Does Hardy’s brand suck?

You know – a thought struck me the other day – I know absolutely nobody that owns a Hardy fishing rod.*

I am not talking about hand me down rods or older rods bought on eBay – I am talking about brand new rods (and reels for the matter) that people are in the market to buy.

I was actually browsing around  their site and came across a page for “reviews” – they then link to an article from Trout & Salmon magazine and state: Trout & Salmon magazine take a look at the famous Hardy brand.

There is only one problem – at the top of the page above all the glowing and usual gushing it states:

“Advertisement Feature”

The “advert” then goes on to state “History in the making – rigorous fishing-tackle design and development remain key to the famous Hardy Brand”

Um – yea – thanks for blowing your own trumpet Hardy Brand  – just what I needed to read – is that not like me doing this:

I mean – I know some tackle tarts that like to spend a lot of cash on rods and reels however Hardy is certainly not one of them. I wondered if it was a price thing – however most people I know who are willing to shell out a bit of cash would rather spend a few hundred pounds on a Sage or even a Scott

I mean – Hardy is a UK brand and no bugger seems to fish with them over here – in the UK people that want to own quality rods (by that I mean big bucks) seem to either go for a Sage or an Orvis – I would reckon that Orvis by far outsell Hardy in both rods and reels in the UK.

I reckon the only reason that Hardy as a brand is still on the go is because they are shored up by Greys which is a far more affordable solution to people owning a nice castable rod. My favourite fly rod is an old Greys GRX 2 piece 8 foot 6 4/5# which they decided to discontinue !

Ninja Edit : You can read about how Greys/Hardy like to shaft their customers here when my lovely Greys broke.

I predict that Hardy will eventually go down the tubes – especially as they seem unable to actually get anyone to say anything positive about them unless they actually write it themselves and then pay for it to go in a magazine.

“The Lost World of Mr. Hardy”

*Edit:I know one person out of lots!


  1. Graham B · February 2, 2010

    The probable reason they cant get anyone to say nice things about their fly fishing products anymore is that they’re no longer made in Alnwick. All they make there now is coarse fishing rods and ariels for the MOD. A number of years ago they gave about 70% of their staff the flick and now build their fly rods and reels on the cheap in Korea. Do you think this cost saving excercise passes on to the consumer? Not a chance. In saying that I own 2 Hardy rods and reels and in my opinion they are both excellent. Wonder if Prince Charlie and Wills still use them.

  2. mike · February 2, 2010

    :0) love the magazine cover. Are you taking subscriptions?

    I’ve never bought anything by Hardy because I find it to be very expensive. I also tend to buy fishing rods when they’re on sale, and haven’t happened to come across any Hardy’s on sale. I do like the look of their reels, but again, they’re very dear.

  3. buster · February 2, 2010

    Now is the time to buy sale Hardy rods because all there rods are now going from 3pc to 4pc.I bought a 3 pc Hardy Demon 9ft 5wt for £160 in GAC a month ago. The new 4pc is selling for £270, i think i got a bargain but only time will tell.

  4. Stuart B · February 2, 2010

    I’ve seen comments on other Forums about them outsourcing their production the Far East and they are not usually complimentary .

    And as you mentioned Alistair when you see articles in magazines praising goods of any sort always look to the top of the pages to see if those words ” Advertisement Feature ” appear .

  5. Paul R · February 2, 2010

    I’ve got 2 Hardy’s Angel rods, one for the river, one for loch fishing. I also have a Swift 925 reel. So you do know somebody that fishes Hardy’s products. In fact you’ve seen me fishing with them you plonker. In fact there are pictures on here of me fishing with my Hardy’s rod. You took the pictures!!
    I love both rods but my next purchase will be something with a slightly slower action. The reel is fantastic (and built in the UK). Anyone know where I can get additional spools for less than £70?

