Spe­cial­ist nymph­ing rod shows its sen­si­tive side

Hardy Zephrus Ul­tralite rod from £579.99

Trout Fisherman (UK) - - Tackle -

THIS se­ries of rods is aimed squarely at the light line an­gler, mainly for river work but there is also a cross­over into still­wa­ters. There are seven mod­els in the range from an 8ft 8in 3wt at £579.99 to a 9ft 9in 5wt at £649.99. I had the 9ft 9in 3wt which I fished with dur­ing the Hanak Euro­pean Grayling Fes­ti­val on the River Dee last De­cem­ber. I was keen to try it out with the Euro­pean nymph­ing style and long French leader work, and also with a 3wt line out­fit. With a full French leader set-up the rod was smooth and ac­cu­rate when flip­ping the flies onto tar­get, helped along by its softer top sec­tion. I was re­ally im­pressed with its sen­si­tiv­ity and I could feel the tap-tap-tap as the nymphs trun­dled over the river bot­tom. High stick­ing can cause a cer­tain amount of arm fa­tigue but it wasn’t no­tice­able with this out­fit. As the leader came to a dan­gle down­stream it was so easy to lift and re­cast at short and medium range, while the oc­ca­sional sin­gle haul helped it on its way at longer range. This rod has great ‘feel’, and re­ally came into its own when hook­ing a fish as I could spot even the slight­est of knocks or takes. I was able to set the hook im­me­di­ately, and then the smooth deep flex of the blank took over when play­ing the fish and also helped to cush­ion the light tip­pets. It has a hid­den back­bone that I wouldn’t usu­ally as­so­ciate with a rod this light and I was eas­ily able to turn fish in the pow­er­ful cur­rents. It also han­dled a spe­cial­ist nymph­ing line and short leader in the same com­pe­tent man­ner. If the rod was only able to han­dle this very spe­cific style of fish­ing I would have been more than happy with it. How­ever, load­ing it up with a 3wt line it was more than pro­fi­cient at fish­ing duo and trio meth­ods as well. It took me a lit­tle time to get used to the way the rod flexed but by slow­ing down my cast­ing stroke I was able to cast and lay out a very good line.

VER­DICT:

One of the best light­weight, spe­cial­ist Euro­pean nymph­ing rods I’ve ever used. It ticks all the boxes as re­gards sen­si­tiv­ity, cast­ing prow­ess and power, while also show­cas­ing the qual­ity of the Hardy brand. Matched up with the Hardy Ul­tralite FWDD 1000 reel (line size 1-3) it made the most per­fectly bal­anced out­fit.

“It ticks all the boxes as re­gards sen­si­tiv­ity, cast­ing prow­ess and power.”

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