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Hardy Marksman Z 1pc 8’10”

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Fergal

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I bought a 9wt thru my guide a while ago and got it on my current trip. I’ve used it the last few days for bonefish and I’ve used my guides 10 for tarpon (I’m using that rod in the vid in the other thread). They are, by far, the sweetest casting and fishing rods that I have ever used.

 

They both have a similar feel, very easy to cast, excellent to fish as well. They have a touch and a crispness that I’ve never really experienced before. Simply, the 1pc is just a better rod. I’ve been using a SA Grand Slam on them. 
 

Obviously, plane travel is out with them but for me and my trips here, I’ve been driving so it’s not an issue. The rod does come with a decent sock and tube. The cork is nice, guides are REC. 

 

I will likely pick up a 10 and 11 (I’ll try that one tomorrow) and these will be the rods that I fish down here going forward. 

ASMFC - Destroying public resources and fisheries one stock at a time since 1942.

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Hey Fergal I tried the 11 Marksman at the Somerset Fly show, it's a great rod, based on my own memory it and the Helios 4 felt very similar.  Not sure if I feel it's "better" than the Zane Pro and Zephrus before it (I personally like the Zephrus 11 for tarpon), for me it's simply a different feel.  When I tried the Helios 3 and 4, the 4 felt very smooth but the 3 felt more alive in my hand and so I actually liked the 3 better...I think it's similar to that for me.  The Z is very smooth, so much so that it almost feels dead in the hand to me.  I remember when the first Loomis NRX 8 wt first came out and I didn't care of them as I felt they were dead in the hand too, I like some liveliness to my rods.  These days the rods are so good I think it's almost splitting hairs and comes down to simply preference to how you like a rod to feel.  For me not enough of a difference to get me to purchase but awesome that you've found rods you like so much.

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Posted (edited)

It is splitting hairs. There are many (too many) excellent options out there. There’s probably a rod for everyone, finding it is the somewhat difficult part. 
 

The thing that got me about these rods is the in hand feel. My guide grab my Burk 9 early on and he said it felt heavy to him. I was surprised by that comment and even a little annoyed. I don’t find that rod to feel heavy at all. Later that day I fished the Hardy and I knew exactly what he meant. It didn’t even feel like I was holding a rod when I had the Z in my hands. I may be wrong, often am, but I think it’s the 1pc that makes the rod standout. 
 

Additionally- my guide has noticed a difference in my performance. I certainly have many flaws playing this game but he feels I’ve been better with the Z’s vs others. I picked up the Z to try, with zero expectations of the rod and it performs well for me. I’ve used this analogy before, rods are like shoes. There’s lots of size 12 shoes out there but some are more comfortable vs others and we won’t agree on that at all and that’s fine. My ultimate point here is the 1pc aspect. The 4pc rods that we have are great and most perform better than the person using them but I think that the 1pc versions are better. 

Edited by Fergal

ASMFC - Destroying public resources and fisheries one stock at a time since 1942.

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The Hardy 1 piece rods have all been pretty special.  I have a collection starting with the Pro-Axis but haven’t cast the Marksman yet.  I know myself and it will cost me when I do.  

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30 mins ago, Redsurffshr said:

These are going to make me loose some of my “extra” gear.  

I am seriously satisfied with these rods. They’ll be my go-to for FL in the future. I have no reason to fish anything else.

ASMFC - Destroying public resources and fisheries one stock at a time since 1942.

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1 hour ago, Fergal said:

I am seriously satisfied with these rods. They’ll be my go-to for FL in the future. I have no reason to fish anything else.

I assume you either drive down to FL or check the rods in as oversized luggage?

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@Fergal
 

Have you been able to cast against the 4 piece versions?  I own 4 different 1 pc Hardy rods Pro-Axis 8, 9, 10x and an 8 zephrus as well as a set of 4 pc Zane Pros but have never cast 1 pc vs 4 pc of the same model side by side.  I’m certain I’d prefer the 1 pc but I think it would be an interesting comparison.  

