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Cortland Fly Rods for Beginning Fly Fishermen

Updated on June 29, 2014

My Introduction to Cortland Fly Rods

I am an avid outdoors man, and was first introduced to Cortland fly rods around 15 years ago. I had my first fly fishing experience a few months before on a business trip out West. Pardon the pun, but I have been 'hooked' every since.

I had received an Orvis fly rod combo for Christmas that year, because my family had taken notice of my new interest in fly fishing. I had taken my Orvis on a weekend trip to Gatlinburg, Tennessee where a friend and I had hired a local guide to take us fishing on a mountain stream. The guide recommended we use the gear that he supplied, which were Cortland fly rods. After spending the day fishing with his Cortland, I fell in love with it.

We returned to his fly shop when our time fishing was over, and I ended up buying a new Cortland fly fishing combo from him for around $100.00. The same model that I had used that day. It was a 3/4 weight rod in a 7'6" length, with a fly reel, fly line, and backing included. I still have this fly rod and it goes on every fly fishing trip with me. This short, light-weight combo is ideal for those small mountain streams, especially if there are trees or overhead branches in the area. It really is a great finesse rod that makes the little fish feel big, and the big fish feel even bigger!

(Image Credit to InterRev - That's me with my Cortland fly rod fishing in Idaho.)

Fly Fishing in Gatlinburg Tennessee

(Image Credit to InterRev - That's Me!)

Gatlinburg Tennessee is about a four and a half hour drive from where I live, so it is a pretty easy weekend trip to take. I've been fly fishing there several times since my initial guided trip. Many of the streams throughout Gatlinburg offer some nice opportunities to catch good numbers of rainbow trout. None of my trips there since have matched the quality of the fish we caught with the guide though.

I can still remember the guide's name; Bobby Schultz. He was an older gentleman that really enjoyed his job, and loved seeing his clients catch quality trout. Bobby had access to some private land that a section of Norton Creek ran through. This was his honey hole that was restricted locked gates on the gravel road that led to it.

Norton Creek would not look like a very impressive creek to the average fly fisherman. It was a narrow creek that flowed into deep pool after deep pool. What was impressive about Norton Creek was the quality of the trout. My buddy and I must have each caught two dozen trout a piece over the 4 hour guided trip. A number of these were in the 20 inch range and had some nice weight to them. The 3/4 weight Cortland fly rods we used were light weight, so we really had a fight on our hands with these bigger fish. It was a blast!

I fell in love with these Cortland fly rods for several reasons. Not just because we were catching great fish that day, but I'm sure that probably helped a little.

Here is why that Cortland came home with me that day:

  • Norton Creek was narrow, surrounded by sparse trees, and there were a number of branches that hung over the creek. The shorter rod length was ideal for helping to keep my fly line low and out of the branches.
  • This 3/4 weight short rod and reel made the perfect finesse combo. Due to Norton Creek being small and narrow, precise casting was critical. The narrow water didn't leave much room for casting errors. This finesse combo offered great control
  • The light weight rod turned even the smaller fish into a fight, and that was a blast.
  • The low cost helped too. Bobby sold me this new Cortland fly fishing combo for around $100.00. Fly fishing gear can be very expensive, so this was a price I could easily stomach. Cortland definitely offers their products at a price that is more attractive to beginners.

Video from Cortland

Here is a great video from the guys at the Cortland Line Company. They are fishing on the West Branch of the Delaware River. So here is a great opportunity to see how their Cortland gear performs.

Let me know what you think, or just say "Hi" and let me know you were here!


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    • takkhisa profile image


      5 years ago

      Great lens man! You just helped me to remind something.

    • thegrayrabbit profile image


      5 years ago

      Did I smoke that fish in your hand? Ha

    • Deadicated LM profile image

      Deadicated LM 

      5 years ago

      Great Lens, there's such an art to Fly Fishing and tying your own flies. I use to fish for fresh water bass in upstate NY; there are some great places in the Catskills to fly fish.


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