Friday, June 7, 2013


Blog Post By: Loren Williams

I have witnessed many progressions in the sport of fly fishing in my 35-years as an active participant.  I started fishing about the time graphite fly rods were coming into the norm and I recall substantial rebuttal from the veterans of the day.  It’s par for the course, and I offer that it is healthy for the sport as anglers, retailers, and manufacturers all benefit-yet we will always have a “comfort zone” where anyone can remain or fall back to should they so choose.

My tenure with Fly Fishing Team USA made me aware of many fishing, tying, and cultural aspects that I may had not been privy to otherwise.  They've made me a better angler, less in a box, and my enjoyment has escalated as a result.

In an earlier blog you can read the words of Joe Goodspeed about the virtues of the Cortland Competition Nymph line as it relates to his methods of nymphing.  In this blog I’d like to offer a slightly different view of the line.

I consider myself as a versatile fly fisherman.  I enjoy seeking products and techniques that allow me to put in with one rod, line and leader and fish a broad variety of techniques to efficiently attack the water.  Since working with the CNL I have been able to fine-tune that search, and I have become gratified with my growth.

While I fish small weighted nymphs with a long leader and visible sighter much of the time, I do enjoy dry fly, wet fly,  and streamer fishing where it makes sense.  For the vast majority of my fishing I employ the 140-grain CNL on a 10’ #3 or #4 line.  My leader compliments the line and I am set to devour the water in front of me.

                                LW's March Brown F-Plus

 I will offer that the CNL is about the finest medium to small dry fly line I have ever cast.  Improvements in the jacket have resulted in a slick line that is a great deal stiffer which shoots better than the original offering.  With a slight adjustment in the casting stroke, this line will easily and accurately cast #10 and smaller dries.  Furthermore the long, fine front taper lands gently and the overall sleekness of the line is less susceptible to micro drag from wind and current.

                               LW’s Brown Drop-Shot Bugger

When fishing streamers, contact with the fly is as important as with nymphs.  Again, the long taper and thin diameter of the CNL are key.  I will opt for this line when exploring small streams and when attacking specific structure since the line works when propelling either large or small weighted meat.  I can move the fly around structure, with precision, using my rod tip. When covering pools or runs I will simply allow the big flies to sink the delicate tip which provides substantial “bite” to the system as I work them.  The line is thick enough to build a belly, but the belly is much less of that of a WFF or DT line so the cross-current and downstream progression of the streamer is well controlled.

                              Bloody Butcher

I like to fish wet flies as a way to prod expanses of riffles and choppy pools that lack obvious holding water.  The line is just powerful enough to cast a brace or trio of widely spaced wets, yet thin so that wind effect is minimized and distance is maintained.  The mass plus resistance of the flies anchors the flies in a drift, just as with nymph fishing.  The mass of the CNL is typically less than that of the mass plus resistance of the flies, so contact is achieved without pulling the flies out of drift.

These are exciting times for progressive anglers and it is terrific news that we have companies like Cortland available and willing to look outside the box, creating new products, and seeking input from anglers!  New products maximize my time on the water and I'm certain they will yours!

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