  6. Rufus · February 2, 2010

    I think you’re discounting older, richer, more salmon focused fishermen, for whom Hardy’s historical significance more than justifies the price gouging. My uncle, my great uncle, my grandfather, and my great grandfather are or were all die hard Hardy’s fans. I suspect the huge numbers of Hardy’s collectors also help prop up sales of current models. When I’m old and rich I plan on graduating from Gray’s to Hardy’s too.

  7. alan atkins · February 2, 2010

    If I had the cash, I wouldn’t hesitate to buy a Hardy Angel 15 footer. I had a go of one a few seasons ago and to say that spey casting was effortless is an understatement – pure quality and class all rolled into one!

  8. Jockayethenoo · February 2, 2010

    you can see my Hardy rod at the bottom of this page………..

  9. Alistair · February 2, 2010

    Interesting points chaps –

    Graham B – The UK has got a history of outsourcing just about every skill and trade out of the country – from cars to building ships – and we are an island :-)As a cost saving exercise it must be great for them however they then continue to promote their “brand” as being one of tradition of yesteryear !

    Talking of outsourcing do not even get me started on Fulling Mill

    Mike – you old dog you – long time no hear from!

    Buster – £160 is not bad for any of the “big brand” rods – did you just buy it because of the price or did you have a cast of it first?

    Stuart B – You are correct Stuart – I take every magazine review with a pinch of salt now.

    Paul R – I forgot about you 🙂 What made you choose them?

    Rufus -My God Rufus – you are an advertisers dream 😉 you have been taken in by the adverts hook line and sinker – only kidding – have you tried the rods compared to others?

    Alan Atkins – Interestingly I have had a few emails about this from people who don’t like to comment – Interestingly had one chap who said they took their Hardy Salmon rod back as it had no back bone 🙂

    Ever tried a Bruce & Walker?

    Hmmmm for real home grown rods how about David Norwich – he makes all the blanks from raw carbon himself:

  10. Stuart B · February 2, 2010

    Alistair said

    “Hmmmm for real home grown rods how about David Norwich – he makes all the blanks from raw carbon himself:

    I rememeber him when he was building rods from a wee shop in Eglinton Street near The Plaza ….

  11. Si · February 2, 2010

    I got the opportunity of a days salmon fishing on the South Esk last year with the father of one of my uni mates. When I got there he, and a whole team of his pals were all toting hardy gear – from their wading boots to the hats on their heads, and most of them with multiple hardy rods and reels. I think you don’t know enough retired surgeons/doctors/consultants etc. Alistair!

  12. Stuart B · February 2, 2010

    Re Si’s post …reminds me of Billy Connoly ate The Dee last night on the News saying he £doesn’t do much Salmon fishing as he doesn’t like the folk he meets ….mostly Fat Business men “..Clearly some folk do not move in the right circles

  13. Alistair · February 2, 2010

    Si – I bet those guys only go fishing a few times a year 🙂 more Hardy Brand Wank 🙂

    I have a Hardy waistcoat and am now looking for a new one!

    Jockayethenoo – not really talking about their older stuff – more about the new “brand”

    So does Hardy gear more attract the wealthy – as opposed to folk that actually want to fish – is their “brand” all about being pricey?

    Again – I reckon the Hardy brand is shored up by Greys which are pretty nice rods.

    Stuart B – I did not know David Norwich had a shop in Glasgow?

  14. Stuart B · February 2, 2010

    “Stuart B – I did not know David Norwich had a shop in Glasgow?”

    It was quite a while ago Alistair .I think he was well known for hand built cane rods …

  15. Si · February 2, 2010

    Sorry to ruin your theory Alistair, but their syndicate has days on two or three rivers. My mates mum is a salmon widow for most of the year!
    Stuart, I saw that piece on the news as well, I bet they don’t invite Billy back to open the river next season!!!

  16. buster · February 2, 2010

    No i had a cast first but i wouldnt have went near it if it was the original price. if your after a new waist coat check this out i wore this all last season amazing bit of kit.

  17. Alistair · February 2, 2010

    Si – only half ruined it 🙂

    Buster – hey did I not meet you one night on the Kelvin?

