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Old 09-24-2013, 08:31 AM
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Default Hardy Zenith Beginner Friendly?

So in my many hours of searching and debating on what i want my first set up to consist of, I ran across a pretty good deal on a Hardy Zenith 9' - 5WT.

The thing I'm starting to wonder about is did i make the right choice? I worry that it my be a little to technical of a rod, requiring more skill than I have to benefit from its advantages. Also after reading more reviews and thinking about the types of streams and rivers I'm probably going to be fishing In the VA/MD/PA area. I'm thinking that maybe I should look into something a little slower and not quite as powerful.

It seems that some guys think the Zenith is more of a big river rod, meant to really get some line out there. Their are also people that say the rod behaves well up close so I guess I'm looking for some good advice. Maybe I could (or should) pick up a less expensive rod.
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Old 09-24-2013, 09:41 AM
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Default Re: Hardy Zenith Beginner Friendly?

I think you will be fine. I'm assuming you bought without trying. I've never tried a zenith but from what I've read it falls in the soft tipped fast action as opposed to broomstick fast. I fish Md. And eastern Wv. With this type of action for 90 percent of my trout and smallmouth fishing.

I would lean towards just learn to use it. Time on the water. Then worry about other rods. This being your first rod, its a great starting point to see what you will end up liking. Rod action can be very personal. I don't think there is a right or wrong choice. Just a choice that can be changed by selling, trading , hoarding. Hoarding being the fun one.
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Old 09-24-2013, 09:51 AM
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Default Re: Hardy Zenith Beginner Friendly?

The Zenith is a fine rod that can be managed by a beginner IMO. I have a 5wt Zenith and after fishing mostly Sage/Redington fast action rods I find it on the medium side of fast and in no way too stiff in the low end.

I am not familar with the waters you fish but on 15-30 ft wide rivers it is in it's element and can handle a hopper down to a tiny dunn without an issue. It protects 6x tippet on larger fish just fine with enough backbone to land a 20 + incher without too much stress.

After reading the reviews and comparisons to truly fast action rods I was concerned it was going to be a bit fast and technical for my liking as well so I purchased GPX textured half weight heavy line for it. Having spent many hours on the river with it I now realize that I have dulled the rod and limited it's distance some what.

Having said that, in close it loads very nicely with this line and is still more than accurate enough to catch fish.

If you are truly a beginner, I would suggest the GPX or the new Rio Gold half weight heavy line as you will be able to get very good feedback when loading the rod and perfect your cast. You could grow with the rod and load it up with regular 5 wt when it is time to respool in a year or so. (beginners are hard on fly line, the next line will last much longer.)

A 9' 5wt. is never a bad choice when a person is purchasing one rod and this is especially true when dealing with a trusted brand like Hardy.

Perhaps you are feeling a wee bit of buyer's remorse for over shooting your budget a bit? I have done this on many purchases as well and I can tell you in the long run I have never kicked myself for buying the best I can afford at the time. It's when I cheap out to save a few bucks that I usually get burned.
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Old 09-24-2013, 10:55 AM
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Default Re: Hardy Zenith Beginner Friendly?

How big are these Streams and rivers?

What do you think your avg casting distance will be?

I ask because here in AZ on our small streams and creeks avg casting distance is less that 20', heck maybe even less that 10' and it's hard enough to get a slow action rod to load with that much line I would hate to try it with a fast action rod.
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Old 09-24-2013, 11:43 AM
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Default Re: Hardy Zenith Beginner Friendly?

Definitely try it! If you like it you've got the best rod going, if you don't like it, it will hold it's value and be an easy sell.
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Old 09-24-2013, 12:40 PM
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Default Re: Hardy Zenith Beginner Friendly?

Alright, I'm feeling a bit better.. Furnace, you definitely hit the nail on the head with the "bit of buyers remorse"...lol Even at a decent deal it wasn't cheap. I'm also really liking the idea of running a 5.5 WT line on it to help with feedback until I get a decent consistent cast down.

I'm pairing it with a Lamson Velocity #2 reel, so it should make a pretty sweet combo. I also purchased a Velocity #3 but i may have to wait on setting up an 8wt rig... after waders, a vest, wading boots, net etc... the funds are pretty much depleted. And I still need line and backing and probably 20 other things I don't know I need yet...

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Old 09-24-2013, 03:40 PM
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Default Re: Hardy Zenith Beginner Friendly?

You are starting with a very fine rod to grow into. It is not a difficult rod to learn on, it is actually more intuitive than most. I fish RIO Gold or SA Mastery Textured Trout on it which load it perfectly.
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Old 09-24-2013, 05:06 PM
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Default Re: Hardy Zenith Beginner Friendly?

IMHO, you have a great rod and as your casting ability improves, you will soon learn to appreciate the Zenith. I am in no way an accomplished caster but found the rod very light in hand and found that it has the ability to throw a decent amount of line. I believe the limits of this rod are those of the hand casting it. It would not be my first choice for small stream fishing (I use a 3 wt. 7'-6" ZXL that I picked up on sale), but I do not regret buying my 4wt. 8'-6". I have it paired with a Waterworks - Lamson 1.5 and a RIO Gold WF4F. I did't feel the need to over-line the rod to make it work for me. Good luck with your choice.
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Last edited by troutnut4; 09-25-2013 at 06:41 AM. Reason: typo
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Old 09-24-2013, 10:05 PM
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Default Re: Hardy Zenith Beginner Friendly?

It is a great beginner rod. One of the biggest myths about fly fishing is that many higher end rods are for experts only. I say a rod like a zenith is perfect for a beginner. I absolutely love my 486 and I gave some serious thought to selling my One in order to buy a 590 zenith. I love my one (that may be one rod I would not recommend for beginners though). The zenith is a fantastic rod that still has great feel. I have fished everything from size 22 midges on it to nymphs.
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Old 09-25-2013, 01:02 PM
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Default Re: Hardy Zenith Beginner Friendly?

In conversations with rod designers, I have learned something relevant to this thread. Some designers, Tim Rajeff comes to mind, is a designer who is intent on developing tapers that are accessible to less accomplished casters but will satisfy, even reward, skilled anglers. Cast an ECHO3 and you will see what he is talking about...a terrific rod with plenty of feedback that does not require impeccable timing and a stroke on tracks to cast well. Switch to his brother Steve Rajeff or the afore mentioned, Jerry Siem's, Sage ONE and it is a different story. NRX and ONE are high performance instruments that demand a reasonable level of skill development to even begin to reveal their potential. These two rods, designed by brilliant caster/designers for discriminating anglers with specific performance requirements, invite a learning curve to familiarize the caster with how to access their significant abilities. These varied approaches assure that each of us can find a fly rod that is comfortable and capable regardless of our expectations and level of experience. Zenith happens to be a rod that makes both novice and old timer smile.
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