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Old 10-14-2014, 01:06 PM
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Default Orvis CFO and Hardy Princess

Are those two reels are in the same category or class?
I've had the opportunity to hold several sizes of Orvis Made in England CFO reels over the weekend and I thought they were really cool....and expensive.
Just wondering what you guys think about them.
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Old 10-14-2014, 01:43 PM
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Default Re: Orvis CFO and Hardy Princess

My opinion; yes and no. Depending on the size of the CFO most are not as large as the Princess at 3 1/2" and there are other differences. The CFO are noticeably a more refined reel machining wise. The spring & pawl system of the CFO is so incredibly smooth that there's nothing not to like. If the springs are good there is a very noticeable range of tension with them. The CFO reels also offer the exposed rim for additional tension when needed.

The Princess is one of the Lightweight series reels. They are cast and machined reels with the old Hardy clicker system. The reels are more course when it comes to the clicker and they are not as smooth as a CFO. They are however very well made and have that look that only comes with the Lightweight Series reels. When I say they are not as smooth this is not to say that the Hardy feels bad, no just different. Princess reels have the caged spool so no palming for tension, when you get a strong fish running downstream you must use a finger on the bottom of the spool to apply more tension. This finger thing takes some getting used to but I did it and I suppose so would you.

I have and use both, I like them equally and would not want to have to make a choice between them. The tension on my old Princess works just fine because I've been careful to remember to release the spring when I finish using the reel. The sound of the Hardy when you get onto a strong fish is different and I may like that a little more than the Orvis but then we aren't just talking sound.

Either reel is a great classic trout reel. If you buy used you may want to send a message my way before you pay because I've bought and sold quite a few and have learned a few things to watch out for in the process.

Ard
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Old 10-14-2014, 03:23 PM
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Default Re: Orvis CFO and Hardy Princess

To complement Ard's post a Princess and its equivalent CFO IV of the same classic late 70' early 80's vintage are similar in most ways. Both are cast of an aluminum alloy and painted, both have spool release via a spring loaded lever beneath a two screw cap (some earlier Hardy's used three flush screws) both have the same two screw nickel silver line guard and identical plastic handles. But the CFO is a bit more refined. It has the afore mentioned palming rim, an advantage. The brace of leaf springs and hard steel pawls are the same but the Princess employs a threaded check adjuster while CFO uses a decreasing radius internal cam actuated by a back plate mounted knob. A bit more elegant design but no more effective as there is no "drag" in either, simply a tunable "over run check". I have both out on my desk before me as I type this and the Princess is a little larger in diameter and the CFO IV (my favorite size) is a hair wider and a tad lighter in my hand. As light weight, spring and pawl reels go, these two are the class act. New versions may be machined from bar stock and anodized but undefinably lack the traditional character of these two classics.
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Old 10-14-2014, 04:18 PM
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Default Re: Orvis CFO and Hardy Princess

Ard & S&S, thank you for such detailed insight.

The ones that I handled was the II and III and they felt really smooth and in excellent condition despite in used condition.
I have yet fish my battenkill III yet since I got them 2 weeks ago, but already attracted by the simplicity of the click and pawl systems. I basically spooled my 4wt and 5wt lines to them and left my trustworthy Access MA IV empty.

Now, are these Made in US Orvis CFO shared the same quality as the made in England ones?

About the Hardy Princess, I haven't handled them yet but they looked narrower than the CFO, priced economically with that classic look.

Ard, I'll contact you if ever going to get one. At the moment, I am just admiring them.
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Old 10-14-2014, 04:38 PM
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Default Re: Orvis CFO and Hardy Princess

You can't go wrong either way

Hardy Princess circa 1980 mounted to 8' six weight cane

Click the image to open in full size.

CFO IV Circa 1990 mounted to 1968 Full Flex 5/6 weight 6'6"

Click the image to open in full size.

Just happened to have a snapshot of the reels in question. I use the Hardy only on the rod in the picture. I had such a hard time balancing that rod with a reel that I sent it to Ron White when he still was the bamboo man for Orvis. I sent the reel with line as you see it and the rod and ask that he spike the reel seat to give me a balance fulcrum right at the front of the cork just behind the winding check. He did that and the rod and reel are truly a set, talk about fussy

When I lived in Pennsylvania I used that rod a great deal after it was properly matched with a reel. No it only gets out now and then but I will keep it until I can no longer cast. It seems that Orvis bamboo is looked down upon any more. I remember when it was considered the mark of a serious fly caster if he had risen to one like that. Oh well, I still like it...........

