Cortland Tropic Plus All Purpose Taper

Chris Beech chases down spooky grey mongrels in a domestic setting.

Cortland was well known in the past for their fly lines as well as conventional game lines and tackle. In recent years the company has restructured and launched an impressive selection of modern fly lines along with some of the old favourites. I purchased the Tropic Plus All Purpose Taper in a 6-weight to use in my local metro Melbourne river (fresh, brackish and salt) for carp, mullet, perch and in salt for whiting. With a 30–50 lb monofilament core and tough, high floating formula, I was looking forward to reconnecting with this iconic fly fishing brand.

The line arrived on a 35°C day and I just had to have a cast. It was soft and supple where I was expecting stiff and hard – but it cast just fine. Buttery smooth in fact. The welded loops at both ends are straight and the coating smooth and not textured or ‘powdery’. 

The head on this series is 41 feet in length and the taper isn’t aggressive, carrying a variety of fly sizes and weights and presenting well. The head is a light sand colour leading into 59 feet of sky blue running line for a cool overall length of 100 feet. I was initially a bit concerned the line might not be tough enough to handle being dragged around the rocks, but it copes just fine after several weeks of use in less than favourable terrain.

First casts on the water on a balmy 28°C Melbourne day and the line cast nicely, but felt a bit light at 160 grains compared to many modern fly lines that are ‘overweighted’ to load modern rods. I have a modern rod, darn it. I just had to adjust the power and haul a bit, but soon got used to the feel. Presentations were straight and the tip floated well in both fresh and brackish water – a good omen for a saltwater specific fly line. Initially I was using #6 Woolly Worms, bead head Woolly Buggers, bead head BMS and various weed and algae flies in winds of 35 km/h gusting to 45 km/h according to my weather app. It was challenging fishing in these conditions with a 6-weight but I was managing 50 feet into it between gusts, which impressed me.  

A few days later the game changed, with some large sea mullet becoming the focus of my attention for a number of weeks. These mullet are a continuing pestilence that keeps my fly box turning over, but I digress. They demanded long, delicate casts and I found the All Purpose Taper worked well to around 80 feet, where I could maintain accuracy and presentation. Just the ticket for those spooky grey mongrels.

It’s great to see a familiar brand come back to life with some attractive tapers suited to a variety of climates and fishing situations. I am impressed with the Tropic Plus series so far.  

I got mine from Nervous Water, a relatively new player in Australia.  

Cortland Spliceable Hollow Core Backing C16 Super Braid

The pictured reel is loaded with Cortland C16 backing, braided with a hollow core for fast and reliable splicing. It has a tight, round weave and uniform pick count, forming a smooth surface that packs tightly on the spool with no flattening or digging in. The 16-carrier construction results in incredible resistance to nicks and abrasions.  

For more details head to