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Hardy Proaxis Rod 9ft #9 for Pike Fishing

Hardy Proaxis Rod 9ft #9 for Pike Fishing
Posted in: Pike Fishing

As fly anglers we're always looking out for the perfect fly rod for any given situation, and these days ninety nine per cent of our specific species and disciplines are catered for. However, as a very keen pike fisherman I'm still waiting for one of the big companies to produce a top-end fly rod produced specifically for casting multiple densities of fly lines and 6/0 hooks with half a fly shop tying section whipped to the shank. Instead I am consigned to keeping an eye out for a saltwater designed rod that will meet my requirements - some are appropriate and some miss the mark by a distance. The problem is that most saltwater nine weight rods are designed as heavy bonefish/permit sticks, for making 50' presentations and using small flies in comparison to us pike anglers and thus these rods can lack the backbone to fire out 100' of line and a toilet brush of a fly into a breeze on a reservoir.

During a conversation with Steve Peterson at Hardy / Greys he mentioned that he thought that the Hardy Sintrix Proaxis Fly Rod 9' 9# might have the steel to do the job without being poker stiff or too heavy to make 500 casts a day with - and I must admit a quick waggle with the one that Steve sent me to test a few days later immediately got me going! It felt amazingly light weight in the hand, more like a seven weight than any other nine I had handled. In fact, my immediate fear was that I was going to break it with a weight nine hi-d line! A quick check on a youtube video of Tarpon legend Andy Mill landing sharks on Hardy Sintrix blanks reassured me though.

My boat partner Dave and I arrived at a southern reservoir at eight am which was already bathed in strong, bright sunlight, these were far from ideal conditions but we felt confident that we might at least catch a few on the flat bays early in the mornings. We motored across to a bay we know usually holds a few pike early in the day and dropped anchor. I stripped off about 80 feet of my favourite pike line, the RIO Outbound Short intermediate tip, and was shocked by the sharp slap of the line on my casting hand after just two false casts - I had clearly under-estimated the backbone of this rod! As expected we were in to fish early, a spritely eight pounder making mincemeat of my EP baitfish pattern and putting up an unexpectedly strong scrap, I've never had a pike take fifty feet of line off the reel before! I decided that this was to be the fish through which I learned about the rods ability to play a fish hard. I really horsed it to the boat, bending the rod down to the cork. It was immediately obvious that this rod wasn't going to break no matter how hard I tried!

We continued to catch fish for the next ten hours, bringing pike to over 15lb to the boat, and on a few different line types. The Hardy Proaxis took it all in it's stride. Casting a floating fly line was a joy with this rod, even with over-sized Dahlberg Divers. The hot afternoon sun eventually saw us switch to Hi-D lines, my favourite being the Outbound Short Sink Six. The Hardy threw these as well as any other nine weight I have ever used, though in truth if you intend on using these lines a lot then you'll be as well served buying a cheaper rod - casting these lines is never enjoyable regardless of the rod and quite frankly the Proaxis is too good for such attritional fishing!

It was only in the car on the way home after twelve hours of fishing that I realised what my favourite feature of this rod is. Not the recoil rings, or the strength in the middle sections, or the great quality cork on the handle - what struck me was that after making probably five hundred casts of approaching 100 feet there was no fatigue in my arms or shoulders, the Hardy Proaxis had made casting big lines and flies easy and actually enjoyable! Exactly what I was looking for in a pike fly rod.

Is it perfect? Not quite - a predator rod should be made in a predator green colour not saltwater blue! Everything else about the Proaxis has astounded me, and after a few outings Hardy are going to struggle to get this rod back from me! If you're in the market for a nine weight pike fly rod with saltwater benefits then I strongly suggest you take a long hard look at the Hardy Proaxis, it's a truly brilliant rod!


2012-06-12 09:34:00
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