Monday, September 5, 2011

Cortland 'Big Sky' Review II

Cortland ‘Big Sky’ Review II

This is a continuation of the ‘Big Sky’ review of the 9’ 4weight rod I did earlier this year. Back than I was given the opportunity to use the Cortland rod on a Pennsylvania stream by a Cortland Rep. At that time I strung it up with a DT4F 444 fly line. You can read about it at

 Well I had the pleasure again to test it where it was designed to be used, under the ‘Big Sky’ and on a big river out west. This time, paired with the Cortland Precision Dyna-Tip Platinum weight forward fly line made this rod work to perfection.
 Using a 5weight and a 6weight rod earlier in the week, on the BigHorn River, I decided on Thursday to give the ‘Big Sky’ 4weight a go on my birthday. I fitted a mid-arbor reel on the reel seat. The reel balanced the light rod pretty even with maybe a little more lightness in the tip section. Being that the river was flowing high, from the water release of the YellowTail Dam, we’ve been using 10-11 foot leader/tippet. I had on 3 split shots above the top nymph of the tandem rig and drifting them under an indicator. The water was moving with good flow but clear enough to be very fishable. The guides said that because of the increased discharge of water there was a very few chance to none that fish would be rising due to the conditions. From the drift boat as well as wading along shore getting the tandem rig out there was done with ease as the fast action rod handled the weight and long casts with the least amount of effort that I thought was adequate. Time and again I would cast out into the rolling river and mend upstream watching the indicator drift atop the water. Once I found a pod of trout I was on my game. Fighting big wild browns and ’bow’ against the flow of the current wasn’t anything the 9’ 4 weight couldn’t handle. It gave me a more positive attitude about fishing a long 4 weight for big trout in open water.

You can read about my birthday expedition at.
A couple of weeks after I got back from Montana I took the ‘Big Sky’ to Oil Creek for some dry fly action. There was an occasional cross wind blowing upstream from my left to right. There was a few fish rising in the shallower water across the main body of water some 20 to 25 yards away. I was using a 9’ tapered leader. Being that the water was gin clear, and slightly rippled, I was using 6x tippet. There were a few caddis about so I was casting #14 elk hares and also #16 paradun Adams. Though the wind would catch the small dries at the end of the cast the fast action rod along with the Dyna-Tip line got the dries within the vicinity with less effort than what I would have expected. After catching big trout in Montana I felt guilty using the 4 weight for the 9” to 13” stocked trout but my intentions for the day was to use the ‘Big Sky’ with dries. Again the rod performed to a satisfactory level.

I can’t find anywhere where the blank is available but if I do get my hands on one I already have a custom rod builder that will do the honors of building a rod to my liking. One of his specialties is his one of a kind custom made cork hand grips!
It’s definitely a few thumbs up for its performance and good looks for the price. A weight forward line is a must to feel the rod load better and perform at its best.



  1. Enjoyable Tale! I got a 9' 4wt Big Sky at the Somerset NJ Flyshow a few years ago and have used it on the bigger trout waters here in Central PA. It has proven to be a very versatile rod and one with plenty of power when needed. I was surprised at how well it can roll cast and how well it can get the line out there when there is limited room for a proper back case. Plenty of finesse available too. I really like the performance but, like most rods, it prefers some lines to others. Doesn't hurt that they are just plain beautiful as well. 2wetfly.

    1. i agree, i was surprised also when i fished it. price isn't bad either. i am still hoping to find a blank to get a custom rod made with it.