Hardy Ultralite 9’/#4 and UD 6000 LA

King2040

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I fished this past weekend with my wife and an old friend who is a Hardy Pro. We plied the seas off Montauk Point to across the sound to Watch Hill, RI. I have fished his Zephrus SW rods previously and now he has a few new Zane's. The Zephrus SW rods are actually very good and smooth but the new Zane's are notably more refined and seem more potent as well. They are not super fast like the earlier, great ProAxis Hardy's but more medium fast offering plenty of upper to mid taper flex for feel and feedback. Interestingly though, since their recovery rate is far sharper and more precise, they perform as does a faster rod, just with a more responsive feeling. They are imbued with greater lower taper power reserves too.

I fished a 9'/#9 4-piece Zane for a full day, well, that is whenever my wife would let me use it as she fell in love with it. When this model becomes more readily available after the official introduction, I hope to rack up some real time with it and will then write a actual review.

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@sweetandsalt thanks for the quick review. That really has me excited about the new models. I've been fishing a Zephrus 6wt SWS, Zephrus 8wt AWS, Zenith 7wt 1-piece, and Wraith 7wt AWS for both bass and inshore here in TX. I'm probably an intermediate caster, but the Hardy rods just work for me. Very intuitive casting and fishing, and with even the Wraith, I never feel I have to work to get an adequate amount of performance out of the rods. I've tried a multitude of different lines on them, and will occasionally run across a dud pairing, but they all seem to be fairly open to whatever I have spooled up.

Curious what line your buddy had paired up with the Zane Pro. Do you feel the rod may be "line picky" or is it more accommodating to whatever you have on hand? Will it be as intuitive as some of their other offerings?
 

sweetandsalt

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Very nice. :) As that reel is designed to hold a 5, 6 or 7 weight line and you are using a 4 wt line how much backing did you put on it? I would think that even with a minimum of 100 yards of 20lb the reel would still be way short of full.
As an inveterate outfitter for neutral gravity balance, I had initially fished this new 9'/#4 with a light weight reel with the correct line as I had used on another shorter #4 rig. It was too light for me. One thing I appreciate about modern Hardy performance oriented reels is that they incrementally space their sizing close together allowing fine tuning for desired balance. My friend at Hardy raised an eyebrow when I proposed using the 5/6/7 6000 at a light 4.2 oz. over the presumed 4/5/6 5000 at 4 oz. My thinking was that the extra mere .2 oz. + the extra amount of backing capacity would give me the weight I needed and indeed, as in the image above, it was right on. Now the 5000 is rated for a WF5 with 75 yds. and the 6000 at WF6 and 80 yds. As I fish some large rivers, I like 100 yds. minimum both for insurance and arbor expansion. I am confident I achieved this amount, maybe even a tad more but I don't know exactly as I wind it on from a large commercial size spool with no way to measure, I simply fill the spool till it looks right to me.

These Ultradiscs are very light weight but also highly rigid and narrow of spool, no rocking or wobbling in their construction, all good, and thus facilitate each angler having the option to go lighter for lowered overall mass, a little heavier, like me, for neutral balance or heavier yet for high stick nymphing methods.
 

voreskovic86

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@sweetandsalt
Hi there, thank you for your great review. I have Zenith 9ft 5wt and i'm interested in buying Ultralite 9ft 5wt.
do you maybe have any fresh information about the Ultralite rods and when they will be in stores in Europe?
I can't find any info or reviews.
Thanks, Vedran
 

mattd3379

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@sweetandsalt
Hi there, thank you for your great review. I have Zenith 9ft 5wt and i'm interested in buying Ultralite 9ft 5wt.
do you maybe have any fresh information about the Ultralite rods and when they will be in stores in Europe?
I can't find any info or reviews.
Thanks, Vedran
I know this doesn't answer your question as to availability in Europe but Trident Fly Fishing apparently has them.

