After many years of massive and great innovations in the Fly fishing tackle industry, many anglers have started to pick up some of the older gear again. Probably because a lot of the old tackle still today represent exceptional performance and durability. Features you don´t find easy today.
The 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.
Another icon from Hardy – The Hardy Bougle
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.
Hardy St. John 3 7/8” – The Workhorse
Hardy´s St. John belongs to one of my own favourite reels. Introduced in 1923 the St. John was a reel Mr. John James Hardy made for his own use for trout fishing with a lightweight rod. The reel was still in production up to 1990. Today the St. John reel is very popular between Steelheaders in the NWP area. Hardy´s St. John can hold tons of backing and it represents a simple no “Mumbo Jumbo” design, suitable for the Switch rod angler chasing Salmon and Steelhead.