After testing the 2wt references, we decided to keep exploring the MKII series developed for modern nymphing techniques with the #3 models :
This series of rods has a sober and dark look : the satin black blank has 12 guides (first SIC guide followed by single foot) with black wraps. Some golden trims present at the level of reel seat and the joints come to decorate the whole. The cork handle overcomes a black anodized aluminum down-locking reel seat with a carbon insert and a cork fighting butt. These 4 pieces rods are delivered in a fabric sock and a cordura tube.
The Common Cents System protocol was used to characterize the action, the power and the frequency of these rods :
Regarding the power, 33 cents were required to load the rods over a third of their respective total lengths, which gives after conversion an ERN of 3.86 and a #3/4 line power for both rods, just a little more than the expected power.
With respective AA of 74° and 70°, the action is in the fast category for both rods (AA > 66°).
With a frequencies at 76 cpm and 74 cpm, both rods has an high recovery (regarding their lenght / power).
These rods offer very comfortable fishing, the total weight of the balanced set (BTW) is only 8.20oz and 9.30oz respectively : the balance is therefore better than on most rods of this length/power on the market.
The diameter of the handles is standard (0.98in) and the first guides are well positioned for effective nymph fishing (unlike most American models), respectively 13.40 and 15.30in from the handle.
The opinion of Valerio Santi Amantini, member of the Italian fly-fishing team :
"The 10'6 #3 MKII is the most versatile rod of Cortland’s family. It allows you to fish with modern nymphing techniques and also traditional ones. It is light and balanced so you can fish for hours without feeling the rod’s weight and it has the perfect action for handling fish.
The 11‘ #3 MKII is the rod which satisfies all the feelings of lightness, balance and maneuverability but with a bigger lever that allows you to fish and maintain a reasonable distance from the fish. It has a great structure that can be used for fishing with heavy nymphs without losing the good sensations and work with big fish is secure and pleasant."
The opinion of the editor
Like the two #2 references already reviewed in our columns, the two MKII #3 are slightly over-estimated for their power. Their real power is more #3/4. But they can easily cast nymphs from 2.8mm when using only one, two 2.4mm when using a tandem or any standard weight used in modern nymphing techniques. The fast actions (the 10’6 can even be qualified as extra-fast) and the perfect assembly are indeed very persistant with the use it has been made for (the down-locking reel seat favors the balance and the first guide located at less than 16" from the handle in order to avoid the fly line to unstrung). The comfort while fishing is real. The choice between two models will essentially be made according to the desire to use dry flies (the reactivity of the 10’6 allows dry fly possibilities with a n°3 fly line) and the type of waters (width of the river) for nymphing (the longest the rod is, the cleanest the drift will be).