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Old 05-02-2012, 09:24 PM
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Default Hardy Zenith rods

Having read the shootouts for the 5 and 4 wt rods, I was wondering if any folks here had tried them? Would like to hear some comments about the rods, and ideally some comparisons to other rods, such as Sage Z-Axis or Winston II or IIIx.

Looking for a 4 wt for western dries and a 5 wt for short and long line nymphing and indicator fishing.

Also looking at bamboo for the dry rod, so lots of options

TIA for any help.

---------- Post added at 08:22 PM ---------- Previous post was at 07:59 PM ----------



---------- Post added at 08:24 PM ---------- Previous post was at 08:22 PM ----------

My apologies folks. I've now done some searches (imagine that) and see this topic has been discussed several times.

If anyone does have any new info to share I for one will be sure to appreciate it.

Thx
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Old 05-03-2012, 04:42 AM
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Default Re: Hardy Zenith rods

I have only test cast a Zenith 9' 5 wt, but my impression based on my brief experience is that the shootout reviews are spot on. I found it both more sensitive close in, and just as effective at distance, as the Z Axis.

If you're looking for a Western 4 weight dry fly rod, the Zenith might be just the ticket. However, for your 5 weight nymphing rod, it might not. The shootout criteria emphasized accurate casting at all distances, but also the ability to sling weighted rigs long distances. That means the results are generally going to favor stronger rods with more backbone and less feel. If you are going to be high-stick nymphing, though, you are going to want a sensitive feel and not care as much about casting performance, especially accuracy at long distances. You might also want a 9 1/2 or 10 foot rod rather than a 9, but longer rods are inherently even stronger and stiffer, because of their longer, stouter butt section, so you might prefer one with a more sensitive tip than the Zenith. For example, St. Croix recently came out with a new nymphing model called the "High Stick Drifter" (which I have not yet seen myself, so I can't recommend other than to say it might be worth a look) that sounds like it's designed for precisely the purpose you have in mind. Other possibilities might be the Sage ZXL, the Loomis WhisperCreek, or the Winston Biit. Or for a lower-priced choice, you might have a look at the Temple Fork BVK.
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Old 05-03-2012, 08:25 AM
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Default Re: Hardy Zenith rods

George Anderson may have rated the #5 rods ability to toss weight but it does not take too much reading between the lines to ascertain he is looking for a great technical dry fly rod for bigger water in the 5-weight shootout. The Z-Axis won the 1st shotout and was second to Zenith in the 2nd. They both have more softness in their tips than Sage ONE but these 3 rods are at the top of the class for technical presentation. If you can afford them there is little else to do but cast them side-by-side at a well merchandized fly shop.

I have gone back and forth with Z- and ONE, I own both, and am leaning toward ONE. I hope to fish the Zenith (perhaps the one-piece 8'10"#5 model) this season. I also happen to have the Zenith 8 1/2'/#4 and, like Anderson says, it is devine spring creek, mid-size creek rod. I have cast but not fished the Winston BIIIx #5 and though a significant improvment over the poorly designed BIIx, not in a leauge with the above rods. I would like to try the 8 1/2'/#4 tough to see if it can sweeten the sour taste the BIIx in that size has left me with.
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Old 05-08-2012, 06:59 PM
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Default Re: Hardy Zenith rods

Just cast the BVK and keep an open mind.

Last edited by db cooper; 11-25-2012 at 09:35 PM.
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Old 05-09-2012, 09:08 AM
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Default Re: Hardy Zenith rods

Back in the late 1960's BMW introduced the 2002 model about which the phrase "sports sedan" was coined. At the same time Chevy had a model intended to compete with the Euro-imports of the day called the Corvair. The car mags, C&D, R&T, et al, made the pithy observation that the 2002 and Corvair had pound for pound the same amount and proportions of steel, glass, plastic and rubber; yet were remarkably at odds in the sports car-like performance of one and the rolly polly ride of the other.

I am not intending to diminish in any way TFO BVK, indeed I own the 6-weight and like it a lot and my wife fishes the #8 as her bonefish rod, which says a lot. However, if you compare the subtlety of taper transitions, the communicative feel and attempt objective analysis of performance at varying distances you learn the BVK is a capable and light rod with a simple personality and the brilliant Sage ONE, Loomis NRX and Hardy Proaxis (assuming all 4 rods are well matched with a line optimal to their individual characteristics) are products of far more sophisticated design and construction. These rods are among the best ever made and are worth the higher price of fishing with them. Different sizes in these model lines may be better than others and what fun it is to decide which they are.
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Old 05-09-2012, 10:41 AM
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Default Re: Hardy Zenith rods

The BVK has ugly cheap components, doesnt come with a rod tube, and TFO doesnt make the tweed crowd smile, but as a casting tool...top notch...but thats in my hands. Cast them for yourself and see, but do it with an open mind.