 

voreskovic86

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I know this doesn't answer your question as to availability in Europe but Trident Fly Fishing apparently has them.

yes yes, I've seen that like a month ago but I think they don't really have it in stock because there is not any review and for me that's a litlle suspicious :D
 

sweetandsalt

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My understanding is sometime soon in November but I have no new update. When and if I do, I will post it. I too doubt any shops have them in stock yet.
 

olasweden

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House of Hardy, long famed on these shores for their truly classic spring and pawl, click check reels like the Lightweight series and Perfects has always built fly rods. However, it was not until 2012 when their new division, Hardy of North America introduced the SINTIX Nano resin graphite Zenith and Proaxis series that we on this side of the pond really began to pay attention. The Zenith was a home run garnering critical acclaim and almost immediate popularity, successfully competing with America’s well established premium brands. I myself fished two of them extensively, a 9’/#5 and 8 ½’/#4. An extra-large arbor, narrow spool, stacked drag module reel was introduced to accompany the new rods making a compelling package.

Subsequently Hardy was sold and is now a division of Pure Fishing. As part of this transition Hardy and Pure’s other fly fishing brands including Fenwick, Greys, Pflueger, Hodgman and more have reorganized under a subdivision led by the creative man who was originally President of Hardy North America, Jim Murphy. Remarkably, through whatever uncertainties, they wisely retained renowned British Hardy designer, Howard Croston as well as other key personnel.

Stabilized under astute leadership, Hardy is poised to start a new chapter in their long, storied history; come September they will introduce a much anticipated catalog of products. Every rod for both fresh and saltwater is an entirely new taper design, engineered with advanced and proprietary technology and material science. Reels too are advancements beyond earlier designs featuring sealed carbon drags or click checks. It has been a while now since Hardy’s last major introduction of the Zephrus line-up of fly rods but behind the scenes a vast amount of work and experimentation has been going on in preparation for the eventual production of all new Hardy rods and reels and that time is close upon us.

I have been enjoying the privilege of being entrusted with an advance production rod and reel outfit of my choosing. In the low, clear, chill waters of the upper Delaware system my selection was obvious, an Ultralite 9’/#4 of 2.8 oz. and a balancing UD LA reel of 5.2 oz. This pairing loaded with new RIO SlickCast Gold fly line is perfectly gravity neutral in balance with the fulcrum at the point in the cork where my forefinger naturally encircles the grip. I have been fishing it now for a couple of weeks and will again next week.

Ultralite features an unusual reel seat, it appears to be a hardwood spacer but in actuality it is a wooden sleeve over a lighter weight carbon spacer forming a mortised recess for maximum security for the reel’s foot. The secure and well machined hardware is anodized a prefect matching gunmetal color to the UD LA reel which itself has green accents matching the rods wraps. I selected a backing color to match these green tones as best I could. The upper hood of the reel seat is engraved with the #4. The cork work is first class, smoothly sanded of very high quality select cork in a pleasing and comfortable Western style grip tipped with a winding check again matching the rest of the metalwork. The signature area is a woven patterned, natural graphite colored area with the rod’s name and specifications along with a serial number. It also says Sintrix NSX but I do not know what that stands for. It is bordered, as is the rest of the rod's wraps with bright olive green thread wraps with an elegant green-gold metallic thread inlay tipped with two bands of black. The blank itself is painted an olive green which shimmers in the sunlight. For those who have experienced ferrule loosening during a day’s fishing, Hardy has left the male ferrule half natural sanded graphite whose matte surface enhances frictional adhesion within the female half, smart. There are alignment dots and the guide set is single foot grey Recoils with the new CIRecoil ceramic stripper. Ultralites come packed in a heavy twill rod sleeve edged with reinforcing ribbon, a hanging loop and a Velcro pocket for the included ferrule plugs.

