Big Changes at Pure Fishing (Hardy USA)

bonefish41

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but if Korean built is better than an equivalent US made rod I am going to be fishing it..." there's more than mere assembly to create the rod and where does that more come from...where does that river run through it exist south of the 38th parallel?
I'm not prejudiced against craft and art originating in Korea... I'm prejudiced against the rapacious USA capitalists looking for the piece of the pie with off shore mfg at an inflated price point with a price that's been stepped on more than a dime bag with slick marketing...esoteric glittering performance generalities based upon opinion, conclusory technology that's "guaranteed" to make me a better caster...Is there anyone on forum who could not use effectively fly rods made by Sage, Loomis, Winston, Scott, Orvis, St Croix 5, 10, 15, or 20 years ago...for fresh or salt...for me in salt any 8,9,10,11, or 12 would do it all I would have to do is "futz" with various line weights and head lengths...I'm done the Colts won today
 

sweetandsalt

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I'm glad your football team won, my baseball team lost. I wrote in another thread yesterday that I took a 1984 Orvis rod out for a casting session and, though I have far better newer rods, I could fish it just fine without skipping a beat.

We had two 9'/#6's in Montana camp this season, one a Scott Radian which is arguably the sweet spot among this popular series and a Douglas SKY, kind of a descendant of the earlier Hardy Zenith and built in the same Korean shop. Four of us casting them side-by-side decided the SKY was the superior performer, including the Scott's owner. No, that did not equate to it catching more fish, they both did that fine, but it was more fun to cast. It is designed by an astute American (well, Californian) but would not exist without the availability of the fabrication skills of this Korean shop.
 

weiliwen

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I do not wish for fly fishing to become NIKE, where every tennis or athletic or running shoe can be had from one giant source produced in a thousand locations with no connection to quality control or any idea where any product derived from...I don't want every fly fishing product to merely be distributed in packaging from a giant source.
I do not disagree with your wishes for fly fishing companies; however, I will disagree with the point I've isolated above, which is 100% false.

I worked in footwear factories overseas for Nike for 7 years, leading teams of quality inspectors who combed the factory every hour that the factory was producing. I personally inspected every shipment of footwear before it left the factory. I oversaw the destruction of tens of thousands of pair of shoes that did not meet standards (and the factory learned to up their own quality control as a result). I knew where ever scrap of leather came from, where every shoelace came from, where every shipment of rubber and EVA came from. We checked dwell times in rubber presses, watched cutting and stitching to make sure our specs were met all the time, etc. As I developed a lot of friendships with folks who are still doing the same thing I did, I know that these standards have not changed.

Keep in mind that Nike never, ever, wanted to be a boutique or niche industry, they reached for the sky from Day 1. They still build the footwear that the best athletes in the world WANT to wear, and not just because they might get paid for doing so.

So your claim above is baloney.
 

cooutlaw

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I do not disagree with your wishes for fly fishing companies; however, I will disagree with the point I've isolated above, which is 100% false.

I worked in footwear factories overseas for Nike for 7 years, leading teams of quality inspectors who combed the factory every hour that the factory was producing. I personally inspected every shipment of footwear before it left the factory. I oversaw the destruction of tens of thousands of pair of shoes that did not meet standards (and the factory learned to up their own quality control as a result). I knew where ever scrap of leather came from, where every shoelace came from, where every shipment of rubber and EVA came from. We checked dwell times in rubber presses, watched cutting and stitching to make sure our specs were met all the time, etc. As I developed a lot of friendships with folks who are still doing the same thing I did, I know that these standards have not changed.

Keep in mind that Nike never, ever, wanted to be a boutique or niche industry, they reached for the sky from Day 1. They still build the footwear that the best athletes in the world WANT to wear, and not just because they might get paid for doing so.

So your claim above is baloney.
Interesting overview of your manufacturing operations experience. I'm sorry if you felt my post was a claim of any sort, especially a claim of baloney, perhaps I completely failed in my communication, but it was merely a statement of opinion not a claim of any sort. With that, I appreciate your response but it was not at all what I was eluding to or trying to communicate in my post.

