Monday, 14 April 2008

Hardy Demon Reel Review

I usually use my blog to deliver all the latest fishing news live and direct from our venues as it happens, but it strikes me that those who read this blog may not only be interested in the fish but also some of the kit we are using. After all the equipment we use to pursue our chosen piscatorial target is just as much a part of fishing as the fish themselves!

Sure, I would still go with a bent pin and a bamboo stick if I had to but lets face it, there is nothing like gazing at a beautifully engineered reel or lovingly crafted rod when the fish are not biting. Even better during the cold months of winter you can tinker with these bits of treasure as a jeweler would a watch all the time imagining what is to come and reminiscing about a particularly big or powerful fish. OK, so I am a tackle tart and proud of it!

Just before I launch into the review I have just got off the phone to good mate James Warbrick-Smith who has just returned from Inagua in the Bahamas having landed his first ever Permit on fly. This is an achievement that can only be described as the holy grail of fly fishing. JWS will not mind me calling him a tackle tart, in fact a professional tackle tart who I am sure will be staring tear in eye at his Loomis Crosscurrent for several months to come while he remembers the moment when he finally conquered a lifelong fishing ambition. Anyway, to the review! First up is the Hardy Demon Reel. This is without doubt one of the most forward thinking and most practical pieces of kit I have come across in a long time.

The moment I first clapped eyes on the pre-production design drawings for the new Hardy Demon Reel I was certain that Howard Croston and his team had come up with something special. Having now used one of these beautiful creations for several months I am not disappointed. In fact the reel has been a joy to use, so much so that all my reservoir lines are now residing on Demon spools.

So what make this reel so special?

The Hardy Demon is crafted out of a single piece of aluminium and has all the hallmarks of a quality Hardy barstock alloy product .... but look carefully. You will spot that cleverly hidden with the frame is in fact not a full aluminium spool that would cost at least 1/3rd of the full retail value of the reel but a cartridge ... RRP just £9.99 and you receive 3 with every reel! One would expect this nylon spool to make the reel look cheap but with a line loaded you just don't notice it and the clarity of the cartridge is just right so that the spool literally blends into the look of the reel. Even better, you can write directly on to the spool with a permanent marker so that you can spot a line profile, weight and density at a glance.

OK, so this is a very "bling" bit of kit, but that's not important when the fish have just hit the surface and you have a full sinker on; what about changing the spools? Standard cartridge reels frequently jam and almost always at a crucial moment. I have tried to get the Demon spools to jam and quite simply they don't. Operated via a patented spool release system simply twist the spool lock mechanism to release pressure on the rubber O ring and the spool comes away. Clamp another in place, tighten up and you are ready to go. I have practised and reckon that inside 1 minute you can change these spools and that includes finding the correct one out of your bag and tying the leader to the line!

The one touch push button release of the entire spool is another ingenious little extra that makes this reel a joy to use while the drag system is very smooth (quite up to Salmon & Sea Trout plus occasional Bonefish) and changing from left to right hand wind is a doddle, you don't even need a screw driver!

These days Large Arbor is the norm and Hardy have created what I would call a mid arbor reel ensuring plenty of width to allow for nice open coils of line and a generous supply of backing. The machined handle works a treat and I am so glad that quality metal was used rather than the horrible plastic affairs seen on so many products these days. Throw in a carry case and this is a product that is hard to ignore, especially if you are the kind of angler who likes to carry as many lines as possible.

At present the 5000 is available which is ideal for WF5 & 6 lines. The 7000 comfortably swallows a WF7 or 8, and is the model that I have been using on a very regular basis on numerous reservoir visits recently. A small 3000 will arrive in the future along with a Salmon sized 9000 version which is going to represent amazing value for money and versatility. So what about the price?

5000s weigh in at £219 while the 7000 is £249. This is a lot of money for a reel but in reality it is actually tremendous value. Most cartridge reels in the sub £100.00 bracket will deteriorate over a couple of seasons and need replacing, I firmly believe the Demons will go on and on. It is the kind of reel to proudly pass on to your son, daughter or grand children. Once you have the main reel the spools are just £9.99 so the Demon represents not only an investment but also great value for money.

In conclusion I find this a very difficult reel to fault, it really is a Demon bit of kit!

1 comment:

  1. I use a Hexagraph rod and a Hardy Perfect reel.Both are over 20 years old.The sight of the rod bent in a parabolic curve and the sound of the reel screaming Heaven to say the least.You can keep the silent drag Poacher's Reel