Product Reviews

Hardy Perfection Fly Rods
by James Castwell

One of the first names I remember from my past in fly fishing is Hardy, actually it was Hardy Ltd. I remember that it was not just a fine and venerated company, one only spoke of it with a degree of respect. It held mystique and mystery to this youngster learning the language of the long rod, it still does.

It is now, that I, with a respectful degree of awe, am in the position of passing some certain sort of judgement on one of their products. I will do my best to be as truthful as the product and company deserves. I will first quote their own words on the rod from the Hardy USA web site.

"From 1967 to 1975 Hardy made a series of glass fiber rods called JETs. JET stood for John E. Tarantino, who was a highly respected American rod designer who worked for the Fisher Rod Company. JETs were extremely popular because of their durability and bamboo-like feel. In 1998 we introduced two Perfection Glass rods, which are very similar to the JETs of 30 years ago.

Made of "E" glass and fitted with spigot ferrule joints, the Perfections are full flexing rods with a fluid feel that is unparelled by any competitive rod. With their high tensile strength, Perfections are extremely durable and the best available rod to protect very fine tippets. They are dyed a deep glossy black and tied with ruby thread. The handle and reel seat is made of continuous "Flor" grade cork and fitted with an aluminum "W" fitting with slide band similar to the Lightweight Palakonas. Deluxe rod bag, aluminum tube and polished aluminum ferrule plugs are standard features."

Hardy Perfection

These are now my own personal opinions and feelings of the rods, there are only two produced, a three weight (6ft 6") and a four weight (7ft 6"). I have only cast the four weight so can only report on it, but I am sure the three is at least equal in all respects.

Never. Never have I, in all my fly casting life, cast any rod like it. Like it in anyway. It has a most astounding buttery-smooth feel. I first found one at a cane gathering in Camp Sherman, Oregon this last summer. Thinking my judgement may have failed, I asked a few who were with me to try it too. The conclusion was unanimous. None of us had ever felt any rod like it.

Slow? Yes, I would class it as slow. These days no one would call a rod that, but I will and I don't think anyone should back up from such a listing. Everyone seems to want rods of iron, none bending sticks, for fast casting. They have their place. So does slow.

I am not going to try to tell you to run right out and buy one of these rods. I will say, that if ever you get a chance to cast one, do so. The absolute flow of the rod is incredible, the rod blends with the line and presents a fly with the kiss of a sprite. Nothing can lay down a softer dry, nothing. If you are into today's rods and casting style, this will open a whole new dimension for you.

The cost is very modest for such a rod, under $400.00 with a sock, and aluminum tube. Good value for such a wand. And how about this? Just to make sure of what I was thinking about the rod, I had a chance to take it to a very well known world-class international casting champion. I wanted two things. To see him 'test' it out and also to get his personal opinion of the rod.

The big smile on his face was my first indication that I had done a good thing. Usually when one tests a rod, a few casts are made at a short and then a medium distance. Not so this time. Cast after cast were made at a target (on a casting pond). Again and again and again. This guy was 'playing' with this thing. He was not testing it at all. He was smiling and having fun.

"Son-of-a-gun," I was right. I didn't need to ask if he liked the rod, he just kept smiling and letting out a few more feet of line. There was no change in the flow of the rod at all, still perfect loops no matter how much line he had out. The last target was at eighty feet. About a two foot floating ring. He missed it twice. Out of ten casts. Just barely. He had never cast or felt a rod like it either.

Ok, so we (at least I) can't cast like that. The point is, the rod can. What more do we need in a rod? The sweetest rod ever made? Perhaps. It does what a lot of cane would like to do, and at much less weight. A specialty rod? For sure, for the 'specialist' and anyone who wants to lay down a gentle fly. ~ JC

House of Hardy, USA
PO Box 5588
Cortland, NY 13045
Tel: 607-756-2851

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