The House of Hardy #6 Graphite Smuggler De-luxe

Desert_fly

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I recently received a Graphite Smuggler De-luxe that belonged to my Grandfather as a gift. It is a beautiful rod in excellent if not new condition. I brought it with my to a fly shop in WY to ask about it and the owner seemed to think that I had something nice enough that I shouldn't fish with the rod.

Can anyone tell me more about the rod?

Please let me know if you need any more info.

Thank you in advance!
 

Davitticus Maximus

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I dont know anything about the rod, but you say it looks new. In my opinion if it is in new condition you should fish it! I am sure that's what your Grandfather would want.
 

Desert_fly

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That is kind of my thought also but on the other hand to him this was just a cool gadget he bought and likely never used. He had dozens and dozens of reels and rods. If it is something very valuable would he prefer it go to a collector who will truly appreciate it and provide me the ability to buy high quality modern gear that will make my fishing experience better?
 

Ard

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If I didn't know better I'd think you were hoping that some collector here would be making an offer. Without images I can only guess we are talking about a 7 piece rod, black shaft sections with red dressings probably around a 1980 vintage but the serial number would be the way to date the rod.

The rod will work just fine if you were to use it. Value is up to the market. You'll see them listed on the auction site for high prices but many go un bid or un bought. One in mint shape can sell in the 400 to 450 neighborhood but mark them up much higher and they stay with the sellers usually.

I fish often with a 1981 Hardy Graphite and my fishing experiences seem good.
 

Desert_fly

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If I didn't know better I'd think you were hoping that some collector here would be making an offer. Without images I can only guess we are talking about a 7 piece rod, black shaft sections with red dressings probably around a 1980 vintage but the serial number would be the way to date the rod.

The rod will work just fine if you were to use it. Value is up to the market. You'll see them listed on the auction site for high prices but many go un bid or un bought. One in mint shape can sell in the 400 to 450 neighborhood but mark them up much higher and they stay with the sellers usually.

I fish often with a 1981 Hardy Graphite and my fishing experiences seem good.

Ohh the way the owner of the shop acted I thought it was something worth thousands of dollars. I didn't want to go out and break some $10k rod haha

I will definitely fish it now that I know it's not something crazy.

Picture: https://photos.app.goo.gl/yb1TZY8eCihPfnxQA

Serial number: 1LA80770
 

Ard

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There are some on the auction site currently asking 650 but I doubt they will sell. The graphite your rod is made with is a first generation material and I could safely say there is no more of it in the UK. You can look at that 2 ways; one is that since that graphite was discontinued 25 to 30 years ago they rod is priceless and irreplaceable. The second is that that also detracts from value because if it is broken there are no repair sections available.

I have a 1979 Orvis that I have used every year since 1979 when I bought it and it isn't broken yet. Just use the rod, get a nice Hardy Princess or LRH reel for it and use it. Be careful with it, act like it is irreplaceable because it is.

Another guess is that the person you showed the rod to never saw one before.
 

Desert_fly

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There are some on the auction site currently asking 650 but I doubt they will sell. The graphite your rod is made with is a first generation material and I could safely say there is no more of it in the UK. You can look at that 2 ways; one is that since that graphite was discontinued 25 to 30 years ago they rod is priceless and irreplaceable. The second is that that also detracts from value because if it is broken there are no repair sections available.

I have a 1979 Orvis that I have used every year since 1979 when I bought it and it isn't broken yet. Just use the rod, get a nice Hardy Princess or LRH reel for it and use it. Be careful with it, act like it is irreplaceable because it is.

Another guess is that the person you showed the rod to never saw one before.
OK so I'm definitely keeping it and I'll fish it on special occasions in a few years once I have a good amount of experience. Thank you for the info
 

original cormorant

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Your rod (1LA80770) was made in November of 1986 I think.

I have a 1981 and love it.
Funny how you make connections. At about that time I presented the same model rod to a colleague as a retirement gift. I know that rod was well used in his few remaining years.
 

quattro

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I own 3 of these. I first heard about them in mid 80's and my gave one to my father for their 20th wedding anniversary he fished that rod all over the US chasing trout. Passed away after they had been married 51 years and I now have it. That one I will fish only in very special occasions. I have it's clone 8'2 7 piece 5/6 weight that I fish regularly and a 7' 5wt that I also fish. both pair nicely with the rio gold line. They are frequently in my brief case when I travel for work (pre COVID) and I'll fish golf ponds, small streams and the like when ever I can.
As for value? I agree with the about 500 is probably about right. So fish it but be careful!
 

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Ard

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That's great to know! I will try to match it with a Hardy reel from the same year.
I didn't notice you mentioning the suggested line weight so I'm guessing a #6 rod. I'm fairly sure that if you go too small and light with the reel that the outfit will be tip heavy. It should be fairly easy to find a mid eighties Hardy Princess in good shape, that's what I'd go with. Just saying........
 

quattro

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Thanks Ard. For clarification for the deluxe smuggler 5/6 I run the rio gold 6wt. For the 7 footer 5 I run the rio gold 5 wt. Both seem to match the rod well - they don't throw the distances my new gen rods do but thats probably at least partially the operator.
You bring up a great point about reel balancing. The 8'2" rod was frequently sold with the "Golden Prince 5/6" in fact there were some very nice presentation sets sold with the GP and a spare spool in a handsome wooden box. I find the 5/6 too light to balance the 8'2" rod. Its ok for the 7'. and the golden prince 6/7 is a little big aesthetically. On the 8'2" - I pair it with a Hardy Bougle 3 1/4 it balances very nicely. Princess would also make a nice but the Bougle is a little heavier if I recall correctly. IMHO these rods deserve a hardy classic reel. New gent reels just look strange on them.
 
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Ard

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Good point on weight and for the sake of transparency the rod I use that Princess on is a custom built Orvis 8 foot 6 weight bamboo rod from the old Orvis rod shop. In order to get a good balance I sent the reel with a WE #6 loaded on it to Ron White who ran the shop back in the 80's & 90's. He put enough tungsten weight inside the reel seat to account for the reel being a tad light.

So.......... if the rod owner happens to be a right hand winder there are the St. George which are heavier. You would be looking at a 3.75 inch reel but you get used to diameter. I use a 3.75 St. George on a 9 foot 5 weight PM-10 graphite for years and that too was a balance issue that put the rod and reel together.

If I lived anywhere but here I'd buy a vintage Smuggler just because they are so unique. Here in Alaska it just makes no sense, I already have all my old rods from my previous life in the lower 48 that see very little use. Once in a blue moon I go Grayling fishing but almost all my time is spent with 2 hand rods and large fish.
 

quattro

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Ha - hear you about living location. Im in the Texas gulf coast so majority of my fishing is chasing reds in the flats. But I have a large quiver for pilgrimages to the mountains and cold rivers. Sumggler allowed me to always travel with a rod - great for my friends farm pond blue gill, golf course bass and small streams for western trout! But yes there are far better tools for alaskan adventures.
 
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Ard

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You're making me want to buy one again you know............

I'd like to add that the mention about the Orvis built rod isn't meant to be boastful, it's just memory of simpler times when the old timers ran the bamboo shop and you could actually negotiate a rod to be made to order with the guy who was in charge. Also to give old Mr. White his due credit, he apprenticed under Wes Jordan which put him in the line of succession. I was able to develop a relationship with Mr. White back when things weren't so busy and hurried. He even put his name on my flea rod for me as a favor.
 
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