Hardy Sirrus & Swift fly rods
Review by Terry Lawton and Pete Sutton
Hardy has introduced two new ranges of rods, the Sirrus and the Swift. They are priced lower than traditional Hardy rods and will enable a much wider range of anglers to enjoy owning and fishing a Hardy rod. Pete Sutton APGAI and Terry Lawton have been field testing some examples from both ranges.
The most immediate and obvious difference between the two new Hardy ranges is the very high quality cork handle of the Swift, as befits the higher price, and then the ferrules. The Swift handle is one of the best that we have seen for a very long time, as is the overall quality of the build of this rod. That is not to say that the build quality of the two Sirrus rods is anything but what one would expect from Hardy, except for the fact that the cork is just not as good, but it is still superior to many a more expensive rod.
These rods all have the correct number of rings or guides, one per foot of length plus one, and the tip ring. Rings are over-size American snakes with hayfork tip rings. The two 9 rods have one lined stripping ring and the longer Sirrus two. The Sirrus rods are a dark muddy-green colour with reddy-brown whippings. Reel seats are all metal. The Swift rod has a deep, dark red tube and matching whippings. The reel seat has a carbon insert, the same colour as the rod itself and the metalwork also matches the rod. The Sirrus rods have spigot ferrules whereas the Swift is tip-over-butt. For some reason the three pieces of the 10 Sirrus are all different lengths. All three rods are very discreet in their trim with just one gold band above the name and rod information.
Pete Sutton and I tested Sirrus and Swift 9 #5 rods, priced at £229 and £299 respectively, and a Sirrus 10 #7, priced at £249.
Pete Sutton writes:
Each of these rods was beautifully put together and finished with great attention to detail as one would expect from Hardy. Each of the rods is three piece construction which seems to be an increasingly popular trend these days and whilst it makes the rods easier to transport compared to the more traditional two piece designs, I favour a four or even five piece construction for genuine improved transportability. All three rods will however fit easily into the average car boot.
I tested each rod using Rio Longcast, long belly weight forward lines.
Sirrus 9 # 5
This rod had a strange action and feel to it which I find difficult to describe. The rod felt as if most of the bending took place in the middle third and the tip felt somewhat weak, this feeling being confirmed by the rods inability to switch and roll cast, over distance, particularly well.
However once I had adjusted to the strange feel of a lot of bend in the tip, even with a short length of line out, I found that the rod performed quite adequately and would throw quite nice shaped loops over short and longer distances. Using a double haul distance casting technique the rod would cast about 90 in the favourable conditions of the test days. The aspect I found most disappointing was the amount of tip bounce the rod displayed and anyone considering buying one of these would need to satisfy them selves that they could live happily with this particular characteristic.
Sirrus 10 # 7
I fully expected this rod to be a longer, more powerful version of the nine footer, but it is not. The action of this rod is quite different and I would describe it as being mid flex or middle to tip.
It is a fairly powerful rod which when required to would cast the entire 100 of line but I am sorry to say that it suffered from a similar, although not quite such an excessive, amount of tip bounce as its smaller brother. I would describe this as an adequate performer without being outstanding in any way.
Swift 9 # 5
This rod is easily described as a middle to tip action fly rod with an easy to live with action and fairly stiff feel. The tip is nice and stable and the rod cast nice shaped stable loops over long, short and medium distances up to about 90 or so. A beginner or someone inclined to overpower their casts may like this rod because it seems to like being cast fairly hard and the relatively stiff tip is forgiving of too much force being applied by the caster and, if pushed for a decision, I would say that this was the best rod of the three.
To sum up I would say that these rods are amongst the nicest built and finished that I have seen. However, the action of the Sirrus 9 #5 is odd to say the least and although the 10 #7, and Swift 9 #5 have a more usual middle to tip action, all three rods seem to have a slow recovery rate and lack the ability to give that final impetus or flick to the line. Each of the rods, and especially the Sirrus 9 #5, have more tip bounce than a modern carbon fibre rod should, and this detracts from both the feel and performance
I would not buy any of these rods for myself and my advice, as always, would be that if you are attracted to any of these rods because of their build quality and the Hardy name, to try it for yourself and see what you think.
Terry Lawton writes:
I didnt read Petes reviews of these rods before I tried them myself. We seem to have reached fairly similar conclusions even though we have described the feel and actions of these rods differently.
Sirrus 9 #5
The biggest problem with this rod is the excessive tip bounce. It feels less powerful that the Swift and sadly, communicates even less. Was there a slight feeling of weakness in the butt? To describe this as a nice rod would be, in some peoples eyes, to damn it with faint praise. It is a modern rod and when compared with some of the older Hardy rods which were very much Hardys and nice if you liked them but were not for everyone it does cast more like a modern rod. It is an easy rod to pick up and start to cast with and would probably be suitable for the less critical trout fisherman who likes the idea of owning and fishing a Hardy rod at a more reasonable price than might be expected. But even so, this rod is still relatively expensive at £229.
Sirrus 10 #7
This is a powerful #7 rod, idea for stillwaters and even some sea trout or summer salmon fishing on small spate rivers. It didnt seem to suffer from as much tip bounce as its smaller sibling.
I felt that it seemed very stiff in the butt which made it feel heavy in the hand. Again this rod did not communicate any real feel of what was going on.
Swift 9 #5
The Swift was, for me, the best rod of the three. As we have both said, it is beautifully made but its performance does not match the build quality. The biggest disappointment of this rod was that as you loaded it to cast further, there was no hidden inner strength to come into play and give you that extra casting distance. I would have expected a rod of this quality to have had the wonderful feel of a progressive action that builds in the butt as the rod loads. There was no feel of it bending and flexing from the tip, through the middle of the rod and deep into the butt section. It has more character and a bit more power than the other two rods.I would have liked to have had the opportunity to have fished with these rods as that might have produced more character. The good points were the build quality, three pieces which are much easier to manage than traditional two piece rods although, as Pete said, they are not as convenient as four pieces, and the Hardy name. Although they are less expensive than normal for Hardy rods, given their less than sparkling performance, value for money and desirability is questionable.
The Sirrus range comprises rods from 7 #3, three piece via a 10 #8 to an 11 #6 weight, all three pieces, and two four-piece double handers, 13 #9 and a 15 #10 weight. Prices start at £199 and go up to £399.
The Swift range starts with a 9 #4 weight three piece at £299 and goes up to an 11 #7 weight at £369. All Swift rods are three piece and the heaviest line weight, eight, comes with an overall length of 10.