Classic Coarse - Hardy Marksman 11 ft 6 inch Specimen Avon
reviewed by Bill Rushmer
Although Hardy has always been a name synonymous with quality, they have been absent from the coarse market for about 25 years. However they have returned with a vengeance with the new Hardy Marksman range of rods.
I was sent the two piece 11 ft 6 inch Hardy Marksman Specimen Avon for review and was pleased to see that it arrived in a top of the range protective Cordura tube in a quality rod bag. Taking the rod out of its bag I was instantly impressed with what I saw.
Starting with the handle not only were the corks perfectly machined they were made of top quality Portuguese fine grade cork which are normally only seen on top of the range fly rods. I had in fact over 5 years ago got my rod builder to import some of these very expensive corks to put on my 12 ft trotting rod. I therefore speak with experience when I say the finish is phenomenal and the wear virtually non existent. Mine after 5 years hard work show no sign of wear, still feels great and well worth the extra cost. These Hardy rods therefore have a cork handle in my view that will last a life time.
The fittings on the handle are without equal and the screw down anodised reel seat looks and feels the best I have ever used or seen.
The rod has a useful hook keeper near the top of the handle and come complete with 11 rings mage up of two three legged rings on the bottom joint with the 8 twin legged rings and a tip on the tip section. The ring spacing is perfect giving the best possible line management. The whippings are in the finest grade nylon and finish neatly with resin avoiding the high build so often used on coarse rods which to some extent ruins their appearance and only adds weight.
The anti-lock blank gives a very pleasing progressive curve when it is under pressure and has no doubt plenty of power reserves lower down in the rod for when that monster is hooked. It should certainly be a one sided fight with the odds very much in favour of the angler.
However if like me you have a small car, I would also advise you look at the four joint version of this rod which can be hidden away out of site in the car boot as Hardy have years of experience on making multi jointed rods without compromising the action. No doubt perfectionists like Hardy will have also got it right on the smuggler version of this rod. I rather suspect this would be the tool I would select from the range. It would be perfect for me in my job visiting and fishing various waters for the Angler's Mail.
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