  18. Willie Yeomans · February 2, 2010

    Small World time – I don’t know David Norwich but I know where he lives! I caught my very first trout no more than half a mile from his address. My grandparents lived in Fountainhall – it’s a lovely wee place in the valley of the Gala Water, a trib of the Tweed. When I was wee the village had a shop, a post office, a school and a railway station. All gone now apart from the school. I know nothing about fishing rods but I’d urge you to support this fellow. He’s a proper cottage industry.

  19. buster · February 2, 2010

    No i have only met you once alister and that was to weeks ago at the fly tying club.

  20. scott · February 2, 2010

    I have a 6ft #2 hardy flyweight which is a fairly new rod, I love it as a fishing tool, nice slow action and almost weightless, it is one of their “cheaper” rods at just over 200 quid! As much as I like it I would have settled for far less flashy rod in the same length / line weight if it were available to me at the time. I can’t fault the rod though, it is beautifully finished and does its job without a hitch.

    Interestingly, I left the rod AND reel next to my local river on the penultimate day of last season, I didnt realise till the next day, after I put my waders on I went to set up the rod, instantly I got a horrible flashback to the day before when I had layed it down on the grass, DISASTER!!!!!!!!

    However, some honest soul returned it to me, legend!

  21. JimL · February 2, 2010

    I was in GAC with my mate last weekend when he was getting himself sorted out with new gear. He’s not fished in a lot of years and used to use a Hardy glass rod, we waggled and scrutinised pretty much every rod in the shop up to about a £400 value. I thought the Hardy Featherweight, Marksman and Demon were pretty nice rods, when it came down to test casting outside he’d narrowed it down to casting a Hardy Demon and a Sage Flight. The Demon (8ft 4wt) was nice at really short range but once you got half a line out it just died and became difficult to control, the Sage Flight (7ft6in 4wt) was much the same at short range but a lot better with more line out… far easier to control. Three of us cast them as well as Nicolas from GAC and we all thought the same. Dunno if it would be the same right through the size range but if I was buying a heavier rod I’d test cast the Hardy’s cos they are nicely put together.
    Reel’s… I’ve never liked Hardy’s. Too expensive and too heavy, that said, the Marksman, Angel and Zane reels look really nice. I heard Ari T Hart had a hand in designing those models and that would make sense to me as I love his reel designs. Don’t know if that’s true though. My nephew bought an Angel a couple of years ago and hated it, sold it and bought a Lamson which he loves.
    I don’t see them going down the tubes because I think they’ve realised they needed to work harder and not just rely on the Barbour jacket Hunter welly folk…. plus Americans still like the Hardy brand.

    My 2p

  22. darthwader · February 2, 2010

    Alistair your mental, Hardy is a MASSIVE brand!

    That’s the main reason you see so much bollocks talked about it on the interwebs……

    If you don’t know, ASK!!!!!!

    I might have to give you a go of my 4 weight Angel2, just to sort you oot!

    You know where I am.

  23. Alistair · February 2, 2010

    Hey darthwader – you tried their lightweight reel?

  24. darthwader · February 2, 2010

    LRH is pretty cool, goes well with the Lightweight range, and the glass rods. Not a big fan of the old style click pawl reels though. Marksman is what you should be looking at for a wee Hardy reel, its class, I have one on my Angel2. Designed by Megoff for extra cool points!

  25. RobertClydeStyle70 · February 2, 2010

    I bought a second hand & slightly elderly LRH 3 1/4′ Lightweight reel on e bay for £85 & it’s a cracking wee reel which I use all the time. I’ve also got a Marquis 7, which skinned me £50 back in 1989, and did have an Ultralite Plus 8′ 6″ rod which I got for £100, but which I tragically bust in a taxi door after I missed the last bus back from Rosebank on the Clyde. You can get some second hand bargains with Hardy, but yes, I agree, they’re an elitist brand, and you can probably buy a rod which is just as good for less than half the price.

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