It seems to me, that after many years of vast and great innovations in the Fly tackle industry, numerous of angler’s starts to pick up some of the older stuff again. I believe that one of the reasons could be, that a some of the old tackle still represent outstanding design and high quality combined with a tremendous durability – Features you don´t come across easy today. For me Hardy reels still symbolize some of the best salmon reels you can buy and use today. I also find it very charming, that a lot of the real Hard core Salmon and Steelhead bums now at days, are using old classic Hardy Perfect or Bougle reels.
For many Fly fishing anglers following little story should be well know – Nevertheless – It is a pleasant window into a fascinating Fly reel history – A history we have to remember in our futuristic and high tech age.
Rolls Royce from Hardy
The first Hardy reel patent was registered in 1888, and since then many patents have followed. One of Hardy’s most popular reels appeared in 1891. It was understandably called the “Perfect”. It included most of the improvements that fishermen had been asking for up to that time. The spool was narrow and deep. An adjustable check supplied the friction to keep the spool velocity from over running the line while playing a fish. Up to that time most fine reels were made from brass. The first Perfect reels were also made from brass. After a short period they were machined from an aluminum casting. This made the Perfect very lightweight for its time.
A great contributor to the reels success was its ease of disassembly which is accomplished by rotating the side plate backwards. Both ends of the reel turns. This allows the angler to palm or finger a side plate for more friction while playing a fish. For sure the best existing brake system on the market – no doubt about that
The “Perfect” can rightly claim to be the most successful fly reel of all time, having remained in production for over of a century, during which time many dozens of variations and improvements to the original design were made.
Hardy have just recently started a smaller production of the big 4 inches Salmon Models
In 1903, Louis Bouglé, a French tournament caster, asked Hardy to make a lighter variation of their Perfect reel for competition casting.
The Bouglé Mark V is most advanced version yet of the reel that the legendary Monsieur Bouglé asked Hardy to make in 1903. It comes in five sizes of click check reels for freshwater fishing.
With the MkV Hardy has taken a classic reel, made it more beautiful and brought it pounding into twenty-first century. It is now machined from aluminum alloy bar-stock. The Bouglé looks as lovely as ever on a rod, but now performs like the most modern of reels on the market. Looks? Its stunning, hard anodized, racing green frame combines strikingly with the anodized silver spool and side-plate. Practicality? The deep spool gives you big line and backing capacity, vital for those facing ever bigger, faster running fish. The ventilated spool and frame has created a model that is the lightest Bouglé yet whilst still retaining its legendary strength. The aluminium spindle has only reduced weight further.
Bougle is available in a 4 inch wide model – a truly great reel – simplicity when its best
Another wonderful reel has to be Orvis Famous CFO made by Hardy for almost 20 years. The CFOs were first offered in 1971 and quickly became a success. The original CFO was a spring and pawl design like most other Hardy reels produced those days. In 1994 the disc drag model was introduced. The prototype CFO was designed and made by famous Stan Bogdan. For Spey rods you need to get hold of the big IV model – this model is a big “Monkey” that easily can hold 250 Lbs backing plus fly line – Surprisingly the CFO are not very expensive if you find one for sale.
“Loud reels save lives”