I only use Hardy fly fishing rods and reels. I put quality above price. I also like traditional designs provided function is not compromised. Hardy are not the company they used to be. They went down market in an attempt to expand, big mistake. Hardy are now trying to claw back their reputation by returning production to the UK and producing up market rods and reels.
I bought my first Hardy reel in 1973 and it is still a delight to use. It was very expensive but I have had 43 years of enjoyment and it is worth more today than I paid for it ! That is excellent value for money.
The reel is a Hardy Marquis #5 which is 3″ and not to be confused with the #5 size Salmon reel ! It easily holds a #4 WF line without backing. I can turn the ratchet off so that it doesn’t make a noise when extending line which can be annoying. This reel has had a lot of use and I had to replace the line guide last year. Hardy eventually sent me the spare parts after several phone calls. Their customer service needs improving.
The other reel is a Hardy Marquis #6 which I bought in 1980. Both of these reels were made in the UK from high grade aluminium. If I had to replace them I would buy used reels from that era.
I normally use Cortland lines. I have tried other brands but Cortland lines are the best. I only use weight forward (WF) floating lines. I usually use a WF #4 Peach 444 for both river and lake, it suits my style of trout fishing.
However, since early July I have been field testing a Rio line. Robjent’s in Stockbridge bullied me into buying a new fly line. I have used Cortland lines for several decades and my reluctance to buy another brand was obvious. The purchase of a Rio fly line was concluded with an agreement that I would write and let Mr R know if I hated it.
I like the colour of the line, weed green. The coating feels supple and the core of the line is white braid. Excellent. It didn’t have a welded loop at the business end so there was no need to cut it off. The running line feels stiffer than the body of the line but that might be my imagination. I had been told to stretch the entire line before loading it on the reel. I fixed it to the garden fence and gave it a good pull, several times. There were a couple of small blemishes in the line. I could feel the difference in the coating between the main body and the tip of the line. Rio claim the coating on the tip makes it float higher.
I superglued a Greys copolymer nine foot tapered leader into the exposed core of the tip. The 7lb leader was a bit heavy, I’ll use 5lb next time. A couple of short casts on the lawn felt odd, I would have to test it on the river.
Update September 2017 – I’ve been using the line for two months, mainly on the river. I’ve used it for nymphs and dry fly. It has a nice supple feel and no memory. I’ve stretched it again since loading it on the reel and I have cleaned the main body of the line several times. It floats well but not as high on the water as my Cortland line. The tip section floats nicely. It feels textured, as if the outer coating has been partly stripped off. The line is very supple and easy to shoot but the long front taper has not helped when casting into the wind. I’m not sure about the colour of the line. I find it difficult to judge distance when casting because I can’t see the line on the forward cast. I usually overcast which is a problem on the river. The line is hard to see on the surface of the water when nymphing. Overall it has improved my presentation, it is a joy to use at 10 yards. I have used it exclusively for two months, let’s see how it performs for the rest of the season.
In 2015 I bought a Hardy Jet Sintrix #4 10′ four piece rod. There were good reasons for my purchase. I have several problems with my right arm. Arthritis in my wrist, tennis elbow and slight paralysis in my shoulder as a result of a neural disease. A light rod is essential.
I visited Albury Game Angling and waggled a few rods. I was dubious about buying a four section rod, surely the joints would alter the action ? I like a long rod, it helps when roll casting and enables me to reach over bankside weeds. The Hardy was the lightest 10′ rod in the shop and when it was fitted together I could hardly see the joints.
The rod has a fast, crisp action and having used it for a couple of seasons, I am very happy with it. It is not traditional but my cane fly rod is far too heavy and slow, my arm gives up after using it for a few minutes.