This rod projects as the faster end of medium fast in its flex profile. There is ample upper third bending for a strong sense of “feel” without ever beginning to go soft on you. Tip recovery which I have carefully examined during casting is top shelf, next to zero counter flex as it returns to straight and no tip taper artifact is generated into its high line speed tight loop formations. The upper third transitions smoothly into a mid-taper that is easily dialed for increasing distance simply by extending tip travel and I have not yet cast it far enough to tap into all the butt power reserves it possesses. I have it lined with RIO SlickCast Gold and a 16’ Braided Leader and have achieved precise and intuitive presentations at 30’ out to 75’ effortlessly. I’m confident I will learn new things about this rod’s character as I continue to fish it but there is no steep learning curve, Ultralite comes naturally to my hand.

My laboratory for this rod is the West Branch of the Delaware. The river is low and clear with submerged rock slab and weed bed braided currents. Angling culture here describes insect hatches in Latin which I believe the post graduate, all wild trout are fluent in as well. This is technical dry fly fishing in its ultimate form and an appropriate Delaware River rod is called upon to aerially turn over 5’ tippets at some distance often under overhanging bankside branches as well as addressing the surface complexities. In air slack line reaching and mending prior to on water manipulation and feeding require a rod with superb reflexes and tip precision. This level of line-leader control is not achievable mechanically; it involves fluid, communicative feedback between rod, fly line and angler. Casting is the initial part and adroit presentation techniques the second ultimately consummating with the slip-strike of metal to mouth and engagement with a leaping running fish.

Back in the day I was fine with my spring and pawl, click check Hardy reels and still occasionally field one in a small stream habitat. Long ago though I experimented with trout reels with “saltwater” disc drags, quickly convincing myself that, given equal angling skill, a fine fish is more quickly brought to net with a finely tunable disc drag reel. This is important to facilitate safe and healthy catch and release. Hardy has long been a staunchly traditional company but is, as the Ultralite rod illustrates, passionately modern too. So, the new reel created to compliment Ultralite and its sibling series Ultralite LL, is the extra-large arbor, narrow spool width Ultradisc reel featuring stacked, multi-element, carbon disc drag modules. Unusual is its frame design intended to preclude fine leader or nymphing mono-rig entrapment into the spool. Also thoughtful is very incremental sizing allowing the fly fisher’s choice of going as light weight as one may wish or, seeking horizontal balance as is my preference. This reel and its Ultraclick sibling are the lightest reels of their respective types Hardy has ever made.

Ultradisc reels span #3 through 10-weight sizing priced in the mid $300’s and the Ultralite starts at 8’/#3 up to 10’/#8 costing $795. My 9’/#4 with its UD 6000 LA is an ideal outfit for the upper Delaware in low water and is going back up next week.


Very good review but how did the rod cast at short and longer distance?
 

Dodge

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SweetandSalt... I'm glad I came across this thread tonight... I actually left a message with Charlie at MayFly Outfitters in Michigan (I buy a lot of rods and reels from him) today to ask about the UDLA reel... it looks great on the rod... I have an 8'-4WT Hardy Jet rod that none of my reels seem to balance because the rod is so light... I was looking to buy this reel in the 2/3/4 or the 3/4/5 depending on what Charlie said would balance this rod the best... I notice you have the 5/6/7 reel on a 4WT rod... I would have assumed the rod would be light enough to use the 3/4/5 or 4/5/6 reel... any perspective on this?
 

fc1955

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Hello Dodge I recently purchased the UDLA reel in a 4/5/6 and got a $75. credit for a rio elite technical trout line. It balances perfect for my 905 asquith. I have an 804 Hardy zephrus that I'm planning to get the 3/4/5 (3000) as I think the lighter weight will balance the rod. All of my other reels are ultralites cadd
 

Dodge

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Fc1955... are you happy with the reel? Have you fished it yet? Thanks for the reply...
 

fc1955

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I haven't been able to get out yet hopefully next week. Just by having it, it's a solidly built reel zero wobble in the spool and it has a very nice sound to it. I'm very partial to Hardy Reels this is no exception. I'll report back after I fish it. I don't foresee any negativity.
 
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