Hardy’s Zenith rods were discontinued when the Wraith and Zephrus lines were introduced. Hardy fly rods are among some of the most desirable fly rods in 2023 and for good reason.
The blanks for the new Zephrus Ultralite family are rolled in Korea. This is similar to the Zenith and Wraith models as well. The fact that Hard rods aren’t manufactured in the US may scare some, but have no fear! The Hardy line of fly rods is one of the best you can buy, and the Hardy Zephrus is no different. Read the rest of this Hardy Zephrus Fly Rod review to learn more.
The Hardy Zephrus Review – Zephrus vs Zenith Fly Rod
Before we get into the full review of this rod, we want to make sure we’re clear on the naming for the Zephrus series. It comes in 3 different models: FWS (Freshwater Series), AWS (All Water Series), and SWS (Saltwater Series).
It’s important to note that these rods are actually different. The FWS and SWS have significant differences, so make sure you’re looking at the best fly rod for you. We will focus mostly on the FWS since this is a freshwater blog, but again, just note that these models are uniquely different models.
When it comes to Zephrus vs Zenith, you’ll find a lot of the best qualities of the Zenith still hold true for the Zephrus, but more to come on that!
Summary: Hardy Zephrus Fly Rod is Still a Great Value
The Zephrus comes with Sintrix 440 Blank construction, REC Black pearl recoil guides, Fuji Titanium stripper guides, fast action blank design, and selected hardwood and Triaxial carbon spacers. The Hardy Zephrus series of fly rods features the Hardy award winning Sintrix material – Sintrix 440. The Zephrus brings high recovery and an enhanced feel for a fast-action rod. It generates high line speed and phenomenal line control.
- Sintrix 440 blank construction
- REC Black Pearl Recoil guides
- Fuji Titanium stripper guides
- Fast action blank design
- Selected hardwood and triaxial carbon spacers
Still a worthwhile value at the higher price point
– Rogue Rods
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Here We Go! The Hardy Zephrus Fly Rod Review Features
Construction / Durability – 4.5/5
The Hardy Zeprhus is a four-section rod. One of the first things we noticed is the craftsmanship. It has a nice design with the forest green finish on the blank, the darker-colored wraps, and line-up marks. The Fuji titanium framed SiC stripper guides and intermediate REC Black Pearl Recoil guides are lightweight and durable. Their friction and line noise reducing qualities are also a very nice addition.
The handle is a high-quality, 4A grade reverse half wells cork. It has a good feel. The reel seat spacer is burl wood and the heavy-duty anodized aluminum reel seat both come standard on the Zephrus FWS model.
Weighing in at just 2.5 ounces, it is one of the lightest rods on the market in 2023. This is always a huge bonus. This puts it just a bit lighter than the Zenith.
Hardy rods have been at the forefront of fly rod technology for some time now. Constructed with their unique Sintrix resin technology, they’re some of the most durable fly rods available.
Here’s what they have to say about Sintrix:
“The resin material used in SINTRIX® is produced by 3M®, it is a unique and patented material incorporating silica nanospheres which provides two distinct benefits. Firstly the microscopic silica spheres are able to evenly surround every individual carbon fibre filament providing a matrix of strength throughout the rod. Secondly, being spherical, the silica particles are able to resist pressure and compression from any angle. This is particularly important because it is under compression forces, on the underside of a bent rod, rather than tension forces, on the outside of the curve, that carbon fiber is most likely to weaken and potentially break. So by resisting compression better, SINTRIX® rods are stronger…The final results were astonishing with up to 60% increases in strength and up to 30% savings in weight. Driven by our passion and determination to always push the boundaries—part of Hardy’s DNA since 1872—”
Overall, the Hardy Zephrus fly rod doesn’t disappoint with its construction. You can immediately feel the higher quality of the rod compared to less expensive alternatives. View Current Pricing
Performance – 5/5
Blank performance is a complicated factor to measure. It’s so important but so many things go into the performance of a rod. Torsional stability affects tracking, which affects swing weight, which affects the action and “feel” of the rod itself, making each of these components important.
The Zephrus Ultralite’s blank is shockingly strong and stable given its very lightweight. We noticed tracking isn’t as tight as some other high-end models like the Sage X or Orvis Helios 3, but it’s still at the top of the market in terms of performance.
What’s truly interesting about the Hardy Zephrus is the backbone of this fly rod. You barely feel a thing when casting, but as soon as a fish hits, you can instantly feel the stability and strength of the backbone of this rod. The blank’s backbone is more than strong enough to pull in even larger-sized trout, whitefish, and more.
Overall, when it comes to Zephrus vs Zenith, we rank them pretty similarly in performance. They’re both faster rods that can get a lot of line out.
Accuracy and Feel – 4/5
Somewhat unsurprisingly, the accuracy of the Zephrus is top-notch. From streamers to small dries to a dry-dropper rig, the Hardy Zephrus will put your flies where they need to be. There’s always a level of skill involved, but having the best piece of equipment available sure does help.
Hardy rods are typically on the faster end of the spectrum, and the Zephrus is no different. Take your first few casts slow and steady and you’ll start to pick up the rod loading and unloading line predictably.
We put the Zephrus ahead of the Zenith in accuracy. They’re both excellent from 40-60ft, but we feel the Zephrus takes the cake on accuracy at closer ranges around 25ft thanks to the softer tip.
The Verdict – The Hardy Zephrus Fly Rod is One of the Best Fly Rods of 2023!
As you can see from this Hardy Zephrus review, it’s a leader in the industry. From the durable construction with unique Sintrix technology to the high performance of the blank with its strong backbone, to the pinpoint accuracy of the rod as a whole, it’s truly a great rod for the intermediate to advanced fisherman looking for a high-end fly rod.
When it comes to Zephrus vs Zenith, we think Hardy did the series justice. If you loved the Zenith, you won’t be disappointed with the Zephrus. It’s accurate, fast, and well built similar to its predecessor.
Hopefully, this Hardy Zephrus Fly Rod review was helpful. Check it out and catch some fish!
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