Cortland Desire 10 foot 7 weight Review

So I was offered the Cortland Desire 10 foot for a 7 weight rod for review by Keen’s Tackle and Guns and it came kind of a surprise as I did not even know that Cortland make rods. The rod was the princely sum of around £50 which places it just above the budget conscious buyers – you can buy cheap rods for around £20 – £30 these days some of which are very good and some not so. I had won a Leeda 9 foot for a 6 weight at the River Kelvin Angling Association AGM that I love which costs around the same as the Cortland so hoped that it would be the same calibre.

Cortland is well known for their fly lines or at least I think it is the same company. Certainly Cortland do not make a big show of producing rods and seem focussed on their fly lines, perhaps now many companies can have a sideline on fly rods as they can be so cheaply made in China and be under no illusion that this is where this rod came from like pretty much every other rod these days. I think Cortland rods are better known in the states as over here we have our own budget rods usually imported from Europe.

I knew it was made in China because it had a "Made in China" sticker on it!

I knew it was made in China because it had a “Made in China” sticker on it!

The rod was sent to me and I had to trundle my youngest in the pram down to the town center to puck it up from a shop. It was in a rectangular packing tube and I laid it across the pram where it was promptly blown on to the road in the high winds and nearly squashed by a delivery truck. I darted out on the road to retrieve it and it was blown further down the street heading straight towards the Clyde itself where in months to come some lucky individual would find it and would have a story to tell. Thankfully I managed to catch it allowing this review to actually continue. At least this proves it is nice and light.

The rod comes with a good quality tube and a cheap plastic feeling bag.

Obviously aesthetics mean nothing in terms of fly rods as it is more how it fishes however when I got it out of its tube I was impressed by how thin and light the blank is. My old 10 foot 7 weight is a bloody chore to use as it can put a lot of strain on your arm due to its weight but the Cortland’s blank was thinner than a very poor and shoddy Fulling Mill 5 weight I bought a few years ago. The quality of the cork handle is  fine, it was certainly comfy in the hand and I did not see any defects or lots of filler.

Cork Handle - not overdone on filler

Cork Handle – not overdone on filler

The reel seat was adequate and fit all my reels, it was maybe a bit thin but then I am being picky.The cork at the butt was poor and filler had not been applied – to be honest it does not matter!

Reel seat - aluminium ?

Reel seat – aluminium ?

The thread wraps looked tight and the coats of varnish looked good, there was even a wee change of colour down at the butt of the rod which was an aesthetic touch.

Change of zone!

Change of zone!

My next problem I discovered was the majority of my fly lines were destroyed in the fire (which is the reason for the lack of posts this season) so it was off to the depths of my fishing cupboard to find a selection of lines to try the rod out. The reason you try out a few weights of line is because sometimes a rod can fish better with a heavier or lighter line or maybe you can use it for something different than its intended purpose.

Nice wrapping and varnishing!

Nice wrapping and varnishing!

I am not exactly the world’s best caster however I tried it with a 6 and a 7 weight to see what would happen – I managed to get a good length out with lines and obviously the 7 was nice to use. I would like to say I got to test its fishy catching attributes however I will have to leave that for another day.

All in all if this rod had been released 10 years ago and the filler had been better you would have been paying over £100 for it and it would have been labeled by  a big make. There are other rods in this line and I recommend you consider them if you are on the lookout for a budget rod. The 7 weight comes in at £55 and I see they also have the hallowed 10 foot for a 4 weight that is becoming popular!

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  1. John · October 4, 2016

    I love the bit about the delivery truck!
    A friend of mine picked up a Cortland rod in NZ some years back. It was cheap and he doesn’t get out much but having tried it yesterday, though it isn’t the best rod, for sure, I was wondering about trying it with a 1-heavier line weight: which after your review, I’ll do – if he lets me. He was talking of buying something else but if we find it casts better with a heavier line, keeping it (and the basic reel that came with it) may be a cheaper alternative for him. Thanks