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  1. #11
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Isle of Lewis, UK.

    Default Re: Big Changes at Pure Fishing (Hardy USA)

    Thanks for the insight, burk48237, I think you're quite right about the 'Korean Conundrum' and that they know it, too. I'm pretty sure their premier rods and reels are being made in the UK again now?
    And do call me 'Lewis' or James, please.

    I'm sure this will have been posted here before but while we're talking Hardy it's worth proffering again: 'The Lost World of Mr. Hardy'

    It's 1 hr 36 mins long but a well made film. I hope it helps anyone who doesn't know what place Hardy holds in our collective history get a picture of the company as was and that those who do enjoy revisiting it. I'll be doing that myself this afternoon, I think.

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  3. #12

    Default Re: Big Changes at Pure Fishing (Hardy USA)

    I understand both Lewis's British and burk's rep perspectives on Hardy, the company and its products. As a young man and angler in the 1960's early 70's, we did not have the plethora of reels available today. Commonly, we had Pflueger Medalist's and the like and British Hardy's, Lightweights and Perfects, etc. My first reel was a Medalist but I aspired to and in the 70's got a Hardy LRH. Ironically, both of these brands exist today under the Pure umbrella. Sincerely, as a Yank, my desire to acquire a Hardy had nothing at all to do with its Royal seal or even historic relevance, it was simply a superior, lighter weight, better designed and built, spring and pawl fly reel. As the seasons went by I added additional Hardy's; Marquis, Perfect, St. John, Prince, Orvis CFO's...I never developed an affection for the Perfect, however.*

    Time moves on and American reels began to proliferate. Quality dessign, machined from bar-stock and , incrementally adjustable drags rather than spring and pawl overrun checks made them far more attractive and effective than my stuck-in-time Hardys. After years of little development under Cortland's representation on this side of the pond, Hardy incorporated a wholly owned subsidiary, Hardy of North America and American influence began to prevail. For better or worse, and I would argue better, this yielded the differentiation between Classic Hardy and S. Korean manufactured, Performance Hardy in both reels and for the first time here, rods too. This yielded excellent Zenith, ProAxis, UL DD and Fortuna X. Korean manufacture made these rods and reel feasible, high quality at an affordable price point. For reference just look at Hardy's gorgeous and great casting, Alnwick made Angel rods...$1,200 and they broke just looking at them. Zenith was a home run (an American analogy) and I opined at the time that it was a better designed and more sophisticatedly fabricated, fairly fast progressive action rod than the current US equivalents like Orvis Helios or Winston BIIIx, both of which may have in part been influenced by it.

    I am neither a businessman nor a marketer so I have finite insight into what I regard as a false perspective that "Made in S. Korea" suggests lower quality or prestige than Made in USA. Hardy's Fortuna X, Sage's Spectrum MAX or Taylor's Revolution Z and many more are superior reels to a number of US built brands. Sure, I have respect and admiration for many of our core American fly fishing tackle manufacturers but it is not based on loyalty or tradition but on quality and performance. For me quality of performance emanating from design and build excellence far exceeds "Great Old Brand" regardless of country of origin or age of company. So, I had in our Montana rod rack a Sage Igniter and Taylor Truth right next to oneanother and there was zero dissention that new in camp, American designed but Korean made Douglas SKY#6 was lights out better than a famed and widely beloved US rod of the same configuration.

    I belive that Hardy of North America established an avenue and precedent for the synthesis of high end western design, advanced materials and quality Korean fabrication as a format to produce top performance rod and reels outside the traditional restraints of long established brands. Does this mean I am forgoeing my great Sage and Loomis rods? Abel/Ross and Nautilus reels? Not hardly, but it does mean I am prepared to embrace the rods and reels of new little companies like Forum member Taylor Fly Fishing whose Truth/Revolution Z outfit I fished extensively this season is better designed, built and even finished than many a famed US maker's outfits.
    The fate of Hardy under confusing Pure ownership changes is unclear at best. They do posses the assets of one of the industries best rod and reel designers in England as well as deep pockets. It remains my hope that they will reformat and creatively prosper as is my wish for all of our traditional brands that have fallen on stressful times. Time and our willingness to support them by purchasing their products will, tell.

    My Hardy Zenith/UL DD outfit doing what it was intended to do with a dry fly on complex presentation oriented water.
    W13 226 Beaverhead Brown 7.10 s.jpg

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  5. Default Re: Big Changes at Pure Fishing (Hardy USA)

    IMHO the issue with Asian mfg is price point. How many different rod mfg are in Korea? Does a retail 250 rod and a 600 rod come from the same factory..the latter pushes value over the cliff. If we dumped all the Asian fly rods and left only USA made rods would the flyfishing world come to an end? No...but it would only be for the elite high rollers or as that socialist, front bencher, Lewis, opines the royal/squire class...not so we would still have the used market on Ebay

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  7. #14

    Default Re: Big Changes at Pure Fishing (Hardy USA)

    Demystifying the "made in Korea" label.



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  9. #15
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Oak Park, MI

    Default Re: Big Changes at Pure Fishing (Hardy USA)

    Quote Originally Posted by bonefish41 View Post
    IMHO the issue with Asian mfg is price point. How many different rod mfg are in Korea? Does a retail 250 rod and a 600 rod come from the same factory..the latter pushes value over the cliff. If we dumped all the Asian fly rods and left only USA made rods would the flyfishing world come to an end? No...but it would only be for the elite high rollers or as that socialist, front bencher, Lewis, opines the royal/squire class...not so we would still have the used market on Ebay
    First, to be clear Korean Workmanship is only fractionally cheaper than the US. There's a reason that even on the conventional side the product from Korea and Japan tends to be premium product. Korean workers especially in CNC on the reel side are skilled craftsman, I suspect they are on the graphite fabrication side as well, as our Japanese. The meme of far east cheap labor simply doesn't apply to S. Korea and Japan. OTOH product from China, Vietnam and Indonesia is decidedly cheaper to manufacture, and QC tends to be weaker. For the most part it is also copied intellectual property too, unlike Korean and Japanese production which is innovative.

