Monday, December 30, 2013

Cortland White Indicator Mono Review

                Occasionally wild trout are wily enough to spook to bright colored sighter material. In these situations, an alternate sighter material is needed. For several years the French company JMC has manufactured white mono for this purpose. I’ve known a couple of anglers who’ve fished it but I’ve never had the opportunity myself. On this side of the pond Cortland debuted their own opaque white sighter mono this past summer. Along with their competition nymph rod lineup and their 120 grain 1-2 weight nymph line, I’ve been testing their white mono since the beginning of November. For most of that time, I’m not sure that it provided much of an advantage in the tea and gray colored water I had been frequenting along the Front Range. However, Christmas Eve provided the perfect example of its utility.

                Whenever I come home for Christmas I make sure to work in plenty of fishing time on my old favorite waters. 
Lance Egan fishing the Provo

I spent Christmas Eve on one of these waters, a spring creek oasis in the middle of the desert.

 This creek has exceptionally clear water and the sight fishing opportunities are numerous. The fish also have a habit of holding in skinny water where a stealthy approach is needed to avoid spooking them.  Within a few hours of fishing on this trip, I’d spooked more than a few trout despite well-placed casts. On several occasions, I watched fish jet while my fluorescent sighter passed over their head. Getting into position hadn’t spooked them but apparently the bright sighter negated my careful approach. After several of these instances, I switched back to the Cortland white sighter material that I’d been fishing on a different reel. While I can’t say that the white sighter was the only reason, the rest of my day was markedly better after the sighter switch. Especially when sight fishing in shallow lies, less fish spooked and more fish came to the end of my line. Now, I definitely plan to keep the white sighter as part of my arsenal for clear water and spooky trout. I also see it as an extra tactic to avoid alerting beleaguered fish in the late sessions of competitions. It certainly can’t hurt.

                Before I started fishing the white mono, I obviously wondered how visible it would be. In most situations, it’s actually quite visible. Even my father, who has a relatively difficult time seeing other sighter material, was able to spot the white mono well. There are a few limitations to its visibility, however. It’s pretty much useless when foam or snow is behind it for obvious reasons. It is also tough to see in the glare from last light or when the sun is peeking through clouds. I find red or pink mono easier to see in glare. Lastly, it is most visible in rivers with a dark bottom which provides the best silhouette and not as visible against sandy bottoms.  

                Though white mono may have some limitations, it still is visible in most conditions and I believe its potential to avoid spooking trout makes it a valuable tool in the Euro nympher’s tool box. I highly recommend you give Cortland’s white mono a try.  In addition to its stealthy color, it is a nice stiff sighter material that helps turn over long French leaders with light flies. It has earned a place on my leader and I think you’ll like it too.


  1. I would love to try the stuff, but can't seem to find it anywhere online. Only finding bi-color and yellow... Any shops have the white yet?

  2. Thanks Scott and Jeff. It's always nice to have a good backdrop for the camera.