Review: Hardy Ultradisc Cassette fly reel

A versatile performer from one of fly fishing's most tenured manufacturers
Photo: Spencer Durrant

Hardy ended 2021 with a slew of new products. From a line of exceptional fly rods (which I’ll review in an upcoming piece, so stay tuned!) to a handful of new reels, there’s plenty of shiny, fun new toys to play with for Hardy aficionados.

Marlborough Fly Fishing Show postponed until April

Less than two weeks in advance of planned dates, The Fly Fishing Show postpones its first 2022 event
Image credit: Best Western

After a series of announcements, the first of which came in November of 2020, every scheduled stop for the 2021 Fly Fishing Show eventually fell victim to cancellation in one form or another. With the exception of the Denver, Colorado show, which was cancelled due to the last-minute sale and closure of the show's planned venue, all of the 2021 Fly Fishing Show dates were spiked by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. With a full slate of 2022 shows announced in June, anglers and show goers around the country were hopeful this year would mark a return to normal.

Tips for tying tiny flies

Why going really small is sometimes necessary and how to tie the flies to do it
Photo: Ryan McCullough

As any angler should know, we’re in a business where size matters. We’re taught that streamers the size of mops (sometimes the entire mop) are a necessity if you’re after monster trout. Dainty dry flies are for eager, happy cutthroat and brook trout tucked away in mountain streams. The mid-sized flies are the nympher’s domain, all sleek and streamlined to sink quickly and stay in the strike zone for the longest time possible. If that’s all an angler knew about fly sizes, they’d be in good shape. Those flies do their job, and for that reason, they’re the most popular.

Natural movement

And why it matters to your fishing
Photo: Earl Harper / Harper Studios.

It wasn’t there, and then it was; an electric blue flash out on the far horizon. The ocean’s surface was dark and relatively smooth under a bright mid-day sun, while the lighter blue sparkle was so tiny that it was literally hard to see. We were standing on the deck of a beach-side house high up over the Pacific, watching the swimmers and surfers down below us, when that blue flicker first caught my eye.

Scratching the silver itch

Sometimes the run comes, sometimes it doesn't
Photo: Chris Hunt

The waterlogged, wrist-thick cedar branch probably came to rest on the gravel bar as the tide retreated. It’s a big tide on Alaska’s Prince of Wales Island — 15-foot fluctuations between high and low aren’t unheard of. But there it sat, this salt-soaked branch coated in sea slime and a few barnacles. It was heavy and sturdy. Just what I needed. I lifted the branch—about the size of a police baton—and brought it down swiftly on the head of the silver salmon I’d spent the last 20 minutes fighting, killing the fish instantly.