By the way, did you notice the fly on the different rigs? Looks like Ard's Nine three and a Jock O' Dee to me from here. So many folks are missing out on great fishing by not focusing on classic feather wing streamer tying & fishing. I didn't have them tied on just for a photo op, I use them a lot everywhere I fish.
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Old 10-15-2014, 09:34 AM
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Default Re: Orvis CFO and Hardy Princess

I can't see the pictures, I have to look at them once I get home.
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Old 10-15-2014, 12:44 PM
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Default Re: Orvis CFO and Hardy Princess

If you ever shop used the one thing other than chips and scuffs to watch out for is the reel that someone stuck a fly line sticker on 15 years ago. When you see an old reel for sale with a sticker on the back plate don't do it. That sticker will have blocked the area underneath from ultra violet light - ozone - and countless other atmospheric conditions which fade and change the coloration of the painted or anodized surfaces on the metals. When you remove it you'll have a spot there forever.............

And never take one that someone has engraved with their name or anything else, if you get one like that for a hundred bucks or less OK but if the seller wants regular value don't even think about it. Reels aren't like rods, on a rod you can remove a name pretty easy or have the manufacturer remove it for you. On a reel nicks - scuffs - and engravings are there forever. I have 2 custom bamboo rods made by Orvis that have my name as well as the rod builder's on the butt at the check. Because of that I guess I'll have them until I die. Unless I ever become famous the name detracts from their value, and I'm running out of time for that fame thing
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Old 10-15-2014, 01:48 PM
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Default Re: Orvis CFO and Hardy Princess

Good advice. I have a friend deeply into the history of our sport and has a collection of first addition, immaculate books to inform the details. He is always looking to add or update books both from here and Britain and does not mind if the author has signed the book with his signature. However, if it is inscribed, "To Richard who shares my love of Patagonian trout streams, Your Friend, Ernesto Schwiebert", he regards the book as being valueless and would never buy it even for cheap.

Another issue with older spring and pawl reels is the leaf springs that make the click check work. Even if returned to their lightest setting (and not everyone does this), they are still under tension and weaken over time. Now that Hardy is owned by Pure and the Lancaster offices that included expert reel repair and refurbishment is no more, getting parts has become an issue. I bent a reel foot on a Hardy Swift, not a common model over here and had to have it sent to me from England.

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Old 10-15-2014, 01:55 PM
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Default Re: Orvis CFO and Hardy Princess

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hardyreels View Post
If you ever shop used the one thing other than chips and scuffs to watch out for is the reel that someone stuck a fly line sticker on 15 years ago. When you see an old reel for sale with a sticker on the back plate don't do it. That sticker will have blocked the area underneath from ultra violet light - ozone - and countless other atmospheric conditions which fade and change the coloration of the painted or anodized surfaces on the metals. When you remove it you'll have a spot there forever.............

And never take one that someone has engraved with their name or anything else, if you get one like that for a hundred bucks or less OK but if the seller wants regular value don't even think about it. Reels aren't like rods, on a rod you can remove a name pretty easy or have the manufacturer remove it for you. On a reel nicks - scuffs - and engravings are there forever. I have 2 custom bamboo rods made by Orvis that have my name as well as the rod builder's on the butt at the check. Because of that I guess I'll have them until I die. Unless I ever become famous the name detracts from their value, and I'm running out of time for that fame thing
Noted Ard. I bought all my reels new, but I'll pay attention on those stuffs that you mentioned.
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Old 10-15-2014, 03:57 PM
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Default Re: Orvis CFO and Hardy Princess

There are other things that enter the buy or pass decision whenever you are looking at a vintage reel but those are a couple of the big ones. I do have some new reels but most were bought long ago. When you go new there are seldom any issues but when you enter the after market you must be cautious to some degree. I have seldom bought a reel thinking I would sell it but I've gathered that some are good for the money should you decide to move them on and some are not.
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