We thought we would take a much-deserved closer look at the well-loved St George fly fishing reel range from Hardy’s of Alnwick and asked our in-house specialist at our Thomas Turner Fishing Antiques store, John Stephenson, for his views on what he calls “the quintessential English fly fishing reel.”
Hardy St George, the quintessential English fly fishing reel.
The Hardy St George is one of the best loved of all Hardy vintage reels alongside the Perfect model. Introduced in 1911 in the 3-3/4” diameter size it stayed in production until 1983, an astonishing 72 years. The range of sizes and models is expansive, from the tiny St George Junior of 2-9/16th diameter to the ultra-rare St George Salmon reel of 4” with twin handles.
For the collector there are many variants including a Multiplier version, a Silent Check model, ultra-rare Tournament model, wide and narrow drum examples, shallow and deep core winding barrels, 2 screw, 3 screw drums and on and on. Then there are Hardy’s’ infamous uncatalogued models which appear from time to time just to keep you collecting for years to come.
Traditional users worldwide still favour these reels over most others in the Hardy range with the 3” St George being the dry fly specialist favourite. When fitted with an agate line guide, it looks great and fishes well too being relatively lightweight to suit modern or short rods.
The St George comes in a variety of external finishes, from dark lead to silvery lead, grey enamel, black wartime paint and bright finish too so there is something to suit everyone’s taste and budget.
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