Cortland Takes Big Step Into Clear Fly Lines With PE+ Crystal

In recent years many expert saltwater fly fishers have made sure to have a clear fly line at the ready. Semi-clear lines with nylon monofilament cores first appeared in the 1970s, but as coating technology has advanced, so have lines become clearer, more durable, and easier to cast. They excel in blind casting situations and, according to many tournament anglers, are indispensable aids to catching wary fish.
This week Cortland, who introduced the first PVC-coated fly line in 1953, announced a series of saltwater lines with a new polyethylene-copolymer coating that they claim has many advantages over PVC-coated lines, among them durability and a lower coefficient of friction (read “easier to cast”), as well as the . “Built on a nylon monofilament core, the PE+ Crystal’s patent-pending crystal-clear jacket is naturally lighter than water, eliminating the need for micro-balloons or other agents to make it float. This results in a smaller diameter floating line with less wind resistance when casting, and less disturbance when the line hits the water.”
Read the extended entry for the full press release.


Cortland Introduces a Radical New Fly Line Technology with Precision PE+ Crystal Saltwater Lines
Cortland, NY: Cortland Line has been a leader in fly line technology and development since introducing the first synthetic fly line in 1953. Since then, they have lead the way in technology. From the 444 and 444SL Classic coatings, super-high floating Dyna-Tips and the ultra-hard surface Tropic Plus lines. Cortland scientists have again developed another technology in performance fly lines.
The all-new Precision PE+ Crystal is formulated with a proprietary blend of polyethylene and special copolymers. Built on a nylon monofilament core, the PE+ Crystal’s patent-pending crystal-clear jacket is naturally lighter than water, eliminating the need for micro-balloons or other agents to make it float. This results in a smaller diameter floating line with less wind resistance when casting, and less disturbance when the line hits the water.
The hard, ultra-smooth PE+ line jacket finish has a lower coefficient of friction than any production floating line ever built, so it shoots silently through the guides and casts faster and farther than equivalent PVC-coated floating lines.
The tough, new PE+ line jacket is also much more resistant to cuts / abrasion and is fused to the monofilament core with an almost unbreakable bond so nail knots hold securely and there is never any separation of jacket and core. It’s high tensile strength virtually eliminates stretch for instantaneous hook sets and incredible sensitivity. The PE+ jacket is also UV stable, will not absorb water, is highly resistant to chemicals — and won’t soften or dissolve when exposed to DEET, gasoline or most other solvents. And, unlike PVC-coated fly lines, they are 100% recyclable.
“Our patent-pending Precision PE+ Crystal lines represent another first in significant breakthroughs in fly-line technology developed by Cortland since we first introduced the world’s first PVC-coated fly line in 1953.” explained Brian Ward, Cortland’s president and CEO. “We’re excited because they’re also the first new products resulting from this new technology and we look forward to introducing more new lines built on our PE+ technology platform in the future.”
The Precision PE+ Crystal lines will be available in Cortland Pro Shops by early October. Offered in WF 6 F – WF 12 F saltwater tapers, they’re especially formulated for warm-water use in tropical saltwater environments. The line color is crystal clear.
Unique Characteristics of the Precision PE+ Crystal Saltwater Fly Lines:
1. PVC-Free: The PE+ jacket is formulated with a special, patent-pending polyethylene/co-polymer blend co-developed by Cortland and the Dupont Corporation.
2. Casts Faster & Farther: The PE+ jacket’s smoother, harder finish and thinner diameter shoots silently through the guides and slices through the air faster and farther than equivalent PVC floating lines.
3. Natural Buoyancy: The PE+ jacket is naturally buoyant, so does not require micro-balloons or other agents to make it float, resulting in a smaller diameter for less wind resistance and longer casts.
4. Extreme Toughness & Durability: The tough, UV stable PE+ jackets are resistant to cuts and abrasion so the surface doesn’t scuff and roughen with extended use. The PE+ jacket won’t stretch and crack – and resists UV degradation, DEET, gasoline and other fly line killing chemicals.
5. Easy Handling: The PE+ jacket and monofilament core results in an easy-handing low-memory, flexible line with a well-mannered “body” which resists coiling and tangling and shoots smoothly through the guides.
6. Low-Vis Finish: All Crystal PE+ lines are crystal clear to reduce line flash in the air and virtually disappear when viewed from underwater.
7. Recyclable: Cortland’s Crystal PE+ is the only fly line currently manufactured that’s 100% recyclable.
About Cortland: The Cortland Line Company was founded in 1915 by Ray Smith, an avid fly fisherman, to manufacture braided silk fly lines. The company grew to become a major supplier of premium fly lines until the onset of World War II, when production was converted to braiding parachute cord. When the war ended, Cortland applied new manufacturing technologies and materials (nylon and Dacron) to braiding a comprehensive offering of high-performance fishing lines. The company developed the first PVC-coated fly line (the “333”) in 1953, and quickly dominated the fly line market with the introduction of the 444 “Peach” series in the early 1960s. The 444SL was introduced in 1979, and soon became the fly line of choice among expert anglers around the world. Cortland has remained at the forefront of fly line development ever since, with the introduction of specialized tapers, new plastic formulations, migrating lubricants, and hi-tech additives, coatings and floating components. All Cortland fly lines are made in our headquarters and manufacturing facility located in Cortland, New York.
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Contact: Nate Dablock
(607) 756-2851, Ext. 112
Harry Campbell
(608) 767-3210

