Hardy Wraith FWS  9’ 5-weight    $849.00

Hardy Wraith

Hardy Wraith

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George's Notes:

Here is the champ long distance launcher in our Shootout, as it was in our 2016 Shootout, taking the perfect score at 70 feet.  The Wraith is a very stiff 5-weight and although it is quite light in both overall and swing weight, the stiffness hurt the feel and accuracy in close and even at 45 feet.  At mid-distance the Zephrus was far better.  The Wraith has a very fast action, faster than the Zephrus and all other rods in the Shootout.  The Wraith is a far more powerful rod than either the LP or Radian.  But again, you pay the price for having this stiffness and power in a decided lack of feel.  If you want a nice delicate dry fly rod, avoid the Wraith.  But if you are chucking hoppers at long distance, you’ll love it.

The Wraith is a good-looking rod with the excellent craftsmanship we’ve come to expect from Hardy.  The blank is a dark gray with a flat, non-glare finish.  The wraps are black, trimmed with a little red on the butt.  The cork grip is a half wells, western style with a flare in the back and a swell in the middle, then tapering forward.  Hardy uses a brown anodized, double uplocking skeleton seat with an attractive dark brown burled wood insert.  The guides are similar to the Zephrus with one SiC stripper and the rest black single foot nickel/titanium guides that have proven to be flexible and unbreakable. 

One thing that we can’t figure out is why this rod is priced $150 more than the Zephrus.  $849 seems to be pretty steep for a rod made in Korea.  

The perfect line: S.A. Amplitude MPX in WF-5-F.


Performance at 25 feet:  18.2 points out of 20

The stiffness killed any feel and the accuracy is not that good either.  I had little confidence in putting the fly where I wanted it. 

Performance at 45 feet:  19.2 points out of 20

With more line in the air now we had better performance and good accuracy.  Nice tight loops but not very much feel.  The LP, Radian and Avantt were far better.  

Performance at 70 feet: 10 points out of 10

No surprise here – this rod was fantastic at long range and racked up perfect score.   I could carry 70 feet of line in the air with this cannon.  




Hardy Wraith

Hardy Wraith

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James' Notes: 

Another line ripper, the Hardy Wraith reminds me of a lighter Sage TCX, ONE, or Method.  It is stiff and powerful and built with distance, heavy wind, and streamers in mind.  If you like fishing streamers on a floating line, this could be a good second 5-weight rod for you.  While most people are looking at a 5-weight for fishing dries and nymphs, the streamer addict is looking for a rod that will be more fun casting into riprap bank holes, under the willow holes, and into the shallow riffles early in the morning before sunrise. 

Forget about fishing the Wraith with 6-7X during your next blue wing olive hatch.  Like a 6 weight XP, you’ll break off every fish on the hook set.  The Wraith is a good nymphing rod, with the power to handle some beefy double nymph rigs, along with split shot, under a big indicator or balloon.

Light and powerful, this is the samurai sword of all 5-weight rods.  It will cut through the Livingston wind like no other rod in the shootout.  When it comes to throwing the entire fly line, in a 5-weight, there is nothing that can match the Wraith.


Performance at 25 feet:  18.2 points out of 20

Nice and light, just very stiff in the tip.  Deadly accurate but in order to get the accuracy I had to slam the leader and yarn indicator in hard.  This is not the rod to get if you are looking for delicate presentations at short distances.    

Performance at 45 feet: 19.4 points out of 20

Very light and accurate at mid-distances.  Fun to cast despite the fact that it is clearly stiffer than others.  I thought the T&T Avantt was a little more accurate whereas the Douglas Sky and Sage X had a touch more feel.  The G. Loomis NRX LP, Scott Radian, Loop Opti-Stream, and Orvis H2 Covert had the edge on both accuracy and feel.

Performance at 70 feet: 10 points out of 10

Absolute perfection.  The Hardy Wraith was everyone’s favorite rod for throwing the long bomb.  If I had to make a long cast with a 5-weight rod and the camera rolling, I’d want the Hardy Wraith in my hand.  It performed great even in a stiff headwind.  Nothing was better. 



Hardy Wraith

Hardy Wraith

Buy Now  

Logan's Notes:

The Wraith is Hardy’s faster action rod, with a lot more stiffness than the Zephrus.  I was surprised at how well I liked this rod considering its action profile, with a stiffer tip than I usually prefer.  The Wraith has a pleasant matte black finish with glossy highlights, a finish we are seeing more of these days.


Logan’s Casting Notes:

Performance at 25 feet: 17 out of 20

The Wraith lacks the feel to make it a great rod at closer distances. 

Performance at 45 feet: 19 out of 20

At 45 feet the Hardy Wraith really started to sing.  It has an insane amount of power that is evident the moment you start peeling out line.

Performance at 70 feet: 10 out of 10

The Hardy Wraith was perfection at 70 feet.  It’s the only rod in the Shootout that allowed me to deliver accurate casts to the 70-foot plate, practically every time.



Hardy Wraith

Hardy Wraith

 Buy Now


JG's Notes:

The Wraith is a really powerful rod that would be a good choice for someone who wants a light rod that can cast heavy rigs or hit long-range targets.


25 Feet – 18 points out of 20
I thought that this rod was a little too powerful for short-range casting, I didn't get great accuracy and the casts were not very delicate.


45 Feet – 19 points out of 20
The Wraith is good at this distance.  I got better accuracy and feel as the distance of my casts increased.


70 Feet – 19 points out of 20
The light feel of the Wraith helps with making long cast after long cast.  It has great power, and that made hitting farther targets easy.  The rod tracked well and gave me very good accuracy.