Hardy Phantom splitcane fly rods

by Steen Ellemose

This range of rods is considered one of the most successful from The House of Hardy. It was introduced in 1962, as a replacement of the legendary C.C. de France range, and they were available up to 1972. The Phantom series of rods was designed by W. F. Hardy, and was one of the first series to be made without close wraps. The silk was black, with a red end. On most models, the reelseat was “Housed butt cap & sliding ring”, which is very light and holds the reel securely. In some catalogues the rods appear with “W housing, ring and butt cap”, a system, which also is very light, and mostly known from the aforementioned C.C. de France rods.

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Normally the rods was supplied in two-piece configuration, but some models was available in three pieces. A very short model, 4’4’’, was made a single year, most likely aimed at the American market. The most common model to find (in Denmark), is 6’10’’, with 8’ and 8’6’’ coming up. Being one of the lightest rods-ranges from Hardy in the 60’s, it is most likely to assume that the dry-fly men of those days (and they were few in Denmark), who had only a limited number of models available, would pick a light and relatively short rod of the most esteemed brand, so a Hardy Phantom was the rod of choice.

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On the internet, a lot of rods-tapers can be found. The Phantoms are “Straight taper”, which means that the blank decrease even in thickness from butt to tiptop. This is a taper, which is easy to manufacture in very consistent quality, thus a uniform quality is ensured. This does not mean that the rods are bad fishing rods, on the contrary, the Phantom rods are very good rods, and in particular the shorter models are much sought after.

For some of the earlier years, the brand Hollocona is used in the catalogues and on the rods, but later the brand Palakona is used. Hollocona was reserved for rods with a hollow blank, which is made to decrease the weight of the rod. Mr. Henning V. Jakobsen kindly has informed me, that he has owned two 8’ Phantom, one a Palakona and one a Hollocona. The weight was the same, but the centre of gravity, was placed differently.

Phantom rods was available in these models:

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1) The practical weigh varies, also the values given by Hardy in their catalogues. Some models becomes approx. 14 grams lighter at decreasing age.

2) The length of the handle varies, also the values given by Hardy in their catalogues. On some models, the handle decrease ½ or ¼ inch (ca. 1,25 and 0,65 cm) at decreasing age.

I am the happy owner of a Hardy Phantom 6’10’’, which I use with much pleasure. It is light and delivers the fly both far an accurate. The only disadvantage is the length. When fishing from the banks, which is common in this country, the rod is at its shortest when grass and reeds are tall in the summertime. But where cows grass the meadows or wading is a possibility, it is a fine rod.

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© Steen Ellemose.