What I meant...was that the consumer has no connection to quality control nor to any idea where any mass distributed product derives from or its material sources. IE: If I (a consumer) buys a Scott Fly Rod here locally in Colorado, I know where it was made, by serial number I can be put on the phone with the person that inspected it before shipment, I can speak directly to any of the people that touched it during production, I can visit and see the graphite scrim myself, I can even drive over and meet them all in person...I know the address of where everything originated from......conversely, If I purchase a mass distributed and manufactured product from any of thousands of dealers or distributors, I do not have any connection, as a consumer, to quality control, nor do I have any idea where the product derived from or was produced. That is what I meant....poorly phrased perhaps....but I did not mean to insinuate the makers do not have quality control standards nor that they do not know where their production material is sourced from....I was referencing the consumer experience and how boutique makers offer a full connection to a product where giant manufacturers do not. Again, apologies for poorly communicating the actual premise of my opinion.
 

sweetandsalt

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My friend, cooutlaw, might have added that his personal connection to the rod maker is of intrinsic value to him, loyalty derived from friendship and trust. Now, I am acquainted with and can call or email individuals at Scott, Sage, Loomis...I can not "drive over", they are airplane miles away from me. Of course, I can also communicate with makers of some Asian produced rods too at Douglas or Taylor and I used to have friends at Hardy too. I only see these persons in person, usually once a year, at the Edison Show.

I have done so previously but it is a slow morning on the Forum so I will reiterate. There is a super substantial difference between a fly rod fabricated at a custom, specialized shop in S. Korea and one made using mass production methods in a factory on the other side of the Yellow Sea. I'm not saying all made in China rods are garbage (many are though), Redington for example produces some good product with quality control oversight and inspecton...it is not that the Chinese can not make a good rod it is more that their services are employed to obtain low price point rods so innumerable "shortcuts" are taken. On the other hand, the shop that builds the Hardy's and other fine rods will not let junk out their door. Independent cross sectional and X-Ray analysis have revealed that their fabrication methodologies may yield superior blank construction compared to some of our US makers! Unlike China, the are not offering their stolen property product for re-branding to bulk distributors but rather, work under contract for Western companies and adhere to the specifications of the makers rod designers.

Clearly, the back-and-forth between the Korean shop and the US brand is not as seamless and direct as total made by fly fisherman for fly fisherman that you get at Scott, Sage, et al. However, the build quality, taper design and how it fishes may well be equal and occasionally better than a directly comparable US make rod. While I have been open for decades to develop a relationship at some level with every rod and reel company and have gained much insight during this process, performance remains my premier value.
 

burk48237

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Two points to add to SweetandSalt's comments:

One, The level of QC in and tech in the higher end Korean rod shops and CNC machine shops for reels is very impressive. A few knowledgeable people in the industry have informed me that the even the quality of raw graphite pegs available in the far east is superior to what we see in the lower 48. There is no question that the Zenith and Proaxis rods from Hardy were a real breakthrough in materials and construction. As far aluminum machining, Hardy had a much lower rejection rate for machining quality in the Korean reel shop than in Alnwick.

Two, in defense of the buy American guys. It is cheaper to fabricate a reel or rod in Korea, not at the Chinese level which borders on ridiculous margins. But I do think Hardy/Pure has made a mistake elevating the price of these rods/reels into premium territory. When the Zenith, Proaxis and UL DD were about 20% under the price of the premium comparable options made in the US they were market leaders. I believe had they continued with this pricing model they would have built on that success. They didn't and with a few exceptions I'm seeing very little Hardy at retail in the marketplace.

I also believe the decision makers at Hardy could have done a much better job engaging and gathering information from their sales staff than they did. They missed a lot of trends in specialty marketing, and in many cases did things that made no sense in the N American market. I remember them discontinuing switch sizes in one line of Greys rods while they continued to import 15' 10 weights ( a size no one I've ever met runs in NA). They refused to even consider marketing Streamer rods, Musky, Pike, or bass specialty rods, and yet I remember a year later after it was suggested the rest of the big makers had jumped headfirst into that fray. Look at the traditional look Spey and trout reels like the new Gunison and the Sage trout/spey reels, those should have been Hardy's. But their leadership was too out of touch to see that trend.
 

weiliwen

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It seems that we're talking about two (or more) different things; I'd like to point out a few things:

