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Hardy Zephrus Sintrix FWS rods from £549 www.hardyfishing.com
THERE are 10 models in Hardy’s FWS (freshwater series) rod range from an 8ft 3wt at £499 to a 10ft 5wt at £649 and all are made from the 440 Sintrix as the Zephrus AWS (all wat series) rods that I reviewed in issue 482.
They also feature the same high quality fittings including Fuji titanium stripping guides and black pearl recoil single leg snakes. The two rods that I had on test were the 10ft 5wt and the 9ft 6wt and both have a ‘T’ designation, which means they have been designed with tactical situations in mind.
The quality of the fittings, workmanship and attention to detail is excellent, from the beautifully crafted burl hardwood reel seats right down to the alloy ferrule plugs. The reversed half wells handles feature high-grade cork with very little in the way of filler, and they sit really well in the hand.
First up was the 10ft 5wt, which does feel incredibly light in the hand. Mounting the right size and weight of reel is important too heavy and it will upset the balance of the whole outfit.
The initial lift, load and line shoot with a 5wt floater was incredibly smooth and involved little to no effort on my part and I got the feel of this rod almost immediately. This rod has a softer tip action than the outgoing Zenith and this just enhances the rod’s casting and fishing action.
It didn’t matter whether I picked up a short, medium or long length of line from the water, it just peeled back into a nice tight loop and the subsequent forward cast and delivery onto the water was precise and accurate.
While this rod excels at short and medium range it surprised the hell out of me when it came to longer casts. The distance I could achieve with it was very impressive. It can even cope with some awkward cross and head winds. This rod is perfect for top of the water tactics with midge-tips and floating lines. With its softer tip it can protect very light tippets, but still an incredibly quick recovery allowing y rn over even the bushiest of dry flies perfectly to rising fish.
The 9ft 6wt (the heaviest line weight rating in the series), did feel more ‘steely’ in the hand, and this proved to be the case when loaded up with a 6wt floating line.
I had to be a little bit more precise and use a shorter casting stroke to get the very best from this rod. It was good at short range and even better at medium and long range, and when double hauling I could put out a very accurate long line with good presentation on the water, even when turning over teams of flies.
It will happily cover top of the water tactics with floaters and midge-tips and also a range of denser medium to fast sinking lines. It is definitely a 6wt, and if you have dual rated lines I would go for a 5/6 rather than a 6/7.
Not only would it make for a great bank rod on small stillwaters and reservoirs, but I can see this working perfectly with streamer and sculpin patterns on the rivers.
When reviewing two rods I invariably end up with a favourite, and in this case it’s the 10ft 5wt, which absolutely blew me away.
It is brilliant at what it does and is everything that I would want in a fishing rod from its ability to cast and present the flies to the lovely feel and control when playing fish.
There was nothing I didn’t like about this rod, and I can see it suiting novice and experienced anglers alike.