At the International Fly Tackle Dealer Show in Orlando in July, Hardy came ready to show off their rod lines, even having a Range Rover in their booth, adding to the high-end British vibe. However, despite the Rover and nice decor, the draw for me to the booth was the new Zephrus rod.
I had the opportunity to spend some time with the new Hardy Zephrus just prior to the show, and I’ve enjoyed casting the rod since. Having put in some substantial time with the 9-foot 8-weight SWS (saltwater series), I am impressed with numerous aspects of the rod.
Let’s be real: How a rod casts is everything … but we also want a rod that is attractive. The Hardy Zephrus comes in a hard rod tube and wrapped in a nice rod sock. The logo-imprinted cork in the tube lid is a nice touch, and metal caps over the ferrules gives a little extra love to a sometimes vulnerable part of the rod. The rod itself has a nice blue finish – a look that is enhanced with a unique blue reel seat. I don’t know what it is, but blue color on a saltwater rod is always welcome.
The Hardy Zephrus is incredibly lightweight. According to Hardy, the Zephrus series “opts for the resin material found in SINTRIX®, produced by 3M®” to increase strength throughout the rod while taking on a “30-percent savings in overall weight.” Straight out of the tube, the lightweight feel of the rod demands immediate attention. And as mentioned in the video below, it even feels too light to be an 8-weight. Well done.
While the lightness of the rod is one of the most attractive aspects of the Zephrus, it raises immediate concerns about heavier lines and flies. Would the rod have lifting power for heavier lines (ie shooting heads), flies, and even harder-fighting fish? In short, yes. This rod is beautiful to cast, with the lightness giving a great deal of feel to the fast action, but this great casting saltwater rod does not cast at the expense of power. At the end of the day, anglers will not have to compromise feel for strength (or vice versa), and for anglers casting larger line weights all day, this will be very well-received. Ease in casting means less fatigue.
The Zephrus series does not fall short in giving anglers what they want. Many saltwater anglers love one-piece rods, and the Zephrus series includes 8’10” one-piece saltwater rods that come in rod weights 8-12. From the flats to offshore, these rods will provide the ultimate in strength in the series. In the AWS (All Water Series), 9’6″ and 10-foot 6-8 weight rods will attract steelheaders, nymphers, and others who like 6-12 more inches in their rod. Finally, the FWS (Freshwater) rod come from 8-foot 3-weight to 10-foot 5-weight rod options (with 9-foot lengths from 3 to 6-weight).
The Zephrus rods will retail between $649 – $799 depending on model and will be available at fly shops soon.
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– Tim Harden
Disclosure: Hardy is in a professional relationship with the Fly Fishing Guide Directory, LLC and the Venturing Angler. Though potentially benefiting from this relationship, we do not post what we do not believe to be true. To read more, click here.