1 Korea is a First World Country! Let that soak in for a moment. The average salary of a Korean exceeds that of the average English worker. As several have mentioned above, their quality meets or surpasses that in the USA in most areas. You can quibble about whether the Korean workforce employed making fly rods take all their vacations in Bozeman to go fly fishing, but to machine a tool, in this case a fly rod, that is unnecessary. Do you think the guy who fits the ferrules on a new T&T Avantt brings anything extra to the table because he goes fly fishing on the weekends? The design of the rod components build that sensitivity in, so a fly fishing enthusiast workforce is not needed. Feel free to disagree, but you won't convince me a worker's fly-fishing mojo is important unless that person is building a bamboo rod.

2 If you're talking a super-expensive (which I will arbitrarily define as $700+) rod, it will necessarily be a niche product compared with, say, an Echo Base. That Echo could not be manufactured in the USA, or Korea, for the price-point, but that is not what Echo are looking for. They are looking to sell 10 Bases for every Asquith that G. Loomis sells. I get the impression that folks think that Base should have the same materials, the same quality points that the Asquith has. That's a dream - like asking for leather seats to be stock in a bottom-line Chevy. Nearly every anti-Asia post above makes the assumption that those lower-end rods have no QC, and nearly every one of you is wrong about that. I'll bet you a nickel that if you took a Chinese factory that builds volume rods for Echo, TFO, etc., that factory could build an Asquith as well, assuming that factory has the equipment for it, and time to properly train the workforce. Cheaper carbon fiber, guides, cork, ferrule metal? Don't look to blame Chinese QC, look to the AMERICAN company that spec'd those materials.

Back to the subject at hand, it is heartbreaking to see what has happened to The House of Hardy since they moved from a manufacturing company to a marketing company. That's life; some companies pull through the major transformation Hardy (and tens of thousands of other companies) had to make, some don't. Being passed around among owners like a red-headed step child hasn't helped; I'm sure we all wish that it ends up in the hands of an enthusiast (like happened with Thomas and Thomas, as I understand the story) and there is a happy ending.
 

jayr

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I look at Hardy much the same way as other companies that are now run by the "bean counters" as we like to say. The same happened to the once proud Remington, Cabela's and others in the outdoor market.

Unfortunately, this is the way our business world economy is and has been going for sometime. I don't like that, but I am aware enough to know that is the way it is and will be for the foreseeable future.

In order to survive, these companies (among many if not most) have to play this game in order to continue. We can all lament on the way this is playing out, but it's hard core business that is the reason for this in my opinion.
 

corn fed fins

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I look at Hardy much the same way as other companies that are now run by the "bean counters" as we like to say. The same happened to the once proud Remington, Cabela's and others in the outdoor market.

Unfortunately, this is the way our business world economy is and has been going for sometime. I don't like that, but I am aware enough to know that is the way it is and will be for the foreseeable future.

In order to survive, these companies (among many if not most) have to play this game in order to continue. We can all lament on the way this is playing out, but it's hard core business that is the reason for this in my opinion.
Maybe I'm off the mark here with my post but times change. Want to talk about heritage, quality, and prestige then I'll just say "Winchester". Just another victim of labor costs and other government regulations. Remington still produces the most accurate mass manufactured action on the market, 700, and Cabela's has always been low end foreign stuff in my book.

I counted beans in my company. You have to if you want to make money and not just trade dollars. No money in the bank means no growth potential. No growth potential and failure is imminent.

So when we cry about a company going out of business/ moving overseas/ selling out /etc., take a look at just what you support and ask yourself did you support that business; and I don't mean did you buy their product.





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jayr

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Maybe I'm off the mark here with my post but times change. Want to talk about heritage, quality, and prestige then I'll just say "Winchester". Just another victim of labor costs and other government regulations. Remington still produces the most accurate mass manufactured action on the market, 700, and Cabela's has always been low end foreign stuff in my book.

I counted beans in my company. You have to if you want to make money and not just trade dollars. No money in the bank means no growth potential. No growth potential and failure is imminent.

So when we cry about a company going out of business/ moving overseas/ selling out /etc., take a look at just what you support and ask yourself did you support that business; and I don't mean did you buy their product.





