Hardy Classic LRH Lightweight Fly Rod - the review!
I have never hankered after owning a Hardy rod . . . . . a reel perhaps? Therefore the chance to test this "Classic" rod was the perfect opportunity to see what I may have been missing.
I’m afraid that the mystique of the Hardy brand has rather passed me by. I have got some old Hardy catalogues which are always enjoyable to look through – I particularly like some of the old fishing knives – but own only one Hardy item. And that is the company’s great flyweight wading jacket which has kept me dry in some downpours of biblical intensity
Hardy has spent a lot of time and effort over a number of years trying to modernise its image and show that it is at the leading-edge of fly rod design. And then it produces the Classic LRH Lightweight range of four-piece trout rods which is an intentional step back. I was sent a 9 foot #5 4-piece rod to try.
The rod comes as quite a package. The rod itself comes in a good-quality beige bag in a beige-anodised rod tube that itself comes in a matching beige protective sock! Getting the rod out of the tube proved a challenge as the very smart cork cap is such a tight fit. So tight that some may struggle to get at the rod! Pushing the cap back into the tube is another challenge as the air in the tube cannot escape. The rod is also supplied with traditional Hardy turned alloy plugs for each section. I didn’t use the plugs as I always feel that I waste enough time putting a rod in its bag, or sack, without fiddling around with anything else.
The look of the rod and build quality is everything to be expected from Hardy. The deep-red blank is trimmed with matching whippings. The cigar-shaped handle – very comfortable - is made from good cork and the cork reel seat is fitted with a lightweight seat and sliding band, described as “Hardy's patented, traditionally styled universal reel holder.” There is only one lined stripping guide which is a strong clue to the rod’s heritage. The company boasts that the rod owes much to past designs but has been built with modern materials “to meet the demands and expectations of modern fishermen.”
I have two questions: why build these “old fashioned” rods? And, who is going to buy them? Hardy’s Howard Croston told me that they are aimed at anglers wanting a classic action. I do agree with him when he says that too many rods are built to be the fastest rod possible which does not always result in a rod that is pleasant to cast or fish with. But I do wonder if the company has gone about producing a moderate action, easy to cast rod in the best way.
When I fished with the rod it soon became apparent that it was not that well-suited to accurate presentation at short range. And when I started to make longer casts its performance was nothing special. The rod felt heavy in the hand – a reflection of its historic heritage no doubt – and was hard work. Am I being unduly harsh if I suggest that this rod is a carbon version of a glass rod that was based on a built-cane taper? It would take a while to get used to the rod’s action.
Having fished this rod when I checked the Hardy website to find its weight, I found the claimed weight of 2.82oz or 80g to be so much lighter than expected that I took the rod to my local Post Office to weight it. And, would you believe it, the rod weighed 78gs! I am sure that the lightweight handle and reel seat makes a major contribution to the lack of weight.
There are four models in the range: the Classic Lightweight 6’ #2 2-piece; Lightweight 7’ #3 2-piece; LRH Lightweight 8’ 6” #4 4-piece, and the rod tested which has a recommended retail price of £299 in the UK.