Troutbitten Cortland comp line

Giveaway: Cortland Competition Fly Line

by | Aug 18, 2017 | 39 comments


** UPDATE ** The winner of the Cortland Competition Fly Line is Alan H. Congrats, Alan. There were four ways to sign up. So I asked my boys to choose a number from 1 to 4. They chose 1, which was for subscribers to the blog. I then asked them to choose another number relating to the order the new subscribers came in. Alan was 23. I’ll do another giveaway in about a month. Thanks to all.

— — — — — —

Some months ago I contacted a few fly line companies, inquiring about their competition nymphing lines. I had a lot of questions coming in from the blog about comp lines vs the Mono Rig, and I thought the best place to get answers was from the manufacturers themselves.

Cortland line company was kind enough to send me all of their competition lines (four at the time). I’ve spent time field testing them (LOL — okay, I went fishing a bunch), and I passed them around to some friends as well.

It’s fantastic to be living in a time when fly fishing manufacturers cater to specific, segmented markets. Although these competition lines are a specialized line designed for nymphing, they’re useful in many situations.

Read: Tight Line Nymphing with and Indicator

Read: Bill Dance and Jimmy Houston go Fly Fishing — Streamers on the Mono Rig

Cortland now offers a variety of competition nymphing lines: braid core and mono core in both level and double taper versions. The double taper lines vary in tip diameter from .017” to .026”, and the level lines are .022”.

The comp lines are great, and they’re a huge step forward from the Humphreys Deep Nymph line of similar design a couple decades ago — yes, I still have that bright orange line as well.

I’ve spent about ten years fishing the Mono Rig, so I’m thoroughly comfortable and familiar with manipulating 20 pound monofilament with my line hand. I often say that the Mono Rig acts as a fly line substitute. It certainly does. But the biggest detraction for some is that mono just isn’t fly line. That means a lot to some anglers.

Competition lines essentially take the place of the butt section in a Mono Rig. They cast like a Mono Rig far more than they perform like a traditional fly line. That fact is important to understand. These competition lines are really nothing like your average fly line — and that’s excellent. Because remember, for underwater presentation, fly line sucks.

The truth is, I still prefer a 20 pound Maxima Chameleon butt section for the Mono Rig. Taking away the weight of a traditional fly line is one of the key elements that make the Mono Rig work. Twenty pound (.017”) Chameleon is lighter than a comp line, and there’s no denying or getting around it. Chameleon is also stiffer, which I prefer in a tight line leader. Both Cortland lines are pretty stiff, though. The braided-core version has a little more flexibility than the mono-core.

In the end it’s a personal preference, and another example of Where the Lines Are Drawn.

Comp lines are an excellent alternative to using a full Mono Rig. Guys on the comp circuit have to use them — rules dictate that a leader can be no longer than twice the rod length, so the next best option is a super-thin comp line. Some have fallen in love with them, while others would spool up 30 feet of mono if the rules still permitted.

Anglers of various styles find comp lines to be a great alternative to a full Mono Rig. In George Daniel’s book, Strip Set, he writes about using comp lines for streamer presentations. We do something similar with the Mono Rig.

Read: Streamers as an Easy Meal —  The Old School Streamer Thing

Bottom line, comp lines are an excellent tool. And here … I’ll give you one.

troutbitten cortland comp line

Cortland Comp Line Giveaway Details

Giveaway runs until Monday, 8/21 at 5:00 pm. I’ll announce the winner on Tuesday.

Earn one entry for each of the following:

1. Subscribe to the Troutbitten blog

2. Like Troutbitten on Facebook

3. Share this post on Facebook (The blue Facebook share button is down there at the bottom of this post)

4. Follow Troutbitten on Instagram

5. For those who’ve already subscribed to Troutbitten, or if you live a happy, social-media-free life, you can earn an entry by leaving a comment at the bottom of this post.

Thanks all. Fish hard.

Enjoy the day.
Domenick Swentosky

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Domenick Swentosky

Central Pennsylvania

Hi. I’m a father of two young boys, a husband, author, fly fishing guide and a musician. I fish for wild brown trout in the cool limestone waters of Central Pennsylvania year round. This is my home, and I love it. Friends. Family. And the river.

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  1. Been a subscriber via rss for somtime. I’ve enjoyed the blog and learned a lot.

  2. I’ve been fishing with comp euro lines for a few years. I do like them. They float a bit better than mono and it’s not just comp guys that need a cheater fly line to play by the rules. I’m pretty sure Pennsylvania also mandates use of a fly line (maximum leader length/fly line/ and a reel) to be considered fly fishing.

    Since a comp line floats better than mono, it works a bit better for dries, even with a long mono leader. I was surprised to discover I could even mend it.

    It also doesn’t slide back through the guides as easily as mono. Doesn’t take a set either (assuming a braided core)

    However I always wear them out at the tip. The mono leader is so much stiffer than the line, all the stress is at that junction. The coating on the fly line inevitably fails and then it has a hinge point and the casting kinda goes to hell.

    The comp line feels better in the hand than mono too. (IMHO)

    Cost, durability, availablility, visibility are all in Mono’s favor.