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Remington is not the same company it was just a scant few years ago. Check out their QC today. They have been bought out by a capital firm (Cerberus) that also bought out Bushmaster Firearms several years ago, both Remington and Bushmaster are not the same companies they once were. You can also lump Marlin Firearms in that same group and Remington bought them as well. Just frequent some gun websites and you can find all kinds of QC/QA issues to all of the above.

As for Cabela's, when it was still owned by the family it was a good quality merchandise firm and a no BS warranty. The family then sold it out as it became publicly traded and has since been bought out by Bass Pro. The overall quality of goods and customer service are not at all what it used to be under family ownership.

FWIW
 

ratherfish

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As for Cabela's, when it was still owned by the family it was a good quality merchandise firm and a no BS warranty. The family then sold it out as it became publicly traded and has since been bought out by Bass Pro. The overall quality of goods and customer service are not at all what it used to be under family ownership.

FWIW
That is kinda surprising to hear, BPS (Johnny Morris), pretty much started out the same way - small time guy who took a shot and won, I'm happy for him, he's done well. I hit a lot of BPS's and have never had any problems, they have always treated me fair. I like Cabela's too. Not a fan of Dick's, they run chicken too easily at the first sign of squealing from the anti-gun crowd, I'd have to be in a bad way to give them people my money; and even then, I'd pay cash so they didn't know it was me. :)
 

Lewis Chessman

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I've hesitated adding this because it's purely anecdotal but, in the spirit of the forum, I'll pass on my own experiences with Hardy reels this season. As a gillie I often set up and test my guest's gear and I met two distinct issues with newish Hardy reels this season.
The first was a missing reel foot screw on an Ultralite DD. It had been there last season, the owner said, but had since worked loose and fallen out unseen. I tightened the remaining screw and the guest phoned Hardy's service department for a replacement. That was on a Monday in the far north of Scotland. The screw arrived from N. England on Wednesday, foc.

The second issue couldn't be remedied so easily. I forget the model, sorry. A small part in the spool-locking mechanism had vanished and the spool wouldn't attach securely. A replacement reel was used that week, the broken reel will have to be sent back to the company for repair.

The general comments in the Gillies' Room were to the tune of 'Oh, another one ....' so they are gaining a reputation for unreliability which they've never had before. Quite the contrary, in fact. For scale, we see around 100+ rods and reels set up over the week, over 6 months. Older gentlemen tend to prefer older Hardys and replace with newer while the 50-65 range are as likely to fish a Loop, Danielsson or Lamson reel, though the Marquis and Cascapedias remain popular depending on the depth of pocket. A lot of folk here love the sound of the Marquis' ratchet, some even have it as a ring tone ....

Other reel issues I faced were a squeaky handle (try standing by that all day!) which a drop of oil cured and a dried-out cork drag on an Abel a guest used. Nice reel once it was lubed!
As I say, purely anecdotal, by no means shocking given the numbers passing through and Hardy's service was excellent. It was the raised eyebrows from my colleagues with caught my attention as much as anything.
 

ratherfish

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so I just youtubed a video on the Marquis and the guy was comparing the new against the old - he stated in that video the old was a System 10 (I believe) and it was called a "Scientific Angler". I thought Scientific Angler was a name brand in and of itself, and I thought they were a lower end reel. but then again, I don't really know much, a lot of these name brands I've never heard of before.
 

Lewis Chessman

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Hi, ratherfish.

Hardy made a System 4 for S.A..
Scientific Angler used to be owned by 3M and were leaders in plasticated lines in their early days. Still make fine lines today, imo. They were bought, along with Ross Reels, by Orvis in 2013.
The most common S.A. reels I see are the System One and System Two reels, both made by British Fly Reels in the UK until production moved to S. Korea in 2014. The first 'Twos' were unported and still look good, I think. The drag is decent if not exceptional on the 2s and they still get seen in use on my river occasionally.

