Thursday, September 5, 2013

Cortland Competition Nymph Rod Review - Housatonic River Outfitters

When Cortland recently came out with their series of Competition Nymph fly rods, I was pleasantly surprised at just how damn good they actually are. At $219.95
(includes a rod tube), you cannot find a comparable specialized nymphing rod at this price point, and in fact they easily compete with rods costing 3 plus times more. They are designed to catch fish, with actions that are specifically tweaked for the deadly technique of Euro Nymphing, enabling you to turn over longer leaders & lightweight flies if necessary, while still giving you tippet protection. They also make fantastic wet fly/soft-hackle rods, due to their extra length & softer tips. These rods are all designed to balance nicely and be light in the hand to minimize fatigue. The #2 and #3 rods are ideally suited to Euro Nymphing, while the #4's crossover into both Euro & Indicator nymphing. To really maximize your rods performance for Euro Nymphing, consider matching it up with a  Cortland Competition Nymph line and make a sighter out of Cortland’s brightly colored Inidcator Mono.

Some other cool features:
-5 models ranging from a 9.5’ #2 up to a 10.5’ #4 cover a wide range of nymphing scenarios
-Longer lengths (up to 10.5’) gives you tremendous control over your drift, better hook-setting, and better fish playing
-Supple tip help prevent hooks from pulling out during the fight, while powerful mid/butt sections give you casting & fish-playing power
-Very low swing weight
-Thin blank for light weight & minimal wind resistance
-Great roll-casting rods
-Stealthy matte finish & black guides means no glare to spook fish
-Short fighting butt on all models
-Oversize guides help shoot more line

These rods came out just in time for my girlfriend Mandy’s birthday, so I got her one as a present. We've both fished her 10.5’ #3 rod (quite possibly the pentultimate Euro nymphing rod IMHO) for a while now, and we love it. She commented on how easily it throws weighted nymphs on a long leader, and also how well it plays even big fish-  the beauty you see pictured was landed on her maiden voyage with the rod. The supple tip has also upped the landing ratio on small to average fish, as it functions as a shock absorber that makes it harder for hooks to pop out of their mouths when they shake their heads. I've never seen a longer rod that balances better in the hand, and from talking to Joe Goodspeed, one of the main people who helped develop this series, that was something they spent some time perfecting. This lower swing weight also makes them less fatiguing to fish than other longer rods. The level of sensitivity of the rod is quite impressive, both Mandy & I noticed how well the slightest sensation was transmitted directly through the cork grip right to your hand. Normally I Euro nymph with my index finger just beyond the end of the grip, right on the butt of the rod blank to detect subtle takes, but this is not necessary with these rods. I was also impressed with the extremely high quality of the cork on the rod handle- it rivaled and even exceeded most of the premium $600-800 rods we carry in our store.

Housatonic River Outfitters is a full-service fly shop located in the Litchfield Hills of scenic northwest Connecticut. We are located on the 10 mile long catch & release section of the storied Housatonic River. The “Housy”, as she is lovingly called, teams with wildlife and is famous for prolific hatches, natural beauty, and quality trout fishing. The river also boasts one of the most famous and photographed covered bridges in the United States. In the spring & fall our primary focus is  trout, and in the summer our main quarry is warmer water species such as smallmouth bass & pike. The summertime smallmouth fishery is both superb and underrated, with a prolific bass population rivaling the most famous fisheries, and the Housy is big enough to float all summer long. We stock almost everything for the flyfisher, as well as offering guided fishing trips (both wade & float/drift) on the Housatonic River and other areas fisheries for trout, bass, pike & carp. We have an extensive selection of DVD’s and new & used books (literally thousands). Check out our website & web store at, call us at 860-672-1010, or email us at  

1 comment:

  1. These are, indeed, amazing fly rods. Very well designed. So impressed with what Cortland line is going.