified for rod number.

What I love about the advance of lines is the longer weight forward heads! the steelhead 64 ft. tapers make it so you can actually false cast 65 feet of line. the expert distance and other competition lines with heads out over 70 feet and the designed tapers for better loop control out far and longer casting are sweet. having a nymph taper for throwing huge streamers is a lot better than trying to throw those with a 35 ft. weight forward light trout line.

It only makes sense that in 2013 we have specialty lines and many to chose from. I'm glad I don't have to try and do everything with a floating double taper, or a short weight forward! I love scientific anglers expert distance lines for my lake dry lines. and the GPX is one sweet casting line even with it's shorter 40 to 45 ft. head being a half line heavy! I have also wanted to test cortlands fairly new western drifter lines.

I still do not have to try all the different companies lines. I stick with Cortland and scientific anglers because they were there in the early 70's when I started and they still make some of the best casting lines on the market.