Last edited by db cooper; 11-25-2012 at 09:36 PM.
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Old 05-09-2012, 01:05 PM
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Default Re: Hardy Zenith rods

Im with Mr. Cooper on this one. What makes you think the tapers arnt as good or that the same ammount of thought didnt go into the disign? Seems to me some of the best caster in the industry played a large role in the development of TFO rods. Lefty for example has gone on the record saying that when he worked for Sage (Left to go with TFO) that Sage did not want his or any other famous names input on rod design and they were in fact just paying for his name to use as marketing.

Im not saying you are necesarily wrong, but its sure sounds like a bunch of maddison avenue marketing B.S aimed at making people feel better for dropping almost a grand on a mass produced peice of plastic.

Stating a bunch of unprovable nonsense does not prove anything.
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Old 05-09-2012, 01:31 PM
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Default Re: Hardy Zenith rods

At the time that Lefty was doing shows for Sage, they had a rod designer who was a founding member of the company and they have a great rod designer today responsible for rods like Z-Axis, Xi3 and ONE. I believe we are too caught up in brands and offer too little credence to the designers who put their heart and soul and scientific resources into the rods they build.

As stated we own two BVK's in our family and other Korean-built rods of fine casting performance as well. Besides the work done by Lefty and Flip Pallet on BVK, Tim Rajeff has done remarkable work on his ECHO 3 rods and lesser known but up-and-coming Steve Bechard at Rise Fishing has some very fine rods in his Level Series. Hardy's Howard Croston is something of a genius and his designs are just beginning to gain recognition on these shores because Hardy North America was formed to reintroduce us Yanks to the "brand".

By all means, cast and compare rods with as little prejudice as possible and strive to ascertain the qualities rod designers have imbued their creative works with.
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Old 05-09-2012, 07:01 PM
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Default Re: Hardy Zenith rods

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cool Hand Hodge View Post
Im with Mr. Cooper on this one. What makes you think the tapers arnt as good or that the same ammount of thought didnt go into the disign? Seems to me some of the best caster in the industry played a large role in the development of TFO rods. Lefty for example has gone on the record saying that when he worked for Sage (Left to go with TFO) that Sage did not want his or any other famous names input on rod design and they were in fact just paying for his name to use as marketing.

Im not saying you are necesarily wrong, but its sure sounds like a bunch of maddison avenue marketing B.S aimed at making people feel better for dropping almost a grand on a mass produced peice of plastic.

Stating a bunch of unprovable nonsense does not prove anything.
Please take what I say with a grain of salt. I was saying exactly what you said. What a bunch of marketing junk Sage dumped on us ( I am a self admitted sage guy) . I was kind of ticked at Sage that my beautiful 1 year old Z-axis was now on close out to try and get me to part with even more for a "better" rod. Quite frankly I was PO'd as well that my 3 piece TXL's are antiques now that the 4 piece TXL's are out.

Then I cast the One....I changed my tune, if you have the $ and are willing to spend the $ it is worth it. I have the coin, I have the wife's approval but I didnt buy one since I dont need one. Now I might have another gear junkie moment in a month and pull the trigger, I dont know.

I agree with DB and SweetandSalt, whatever floats your boat and works for you do it. Will I buy a Zenith, maybe maybe not.Will I buy another TFO , Grey's , St Croix....maybe maybe not


My 1wt TFO was displaced by Elkhorn
My Sage Launch was displaced by a St Croix avid


So while I tend to end up with Sage rods for my rods I use all the time, If I look for a certain Rod I try em all. For marginal feel difference the extra $400 is staying in my wallet.

*** edit***

Sorry to derail original question. I have read great things about the Zenith and they are on the real short list of my next rod purchase.
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Last edited by comeonavs; 05-09-2012 at 07:21 PM.
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Old 05-10-2012, 07:15 PM
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Default Re: Hardy Zenith rods

Well, me being the Hardy rep I won't be commenting on Sage. I must admit I had a bit of addiction to a certain brand of green rods earlier models which in my opinion still fish as good as anything ever made in 8' !/2 and 8" sizes. But I thought I'd throw this in. The WSJ, not the best known fishing mag, ran an article last weekend on Hardys new technology, its not often that the WSJ technology pages are commenting on Fly rod tech. But then IMO rods like the Zenith and the Proaxis don't come a long that often either.

Matt Ridley on Fly-Fishing, Innovation, Hardy and Sintrix | Mind & Matter - WSJ.com
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