    But weight/sag is what really favors mono, and outweighs everything else. So I fish the maximum legal amount of mono and a comp line. For dries, I’ll usually cut the leader at the top of the the 2′ of sighter tie on a short piece of 4x and some finer tippet (if needed). And not just for high sticking dries. With the right rod it casts surprisingly well. I have a broken Zenith 10 3wt and a broken Douglas 11′ 3wt, which is why I became a Maxia 10’3″ 2wt owner at short notice. The Maxia can properly cast this line/leader. Way better than the other two even when they were intact. 🙂

    • I have been eyeing up that Maxia 2wt for a while now… Good to hear you like it.
      Also overall great article.

  3. Sorry Domenick. No social media(late baby-boomer!).

    I have enjoyed your work on the mono-rig and have been using it extensively this season (about 50 days on the water so far). A very versatile system.

  4. I like the way the Cortland Comp line feels in my left hand vs holding the Maxima. While the comp line stays mostly behind the rod tip, there are casts that need to reach a little further and with a properly weighted rig it’s feels good. I have a Devin Olsen made super glue splice mating the fly line to the Maxima and it is so smooth! There are also times when I swap leaders out to fish an indie rig in slower moving water and need to mend. The Maxima tends to sink when not greased. I still have a long way to go in the learning curve by fishing more.

  5. Hi, I’ve been a subscriber for quite a while. I enjoy each post immensely, I’ve learned a lot, and look forward to many more.

  6. Love your blog! I started with the Mono Rig and am now an official trout vacuum. Thank you. I switched to Blue Stren after being guided by the amazing Zach St. Amand on the Farmington River. But I disliked the blood knot between the 20 pound and 12 pound transition. It clicked in my rod’s guides. I now use a 15 foot 12 pound Salmon leader connect to my Rio Euro nymph line right to my 2 foot sighter and catch just as many fish.
    Keep up the good work, Dominick!

  7. I’m afraid if I won the Cortland line, it’d only see the light of day those times when big Deschutes river resides take runs that rip line past my mono rig and start heading to the backing!

  8. Thanks Domenic been a subscriber for a while and I always enjoy your writing

  9. This a great blog. So much info for fly fisherman of all stages. Dom is great

  10. Hey Domenick,
    I hope you and the boys have been getting out and catching a few. After using the mono rig this year it would have to be one great line. I’ll be willing to give it a try if I won one, though.

  11. Thanks for the blog post, Dom.

    Could you tell me if these new comp lines are substantially different from running line? I’ve used thin running line in the past as a fly line and it works fine, although with more sag than mono.

    • Hey bud, yeah they’re stiffer than running line. Also, the tapered versions have what level running lines don’t.

  12. I tried a long mono leader and could not get the curl out, no matter how may times I stretched it, the curls came back and obviously prevented a tight line set up. I experimented with a leader made of 30lb dacron backing. It’s dead soft, has no memory and the connection between weighted nymph and reel is tight. It worked well, except the wet dacron had a tendency to wrap around the tip of my 10′ 6″ Cortland rod and was annoying to unwrap. Next, I discovered 13′ furled Tenkara leaders, which I plan to try Monday. It should function as well as the the dacron backing without wrapping around the rod tip. I’ll keep you posted.

    Mike Postol
    Long Island Flyrodders

    • It’s cool to experiment like that and figure what you like for yourself. For me, Dacron is way too limp and doesn’t actually cast/push anything, so I’m lobbing the whole time and i hate that. If you use 20 lb Chameleon and just stretch it before you fish, it won’t curl. I promise.

  13. I love my mono rig but have been seriously looking into a level competition line because eventually I would like to try my hand at competing.

    I know that the braid core is more supple but what situations would you choose it over mono and vice versa? Thanks.

    • I think it’s just personal preference. Maybe try both, or ask some comp guys what they like and why they like it. For me, I like the mono core, level version because it’s closest to the Mono Rig.

  14. Thank you for reminding me, every time I open your site, that I still have so much to learn. I truly do enjoy it. Gotta go now, the Truckee river is calling me.

  15. Thanks for this offer .. just getting used to the mono rig .. Hope to see you at our TU meeting @ Delco Manning this year Brian Mac

  16. I’m one of those guys who live a happy, social media free life:) I love your blog and am looking forward to your presentation on Oct 12th at the Valley Forge T.U.’s general meeting. Please enter me into the drawing for a Cortland Precision fly line. I’ve always liked their 444 lines. They really hold up well.

    Charlie Griffen

  17. Looking forward to possibly testing one

  18. Domenick,
    Really enjoy reading your articles! I’d like to hear you in person, any chance you’ll be speaking at LJRA or Kennedy TU in the near future?
    Craig Decker

  19. Wonderful blog Dominick … love it!

  20. Keep the great content coming!


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Domenick Swentosky

Central Pennsylvania

Hi. I’m a father of two young boys, a husband, author, fly fishing guide and a musician. I fish for wild brown trout in the cool limestone waters of Central Pennsylvania year round. This is my home, and I love it. Friends. Family. And the river.

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