Hardy Zephrus    9’ 5-weight   $699.00

Hardy Zephrus

Hardy Zephrus

Buy Now 

George's Notes:

The Zephrus has been one of my favorite rods since Hardy unveiled it as a replacement for the great Zenith.  These are nice light rods that perform extremely well at all distances but are especially good in close.  I fish a 4-weight most of the time fishing smaller dries, and the Hardy Zephrus in their 8 ½ foot 4-weight is the best 4-weight I’ve found. It will likely be a top contender in our forthcoming 4-weight Shootout. 

The 5-weight Zephrus is also a superb dry fly rod.  It has a softer tip than many other rods and this is what gives it such good feel and superior accuracy, especially in close.  The old Zenith did have more punch and power, but at close distances the Zephrus has a lot more feel and better accuracy.  This is a medium fast action rod, much like the Radian in action.  It was very close to the Radian in performance too, even slightly better in close, almost equal at 45 feet and only dropping off a bit at long range. 

The Zephrus is another attractive rod, with an olive finish, trimmed with darker olive wraps.  The guide set up is perfect.  One SiC stripping guide and then lightweight one-foot nickel/titanium guides like Loomis uses on the LP.   You can’t beat these one-foot guides.  They are flexible and we’ve never seen one break or have to be replaced.  The handle is a comfortable half-wells, western style with a flare at the back.  The quality of the cork is outstanding, as we’ve come to expect with Hardy rods.  A gold anodized uplocking seat is used with a nice looking piece of olive burl as a spacer.  Craftsmanship is excellent but not up to the standard set by the Radian or the T&T Avantt, due to the heavy epoxy wrap coatings.   

The Zephrus and Wraith use the 3M Nano-resin technology, so these rods are very strong yet light weight.  Howard Croston, Hardy’s head rod designer in England, who gave us those great Zenith rods, is also responsible for designing the Zephrus.  Today the Hardy rods are manufactured in Korea but to Hardy’s very high standards.  At a price of $699 these are a bargain when you compare them other $800-$1000 rods. 


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

Performance at 25 feet:  19.6 points out of 20

I get lots of feel and very good accuracy in close.  Head to head better than the Asquith, Avantt and Helios 2.  This is a wonderful dry fly rod.

Performance at 45 feet:  19.7 points out of 20

One of my favorite rods at this distance.  Fun to cast. Tracked beautifully with extremely good accuracy.   Only the LP and Radian were better.  Head to head, it edged out the Avantt, the Sky and the Asquith.

Performance at 70 feet: 9.2 points out of 10

Like the NRX LP, the lack of backbone and power at long range hurt.  Better than most other rods, but out long the Wraith, Avantt and Asquith were far better.



Hardy Zephrus

Hardy Zephrus

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James' Notes: 

Like the Loop Opti-Stream, the Hardy Zephrus has been a consistent podium finisher.  In 2016, the Zephrus finished 3rd overall, and tied for second place for my own Performance Only casting scores.  Looking back at my 2016 scores, I gave the Zephrus a perfect 20 at 45’ and only a 19 at 25 feet. 

This year however, I felt the Zephrus was sweetest in close.  All I can think is that this is a slightly different rod, as all rods of a specific length and line size vary a little.  But it could have also been other factors like wind or even the new Amplitude line.  Either way, I scored the Zephrus a perfect 20 this year in close because it felt incredibly smooth and was also amazingly accurate.  Only the NRX LP felt as sweet at 25 feet.

The Zephrus is a fantastic all around 5-weight, with plenty of feel for small dries, yet enough strength to cast 70 feet (and beyond) with confidence.  I really liked this rod at all distances; it is fun to cast and is even more fun to fish. 

Dry fly fanatics, especially spring creek anglers, will love this rod.  I think anglers who are on the Henry’s Fork, Missouri, Bighorn, or other great small dry fly streams will be hard pressed to find a more accurate, smoother casting 5-weight for the money.

To be honest, my all time favorite Hardy 5-weight was the Zenith, followed by the Hardy Artisan.  Of Hardy’s current lineup, the Zephrus is still the best all-around 5-weight model, but I wish Hardy would consider bringing back the same powerful action as the Zenith or another rod that was as smooth as the Artisan.  


Performance at 25 feet:  20 points out of 20 

Amazing feel and accuracy.  Only the NRX LP was as good.  Time and time again I was hitting the plate.  This rod feels great, tracks well, and turned over the 12’ leader perfectly for me.

Performance at 45 feet:  19.2 points out of 20

I expected the Zephrus to pull off a perfect score here but it wasn’t nearly as accurate for me as the Scott Radian or G. Loomis NRX LP.  This is where I miss that more powerful Zenith, which was perfect. 

Performance at 70 feet:  9.7 points out of 10

A nice surprise as I thought the Zephrus wasn’t going to be able to hang with the other top rods, but I was wrong.  This rod just seems to work with my natural casting stroke and I was able to punch it (even into the wind) without throwing a tailing loop.  The best scoring rods were just a little more powerful and consistent for me, but for someone who places a high priority on feel, this is a great rod, even throwing long!




Hardy Zephrus

Hardy Zephrus Buy Now


Logan's Notes:

Rounding out my top 6 is the Hardy Zephrus.  The Zephrus is an all around killer.  It performed great for me at all distances. I really like the metallic green color of the blank, matched with the green wood reel seat insert.  The cosmetics and craftsmanship are first-rate.


Logan’s Casting Notes:

Performance at 25 feet: 19 out of 20

The Hardy Zephrus was an excellent rod in close.  I liked the NRX-LP and the Scott Radian slightly better at 25 feet than the Zephrus, because of their softer tips. 

 Performance at 45 feet: 19 out of 20

 The Zephrus is ultra-smooth at 45 feet and formed some nice loops for me.

 Performance at 70 feet: 9 out of 10

 For me, the accuracy at 70 feet was good but I preferred the stiffer and more powerful Hardy Wraith at 70 feet.




 Hardy Zephrus

Hardy Zephrus

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JG's Notes:

The Zephrus is a beautiful, and very light rod.  I just didn't get very good feel from the rod in close, and felt that the action was a little too stiff to be a great all-rounder.


25 Feet – 18 points out of 20
I had a tough time liking the Zephrus in close. It’s light and agile, and very accurate but in hand the feel just didn’t turn me on.  I wasn’t getting as much feedback as with some of the other rods, and that made short range casts more difficult.


45 Feet – 19.3 points out of 20 
I liked the Zephrus at mid-distances.  It’s a powerful rod, so having more line out really helps me load the rod.  The overall feel was good too. The loops are tight, with good accuracy, and the rod was light in hand.


70 Feet – 19.3 points out of 20 
Lots of power helped the Zephrus punch out long casts.  It makes 70’ happen without much fuss.  The rod tracks well, giving me good accuracy and feel.

Hardy Zephrus

Hardy Zephrus


Hardy Zephrus

Hardy Zephrus

Hardy Zephrus

Buy Now