I recently won a photo contest thanks to a bat... the flying mammal kind... Order Chiroptera... in case you were wondering. True story. Check Wind Knots & Tangled Lines if you don't believe me.
The contest prize was a DVD of a film about which I was totally unaware until the contest. It turned out to be quite an interesting film. Watching The Lost World of Mr. Hardy hit close to home for two reasons.
First, I broke one of the tips on my prized bamboo fly rod "Darcy's Mercury" (I have no idea what the name means, but it's the only marking on the rod... more about that some other time) on Sunday, and watching the section of the film on bamboo rod making at the House of Hardy really made me want to get my rod fixed. I think it's really going to come down to making an entirely new tip section. The rod is pretty unique because it is two-toned (alternating flats of dark and light cane)... I have only seen one other similar looking rod... and as such I expect it might be fairly expensive to replace even if I can find a willing builder. So, that will have to wait.
Second, I felt a real connection to the film because I do own one piece of Hardy's equipment... even though it is not labeled as such. The only obvious clue is the "Made in England" stamped on the back of the reel. My reel is a L.L. Bean GQS Disc 4/5 which I have come to learn is actually an older Hardy Marquis Disc reel in disguise. It is my favorite trout fishing reel, and it is extremely well made. It has a reliable smooth drag, a nice sounding Hardy "check" mechanism, and classic Hardy styling. If I get a chance to own another one, I won't likely pass up the opportunity. I really would like one in an 8/9 for bass fishing... I lost a serious bidding war for one almost a year ago on Ebay. I am always on the lookout for these reels on Ebay, but I have only seen a few in the last 5 years.
It may not be the nicest fly reel Hardy ever made, and it certainly isn't the most expensive, but it has given me a little taste of why Hardy has been called the "Rolls Royce of fishing tackle." In my humble opinion, a well deserved moniker.