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  • Mark Sofman

    Re: Recyclability. So just how does one separate the PE coating from the polyamide (nylon) core? (assuming you recover enough of these lines to recycle the polymer components economically)
    Anyway, just how many pounds of post-consumer fly lines are recovered and recycled annually? Are fly line makers planning to offer takeback/recycling of end-of-life fly lines?

  • miamilongroder

    So who has used this stuff?
    is it better than the monic? we have had terrible luck with the monic lines, sticky, nail knot pulling, ruined after one fish etc.
    I hope someone has come up with a solution.

  • We sell a lot of Cortland line and found the PE+ Crystal was more of a specialty line for advanced fly fishermen. It is hard to see in the water which makes it great for stealth, but not so good with fishermen who like to watch their line. The Monic lines are the worst lines on the market, as far as I’m concerned, so this is a much better alternative.

  • Michael Hall

    As usual here in the UK we are and always have been in many aspects about ten years or so behind you cleaver folks in the USA but in scotland in the seventies and eighties Scotland where we fished for Salmon and sea trout were about 15 to twenty years behind the USA……… I say that because I tied my own tube flies which were weighted to fish approximately a foot or so off the rocky bottom. At that time mid seventies all anglers fished the worm. Because I had fished the fly for trout in my younger days I hooked a Salmon on the tube I tied as there was nothing taking the worm and I evaluated they wanted something more elusive. I fished my tubes many a time since that day but due to the river Avon tributary of the Spey being as Arthur Oglesby called it a worming river I soon learnt why he said that because a sinking line caught round every rock when a fish was hooked. On many occasion we watched the very nice floating line casters who caught nowt & then went over the same water with a tube that was well sunk and we did catch fish. My Welsh mate fished with a yard of fast sink line shooting head which was cast upstream…… Ok Ok i know what you purists are thinking = foulhooking…… NO.
    The salmon mostly would take when the tube was fished fairly quickly but on a downstream swim.
    I dispensed with my usual fly line and thought it more presentable on a clear mono line so I had a main line of 30lbs and a 6ft 20lb leader. I could feel my tube fishing better than when I used the flyline which was far less sensitive……..
    The bailiff however did not like my clear line and one of his associates said to him —
    why does he fish with that clear line ? he replied -cause the fish can’t see it.
    Although I am an old engineer I never gave thought to having that line of mine enveloped in a tapered outer sheath. When I was complained about bitterly by that bailiff each and every time he saw me fishing regarding my line I explained to him that as far as I was aware there were no rules that stated what fly line one must use for the casting of any fly……. It would not surprise me in the least that he now has a clear fly line in his tackle bag especially as I saw a tin of worms by his back door on that fly only water !
    Why did I not think of that wonderful but obvious idea of the clear fly line when I was using what amounted to a parallell fly line ? On the other hand in 1975 those uneducated bailiffs more that likely had never heard of a parallell fly line in any case.