Hardy Marksman Rods

Hardy Marksman Rods

Plus, Scott's X2S saltwater rod, and a waterproof fly box

  • By: Paul Guernsey
  • and Buzz Bryson
Hardy Marksman Rods With all due respect, and some notable exceptions, British-made fly rods generally aren't my cup of tea--a little heavy and noodley for my taste, which I willingly concede says at least as much about my taste as it does British fly rods. But last fall, I had the chance to test-cast and fish some of the new Hardy Marksman series of trout rods. The surprise was more than pleasant. These are true medium-fast rods that answer to a useful range of casting strokes, delivering precise, narrow loops or softer, open ones as the fishing circumstance requires.As for casting range, there's suppleness to work close in, but if you need to stick it out there, these rods deliver the goods. What impressed me most, though, were performance characteristics I attributed, rightly or wrongly, to the tip--true tracking that promotes control; a light casting feel; a quick crispness for dryfly fishing; sensitivity for swinging wet flies and nymphing sans indicator; a fast recovery that eliminates tip bounce when pushing for distance. These rods wouldn't be my first choice for launching tungsten nose cones or chucking stonefly nymphs dressed in a full suit of lead. But they handle the less outrageous stuff effectively and comfortably, and they really excel in small-fly fishing, with sufficient authority to turn over longer leaders but enough cushion in the tip to protect light tippets. My favorites of the group were the 8-foot 4-weight, an easy-handling rod for smaller waters and flies, and the 9-foot 5-weight, a fine all-around trout model. As befits its origin, the Marksman series has two 10-foot models (in 4- and 5-weights), equally well suited to Czech nymphing and stillwater fishing, especially from float tubes or pontoon boats. There are 7 models in the series, from a 6-foot 2-weight to a 10-foot 5-weight, and these premium rods command premium prices: $595 to $650. --Ted Leeson Scott X2S Saltwater Rods Hot on the heels of the extremely popular G2 series introduced in 2006, Scott has introduced the new X2S saltwater rods for 2007. There are eight of these rods, including one 2-piece, 12-weight rod, and seven 4-piece rods, in 6- through 12-weights. All are 9 footers. These new rods are very light in the hand, load well, generate plenty of line speed and, of those I've cast, will let you cast short or long quickly and with a minimum of false casts, a feature of key importance for salty anglers. Scott uses its ARC reinforcement (unidirectional carbon prepreg) to reduce the "egging" (ovaling of the blank as it is bent under stress, which can lead to breakage) and increase the durability of the rod. The rods also incorporate a slim-profile sleeve ferrule. Cosmetically, the X2S is put together well. The blank is unsanded but "painted" blue and UV-coated. Guides are the standard (and good) hard chrome snakes and silicone-carbide strippers. The reel seat is a nice looking titanium-finished, machined aluminum, double-locking ring model from REC. All in all, a very handsome package. $575 to $595.--Buzz Bryson Angling Designs Dry-Tech MRT Trout Box Waterproof boxes are great for keeping water out. The problem is, they keep water in, too. Put a nice sopping-wet Woolly Bugger in a waterproof box, and the next time you open it, you'll find the moisture has been "shared" with other flies. The new Angling Designs Dry-Tech MRT (for Moisture Reduction Technology) fly boxes are waterproof, and have solved the problem of how to get the water out of the flies. The Dry-Tech boxes incorporate a container of silica gel crystals that will absorb any moisture from wet flies placed in the box, and prevent those (and other) flies from rusting. The crystals are "color coded": when they change color, simply remove the container, pop it in the microwave for a few seconds, and the moisture is driven from the silica gel. Put the container back in the box, and you're ready to go. The Dry-Tech boxes are sturdily made, with a full-length hinge and double-locking clasps. The inside contains sturdy foam, slotted on one side and "shelved" on the other. The container does occupy about 20 percent of the usable fly-holding space on the slotted foam side, but considering the benefits, it's a small loss. A Trout Box (approximately 4X6 inches) is currently available, with more sizes to follow. $39.95. --Buzz Bryson