I do not expect Cortland to change or discontinue
this line for quite a long time. Will it perform
exactly like a real silk fly line? The answer is
no, at least in my opinion. Will it perform more
like a silk than a plastic fly line? That answer
is a definite yes. I was thrilled when I found out
they had produced a new line, one to enter the market
and offer a reasonably priced line for those who either
fish cane or at least like to use a silk line. The
price of a real silk line is very high.
When I heard the line was only going to sell for
$46.00 I was shocked. A phone call got me a few
answers. Would the line be of less diameter than
a plastic line? Yes, about 60 percent as big, yet
would weigh the same. How will you guys make it
float if it is slimmer? The answer is obvious, of
course. Use enough material on the coating to make
it float correctly, but reduce the size of the core.
We checked three 5 wt lines here:
5wt. Scientific Anglers 'Trout' tip = .036, head = .046
5wt. Cortland 'Sylk' tip = .030, head = .043
5wt. Phoenix silk tip = .025, head = .039
Now one thing about a silk line is the stiffness,
they are pretty rigid. And that's a good thing,
rarely will one twist up and jam in the guides on
the outgoing cast. They drive through the guides
well because of it too. However in cold water, or
cold weather that is not always a plus. A little
softness, make that less 'memory,' will be appreciated.
Who has not had a line with memory coil up in cold
weather or cold water? I sure have.
When they told me that the SYLK line had practically
no memory and would be great in cold water or weather,
I was a bit concerned. I was hoping for one a lot
like real silk. The color is a strawish color somewhat
like a silk line, the surface is not as hard as silk
but seemed alright. The answers would show up in the
casting, and they did.
I used a Lee Wulff six foot five weight cane rod
for the testing as I have a five weight silk that
I have been fishing on it. I took a nearly new
WF5F plastic line too. My initial casts on our
pond were purposely short. Probably twenty feet
of line. How did it load and lay out a loop. As
well as any other line, better than many, but it
had the delicate feel of silk. As I extended line
I was aware of how it was going through the guides.
As fast and raspy as silk? Nope, but there was no
hesitation. I did a 'deep-water' load, laying out
a moderately long cast, lowering the rod tip to
the water, and with one motion, drawing the rod
into a back-cast and the forward with a shoot.
Some lines will drag in the guides when they are
that wet, this did not. It went just fine. It had
a very nice presentation. The front loops were
formed easily and dropped with finesse. Line control
at all times was never a problem. Recoil and curve
casts, mends and rolls functioned as did firm and
gentle casting. All in all, I was very highly
impressed. I would be happy to fish the line all
day, certainly for the real feel of silk on a cane
rod, or at least darn close to it.
One thing was driving me nuts at first and you have
to cast one to notice it. I am used to the feel in
hand of a five weight fly line. And casting a five
weight rod. Something was wrong. It was the size of
the fly line. It just didn't feel big enough, it was
in reality, it was just me. I got used to it in short
A bonus, an interactive CD is included with each line.
The CD is the complete history of Cortland and everything
about how flylines are made!
I think they have a winner here, I doubt if
your results will differ. ~ JC
Cortland Line Company
PO Box 5588
3736 Kellogg Road
Cortland, New York 13045-5588