IT IS THE rod material that has taken the fishing world by storm since its launch by Hardy in 2010. But the Zenith double-hander versions of the cutting-edge 3M matrix resin rods are much newer on the scene and a special day hosted by Farlows on Saturday 14th at their 9 Pall Mall store was a great chance for enthusiasts to get their hands on all four of the rods in the range – and then test them on the River Thames!
The morning meeting at Farlows allowed us to meet with Ian Gordon to ‘talk all things salmon’ and hear the fascinating design process into which Ian was able to pour his expertise. In particular his calls to ‘beef up’ the rods (initial prototypes were, he felt, too light in the hand) were listened to and I for one am delighted they were as the rods have a fast action but with plenty of power in the butt. Also on the shop floor was Farlows legend Brian Fratel and before long we were all gathered down in the store vault offices where one of Hardy’s solid FortunaX 4 reels (designed for salt water fishing but excellent for heavier salmon work) was passed around along with the Zenith rod sections.
Down to the river
So on to the right bank of the River Thames near Putney Rowing Club where, from 1pm, Ian, Farlows’ Sean Clarke and Peter Gibson of Hardy orchestrated a casting demo and clinic.
The power and forgiving performance of the rods was immediately apparent as despite a keen (and cool!) downstream breeze, Ian single Spey cast his way through the rods in the range which lined up as follows: 12ft 6in (7wt); 13ft 6in (8wt); 14ft 6in (9wt) and 15ft 1in (10wt).
Fly fishing guide Mark Windsor also joined us hot-foot from a trout-casting session nearby and together with Farlows customer Ian Macdonald we tried first the 12ft 6in and moved on through the rods.
It was while double spey casting with the 14ft 6in that I had a genuine Eureka moment as the line absolutely flew out towards Fulham football ground on the other side of the river. Again and again! The power and performance of the rod was awesome.
There weren’t many spaces left in the 30-person limit to the exclusive demo and we all were able to take advantage of AAPGAI-level tuition at the clinic from Ian and a good number of orders were taken by those present – with a free Hardy fly-line offered to anyone buying their Zenith on the day.