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Review: Hardy Demon 15ft #10. A brilliant all-rounder

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Hardy Demon Double Hander. 15ft #10. 10.30oz. 3-piece. Subtle olive with dark olive whippings. Varnish overall. Price: £449.

In the hand
The Hardy Demon is like an Audi. It glows understated class and quality with the typically fine Hardy finish we admire but almost take for granted. With its grey-olive-green finish and dark olive whippings it is not a 'fancy' looking rod by any stretch of the imagination but it is very smart and the reel seat is stylishly modern looking and very solid. The rod arrives in a long (why 3-piece rod?) dark-green cordura tube and olive rod bag.

Hardy Demon Photo

In the labs
Our tests confirmed what our casting experience told us. The rod is very powerful, yet it showed a responsiveness under small loads that surprised us. It is a crisp, middle to tip rod that smoothly digs deep into the butt when required. Though rated a #10, unless you use a long belly line, we consider that (for most of us) an #11 line would be ideal.

On the river
The Demon is an all-round sensation. It is remarkably light, yet has a lovely 'solid' feel about it.  Instantly one knows that this is a capable rod that commands respect. With a responsive tip but with tremendous reserves of power it can dig deep too. You can push it to its limits yet with just smart flicks the rod can propel a fly with a fizz in very tight loops. Our ghillie on the Spey when invited to try, took it from us then effortlessly cast right across the river.   "Aye, I like it" he said. Praise indeed I can assure you.

Other fishers tried it too. One chap was a happy Hardy Sirrus user but loved the Demon, another was a Hardy Angel user and he too preferred the Demon! And it is a very rare thing for me to put down my beloved and sweet Sage 15ft 1in and not pick it up again, but that's just what I did. The Demon instantly won me over, not least because it helped me cut through the cold east wind with great aplomb. The rod is tremendous. Do I have to give it back?

In practice
This is a big river rod and an all-rounder. It will respond to #10 lines perfectly well but a #11 will dig deeper and cut through the wind and carry heavier flies. It is strong enough for sunk line work and brass tubes but you'll still enjoy the floating line and cast 'wee' flies great distances (in the right hands). This rod is suitable for beginners and experts alike and is sold at what we consider a bargain mid-range price to boot. If you are buying one rod for all your big-river salmon fishing then this is a very good choice.

Hardy Demon reel seat

The Demon is not a finely tuned formula one rod that will turn heads, but like an Audi, it is  very classy, well made and will do whatever is asked of it in style. And is built to last. The Demon really does go head to head with the Sage Z-Axis and a match up test is very much on our minds. Congratulations Hardy for producing this very fine rod befitting the technology of 2008. We now really DO look forward to its all-new, head-turning, formula one, top of the range, big brother (or sister). Now that is a challenge for their design team!

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