cortland,    diamondback glass fly rods,    fiberglass fly rods,    fly fishing industry

Crowdsourcing: Are The New Cortland Glass Fly Rods As Good As The Diamondglass Fly Rods?

Posted by Tom Chandler 7/31/2012

I've written extensively about my forbidden love of the old Diamondback-designed Diamondglass fiberglass fly rods, and because of that I receive a fair number of emails asking if the the new, Cortland-derived Diamondback Fiberglass rod series are as good as the originals, which Cortland reintroduced some time ago.

Which, never having cast the new rods, is a question I can't answer.

The "old" three-piece Diamondglass rods were wildly smooth and offered blood-pressure-raising levels of feedback to the caster, though they weren't all that much fun in high winds.

I own the 8' 5wt, 8.5' 4wt, and 7' 3wt, and if any one of them broke I'd probably say things you're not supposed to say in front of your innocent, impressionable children.

When Cortland relaunched the line -- which are now blue instead of black and (I believe) made overseas -- I assumed they were the same tapers. Which may have been a mistake. In fact, an admittedly secondhand flyshop rumor is that the rods aren't the same.

Potentially disappointing, especially since I had my eyes on the 8' 4wt 3-pc (which was a slightly-too-strong 2-pc rod in the former Diamondglass incarnation).

So instead of wondering, I'm crowdsourcing the question:

Are the new Cortland-derived fiberglass fly rods the same tapers as the original Diamondback series? If not, are they close? Are they as good?

I'm looking for someone who has experience with both rod lines. Here are the rules:

  • Reps and fly shop employees can post anonymously (just use "anonymous" for a name and make up an email address). I'll pull any post that looks like sabotage.

  • Idle speculation is OK, though again, any unguided torpedoes launched in Cortland's direction will be detonated and removed

  • If you're tempted to say the new rods are faster but "better" -- let us know your own rod preferences so we can take that into account.


See you powering the rumor mill, Tom Chandler.

AuthorPicture

Tom Chandler

As the author of the decade leading fly fishing blog Trout Underground, Tom believes that fishing is not about measuring the experience but instead of about having fun. As a staunch environmentalist, he brings to the Yobi Community thought leadership on environmental and access issues facing us today.

12 comments
Thanks for passing that along. I pretty much ties up all the rumors into a relatively believable ball. I find myself wondering what the new 8' 4wt casts like (as if I didn't already have enough 8' fly rods).
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This is a copy of the email I received from Mike McFarland. Mike McFarland mike@mcfarlandrods.com Aug 13 to me Hi Tom, Sorry for the slow reply. When I purchased the equipment, I got about 1,500 mandrels including the ones that the original D-glass rods were rolled on. The new D-Glass blanks are rolled in China, shipped to the US, and assembled by either myself or a rod wrapper up at Cortland. The ... more way I understand it is that Cortland sent over some original rods and had them copied by the factory in China. To my knowledge, none of the mandrels were shipped over. The factory in China probably had new mandrels ground for these rods. So I guess your rep is somewhat correct that Cortland does have mandrels over there, but they are not the ones that the original rods were rolled on. I think if you measured the new rods vs. the old rods there would be differences in dimension. The new rods do cast very well though. Hope this helps. Mike
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Interesting. That jibes with what I've been hearing -- the rods aren't quite the same as the originals. Let us know if it'll cast a "normal" DT4 when you get a chance...
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I'm in the early stages of building out the 8'6" blue Diamondglass blank. The guides are all taped on, and I couldn't resist taking it out into the backyard today. I didn't have time to try a lot of lines yet, but I happened to have a DT5 Supra line on a nearby reel, so I used that. The 5wt definitely didn't overline it, and the combination felt nice to me. Not that I bought this blank for this purpose, ... more but it can shoot a DT5 like you wouldn't believe. I'll try to remember to post again once I have some time to try some other lines. It might like a GPX 4wt, but from what I have heard about the earlier version of this rod, I would guess that the current version is faster. Tom
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Once you get it built get back to us. The wiggle test isn't exactly compelling, but I did hear about one person who lined his 8.5' 4wt Dglass with a 5wt, which none of us could understand. It didn't need it...
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I just received a new 8'6" 4 wt blank. The blank looks nice, but the wiggle test in the office left me thinking more 5wt than 4wt. Seems a little fast for glass, but I think it will end up being ok. I never had an opportunity to cast one of the old ones.
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I didn't want to out right perpetuate teh story of McFarland being the buyer, as I didn't have concrete proof. You did. So that's that. What I didn't hear was the rest of the story, which puts alot more into place, basically everything but the actual tapers went to him, and that makes alot more sense (how much could Cortland really stand to gain by selling the tapers off, versus lose by having counterfit ... more Dglass rods). I do, however, believe he purchased the remaining stock of the actual fiberglass stock based on the limited special run rods he did at the beginning of the year, which are coincidently black like the old Dglass rods. That would put that into place. New fiberglass and resin stock would certainly explain a different animal, as well. I'd like to try a new Diamondback (and an old one), but I think for the money everyone's too busy trying to find the old ones, anyway, the cost for the new ones isn't really any less. I'll just wait for them to go n closeout like the last generation.
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I believe Mike McFarland bought the Diamondback rodmaking gear from Cortland, who then sent production of the Diamondglass rods overseas. What i don't know is where the mandrels (tapers) went. In an email, Mike told me he didn't have the rights to the tapers or the name -- he just the gear so he could roll his own blanks. I guess the question boils down to -- did Cortland retain the mandrels and send ... more them overseas, or did they take the opportunity (or were forced to) re-engineer the tapers a bit (which sounds like the case). A slight stiffer 7' 3wt would not be the end of the world; I'd just love to know how different the new rods are. Doesn't look like many folks have cast them, but then, I doubt they're available in too many places.
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there were alot of rumours that someone bought the remainder of their stock and the mandrels to roll his own, and that he might be a part of the new process, and subsequent blanket denials of ever being a part of the new process from the supposed buyer. if that's the case, perhaps its true that the raw materials and designs were sold off, and thus new, "similar-but-different" designs had to be done. ... more I'm also willing to believe the vast majority of the differences are attributed to the fact that they're new, and thus clearly inferior to the old because that's how it must always be (ie, the humble Pflueger Medalist from Asia being junk compared to the exact same thing in America). YMMV, though. This is entirely conjecture as I don't own a new or an old one, and have never had either. If you're dropping blanks in the mail, lemme shoot you my address. ;)
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I own one of the originals and cast the new when it came in at the local flyshop nice rod didn't feel exactly the same a bit less full flexing....(I would call my 7' parablolic ish and in a pinch I'd say the new one had a more progressive feel ) but it was still a very nice casting rod differences could be less taper than materials.... don't know but to my hand the new rod felt really really nice ... more and it seemed a superb value for the money it had a few cosmetic issues but at the price fairly minor ....for reference I'm pretty soldily a cane head but I love casting lots of rods just to see..... (a plus to being a shop rat at the local fly shop) very subjective non scientific but I give the new rods 2 thumbs up
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Yep. And rest assured, should I feel myself slipping away, I'll make sure to get my backup 8.5' 4wt blank in the mail to you before I go...
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Fished the 8 1/2' 4 wgt. yesterday. Sure hope that they didn't mess with the taper on that one.
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