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On 5/21/2024 at 9:13 PM, formula1 said:

I assume you either drive down to FL or check the rods in as oversized luggage?

I drive. I’ve been using the autotrain. 

 

Obviously, they are not travel friendly.

ASMFC - Destroying public resources and fisheries one stock at a time since 1942.

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Posted (edited)
7 hours ago, Redsurffshr said:

@Fergal
 

Have you been able to cast against the 4 piece versions?  I own 4 different 1 pc Hardy rods Pro-Axis 8, 9, 10x and an 8 zephrus as well as a set of 4 pc Zane Pros but have never cast 1 pc vs 4 pc of the same model side by side.  I’m certain I’d prefer the 1 pc but I think it would be an interesting comparison.  

I have not casted the 4pc’er. It would be interesting. I did ask my guide and he said they really weren’t the same. He said the 4pc was comparable to other 4pc’ers, meaning it’s a nice rod but there are lots of nice rods out there.

 

Between theses and some of the NFC 1pc rods that I built (and I mean some, the 9 & 10 are nice, the 11 and 12 suck, i’m undecided about the 8) I am pretty convinced that the 1pc rods are better. They have a different feel that’s hard to explain.

 

PS - the shipping from Hardy was pretty quick. I ordered the rod on a friday, got it monday. FWIW, I did not know that Hardy was now under the Pure Fishing umbrella.

 

Warranty - For breakage, damage or defect - $75 to repair or replace

Edited by Fergal

ASMFC - Destroying public resources and fisheries one stock at a time since 1942.

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I've not compared the current Hardy rods 1 vs 4 piece but in the initial years I fished a fair amount of both 1 and 4 piece for the Proaxis Sintrix rods and the Zephrus (my guide always had the 1 piece rods from 9 to 12 wt available and I would always buy the 4 piece for travel).  I always brought my rods down with me to fish and would always try out the 1 pc rods as well.  I actually buck the trend and like the 4 pc rods better.  The 1 and 4 pc are different but to me the differences are subtle and not enough to override my need to travel with my rods (and one of these days I will start flying to fishing destinations again).  Andy tells me that the 4 piece rods are stiffer due to the ferrules and because I have a fast aggressive casting stroke and preference for fast rods, that might be why I like the 4 piece better.  

 

PS Hardy has been under Pure umbrella for quite a while now, years in fact.

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I’ve test cast the 8wt and 9wt Zane Pro 4pc and 1pc side by side. I don’t think that saying the 4pc is stiffer than the 1pc is accurate. Based on my testing, the 1pc is faster, because the top 1/3 of the rod is a little softer than the 4pc. But, the butt section on the 1pc rods is much, much stiffer. It feels like a steeper taper that stiffens up higher on the blank. The 4pc rods have slightly stiffer tips and/or softer mid/butt sections. It’s hard to say if the tips are stiffer in absolute terms, or if it’s just the perceived effect of a softer butt. But the 4pc Zane Pros were slower rods, and had actions that I much preferred over the 1pc versions, which felt like boat rods with greater lifting power in the butt.

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@ilku interesting.  Problem with what we perceive is that sometimes it's subjective without instrumentation (which is one of the reasons why I used to test my rods, sometimes to destruction, for fighting power in my workshop).  I know that I've had people opine that the rods (that I thought were fast action rods) were soft.  For me a soft tip is slow whereas a stiff tip is fast.  I prefer a stiffer tip and very strong butt, in all I like a rod that can return any amount of energy I put into it.  I've cast a number of rods where they are considered to be fast but the tip collapses on me when I'm pushing casts past 95'.  One of the things I've loved about the Hardy SW rods is that not a single one I've fished so far has that issue, as I put more into the cast, the rods respond by returning that energy into the line for me without complaint.  As I noted, Andy felt that the 4 pc rods were stiffer and he, along with Howard Croston, are the developers/testers of the Hardy SW rods.

Edited by formula1
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