    As far as Hardy (Sweet and Salt) I would argue the second round of Korean Production with the Zenith-Proaxis-UL DD and Fortuna were exceptional products and priced very competitively at about 15-20% less than the comparable domestic product (which is about what the cost difference is-especially if you consider marketing costs too). IF they could have shipped to meet demands they would have been an overwhelming success. BUT the second round with the Zephurus-Wriath , etc., escalated in price to the point where it was relatively equivalent to the US made Loomis/Sage/Scott/Hatch/Able territory where perceived value and aspiration didn't meet up with the competition. The reality is those companies had far superior marketing and selling Hardy Korean product for the same price with-out that level of marketing was daunting for most retailers. The support frankly regionally since Pure took over was mediocre at best.

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  11. #16
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
    Eastern Iowa, Southern Driftless

    Default Re: Big Changes at Pure Fishing (Hardy USA)

    Quote Originally Posted by Ard View Post
    Although I haven't been very supportive ever since my first experience after the Pure acquisition of Hardy I do think it's a too bad sort of thing for the relatively small fan base here. I know that their newer rods gained some traction in the American market but there are some of us who have been owning their rods & reels for over 40 years. I always felt kinda special, you know like a guy who drives an old Saab 99

    I'm glad I have the rods and reels I do but sorry that others may find it hard to follow the brand into the future.
    I don't know for sure if it is the same outside the US (I suspect it is), but I find it sad when an iconic brand goes away. It doesn't really die though. Whether a Hardy reel, and old IH farm tractor, or a fine wristwatch, those who truly appreciate them will carry the torch and the nostalgia lives on a very long time.

    I think I prefer this to a great brand being acquired for peanuts, then whored out by releasing substandard products at deeply discounted prices. It happens because it works, and consumers will buy the name, at least for awhile.

  12. Default Re: Big Changes at Pure Fishing (Hardy USA)

    "First, to be clear Korean Workmanship is only fractionally cheaper than the US..." as in total cost of production of a completed rod?? If that be true then TFO with reasonable retail price points makes a significantly inferior products to the 600 plus other Korean rods... Does the factory that makes TFO make blanks/rods for anyone else?...What factory did/does Hardy use? If total costs are fractional, why do the rod newbies use Korean mfg why not new US mfg...Shimamo's Loomis is the red-headed's the Bass boys that drive the Lexus...It's the US consumers' dollar that drives many sustainable pieces of the pie are there? How many do we spend thrifts really need?

  13. #18

    Default Re: Big Changes at Pure Fishing (Hardy USA)

    First let my inform that I have never been to any east Asian countries. I have friends in the fly fishing industry that have though so some of my data is second hand. Also I am not a businessman but I understand what price point is.

    TFO makes a fine cost/quality ratio product which I have good experience with as that is the brand we use to teach and equip our veterans with disablists with in PHWFF. I have a couple of their rods and reels myself. In the excellent video posted above of eth rod shop that is unique to TFO, note it is modern, the craftspersons are hard working and diligent as well as having a break to eat and play games during. However, let me draw your attention to one impotent detail, the blank rolling process. A machine assisted, multi-blank simultaneously process is employed made feasible by relatively simple, single flag pattern rod design. At the shop of a high end rod maker like Sage for example, the blank rolling table is the bottleneck of rod production as each individual blank is hand rolled using more complex paterns and overlapping flags of differing property pre-preg graphite (multi-modulus). It is in fact this complex fabrication and super careful alignment process that differentiates a Sage, Loomis, T&T for example rod in price and performance from a TFO.

    There are at least two other if not more rod shops in S.Korea. There is one who's workmanship and attention to detail has attracted some western rod companies like Hardy, Loop, Rajeff Sports, Douglas Outdoors and Taylor Fly Fishing and others to employ their fabrication services as their experience with advanced composites and more US style hand craftsmanship yield results on par with and even, in some cases, superior work to some less well equipped and/or staffed US rod shops. It is obviously costly to build a new rod shop here at home and these Korean shops makes it realistic for a passionate but small company designer to have his work realized at a reasonable price. I would imagine that if a rod like my new Taylor Truth were built in the USA, its rice might be at high end Sage level instead of in the $600's. I grasp even if I disagree , that a Korean built rod has less appeal and concern about future warranty then a Sage, et al. Nor am I replacing my Sage or Loomis rods with Korean built ones...but if Korean built is better than an equivalent US made rod I am going to be fishing it with zero prejudice or concerns about its origins or future replaceability.
    Last edited by sweetandsalt; 09-15-2019 at 09:49 AM.

  14. Default Re: Big Changes at Pure Fishing (Hardy USA)

    SS That's a rhetorical big "IF"...because as many including you have stated 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? Does it come from here...England or are these things called flyrods just as Gary Loomis has alluded ...are just tapered composite cylinders...we as consumers accept the marketing hype...the pseudo esoteric(s) we give them...soon there will be self-casting rods just like self-drive cars...all we have to do is move our arm and the rod does it all...

  15. #20

    Default Re: Big Changes at Pure Fishing (Hardy USA)

    bonefish, It is not clear to me what "IF" you are referring to. Are you talking about taper design? Build integrity? As you know, I favor some of the same kind of Sage's you do for flats fishing but I have supplemented them with Hungarian Stickman T8 and would not hesitate based on my trout fishing experience to fish Taylor's 8-weight too.

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