Originally Posted by sweetandsalt
May I stray off (my own) topic and comment on MrTrout's remark above?: As I see it, something created and made in a given country and then illicitly copied somewhere else poses an ethical issue. In the case of Hardy, and appreciating that, as a Britain, you may have greater sensitivity to this than us Americans, the current "performance" crop of Hardy rods and reels are not the Hardy products of our youth. Losing their grip on the dominant US fly fishing market to the plethora of "up-start" US rod and reel makers, the ownership of the quality reel reputation that was theirs to loose was lost by terrible marketing and worse planing. They declined to keep current, relying on their excellent and beloved but staid products incompetently marketed and distributed here by Cortland Line Co. When they began to go "modern" and introduced fine, innovative reels like the Gem, then Angel for example, hardly anyone noticed. It was only when they wrested their distribution away from Cortland and incorporated Hardy North America under the able leadership of an experienced American that things turned an abrupt corner. It was Hardy here that initiated an advanced technology/design Zenith/Proaxis SINTRIX line of rods to be built very well but affordably by using a particular high tech, two generation rod fabricating shop in Korea. Of course great Hardy designer, Howard Croston, was an integral and brilliant component of these rods (and reels) but they were conceived from the get-go to be Korean-built. I have no issue with this scenario though the old fashioned part of me would rather they were built in England or America but the contemporary reality is there is a division of labor here that yields the best from each contributing national culture to a terrific product. One US talent is for marketing and for those among us that consider George Anderson's Shootouts as not particularly relevant; Zenith may merely have been an also-ran had Anderson not screamed from the roof tops that this new Hardy was the best trout rod on the Planet (and he didn't even sell them at that time).
S&S, it is very disappointing to see so much of the "Hardy" tackle now being imported from Korea, I understand why these things happen, market forces, labour costs etc, but it sort of takes the cream off the name.
I still own my late fathers cane rod, built by Hardy, spare tip in the landing net handle, a thing of beauty, probably made around 1930 or earlier, along with the perfect reel he used.
I am also fortunate in owning a number of Hardy reels, all made at the Alnwick factory, and I treasure them.
I treat them with respect, they somehow deserve it, unlike a couple of other Hardy reels I own, which are Korean made, the CC range.
Don't get me wrong, they look great, perform well, and I enjoy using them, but they are just a reel to me, ones I can use without worry of scratching them.
I also love my Winston and Sage rods, American made, and I envy you that you still have these wonderful manufacturers producing top notch gear in your country.
Hardy, as you state have made some seriously poor decisions, which has led them into this crisis, and I sincerely hope they can get over it and become strong again, and a world leader in fine tackle, as anglers I feel the loss of Hardy would hit us all badly.
I can't bring myself to pay the going rate for any Hardy rods, one, I am not particularly moved by the design of them, and two, if they aren't produced in England, they are vastly overpriced for an import.
As a lover of well made reels, Ari Harts, Abels, Bougles, etc, I am quite prepared to pay the going rate, as I see them hopefully as not just a fantastic bit of engineering, but a future investment.
Were some manufacturer to offer me a Hardy Perfect copy, it wouldn't interest me even at half the price, I would always know it wasn't the real deal.
Getting back to fly boxes, they are in my eyes more of a basic everyday, almost throw away item, and at $5 a piece, if I broke one or lost one I would get over it.
As a child of the 50s I always strove to own anything Hardy, it was THE name to go for in those days, due to finances in my youth, (I normally ended up with an Intrepid reel or a Woolworths fishing rod,) but unfortunately that no longer applies, Hardy just doesn't have that pull anymore.
I hope all that makes some sense, and answers your question a little.