Edit: Re: The Marquis, maybe there's a confusion with that and Orvis's first CFO reel, made by Hardy's in Alnwick and bearing some similarities to one another?
 

tomsakai

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Here's some good news: Hardy service continues to be fine (so far). I sent a Hardy Zenith (broke it when I fell chasing a fish) in on 9/23, from California to Iowa. It arrived at Pure Fishing on 9/27. That day I was contacted by Hardy customer service who advised that my rod will be covered by warranty (second break in 1 year) in spite of the fact that I told them how it broke. Replacement arrived yesterday 10/2. Can't ask for better service than that!
 

burk48237

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I did hear that Fenwick has a bunch of new offerings this year including a rod with Nano resin technology and they are doing a Streamflex series (in the states). The Greys Streamflex were great value rods, the 9-5 was basically the same taper as the Zenith with a lower tech blank, and the Nymph rods were arguably better than the Hardys. They also showed a really nice looking large arbor reel.I Always thought the Fenwick transition (from Grey's) was one of the biggest disasters from the Pure purchase in both marketing and quality.
 

burk48237

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Hi, ratherfish.

Hardy made a System 4 for S.A..
Scientific Angler used to be owned by 3M and were leaders in plasticated lines in their early days. Still make fine lines today, imo. They were bought, along with Ross Reels, by Orvis in 2013.
The most common S.A. reels I see are the System One and System Two reels, both made by British Fly Reels in the UK until production moved to S. Korea in 2014. The first 'Twos' were unported and still look good, I think. The drag is decent if not exceptional on the 2s and they still get seen in use on my river occasionally.

Edit: Re: The Marquis, maybe there's a confusion with that and Orvis's first CFO reel, made by Hardy's in Alnwick and bearing some similarities to one another?
The first System reels (SA) were Hardy Marquis with different badges made in Alnwick. The were numbered with the line size so a system 4 was a 4 weight reel. They actually marketed matching fiberglass fly rods. At one point the three best selling premium fly reels were all made in Alnwick, by Hardy. The Hardy Marquis, SA System, and Orvis CFO. SA later introduced a System 2 which were made for a bit by British Fly Reels, they were cast reels, fairly heavy duty, and they were one of the first mid priced reels with a decent drag. They were favorites of the GL Steelhead/Salmon fisherman. The later System reels were a mixed bag, they tried to do a higher end System that was machined, but it didn't compete at the higher price points well with the Ross and Bauers of the era.
 

osseous

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Pure Fishing Names Jim Murphy in New Role as Director of Fly Fishing

Columbia, S.C. October 11, 2019 – Pure Fishing named Jim Murphy the Director of Fly Fishing this week. With 30-plus years of experience, Murphy will be taking over Global Product Development, Global Marketing and North American Sales. The newly created role is expected to increase sales and production of Fly Fishing rods and reels within the Pure Fishing fly fishing brands, Hardy, Greys, Fenwick and Pflueger.

Jim Murphy is no stranger to the fishing community. He has previously lead the Hardy North America team, is a former Vice President of Sales for R.L. Winston Rod Company, and is the founder of Redington.

“I’m taking this role as a tremendous opportunity for not only myself, but for all of the brands within the new Pure Fishing,” said Murphy. “I call it the new Pure Fishing because of the positive changes they’ve been making as of late in reconfiguring the company and I’m thrilled to be a part of the team they’ve worked hard to create.”

The intent behind creating this new role within the company is to expand the footprint of Hardy, Fenwick and Pflueger in fly fishing and bring the brands back to the forefront of the industry.

“I can’t think of anyone better suited to fill this role within the company,” said Jon Schlosser, Vice President of Marketing at Pure Fishing. “Jim brings a very strong development background that fits well with our agenda for driving innovation and technology into industry leading products.”

With over 25 years of experience in leadership roles, Murphy is expected to not only grow sales and distribution, but increase overall competency within Pure Fishing as it relates to Fly Fishing

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sweetandsalt

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Murphy's appointment within Pure brings him full circle. As the former head of Hardy North America he knows the design team in Alnwick well and has worked with the S. Korean fabricator of rods and reels even before his time with Hardy. Murphy was largely responsible for the development of the Zenith and now we can anticipate more design/technology advancement is the near future.

Perhaps this will be the best possible outcome for those of us who have enjoyed both classic and innovative-performance oriented Hardy products. Gone may be the elite individualizem of old Hardy Brothers as Hardy has and will likely continue to be a corporate component but also now the resources should be available that proved elusive for the independently owned old company.

Congratulations, Jim.
 
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